Soon after this Miss Bates came in, and Emma could not help being diverted by the perplexity of her first answer to herself, resulting, she supposed, from doubt of what might be said, and impatience to say every thing.

`Thank you, dear Miss Woodhouse, you are all kindness. - It is impossible to say - Yes, indeed, I quite understand - dearest Jane's prospects - that is, I do not mean. - But she is charmingly recovered. - How is Mr. Woodhouse? - I am so glad. - Quite out of my power. - Such a happy little circle as you find us here. - Yes, indeed. - Charming young man! - that is - so very friendly; I mean good Mr. Perry! - such attention to Jane!' - And from her great, her more than commonly thankful delight towards Mrs. Elton for being there, Emma guessed that there had been a little show of resentment towards Jane, from the vicarage quarter, which was now graciously overcome. - After a few whispers, indeed, which placed it beyond a guess, Mrs. Elton, speaking louder, said,

`Yes, here I am, my good friend; and here I have been so long, that anywhere else I should think it necessary to apologise; but, the truth is, that I am waiting for my lord and master. He promised to join me here, and pay his respects to you.'

`What! are we to have the pleasure of a call from Mr. Elton? - That will be a favour indeed! for I know gentlemen do not like morning visits, and Mr. Elton's time is so engaged.'

`Upon my word it is, Miss Bates. - He really is engaged from morning to night. - There is no end of people's coming to him, on some pretence or other. - The magistrates, and overseers, and churchwardens, are always wanting his opinion. They seem not able to do any thing without him. - ``Upon my word, Mr. E.,'' I often say, ``rather you than I. - I do not know what would become of my crayons and my instrument, if I had half so many applicants.'' - Bad enough as it is, for I absolutely neglect them both to an unpardonable degree. - I believe I have not played a bar this fortnight. - However, he is coming, I assure you: yes, indeed, on purpose to wait on you all.' And putting up her hand to screen her words from Emma - `A congratulatory visit, you know. - Oh! yes, quite indispensable.'

Miss Bates looked about her, so happily! -

`He promised to come to me as soon as he could disengage himself from Knightley; but he and Knightley are shut up together in deep consultation. - Mr. E. is Knightley's right hand.'

Emma would not have smiled for the world, and only said, `Is Mr. Elton gone on foot to Donwell? - He will have a hot walk.'

`Oh! no, it is a meeting at the Crown, a regular meeting. Weston and Cole will be there too; but one is apt to speak only of those who lead. - I fancy Mr. E. and Knightley have every thing their own way.'

`Have not you mistaken the day?' said Emma. `I am almost certain that the meeting at the Crown is not till to-morrow. - Mr. Knightley was at Hartfield yesterday, and spoke of it as for Saturday.'

`Oh! no, the meeting is certainly to-day,' was the abrupt answer, which denoted the impossibility of any blunder on Mrs. Elton's side. - `I do believe,' she continued, `this is the most troublesome parish that ever was. We never heard of such things at Maple Grove.'

`Your parish there was small,' said Jane.

`Upon my word, my dear, I do not know, for I never heard the subject talked of.'

`But it is proved by the smallness of the school, which I have heard you speak of, as under the patronage of your sister and Mrs. Bragge; the only school, and not more than five-and-twenty children.'

`Ah! you clever creature, that's very true. What a thinking brain you have! I say, Jane, what a perfect character you and I should make, if we could be shaken together. My liveliness and your solidity would

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