Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about Emma.

In this style she ran on; never thoroughly stopped by any thing till Mr. Woodhouse came into the room; her vanity had then a change of object, and Emma heard her saying in the same half-whisper to Jane,

“Here comes this dear old beau of mine, I protest!—­Only think of his gallantry in coming away before the other men!—­what a dear creature he is;—­I assure you I like him excessively.  I admire all that quaint, old-fashioned politeness; it is much more to my taste than modern ease; modern ease often disgusts me.  But this good old Mr. Woodhouse, I wish you had heard his gallant speeches to me at dinner.  Oh!  I assure you I began to think my caro sposo would be absolutely jealous.  I fancy I am rather a favourite; he took notice of my gown.  How do you like it?—­Selina’s choice—­handsome, I think, but I do not know whether it is not over-trimmed; I have the greatest dislike to the idea of being over-trimmed—­quite a horror of finery.  I must put on a few ornaments now, because it is expected of me.  A bride, you know, must appear like a bride, but my natural taste is all for simplicity; a simple style of dress is so infinitely preferable to finery.  But I am quite in the minority, I believe; few people seem to value simplicity of dress,—­show and finery are every thing.  I have some notion of putting such a trimming as this to my white and silver poplin.  Do you think it will look well?”

The whole party were but just reassembled in the drawing-room when Mr. Weston made his appearance among them.  He had returned to a late dinner, and walked to Hartfield as soon as it was over.  He had been too much expected by the best judges, for surprize—­ but there was great joy.  Mr. Woodhouse was almost as glad to see him now, as he would have been sorry to see him before.  John Knightley only was in mute astonishment.—­That a man who might have spent his evening quietly at home after a day of business in London, should set off again, and walk half a mile to another man’s house, for the sake of being in mixed company till bed-time, of finishing his day in the efforts of civility and the noise of numbers, was a circumstance to strike him deeply.  A man who had been in motion since eight o’clock in the morning, and might now have been still, who had been long talking, and might have been silent, who had been in more than one crowd, and might have been alone!—­Such a man, to quit the tranquillity and independence of his own fireside, and on the evening of a cold sleety April day rush out again into the world!—­Could he by a touch of his finger have instantly taken back his wife, there would have been a motive; but his coming would probably prolong rather than break up the party.  John Knightley looked at him with amazement, then shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I could not have believed it even of him.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.