Emma HTML version

Chapter 8
Frank Churchill came back again; and if he kept his father's dinner waiting, it was
not known at Hartfield; for Mrs. Weston was too anxious for his being a favourite
with Mr. Woodhouse, to betray any imperfection which could be concealed.
He came back, had had his hair cut, and laughed at himself with a very good
grace, but without seeming really at all ashamed of what he had done. He had no
reason to wish his hair longer, to conceal any confusion of face; no reason to
wish the money unspent, to improve his spirits. He was quite as undaunted and
as lively as ever; and, after seeing him, Emma thus moralised to herself:--
"I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things do cease to be
silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Wickedness is
always wickedness, but folly is not always folly.--It depends upon the character of
those who handle it. Mr. Knightley, he is not a trifling, silly young man. If he were,
he would have done this differently. He would either have gloried in the
achievement, or been ashamed of it. There would have been either the
ostentation of a coxcomb, or the evasions of a mind too weak to defend its own
vanities.--No, I am perfectly sure that he is not trifling or silly."
With Tuesday came the agreeable prospect of seeing him again, and for a longer
time than hitherto; of judging of his general manners, and by inference, of the
meaning of his manners towards herself; of guessing how soon it might be
necessary for her to throw coldness into her air; and of fancying what the
observations of all those might be, who were now seeing them together for the
first time.
She meant to be very happy, in spite of the scene being laid at Mr. Cole's; and
without being able to forget that among the failings of Mr. Elton, even in the days
of his favour, none had disturbed her more than his propensity to dine with Mr.
Her father's comfort was amply secured, Mrs. Bates as well as Mrs. Goddard
being able to come; and her last pleasing duty, before she left the house, was to
pay her respects to them as they sat together after dinner; and while her father
was fondly noticing the beauty of her dress, to make the two ladies all the
amends in her power, by helping them to large slices of cake and full glasses of
wine, for whatever unwilling self-denial his care of their constitution might have
obliged them to practise during the meal.--She had provided a plentiful dinner for
them; she wished she could know that they had been allowed to eat it.
She followed another carriage to Mr. Cole's door; and was pleased to see that it
was Mr. Knightley's; for Mr. Knightley keeping no horses, having little spare
money and a great deal of health, activity, and independence, was too apt, in
Emma's opinion, to get about as he could, and not use his carriage so often as
became the owner of Donwell Abbey. She had an opportunity now of speaking
her approbation while warm from her heart, for he stopped to hand her out.
"This is coming as you should do," said she; "like a gentleman.-- I am quite glad
to see you."