both to an unpardonable degree.—I believe I have not played a bar this fortnight.—However, he is coming, I assure you: yes, indeed, on purpose to wait on you all.”—And putting up her hand to screan her words from Emma—“A congratulatory visit, you know.—Oh! yes, quite indispensable.”

Miss Bates looked about her, so happily!—

“He promised to come to me as soon as he could disengage himself from Knightley; but he and Knightley are shut up together in deep consultation.—Mr. E. is Knightley’s right hand.”

Emma would not have smiled for the world, and only said, “Is Mr. Elton gone on foot to Donwell?—He will have a hot walk.”

“Oh! no, it is a meeting at the Crown, a regular meeting. Weston and Cole will be there too; but one is apt to speak only of those who lead.—I fancy Mr. E. and Knightley have everything their own way.”

“Have not you mistaken the day?” said Emma. I am almost certain that the meeting at the Crown is not till to-morrow.—Mr. Knightley was at Hartfield yesterday, and spoke of it as for Saturday.”“Oh! no; the meeting is certainly to-day,” was the abrupt answer, which denoted the impossibility of any blunder on Mrs. Elton’s side.—“I do believe,” she continued, “this is the most troublesome parish that ever was. We never heard of such things at Maple Grove.”

“Your parish there was small,” said jane.

“Upon my word, my dear, I do not know, for I never heard the subject talked of.”

“but it is proved by the smallness of the school, which I have heard you speak of, as under the patronage of your sister and Mrs. Bragge; the only school, and not more than five and twenty children.”

“Ah! You clever creature, that’s very true. What a thinking brain you have! I say, Jane, what a


perfect character you and I should make, if we could be shaken together. My liveliness and your solidity would produce perfection.—Not that I presume to insinuate, however, that some people may not think you perfection already.—But hush!—not a word, if you please.

It seemed an unnecessary caution; Jane was wanting to give her words, not to Mrs. Elton, but to Miss Woodhouse, as the latter plainly saw. The wish of distinguishing her, as far as civility permitted, was very evident, though it could not often proceed beyond a look.

Mr. Elton made his appearance. His lady greeted him with some of her sparkling vivacity.

“Very pretty, sir, upon my word; to send me on here, to be an encumbrance to my friends, so long before you vouchsafe to come!—But you knew what a dutiful creature you had to deal with. You knew I should not stir till my lord and master appeared.—Here have I been sitting this hour, giving these young ladies a sample of true conjugal obedience—for who can say, you know, how soon it may be wanted?”

Mr. Elton was so hot and tired, that all this wit seems thrown away. His civilities to the other ladies must be paid; but his subsequent object was to lament over himself for the heat he was suffering, and the walk he had had for nothing.

“When I got to Donwell,” said he, “Knightley could not be found. Very odd! very unaccountable! After the note I sent him this morning, and the message he returned, that he should certainly be at home till one.”

“Donwell!” cried his wife—“My dear Mr. E. you have not been to Donwell!—You mean the Crown; you come from the meeting at the Crown.”

“No, no that’s to-morrow; and I particularly wanted to see Knightley to-day on that very account.—Such a dreadful broiling morning!—I went