Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about Emma.
mother, and the Coles knew of it as well as ourselves—­but it was quite a secret, known to nobody else, and only thought of about three days.  Mrs. Perry was very anxious that he should have a carriage, and came to my mother in great spirits one morning because she thought she had prevailed.  Jane, don’t you remember grandmama’s telling us of it when we got home?  I forget where we had been walking to—­ very likely to Randalls; yes, I think it was to Randalls.  Mrs. Perry was always particularly fond of my mother—­indeed I do not know who is not—­and she had mentioned it to her in confidence; she had no objection to her telling us, of course, but it was not to go beyond:  and, from that day to this, I never mentioned it to a soul that I know of.  At the same time, I will not positively answer for my having never dropt a hint, because I know I do sometimes pop out a thing before I am aware.  I am a talker, you know; I am rather a talker; and now and then I have let a thing escape me which I should not.  I am not like Jane; I wish I were.  I will answer for it she never betrayed the least thing in the world.  Where is she?—­Oh! just behind.  Perfectly remember Mrs. Perry’s coming.—­ Extraordinary dream, indeed!”

They were entering the hall.  Mr. Knightley’s eyes had preceded Miss Bates’s in a glance at Jane.  From Frank Churchill’s face, where he thought he saw confusion suppressed or laughed away, he had involuntarily turned to hers; but she was indeed behind, and too busy with her shawl.  Mr. Weston had walked in.  The two other gentlemen waited at the door to let her pass.  Mr. Knightley suspected in Frank Churchill the determination of catching her eye—­ he seemed watching her intently—­in vain, however, if it were so—­ Jane passed between them into the hall, and looked at neither.

There was no time for farther remark or explanation.  The dream must be borne with, and Mr. Knightley must take his seat with the rest round the large modern circular table which Emma had introduced at Hartfield, and which none but Emma could have had power to place there and persuade her father to use, instead of the small-sized Pembroke, on which two of his daily meals had, for forty years been crowded.  Tea passed pleasantly, and nobody seemed in a hurry to move.

“Miss Woodhouse,” said Frank Churchill, after examining a table behind him, which he could reach as he sat, “have your nephews taken away their alphabets—­their box of letters?  It used to stand here.  Where is it?  This is a sort of dull-looking evening, that ought to be treated rather as winter than summer.  We had great amusement with those letters one morning.  I want to puzzle you again.”

Emma was pleased with the thought; and producing the box, the table was quickly scattered over with alphabets, which no one seemed so much disposed to employ as their two selves.  They were rapidly forming words for each other, or for any body else who would be puzzled.  The quietness of the game made it particularly eligible for Mr. Woodhouse, who had often been distressed by the more animated sort, which Mr. Weston had occasionally introduced, and who now sat happily occupied in lamenting, with tender melancholy, over the departure of the “poor little boys,” or in fondly pointing out, as he took up any stray letter near him, how beautifully Emma had written it.

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.