who am owing all my happiness to you, would not it be horrible ingratitude in me to be severe on them?”

Emma laughted, and replied: “But I had the assistance of all your endeavours to counteract the indulgence of other people. I doubt whether my own sense would have corrected me without it.

“Do you?—I have no doubt. Nature gave you understanding:-- Miss Taylor gave you principles. You must have done well. My interference was quite as likely to do harm as good. It was very natural for you to say, what right has he to lecture me?—and I am afraid very natural for you to feel that it was done in a disagreeable manner. I do not believe I did you any good. The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least.”

“I am sure you were of use to me,” cried Emma.

“I was very often influenced rightly by you—oftener than I would own at the time. I am very sure you did me good. And if poor little Anna Weston is to be spoiled, it will be the greatest humanity in you to do as much for her as you have for me, except falling in love with her when she is thirteen.”

“How often, when you were a girl, have you said to me, with one of your saucy looks—“Mr. Knightley, I am going to do so and so; papa says I may, or I have Miss Taylor’s leave—something which, you knew, I did not approve. In such cases my interference was giving you two bad feelings instead of one.”

“What an amiable creature I was!—No wonder you should hold my speeches in such affectionate remembrance.”

“ ‘Mr. Knightley.’—You always called me, ‘Mr. Knightley;’ and, from habit, it has not so very


formal a sound. – And yet it is formal. I want you to call me something else, but I do not know what.”

“I remember once calling you ‘George,’ in one of my amiable fits, about ten years ago. I did it because I thought it would offend you; but as you made no objection, I never did it again.”

“And cannot you call me ‘George’ now?”

“Impossible!—I never can call you anything but ‘Mr. Knightley.’ I will not promise even to equal the elegant terseness of Mrs. Elton, by calling you Mr. K.—But I will promise,” she added presently, laughing and blushing—“ I will promise to call you once by your Christian name. I do not say when, but perhaps you may guess where;-- in the building in which N. takes M. for better, for worse.”

Emma grieved that she could not be more openly just to one important service which his better sense would have rendered her, to the advice which would have saved her from the worst of all womanly follies—her wilful intimacy with Harriet Smith; but it was too tender a subject.—She could not enter on it.-- Harriet was very seldom mentioned between them. This, on his side, might merely proceed from her not being thought of; but Emma was rather inclined to attribute it to delicacy, and a suspicion, from some appearences, that their friendship were declining. She was aware of herself, that, parting under any other circumstances, they certainly should have corresponded more, and that her intelligence would not have rested, as it now almost wholly did, on Isabella’s letters. He might observe that it was so. The pain of being obliged to practise concealment towards him, was very little inferior to the pain of having made Harriet unhappy.

Isabella sent quite as good an account of her visitor as could be expected; on her first arrival she had thought her out of spirits, which appeared perfectly natural, as there was a dentist to be consulted

Vol.ii X