Emma HTML version

Chapter 3
Emma could not forgive her;--but as neither provocation nor resentment were
discerned by Mr. Knightley, who had been of the party, and had seen only proper
attention and pleasing behaviour on each side, he was expressing the next
morning, being at Hartfield again on business with Mr. Woodhouse, his
approbation of the whole; not so openly as he might have done had her father
been out of the room, but speaking plain enough to be very intelligible to Emma.
He had been used to think her unjust to Jane, and had now great pleasure in
marking an improvement.
"A very pleasant evening," he began, as soon as Mr. Woodhouse had been
talked into what was necessary, told that he understood, and the papers swept
away;--"particularly pleasant. You and Miss Fairfax gave us some very good
music. I do not know a more luxurious state, sir, than sitting at one's ease to be
entertained a whole evening by two such young women; sometimes with music
and sometimes with conversation. I am sure Miss Fairfax must have found the
evening pleasant, Emma. You left nothing undone. I was glad you made her play
so much, for having no instrument at her grandmother's, it must have been a real
"I am happy you approved," said Emma, smiling; "but I hope I am not often
deficient in what is due to guests at Hartfield."
"No, my dear," said her father instantly; "that I am sure you are not. There is
nobody half so attentive and civil as you are. If any thing, you are too attentive.
The muffin last night--if it had been handed round once, I think it would have
been enough."
"No," said Mr. Knightley, nearly at the same time; "you are not often deficient; not
often deficient either in manner or comprehension. I think you understand me,
An arch look expressed--"I understand you well enough;" but she said only, "Miss
Fairfax is reserved."
"I always told you she was--a little; but you will soon overcome all that part of her
reserve which ought to be overcome, all that has its foundation in diffidence.
What arises from discretion must be honoured."
"You think her diffident. I do not see it."
"My dear Emma," said he, moving from his chair into one close by her, "you are
not going to tell me, I hope, that you had not a pleasant evening."
"Oh! no; I was pleased with my own perseverance in asking questions; and
amused to think how little information I obtained."
"I am disappointed," was his only answer.
"I hope every body had a pleasant evening," said Mr. Woodhouse, in his quiet
way. "I had. Once, I felt the fire rather too much; but then I moved back my chair
a little, a very little, and it did not disturb me. Miss Bates was very chatty and
good-humoured, as she always is, though she speaks rather too quick. However,
she is very agreeable, and Mrs. Bates too, in a different way. I like old friends;
and Miss Jane Fairfax is a very pretty sort of young lady, a very pretty and a very