Emma eBook

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

“How much I am obliged to you,” said he, “for telling me to come to-day!—­ If it had not been for you, I should certainly have lost all the happiness of this party.  I had quite determined to go away again.”

“Yes, you were very cross; and I do not know what about, except that you were too late for the best strawberries.  I was a kinder friend than you deserved.  But you were humble.  You begged hard to be commanded to come.”

“Don’t say I was cross.  I was fatigued.  The heat overcame me.”

“It is hotter to-day.”

“Not to my feelings.  I am perfectly comfortable to-day.”

“You are comfortable because you are under command.”

“Your command?—­Yes.”

“Perhaps I intended you to say so, but I meant self-command.  You had, somehow or other, broken bounds yesterday, and run away from your own management; but to-day you are got back again—­and as I cannot be always with you, it is best to believe your temper under your own command rather than mine.”

“It comes to the same thing.  I can have no self-command without a motive.  You order me, whether you speak or not.  And you can be always with me.  You are always with me.”

“Dating from three o’clock yesterday.  My perpetual influence could not begin earlier, or you would not have been so much out of humour before.”

“Three o’clock yesterday!  That is your date.  I thought I had seen you first in February.”

“Your gallantry is really unanswerable.  But (lowering her voice)—­ nobody speaks except ourselves, and it is rather too much to be talking nonsense for the entertainment of seven silent people.”

“I say nothing of which I am ashamed,” replied he, with lively impudence.  “I saw you first in February.  Let every body on the Hill hear me if they can.  Let my accents swell to Mickleham on one side, and Dorking on the other.  I saw you first in February.”  And then whispering—­ “Our companions are excessively stupid.  What shall we do to rouse them?  Any nonsense will serve.  They shall talk.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am ordered by Miss Woodhouse (who, wherever she is, presides) to say, that she desires to know what you are all thinking of?”

Some laughed, and answered good-humouredly.  Miss Bates said a great deal; Mrs. Elton swelled at the idea of Miss Woodhouse’s presiding; Mr. Knightley’s answer was the most distinct.

“Is Miss Woodhouse sure that she would like to hear what we are all thinking of?”

“Oh! no, no”—­cried Emma, laughing as carelessly as she could—­ “Upon no account in the world.  It is the very last thing I would stand the brunt of just now.  Let me hear any thing rather than what you are all thinking of.  I will not say quite all.  There are one or two, perhaps, (glancing at Mr. Weston and Harriet,) whose thoughts I might not be afraid of knowing.”

“It is a sort of thing,” cried Mrs. Elton emphatically, “which I should not have thought myself privileged to inquire into.  Though, perhaps, as the Chaperon of the party—­ I never was in any circle—­exploring parties—­young ladies—­married women—­”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.