Emma eBook

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

“Poor child!” cried Emma; “at that rate, what will become of her?”

“Nothing very bad.—­The fate of thousands.  She will be disagreeable in infancy, and correct herself as she grows older.  I am losing all my bitterness against spoilt children, my dearest Emma.  I, who am owing all my happiness to you, would not it be horrible ingratitude in me to be severe on them?”

Emma laughed, and replied:  “But I had the assistance of all your endeavours to counteract the indulgence of other people.  I doubt whether my own sense would have corrected me without it.”

“Do you?—­I have no doubt.  Nature gave you understanding:—­ Miss Taylor gave you principles.  You must have done well.  My interference was quite as likely to do harm as good.  It was very natural for you to say, what right has he to lecture me?—­ and I am afraid very natural for you to feel that it was done in a disagreeable manner.  I do not believe I did you any good.  The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me.  I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least.”

“I am sure you were of use to me,” cried Emma.  “I was very often influenced rightly by you—­oftener than I would own at the time.  I am very sure you did me good.  And if poor little Anna Weston is to be spoiled, it will be the greatest humanity in you to do as much for her as you have done for me, except falling in love with her when she is thirteen.”

“How often, when you were a girl, have you said to me, with one of your saucy looks—­`Mr. Knightley, I am going to do so-and-so; papa says I may, or I have Miss Taylor’s leave’—­something which, you knew, I did not approve.  In such cases my interference was giving you two bad feelings instead of one.”

“What an amiable creature I was!—­No wonder you should hold my speeches in such affectionate remembrance.”

“`Mr. Knightley.’—­You always called me, `Mr. Knightley;’ and, from habit, it has not so very formal a sound.—­And yet it is formal.  I want you to call me something else, but I do not know what.”

“I remember once calling you `George,’ in one of my amiable fits, about ten years ago.  I did it because I thought it would offend you; but, as you made no objection, I never did it again.”

“And cannot you call me `George’ now?”

“Impossible!—­I never can call you any thing but `Mr. Knightley.’  I will not promise even to equal the elegant terseness of Mrs. Elton, by calling you Mr. K.—­But I will promise,” she added presently, laughing and blushing—­“I will promise to call you once by your Christian name.  I do not say when, but perhaps you may guess where;—­in the building in which N. takes M. for better, for worse.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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