Emma eBook

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

Emma understood him; and as soon as she could recover from the flutter of pleasure, excited by such tender consideration, replied,

“You are very kind—­but you are mistaken—­and I must set you right.—­ I am not in want of that sort of compassion.  My blindness to what was going on, led me to act by them in a way that I must always be ashamed of, and I was very foolishly tempted to say and do many things which may well lay me open to unpleasant conjectures, but I have no other reason to regret that I was not in the secret earlier.”

“Emma!” cried he, looking eagerly at her, “are you, indeed?”—­ but checking himself—­“No, no, I understand you—­forgive me—­I am pleased that you can say even so much.—­He is no object of regret, indeed! and it will not be very long, I hope, before that becomes the acknowledgment of more than your reason.—­Fortunate that your affections were not farther entangled!—­I could never, I confess, from your manners, assure myself as to the degree of what you felt—­ I could only be certain that there was a preference—­and a preference which I never believed him to deserve.—­He is a disgrace to the name of man.—­And is he to be rewarded with that sweet young woman?—­ Jane, Jane, you will be a miserable creature.”

“Mr. Knightley,” said Emma, trying to be lively, but really confused—­ “I am in a very extraordinary situation.  I cannot let you continue in your error; and yet, perhaps, since my manners gave such an impression, I have as much reason to be ashamed of confessing that I never have been at all attached to the person we are speaking of, as it might be natural for a woman to feel in confessing exactly the reverse.—­ But I never have.”

He listened in perfect silence.  She wished him to speak, but he would not.  She supposed she must say more before she were entitled to his clemency; but it was a hard case to be obliged still to lower herself in his opinion.  She went on, however.

“I have very little to say for my own conduct.—­I was tempted by his attentions, and allowed myself to appear pleased.—­ An old story, probably—­a common case—­and no more than has happened to hundreds of my sex before; and yet it may not be the more excusable in one who sets up as I do for Understanding.  Many circumstances assisted the temptation.  He was the son of Mr. Weston—­he was continually here—­I always found him very pleasant—­and, in short, for (with a sigh) let me swell out the causes ever so ingeniously, they all centre in this at last—­my vanity was flattered, and I allowed his attentions.  Latterly, however—­for some time, indeed—­ I have had no idea of their meaning any thing.—­I thought them a habit, a trick, nothing that called for seriousness on my side.  He has imposed on me, but he has not injured me.  I have never been attached to him.  And now I can tolerably comprehend his behaviour.  He never wished to attach me.  It was merely a blind to conceal his real situation with another.—­It was his object to blind all about him; and no one, I am sure, could be more effectually blinded than myself—­except that I was not blinded—­that it was my good fortune—­that, in short, I was somehow or other safe from him.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.