Saturday, October 27, 2012

Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid (Part Four)

Part One / Part Two / Part Three

Mr. Elton must now be left to himself. It was no longer in Emma's power to concern herself with his either his pretension or disappointment. The coming of her sister's family was so very near at hand, that first in anticipation, and then in reality, it became henceforth her prime object of interest. The only manner in which the vicar continued in her mind was her sincere thankfulness that, during the ten days of their stay at Hartfield, it was not to be expected - she did not herself expect - that anything beyond the most casual interaction with him would be afforded. He was not invited to Hartfield to dine, his company being not only unrequired by Mr. Woodhouse, but unwanted, happy as he was in his own family circle. Time and distance would cure Mr. Elton. The Knightleys’ arrival could not be more timely.

Mr. Knightley was to dine with them - rather against the inclination of Mr. Woodhouse, who did not like that anyone 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, 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, was now making her first visit to Hartfield, and she showed herself 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 might sometimes differ, 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."

"I do 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."

Mr. Knightley smiled at this speech, and Emma momentarily wondered if she should not seize the opportunity to make a full confession of her difficulties. She regretted her misplaced levity, when Mr. Elton’s attentions remained so troublesome, but before she could repent John Knightley made his appearance, and "How d'ye do, George?" and "John, how are you?" succeeded in the true English style, burying under a calmness that seemed all but indifference, the real attachment which would have led either of them, if requisite, to do everything for the good of the other.

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Come back tomorrow and read part five!

2 comments:

  1. Oh, but if Emma had just shared her understandings about Elton! Can't wait to see what happens next, Alexa! Thank you for posting this!

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  2. My pleasure, Meredith! Thanks for reading (and commenting!)!

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