Jane is not in a draught. Where I sit is of no consequence. Oh! do you recommend this side? - Well, I am sure, Mr. Churchill - only it seems too good - but just as you please. What you direct in this house cannot be wrong. Dear Jane, how shall we ever recollect half the dishes for grandmama? Soup too! Bless me! I should not be helped so soon, but it smells most excellent, and I cannot help beginning.'
Emma had no opportunity of speaking to Mr. Knightley till after supper; but, when they were all in the ballroom again, her eyes invited him irresistibly to come to her and be thanked. He was warm in his reprobation of Mr. Elton's conduct; it had been unpardonable rudeness; and Mrs. Elton's looks also received the due share of censure.
`They aimed at wounding more than Harriet,' said he. `Emma, why is it that they are your enemies?'
He looked with smiling penetration; and, on receiving no answer, added, `She ought not to be angry with you, I suspect, whatever he may be. - To that surmise, you say nothing, of course; but confess, Emma, that you did want him to marry Harriet.'
`I did,' replied Emma, `and they cannot forgive me.'
He shook his head; but there was a smile of indulgence with it, and he only said,
`I shall not scold you. I leave you to your own reflections.'
`Can you trust me with such flatterers? - Does my vain spirit ever tell me I am wrong?'
`Not your vain spirit, but your serious spirit. - If one leads you wrong, I am sure the other tells you of it.'
`I do own myself to have been completely mistaken in Mr. Elton. There is a littleness about him which you discovered, and which I did not: and I was fully convinced of his being in love with Harriet. It was through a series of strange blunders!'
`And, in return for your acknowledging so much, I will do you the justice to say, that you would have chosen for him better than he has chosen for himself. - Harriet Smith has some first-rate qualities, which Mrs. Elton is totally without. An unpretending, single-minded, artless girl - infinitely to be preferred by any man of sense and taste to such a woman as Mrs. Elton. I found Harriet more conversable than I expected.'
Emma was extremely gratified. - They were interrupted by the bustle of Mr. Weston calling on every body to begin dancing again.
`Come Miss Woodhouse, Miss Otway, Miss Fairfax, what are you all doing? - Come Emma, set your companions the example. Every body is lazy! Every body is asleep!'
`I am ready,' said Emma, `whenever I am wanted.'
`Whom are you going to dance with?' asked Mr. Knightley.
She hesitated a moment, and then replied, `With you, if you will ask me.'
`Will you?' said he, offering his hand.
`Indeed I will. You have shewn that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.'
`Brother and sister! no, indeed.'
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