Emma eBook

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

“I am not supposing him at all an unnatural creature, in suspecting that he may have learnt to be above his connexions, and to care very little for any thing but his own pleasure, from living with those who have always set him the example of it.  It is a great deal more natural than one could wish, that a young man, brought up by those who are proud, luxurious, and selfish, should be proud, luxurious, and selfish too.  If Frank Churchill had wanted to see his father, he would have contrived it between September and January.  A man at his age—­what is he?—­three or four-and-twenty—­cannot be without the means of doing as much as that.  It is impossible.”

“That’s easily said, and easily felt by you, who have always been your own master.  You are the worst judge in the world, Mr. Knightley, of the difficulties of dependence.  You do not know what it is to have tempers to manage.”

“It is not to be conceived that a man of three or four-and-twenty should not have liberty of mind or limb to that amount.  He cannot want money—­he cannot want leisure.  We know, on the contrary, that he has so much of both, that he is glad to get rid of them at the idlest haunts in the kingdom.  We hear of him for ever at some watering-place or other.  A little while ago, he was at Weymouth.  This proves that he can leave the Churchills.”

“Yes, sometimes he can.”

“And those times are whenever he thinks it worth his while; whenever there is any temptation of pleasure.”

“It is very unfair to judge of any body’s conduct, without an intimate knowledge of their situation.  Nobody, who has not been in the interior of a family, can say what the difficulties of any individual of that family may be.  We ought to be acquainted with Enscombe, and with Mrs. Churchill’s temper, before we pretend to decide upon what her nephew can do.  He may, at times, be able to do a great deal more than he can at others.”

“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chuses, and that is, his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.  It is Frank Churchill’s duty to pay this attention to his father.  He knows it to be so, by his promises and messages; but if he wished to do it, it might be done.  A man who felt rightly would say at once, simply and resolutely, to Mrs. Churchill—­ `Every sacrifice of mere pleasure you will always find me ready to make to your convenience; but I must go and see my father immediately.  I know he would be hurt by my failing in such a mark of respect to him on the present occasion.  I shall, therefore, set off to-morrow.’—­ If he would say so to her at once, in the tone of decision becoming a man, there would be no opposition made to his going.”

“No,” said Emma, laughing; “but perhaps there might be some made to his coming back again.  Such language for a young man entirely dependent, to use!—­Nobody but you, Mr. Knightley, would imagine it possible.  But you have not an idea of what is requisite in situations directly opposite to your own.  Mr. Frank Churchill to be making such a speech as that to the uncle and aunt, who have brought him up, and are to provide for him!—­Standing up in the middle of the room, I suppose, and speaking as loud as he could!—­How can you imagine such conduct practicable?”

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Emma from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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