Emma eBook

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

“He appears rough to you,” said Emma, “because you are so very gentle yourself; but if you could compare him with other papas, you would not think him rough.  He wishes his boys to be active and hardy; and if they misbehave, can give them a sharp word now and then; but he is an affectionate father—­certainly Mr. John Knightley is an affectionate father.  The children are all fond of him.”

“And then their uncle comes in, and tosses them up to the ceiling in a very frightful way!”

“But they like it, papa; there is nothing they like so much.  It is such enjoyment to them, that if their uncle did not lay down the rule of their taking turns, whichever began would never give way to the other.”

“Well, I cannot understand it.”

“That is the case with us all, papa.  One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

Later in the morning, and just as the girls were going to separate in preparation for the regular four o’clock dinner, the hero of this inimitable charade walked in again.  Harriet turned away; but Emma could receive him with the usual smile, and her quick eye soon discerned in his the consciousness of having made a push—­of having thrown a die; and she imagined he was come to see how it might turn up.  His ostensible reason, however, was to ask whether Mr. Woodhouse’s party could be made up in the evening without him, or whether he should be in the smallest degree necessary at Hartfield.  If he were, every thing else must give way; but otherwise his friend Cole had been saying so much about his dining with him—­had made such a point of it, that he had promised him conditionally to come.

Emma thanked him, but could not allow of his disappointing his friend on their account; her father was sure of his rubber.  He re-urged—­she re-declined; and he seemed then about to make his bow, when taking the paper from the table, she returned it—­

“Oh! here is the charade you were so obliging as to leave with us; thank you for the sight of it.  We admired it so much, that I have ventured to write it into Miss Smith’s collection.  Your friend will not take it amiss I hope.  Of course I have not transcribed beyond the first eight lines.”

Mr. Elton certainly did not very well know what to say.  He looked rather doubtingly—­rather confused; said something about “honour,”—­glanced at Emma and at Harriet, and then seeing the book open on the table, took it up, and examined it very attentively.  With the view of passing off an awkward moment, Emma smilingly said,

“You must make my apologies to your friend; but so good a charade must not be confined to one or two.  He may be sure of every woman’s approbation while he writes with such gallantry.”

“I have no hesitation in saying,” replied Mr. Elton, though hesitating a good deal while he spoke; “I have no hesitation in saying—­at least if my friend feels at all as I do—­I have not the smallest doubt that, could he see his little effusion honoured as I see it, (looking at the book again, and replacing it on the table), he would consider it as the proudest moment of his life.”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.