`Mr. Knightley I declare! - I must speak to him if possible, just to thank him. I will not open the window here; it would give you all cold; but I can go into my mother's room you know. I dare say he will come in when he knows who is here. Quite delightful to have you all meet so! - Our little room so honoured!'
She was in the adjoining chamber while she still spoke, and opening the casement there, immediately called Mr. Knightley's attention, and every syllable of their conversation was as distinctly heard by the others, as if it had passed within the same apartment.
`How d' ye do? - how d'ye do? - Very well, I thank you. So obliged to you for the carriage last night. We were just in time; my mother just ready for us. Pray come in; do come in. You will find some friends here.'
So began Miss Bates; and Mr. Knightley seemed determined to be heard in his turn, for most resolutely and commandingly did he say,
`How is your niece, Miss Bates? - I want to inquire after you all, but particularly your niece. How is Miss Fairfax? - I hope she caught no cold last night. How is she to-day? Tell me how Miss Fairfax is.'
And Miss Bates was obliged to give a direct answer before he would hear her in any thing else. The listeners were amused; and Mrs. Weston gave Emma a look of particular meaning. But Emma still shook her head in steady scepticism.
`So obliged to you! - so very much obliged to you for the carriage,' resumed Miss Bates.
He cut her short with,
`I am going to Kingston. Can I do anything for you?'
`Oh! dear, Kingston - are you? - Mrs. Cole was saying the other day she wanted something from Kingston.'
`Mrs. Cole has servants to send. Can I do any thing for you?'
`No, I thank you. But do come in. Who do you think is here? - Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith; so kind as to call to hear the new pianoforte. Do put up your horse at the Crown, and come in.'
`Well,' said he, in a deliberating manner, `for five minutes, perhaps.'
`And here is Mrs. Weston and Mr. Frank Churchill too! - Quite delightful; so many friends!'
`No, not now, I thank you. I could not stay two minutes. I must get on to Kingston as fast as I can.'
`Oh! do come in. They will be so very happy to see you.'
`No, no; your room is full enough. I will call another day, and hear the pianoforte.'
`Well, I am so sorry! - Oh! Mr. Knightley, what a delightful party last night; how extremely pleasant. - Did you ever see such dancing? - Was not it delightful? - Miss Woodhouse and Mr. Frank Churchill; I never saw any thing equal to it.'
`Oh! very delightful indeed; I can say nothing less, for I suppose Miss Woodhouse and Mr. Frank Churchill are hearing every thing that passes. And (raising his voice still more) I do not see why Miss Fairfax should not be mentioned too. I think Miss Fairfax dances very well; and Mrs. Weston is the very best country-dance player, without exception, in England. Now, if your friends have any gratitude, they will say something pretty loud about you and me in return; but I cannot stay to hear it.'
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