Fairfax.’ Heavens! Let me not suppose that she dares go about, Emma Woodhouse-ing me!—But upon my honour, there seem no limits to the licentiousness of that woman’s tongue!”
Emma had not to listen to such paradings again—to any so exclusively addressed to herself—so disgustingly decorated with a “dear Miss Woodhouse.” The change on Mr. Elton’s side soon afterwards appeared, and she was left in peace—-neither forced to be the very particular friend of Mrs. Elton, nor, under Mrs. Elton’s guidance, the very active patroness of Jane Fairfax, and only sharing with others in a general way, in knowing what was felt, what was meditated, and what was done.
She looked on with some amusement. Miss Bates’s gratitude for Mrs. Elton’s attentions to Jane was in the first style of guileless simplicity and warmth. She was quite one of the worthies—the most amiable, affable, delightful woman—just as accomplished and condescending as Mrs. Elton meant to be considered. Emma’s only surprize was that Jane Fairfax should accept those attentions and tolerate Mrs. Elton as she seemed to do. She heard of her walking with the Eltons, sitting with the Eltons, spending a day with the Eltons! This was astonishing!—She could not have believed it possible that the taste or the pride of Miss Fairfax could endure such society and friendship as the Vicarage had to offer.
“She is a riddle, quite a riddle!” said she.—“To chuse to remain here month after month, under privations of every sort! And now to chuse the mortification of Mrs. Elton’s notice and the penury of her conversation, rather than return to the superior companions who have always loved her with such real, generous affection.”
Jane had come to Highbury professedly for three months; the Campbells were gone to Ireland for