that was arranged, he never suffered beforehand from the apprehension of any; it seemed as if he could not think so ill of any two persons’ understanding as to suppose they meant to marry till it were proved against them. She blessed the favouring blindness. He could now, without the drawback of a single unpleasant surmise, without a glance forward at any possible treachery in his guest, give way to all his natural kind-hearted civility in solicitous inquiries after Mr. Frank Churchill’s accommodation on his journey, through the sad evils of sleeping two nights on the road, and express very genuine unmixed anxiety to know that he had certainly escaped catching cold—which, however, he could not allow him to feel quite assured of himself till after another night.

A reasonable visit paid, Mr. Weston began to move.—“He must be going. He had business at the Crown about his hay, and a great many errands for Mrs. Weston at Ford’s; but he need not hurry any body else.” His son, too well bred to hear the hint, rose immediately also, saying,

“As you are going farther on business, sir, I will take the opportunity of paying a visit, which must be paid some day or other, and therefore may as well be paid now. I have the honour of being acquainted with a neighbour of yours, (turning to Emma,) a lady residing in or near Highbury; a family of the name of Fairfax. I shall have no difficulty, I suppose, in finding the house; though Fairfax, I believe, is not the proper name—I should rather say Barnes, or Bates. Do you know any family of that name?”

“To be sure we do,” cried his father; “Mrs. Bates—we passed her house—I saw Miss Bates at the window. True, true, you are acquainted with Miss Fairfax; I remember you knew her at Weymouth, and a fine girl she is. Call upon her, by all means.”


“There is no necessity for my calling this morning,” said the young man; “another day would do as well; but there was that degree of acquaintance at Weymouth which”—

“Oh! go to-day, go to-day. Do not defer it. What is right to be done cannot be done too soon. And besides, I must give you a hint, Frank; any want of attention to her here should be carefully avoided. You saw her with the Campbells when she was the equal of every body she mixed with, but here she is with a poor old grandmother, who has barely enough to live on. If you do not call early it will be a slight.”

The son looked convinced.

“I have heard her speak of the acquaintance,” said Emma, “she is a very elegant young woman.”

He agreed to it, but with so quiet a “Yes,” as inclined her almost to doubt his real concurrence; and yet there must be a very distinct sort of elegance for the fashionable world, if Jane Fairfax could be thought only ordinarily gifted with it.

“If you were never particularly struck by her manners before,” said she, “I think you will to-day. You will she her to advantage; see her and hear her—no, I am afraid you will not hear her at all, for she has an aunt who never holds her tongue.”

“You are acquainted with Miss Jane Fairfax, sir, are you?” said Mr. Woodhouse, always the last to make his way in conversation; “then give me leave to assure you that you will find her a very agreeable young lady. She is staying here on a visit to her grandmamma and aunt, very worthy people; I have known them all my life. They will be extremely glad to see you, I am sure, and one of my servants shall go with you to shew you the way.”

“My dear sir, upon no account in the world; my father can direct me.”