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Chapter 12
Mr. Knightley was to dine with them--rather against the inclination of Mr.
Woodhouse, who did not like that any one should share with him in Isabella's first
day. Emma's sense of right however had decided it; and besides the
consideration of what was due to each brother, she had particular pleasure, from
the circumstance of the late disagreement between Mr. Knightley and herself, in
procuring him the proper invitation.
She hoped they might now become friends again. She thought it was time to
make up. Making-up indeed would not do. She certainly had not been in the
wrong, and he would never own that he had. Concession must be out of the
question; but it was time to appear to forget that they had ever quarrelled; and
she hoped it might rather assist the restoration of friendship, that when he came
into the room she had one of the children with her--the youngest, a nice little girl
about eight months old, who was now making her first visit to Hartfield, and very
happy to be danced about in her aunt's arms. It did assist; for though he began
with grave looks and short questions, he was soon led on to talk of them all in the
usual way, and to take the child out of her arms with all the unceremoniousness
of perfect amity. Emma felt they were friends again; and the conviction giving her
at first great satisfaction, and then a little sauciness, she could not help saying,
as he was admiring the baby,
"What a comfort it is, that we think alike about our nephews and nieces. As to
men and women, our opinions are sometimes very different; but with regard to
these children, I observe we never disagree."
"If you were as much guided by nature in your estimate of men and women, and
as little under the power of fancy and whim in your dealings with them, as you
are where these children are concerned, we might always think alike."
"To be sure--our discordancies must always arise from my being in the wrong."
"Yes," said he, smiling--"and reason good. I was sixteen years old when you
were born."
"A material difference then," she replied--"and no doubt you were much my
superior in judgment at that period of our lives; but does not the lapse of one-
and-twenty years bring our understandings a good deal nearer?"
"Yes--a good deal nearer."
"But still, not near enough to give me a chance of being right, if we think
"I have still the advantage of you by sixteen years' experience, and by not being
a pretty young woman and a spoiled child. Come, my dear Emma, let us be
friends, and say no more about it. Tell your aunt, little Emma, that she ought to
set you a better example than to be renewing old grievances, and that if she
were not wrong before, she is now."
"That's true," she cried--"very true. Little Emma, grow up a better woman than
your aunt. Be infinitely cleverer and not half so conceited. Now, Mr. Knightley, a
word or two more, and I have done. As far as good intentions went, we were both