“He knew nothing about it, Emma. On this article I can fully acquit him. It was a private resolution of her’s, not communicated to him—or at least not communicated in a way to carry conviction.—Till yesterday, I know he said he was in the dark as to her plans. They burst on him, I do not know how, but by some letter or message—and it was the discovery of what she was doing, of this very project of her’s, which determined him to come forward at once, own it all to his uncle, throw himself on his kindness, and, in short, put an end to the miserable state of concealment that had been carrying on so long.”
Emma began to listen better.
“I am to hear from him soon,” continued Mrs. Weston. “He told me at parting, that he should soon write; and he spoke in a manner which seemed to promise me many particulars that could not be given now. Let us wait, therefore, for this letter. It may bring many extenuations. It may make many things intelligible and excusable which now are not to be understood. Don’t let us be severe, don’t let us be in a hurry to condemn him. Let us have patience. I must love him; and now that I am satisfied on one point, the one material point, I am sincerely anxious for its all turning out well, and ready to hope that it may. They must both have suffered a great deal under such a system of secrecy and concealment.”
“His sufferings,” replied Emma drily, “do not appear to have done him much harm. Well, and how did Mr. Churchill take it?”
“Most favourably for his nephew-gave him consent with scarcely a difficulty. Conceive what the events of a week have done in that family! While poor Mrs. Churchill lived, I suppose there could not have been a hope, a chance, a possibility; but scarcely are her remains at rest in the family vault, when her husband is persuaded to act exactly opposite to what she would have required. What a blessing it