motto to the chapter; and will soon be followed by matter-of-fact-prose.”

It is a sort of thing which nobody could have expected. I am sure, a month ago, I had no more idea myself!–The strangest things to take place!”

–“When Miss Smiths and Mr. Eltons get acquainted–they do indeed– and really it is strange; it is out of the common course that what is so evidently, so palpably desirable–what courts the pre-arrangement of other people, should so immediately shape itself into the proper form. You and Mr. Elton are by situation called together; you belong to one another by every circumstance of your respective homes. Your marrying will be equal to the match at Randalls. There does seem to be a something in the air of Hartfield which gives love exactly the right direction, and sends it into the very channel where it ought to flow.

The course of true love never did run smooth

A Hartfield edition of Shakepseare would have a long note on that passage.”

That Mr. Elton should really be in love with me,–me, of all people, who did not know him, to speak to him, at Michaelmas! And he, the very handsomest man that ever was, and a man that every body looks up to, quite like Mr. Knightley! His company so sought after, that every body says he need not eat a single meal by himself if he does not chuse it; that he has more invitations than there are days in the week. And so excellent in the Church! Miss Nash has put down all the texts he has ever preached from since he came to Highbury. Dear me! When I looked back to the first time I saw him! How little did I think!–The two Abbots and I ran into the front room and peeped through the blind when we heard he was going by, and Miss Nash came and


scolded us away , and staid to look through herself; however, she called me back presently, and let me look, too, which was very good-natured. And how beautiful we thought he looked! He was arm in arm with Mr. Cole.”

“This is an alliance which, whoever–whatever your friends may be, must be agreeable to them, provided at least they have common sense; and we are not to be addressing our conduct to fools. If they are anxious to see you happily married, here is a man whose amiable character gives every assurance of it;–if they wish you to have settled in the same country and circle in which they have chosen to place you in, here it will be accomplished; and if their only object is that you should, in the common phrase, be well married, here is the comfortable fortune, the respectable establishment, the rise in the world which must safely satisfy them.”

“Yes, very true. How nicely you talk; I love to hear you. You understand every thing. You and Mr. Elton are one as clever as the other. This charade!–if I had studied a twelvemonth, I could never have made anything like it.”

“I thought me meant to try his skill, by manner of declining it yesterday.”

“I do think it is without exception, the best charade I ever read.”

“I never read one more to the purpose, certainly.”

“It is as long again as almost all we have had before.”

“I do not consider its length as particularly in its favour. Such things in general cannot be too short.”

Harriet was too intent on the lines to hear. The most satisfactory comparisons were rising in her mind.