Emma Chapter 13
The visit was pleasant, a treat for Isabella, with her time spent mostly at Hartfield. Mr. Weston did insist on a dinner at Randalls, and despite the cold winter weather, the group agreed to go. Even the nervous Mr. Woodhouse seemed excited. All the family were invited, including Harriet Smith. Unfortunately, Harriet caught a bad cold the day before the dinner. Despite a visit from Mr. Perry, and a long visit from Emma, she was not well enough to attend. Emma ran into Mr. Elton, who was on his way to visit the patient, and she felt strongly that this was another sign of his love. But Mr. Elton seemed more concerned that Miss Woodhouse should not catch Harriet's illness, than with the symptoms of Harriet Smith. Emma, confused, subtly suggests that it would be perfectly acceptable for Mr. Elton to miss the dinner as well, but he has no intention of doing so. He happily climbs into John Knightley's carriage with Miss Woodhouse, and Emma is left to make up excuses for why the young lover does not want to stay with his ill beloved. Upon parting he speaks with warm concern about Harriet, further comforting Emma. Mr. Knightley takes this private moment to suggest that Mr. Elton is interested in Emma. He believes he sees evidence of affection, and that Emma is too friendly with the preacher. Emma denies the idea,
"amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of circumstances, of the mistakes which people of high pretensions to judgment are for ever falling into...." Chapter 13, pg. 104
Though the weather was growing increasingly colder, nearly all the group was still determined to attend Mr. Weston. Mr. John Knightley, who hated to be far from the comfort of home, was very irritable. He criticized Mr. Weston and made pessimistic comments about the journey. Though thoroughly annoyed, Emma kept quiet. She was more annoyed when they picked up a very happy Mr. Elton, who despite a report of an even sicker Miss Smith, decided to come to the party. Emma watched her contented companion with confusion. Mr. Elton chattered on about the pleasures of a dinner party, and Mr. Knightley complained that he wanted to be home.