Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 596 pages of information about Emma.

“Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old.  I have seen a great many lists of her drawing-up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through—­and very good lists they were—­very well chosen, and very neatly arranged—­sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule.  The list she drew up when only fourteen—­I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now.  But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma.  She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding.  Where Miss Taylor failed to stimulate, I may safely affirm that Harriet Smith will do nothing.—­You never could persuade her to read half so much as you wished.—­You know you could not.”

“I dare say,” replied Mrs. Weston, smiling, “that I thought so then;—­but since we have parted, I can never remember Emma’s omitting to do any thing I wished.”

“There is hardly any desiring to refresh such a memory as that,”—­said Mr. Knightley, feelingly; and for a moment or two he had done.  “But I,” he soon added, “who have had no such charm thrown over my senses, must still see, hear, and remember.  Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family.  At ten years old, she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen.  She was always quick and assured:  Isabella slow and diffident.  And ever since she was twelve, Emma has been mistress of the house and of you all.  In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her.  She inherits her mother’s talents, and must have been under subjection to her.”

“I should have been sorry, Mr. Knightley, to be dependent on your recommendation, had I quitted Mr. Woodhouse’s family and wanted another situation; I do not think you would have spoken a good word for me to any body.  I am sure you always thought me unfit for the office I held.”

“Yes,” said he, smiling.  “You are better placed here; very fit for a wife, but not at all for a governess.  But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife all the time you were at Hartfield.  You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise; but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of submitting your own will, and doing as you were bid; and if Weston had asked me to recommend him a wife, I should certainly have named Miss Taylor.”

“Thank you.  There will be very little merit in making a good wife to such a man as Mr. Weston.”

“Why, to own the truth, I am afraid you are rather thrown away, and that with every disposition to bear, there will be nothing to be borne.  We will not despair, however.  Weston may grow cross from the wantonness of comfort, or his son may plague him.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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