Emma eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 596 pages of information about Emma.
Emma smiled, and felt that Mr. Weston had very good reason for saying so.  They had gone, in short—­and very great had been the evident distress and confusion of the lady.  She had hardly been able to speak a word, and every look and action had shewn how deeply she was suffering from consciousness.  The quiet, heart-felt satisfaction of the old lady, and the rapturous delight of her daughter—­who proved even too joyous to talk as usual, had been a gratifying, yet almost an affecting, scene.  They were both so truly respectable in their happiness, so disinterested in every sensation; thought so much of Jane; so much of every body, and so little of themselves, that every kindly feeling was at work for them.  Miss Fairfax’s recent illness had offered a fair plea for Mrs. Weston to invite her to an airing; she had drawn back and declined at first, but, on being pressed had yielded; and, in the course of their drive, Mrs. Weston had, by gentle encouragement, overcome so much of her embarrassment, as to bring her to converse on the important subject.  Apologies for her seemingly ungracious silence in their first reception, and the warmest expressions of the gratitude she was always feeling towards herself and Mr. Weston, must necessarily open the cause; but when these effusions were put by, they had talked a good deal of the present and of the future state of the engagement.  Mrs. Weston was convinced that such conversation must be the greatest relief to her companion, pent up within her own mind as every thing had so long been, and was very much pleased with all that she had said on the subject.

“On the misery of what she had suffered, during the concealment of so many months,” continued Mrs. Weston, “she was energetic.  This was one of her expressions. `I will not say, that since I entered into the engagement I have not had some happy moments; but I can say, that I have never known the blessing of one tranquil hour:’—­ and the quivering lip, Emma, which uttered it, was an attestation that I felt at my heart.”

“Poor girl!” said Emma.  “She thinks herself wrong, then, for having consented to a private engagement?”

“Wrong!  No one, I believe, can blame her more than she is disposed to blame herself. `The consequence,’ said she, `has been a state of perpetual suffering to me; and so it ought.  But after all the punishment that misconduct can bring, it is still not less misconduct.  Pain is no expiation.  I never can be blameless.  I have been acting contrary to all my sense of right; and the fortunate turn that every thing has taken, and the kindness I am now receiving, is what my conscience tells me ought not to be.’ `Do not imagine, madam,’ she continued, `that I was taught wrong.  Do not let any reflection fall on the principles or the care of the friends who brought me up.  The error has been all my own; and I do assure you that, with all the excuse that present circumstances may appear to give, I shall yet dread making the story known to Colonel Campbell.’”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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