Emma HTML version

Chapter 9
Emma did not repent her condescension in going to the Coles. The visit afforded
her many pleasant recollections the next day; and all that she might be supposed
to have lost on the side of dignified seclusion, must be amply repaid in the
splendour of popularity. She must have delighted the Coles--worthy people, who
deserved to be made happy!--And left a name behind her that would not soon die
Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common; and there were two points
on which she was not quite easy. She doubted whether she had not
transgressed the duty of woman by woman, in betraying her suspicions of Jane
Fairfax's feelings to Frank Churchill. It was hardly right; but it had been so strong
an idea, that it would escape her, and his submission to all that she told, was a
compliment to her penetration, which made it difficult for her to be quite certain
that she ought to have held her tongue.
The other circumstance of regret related also to Jane Fairfax; and there she had
no doubt. She did unfeignedly and unequivocally regret the inferiority of her own
playing and singing. She did most heartily grieve over the idleness of her
childhood--and sat down and practised vigorously an hour and a half.
She was then interrupted by Harriet's coming in; and if Harriet's praise could
have satisfied her, she might soon have been comforted.
"Oh! if I could but play as well as you and Miss Fairfax!"
"Don't class us together, Harriet. My playing is no more like her's, than a lamp is
like sunshine."
"Oh! dear--I think you play the best of the two. I think you play quite as well as
she does. I am sure I had much rather hear you. Every body last night said how
well you played."
"Those who knew any thing about it, must have felt the difference. The truth is,
Harriet, that my playing is just good enough to be praised, but Jane Fairfax's is
much beyond it."
"Well, I always shall think that you play quite as well as she does, or that if there
is any difference nobody would ever find it out. Mr. Cole said how much taste you
had; and Mr. Frank Churchill talked a great deal about your taste, and that he
valued taste much more than execution."
"Ah! but Jane Fairfax has them both, Harriet."
"Are you sure? I saw she had execution, but I did not know she had any taste.
Nobody talked about it. And I hate Italian singing.-- There is no understanding a
word of it. Besides, if she does play so very well, you know, it is no more than
she is obliged to do, because she will have to teach. The Coxes were wondering
last night whether she would get into any great family. How did you think the
Coxes looked?"
"Just as they always do--very vulgar."
"They told me something," said Harriet rather hesitatingly;" but it is nothing of any