shake hands with you—and to give you joy in person.”

He thanked her with all his heart, and continued some time to speak with serious feeling of his gratitude and happiness.

“Is not she looking well?” said he, turning his eyes towards Jane. “Better than she ever used to do?—You see how my father and Mrs. Weston doat upon her.”

But his spirits were soon rising again, and with laughing eyes, after mentioning the expected return of the Campbells, he named the name of Dixon.—Emma blushed, and forbade its being pronounced in her hearing.

“I can never think of it,” she cried, “without extreme shame.”

“The shame,” he answered, “is all mine, or ought to be. But is it possible that you had no suspicion?—I mean of late. Early, I know you had none.”

“I never had the smallest, I assure you.”

“That appears quite wonderful. I was once very near—and I wish I had – it would have been better. But though I was always doing wrong things, they were very bad wrong things, and such as did me no service.—It would have been a much better transgression had I broken the bond of secrecy and told you every thing.”

“It is not now worth a regret,” said Emma.

“I have some hope,” resumed he, “of my uncle’s being persuaded to pay a visit at Randall’s; he wants to be introduced to her. When the Campbells are returned, we shall meet them in London, and continue there, I trust, till we may carry her northward.–But now, I am at such a distance from her—is not it hard, Miss Woodhouse?—Till this morning, we have not once met since the day of the reconciliation. Do not you pity me?


Emma spoke her pity so very kindly, that, with a sudden accession of gay thought, he cried,

“Ah! by the bye,”—then sinking his voice and looking demure for the moment—“I hope Mr. Knightley is well?” He paused.—She coloured and laughed.—“I know you saw my letter, and think you may remember my wish in your favour. Let me return your congratulations.—I assure you that I have heard the news with the warmest interest and satisfaction.—He is a man whom I cannot presume to praise.”

Emma was delighted, and only wanted him to go on in the same style; but his mind was the next moment in his own concerns and with his own Jane, and his next words were,

“Did you ever see such a skin?—such smoothness! such delicacy!—and yet without being actually fair.—One cannot call her fair. It is a most uncommon complexion, with her dark eye-lashes and hair—a most distinguishing complexion!,—So peculiarly the lady in it.—Just colour enough for beauty.”

“I have always admired her complexion,” replied Emma, archly; “but do not I remember the time when you found fault with her for being so pale?—When we first began to talk of her.—Have you quite forgotten?”

“Oh! no—what an impudent dog I was!—how could I dare—“

But he laughed so heartily at the recollection, that Emma could not help saying,

“I do suspect that in the midst of your perplexities at the same time, you had very great amusement in tricking us all.—I am sure you had.—I am sure it was a consolation to you.”

“Oh! no, no, no—-how can you suspect me of such a thing?—I was the most miserable wretch!”

“Not quite so miserable as to be insensible to mirth. I am sure it was a source of high entertainment