induced her to place herself, for his sake, in a situation of extreme difficulty and uneasiness, and it should have been his first object to prevent her from suffering unnecessarily.—She must have had much more to contend with, in carrying on the correspondence, than he could. He should have respected even unreasonable scruples, had there been such; but her’s were all reasonable. We must look to her one fault, and remember that she had done a wrong thing in consenting to the engagement, to bear that she should have been in such a state of punishment.”

Emma knew that he was now getting to the Box-Hill party, and grew uncomfortable. Her own behaviour had been so very improper! She was deeply ashamed, and a little afraid of his next look. It was all read, however, steadily, attentively, and without the smallest remark; and, excepting one momentary glance at her, instantly withdrawn, in the fear of giving pain—no remembrance of Box-Hill seemed to exist.

“There is no saying much for the delicacy of our good friends the Eltons,” was his next observation.—“His feelings are natural.—What! actually resolve to break with him entirely!—She felt the engagement to be a source of repentance and misery to each—she dissolved it.—What a view this gives of her sense of his behaviour!—Well, he must be a most extraordinary—”

“Nay, nay, read on.—You will find how very much he suffers.”

“I hope he does,” replied Mr. Knightley coolly, and resuming the letter—“‘Smallridge!’—What does this mean? What is all this?”

“She had engaged to go as governess to Mrs. Smallridge’s children—a dear friend of Mrs. Elton’s—a neighbour of Maple Grove; and, by the bye, I wonder how Mrs. Elton bears the disappointment.”

“Say nothing, my dear Emma, while you oblige me to read—not even of Mrs. Elton. Only one page


more. I shall soon have done. What a letter the man writes!”

“I wish you would read it with a kinder spirit towards him.”

“Well, there is feeling here.—He does seem to have suffered in finding her ill.—Certainly, I can have no doubt of his being fond of her. ‘Dearer, much dearer than ever.’ I hope he may long continue to feel all the value of such a reconciliation.—He is a very liberal thanker, with his thousands and tens of thousands.—‘Happier than I deserve.’ Come, he knows himself there. ‘Miss Woodhouse calls me the child of good fortune.’—Those were Miss Woodhouse’s words, were they?—And a fine ending—and there is the letter. The child of good fortune! That was your name for him, was it?”

“You do not appear so well satisfied with his letter as I am; but still you must, at least I hope you must, think the better of him for it. I hope it does him some service with you.”

“Yes, certainly it does. He has had great faults, faults of inconsideration and thoughtlessness; and I am very much of his opinion in thinking him likely to be happier than he deserves: but still as he is, beyond a doubt, really attached to Miss Fairfax, and will soon it may be hoped, have the advantage of being constantly with her, I am very ready to believe his character will improve, and acquire from her’s the steadiness and delicacy of principle that it wants. And now, let me talk to you of something else. I have another person’s interest at present so much at heart, that I cannot think any longer about Frank Churchill. Ever since I left you this morning, Emma, my mind has been hard at work on one subject.”

The subject followed; it was in plain, unaffected, gentleman-like English, such as Mr. Knightley used even to the woman he was in love with, how to be able to ask her to marry him, without attacking the