Emma - Volume 3 (Chapter 9, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 9

Emma's pensive meditations, as she walked home, were not interrupted; but on entering the parlour, she found those who must rouse her. Mr. Knightley and Harriet had arrived during her absence, and were sitting with her father.--Mr. Knightley immediately got up, and in a manner decidedly graver than usual, said, "I would not go away without seeing you, but I have no time to spare, and therefore must now be gone directly. I am going to London, to spend a few days with John and Isabella. Have you any thing to send or say, besides the 'love,' which nobody carries?"

"Nothing at all. But is not this a sudden scheme?"

"Yes--rather--I have been thinking of it some little time."

Emma was sure he had not forgiven her; he looked unlike himself. Time, however, she thought, would tell him that they ought to be friends again. While he stood, as if meaning to go, but not going--her father began his inquiries.

"Well, my dear, and did you get there safely?--And how did you find my worthy old friend and her daughter?--I dare say they must have been very much obliged to you for coming. Dear Emma has been to call on Mrs. and Miss Bates, Mr. Knightley, as I told you before. She is always so attentive to them!"

Emma's colour was heightened by this unjust praise; and with a smile, and shake of the head, which spoke much, she looked at Mr. Knightley.-It seemed as if there were an instantaneous impression in her favour, as if his eyes received the truth from her's, and all that had passed of good in her feelings were at once caught and honoured.-- He looked at her with a glow of regard. She was warmly gratified--and in another moment still more so, by a little movement of more than common friendliness on his part.--He took her hand;--whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say--she might, perhaps, have rather offered it--but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips--when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go.--Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive.--He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped.--The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more.-- It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature.-- She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity.--He left them immediately afterwards--gone in a moment. He always moved with the alertness of a mind which could neither be undecided nor dilatory, but now he seemed more sudden than usual in his disappearance.

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