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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesEmma - Volume III - Chapter I
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Emma - Volume III - Chapter I Post by :ishboo Category :Long Stories Author :Jane Austen Date :December 2010 Read :2481

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Emma - Volume III - Chapter I

A very little quiet reflection was enough to satisfy Emma as to the
nature of her agitation on hearing this news of Frank Churchill.
She was soon convinced that it was not for herself she was feeling at
all apprehensive or embarrassed; it was for him. Her own attachment
had really subsided into a mere nothing; it was not worth thinking of;--
but if he, who had undoubtedly been always so much the most in love
of the two, were to be returning with the same warmth of sentiment
which he had taken away, it would be very distressing. If a separation
of two months should not have cooled him, there were dangers and evils
before her:--caution for him and for herself would be necessary.
She did not mean to have her own affections entangled again,
and it would be incumbent on her to avoid any encouragement of his.

She wished she might be able to keep him from an absolute declaration.
That would be so very painful a conclusion of their present acquaintance!
and yet, she could not help rather anticipating something decisive.
She felt as if the spring would not pass without bringing a crisis,
an event, a something to alter her present composed and tranquil state.

It was not very long, though rather longer than Mr. Weston had foreseen,
before she had the power of forming some opinion of Frank Churchill's
feelings. The Enscombe family were not in town quite so soon as had
been imagined, but he was at Highbury very soon afterwards. He rode
down for a couple of hours; he could not yet do more; but as he came
from Randalls immediately to Hartfield, she could then exercise all
her quick observation, and speedily determine how he was influenced,
and how she must act. They met with the utmost friendliness.
There could be no doubt of his great pleasure in seeing her.
But she had an almost instant doubt of his caring for her as he
had done, of his feeling the same tenderness in the same degree.
She watched him well. It was a clear thing he was less in love than he
had been. Absence, with the conviction probably of her indifference,
had produced this very natural and very desirable effect.

He was in high spirits; as ready to talk and laugh as ever, and seemed
delighted to speak of his former visit, and recur to old stories:
and he was not without agitation. It was not in his calmness that
she read his comparative difference. He was not calm; his spirits
were evidently fluttered; there was restlessness about him.
Lively as he was, it seemed a liveliness that did not satisfy himself;
but what decided her belief on the subject, was his staying only a
quarter of an hour, and hurrying away to make other calls in Highbury.
"He had seen a group of old acquaintance in the street as he passed--
he had not stopped, he would not stop for more than a word--but he
had the vanity to think they would be disappointed if he did not call,
and much as he wished to stay longer at Hartfield, he must hurry off."
She had no doubt as to his being less in love--but neither his
agitated spirits, nor his hurrying away, seemed like a perfect cure;
and she was rather inclined to think it implied a dread of her
returning power, and a discreet resolution of not trusting himself
with her long.

This was the only visit from Frank Churchill in the course of ten days.
He was often hoping, intending to come--but was always prevented.
His aunt could not bear to have him leave her. Such was his own account
at Randall's. If he were quite sincere, if he really tried to come,
it was to be inferred that Mrs. Churchill's removal to London had
been of no service to the wilful or nervous part of her disorder.
That she was really ill was very certain; he had declared himself
convinced of it, at Randalls. Though much might be fancy, he could
not doubt, when he looked back, that she was in a weaker state
of health than she had been half a year ago. He did not believe it
to proceed from any thing that care and medicine might not remove,
or at least that she might not have many years of existence before her;
but he could not be prevailed on, by all his father's doubts, to say
that her complaints were merely imaginary, or that she was as strong
as ever.

It soon appeared that London was not the place for her. She could
not endure its noise. Her nerves were under continual irritation
and suffering; and by the ten days' end, her nephew's letter to
Randalls communicated a change of plan. They were going to remove
immediately to Richmond. Mrs. Churchill had been recommended
to the medical skill of an eminent person there, and had otherwise
a fancy for the place. A ready-furnished house in a favourite
spot was engaged, and much benefit expected from the change.

Emma heard that Frank wrote in the highest spirits of this arrangement,
and seemed most fully to appreciate the blessing of having two
months before him of such near neighbourhood to many dear friends--
for the house was taken for May and June. She was told that now
he wrote with the greatest confidence of being often with them,
almost as often as he could even wish.

Emma saw how Mr. Weston understood these joyous prospects. He was
considering her as the source of all the happiness they offered.
She hoped it was not so. Two months must bring it to the proof.

Mr. Weston's own happiness was indisputable. He was quite delighted.
It was the very circumstance he could have wished for. Now, it would
be really having Frank in their neighbourhood. What were nine miles
to a young man?--An hour's ride. He would be always coming over.
The difference in that respect of Richmond and London was enough
to make the whole difference of seeing him always and seeing
him never. Sixteen miles--nay, eighteen--it must be full eighteen
to Manchester-street--was a serious obstacle. Were he ever able
to get away, the day would be spent in coming and returning.
There was no comfort in having him in London; he might as well be
at Enscombe; but Richmond was the very distance for easy intercourse.
Better than nearer!

One good thing was immediately brought to a certainty by this removal,--
the ball at the Crown. It had not been forgotten before, but it had
been soon acknowledged vain to attempt to fix a day. Now, however,
it was absolutely to be; every preparation was resumed, and very soon
after the Churchills had removed to Richmond, a few lines from Frank,
to say that his aunt felt already much better for the change,
and that he had no doubt of being able to join them for twenty-four
hours at any given time, induced them to name as early a day as possible.

Mr. Weston's ball was to be a real thing. A very few to-morrows
stood between the young people of Highbury and happiness.

Mr. Woodhouse was resigned. The time of year lightened the evil
to him. May was better for every thing than February. Mrs. Bates
was engaged to spend the evening at Hartfield, James had due notice,
and he sanguinely hoped that neither dear little Henry nor dear
little John would have any thing the matter with them, while dear
Emma were gone.

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NEXT BOOKS

Emma - Volume III - Chapter II Emma - Volume III - Chapter II

Emma - Volume III - Chapter II
No misfortune occurred, again to prevent the ball. The day approached,the day arrived; and after a morning of some anxious watching,Frank Churchill, in all the certainty of his own self, reached Randallsbefore dinner, and every thing was safe.No second meeting had there yet been between him and Emma.The room at the Crown was to witness it;--but it would be betterthan a common meeting in a crowd. Mr. Weston had been so veryearnest in his entreaties for her arriving there as soon as possibleafter themselves, for the purpose of taking her opinion as to thepropriety and comfort of the rooms
PREVIOUS BOOKS

Emma - Volume II - Chapter XVIII Emma - Volume II - Chapter XVIII

Emma - Volume II - Chapter XVIII
"I hope I shall soon have the pleasure of introducing my son to you,"said Mr. Weston.Mrs. Elton, very willing to suppose a particular compliment intendedher by such a hope, smiled most graciously."You have heard of a certain Frank Churchill, I presume," he continued--"and know him to be my son, though he does not bear my name.""Oh! yes, and I shall be very happy in his acquaintance.I am sure Mr. Elton will lose no time in calling on him; and weshall both have great pleasure in seeing him at the Vicarage.""You are very obliging.--Frank will be extremely happy, I am sure.--He is
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