form any just judgement. Short of that, it is all guess and luck—and will generally be ill-luck. How many a man has commited himself on a short acquaintance, and rued it all the rest of his life!”

Miss Fairfax, who had seldom spoken before, except among her own confederates, spoke now.

“Such things do occur, undoubtedly.”—She was stopped by a cough. Frank Churchill turned towards her to listen.

“You were speaking,” said he, gravely. She recovering her voice.

“I was only going to observe, that though such unfortunate circumstances do sometimes occur both to men and women, I cannot imagine them to be very frequent. A hasty and imprudent attachment may arise—but there is generally time to recover from it afterwards. I would be understood to mean, that it can be only weak, irresolute characters, (whose happiness must be always at the mercy of chance,) who will suffer an unfortunate acquaintance to be an inconvenience, an oppression for ever.”

He made no answer; merely looked, and bowed in submission; and soon afterwards said, in a lively tone,

“Well, I have so little confidence in my own judgement, that whenever I marry, I hope somebody will choose my wife for me. Will you? (turning to Emma.) Find somebody for me. I am in no hurry. Adopt her, educate her.”

“And make her like myself.”

“By all means, if you can.”

“Very well. I undertake the commission. You shall have a charming wife.”

“She must be very lively, and have hazle eyes. I care for nothing else. I shall go abroad for a couple of years—and when I return, I shall come to you for my wife. Remember.”


Emma was in no danger of forgetting. It was a commission to touch every favourite feeling. Would not Harriet be the very creature described?—Hazle eyes excepted, two years more might make her all that he wished. He might even have Harriet in his thoughts at the moment; who could say? Referring the education to her seemed to imply it.

“Now, ma’am,” said Jane to her aunt, “shall we join Mrs. Elton?”

“If you please, my dear. With all my heart. I am quite ready. I was ready to have gone with her, but this will do just as well. We shall soon overtake her. There she is—no, that’s somebody else. That’s one of the ladies in the Irish car party, not at all like her.—Well, I declare—”

They walked off, followed in half a minute by Mr. Knightley. Mr. Weston, his son, Emma and Harriet, only remained; and the young man’s spirits now rose to a pitch almost unpleasant. Even Emma grew tired at last of flattery and merriment, and wished herself rather walking quietly about with any of the others, or sitting almost alone, and quite unattended to, in tranquil observation of the beautiful views beneath her. The appearance of the servants looking out for them to give notice of the carriages was a joyous sight; and even the bustle of collecting and preparing to depart, and the solicitude of Mrs. Elton to have her carriage first, were gladly endured, in the prospect of the quiet drive home which was to close the very questionable enjoyments of this day of pleasure. Such another scheme, composed of so many ill-assorted people, she hoped never to be betrayed into again.

While waiting for the carriage, she found Mr. Knightley by her side. He looked around, as if to see that no one were near, and then said,

“Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How

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