Emma HTML version

Chapter 6
The next morning brought Mr. Frank Churchill again. He came with Mrs. Weston,
to whom and to Highbury he seemed to take very cordially. He had been sitting
with her, it appeared, most companionably at home, till her usual hour of
exercise; and on being desired to choose their walk, immediately fixed on
Highbury.--"He did not doubt there being very pleasant walks in every direction,
but if left to him, he should always choose the same. Highbury, that airy, cheerful,
happy-looking Highbury, would be his constant attraction."-- Highbury, with Mrs.
Weston, stood for Hartfield; and she trusted to its bearing the same construction
with him. They walked thither directly.
Emma had hardly expected them: for Mr. Weston, who had called in for half a
minute, in order to hear that his son was very handsome, knew nothing of their
plans; and it was an agreeable surprise to her, therefore, to perceive them
walking up to the house together, arm in arm. She was wanting to see him again,
and especially to see him in company with Mrs. Weston, upon his behaviour to
whom her opinion of him was to depend. If he were deficient there, nothing
should make amends for it. But on seeing them together, she became perfectly
satisfied. It was not merely in fine words or hyperbolical compliment that he paid
his duty; nothing could be more proper or pleasing than his whole manner to her-
-nothing could more agreeably denote his wish of considering her as a friend and
securing her affection. And there was time enough for Emma to form a
reasonable judgment, as their visit included all the rest of the morning. They were
all three walking about together for an hour or two-- first round the shrubberies of
Hartfield, and afterwards in Highbury. He was delighted with every thing; admired
Hartfield sufficiently for Mr. Woodhouse's ear; and when their going farther was
resolved on, confessed his wish to be made acquainted with the whole village,
and found matter of commendation and interest much oftener than Emma could
have supposed.
Some of the objects of his curiosity spoke very amiable feelings. He begged to
be shown the house which his father had lived in so long, and which had been
the home of his father's father; and on recollecting that an old woman who had
nursed him was still living, walked in quest of her cottage from one end of the
street to the other; and though in some points of pursuit or observation there was
no positive merit, they showed, altogether, a good-will towards Highbury in
general, which must be very like a merit to those he was with.
Emma watched and decided, that with such feelings as were now shown, it could
not be fairly supposed that he had been ever voluntarily absenting himself; that
he had not been acting a part, or making a parade of insincere professions; and
that Mr. Knightley certainly had not done him justice.
Their first pause was at the Crown Inn, an inconsiderable house, though the
principal one of the sort, where a couple of pair of post-horses were kept, more
for the convenience of the neighbourhood than from any run on the road; and his
companions had not expected to be detained by any interest excited there; but in
passing it they gave the history of the large room visibly added; it had been built