9. CHAPTER IX
Emma did not repent her condescension in going to the Coles.
The visit afforded her many pleasant recollections the next day;
and all that she might be supposed to have lost on the side
of dignified seclusion, must be amply repaid in the splendour
of popularity. She must have delighted the Coles--worthy people,
who deserved to be made happy!--And left a name behind her that would
not soon die away.
Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common; and there were
two points on which she was not quite easy. She doubted whether
she had not transgressed the duty of woman by woman, in betraying
her suspicions of Jane Fairfax's feelings to Frank Churchill.
It was hardly right; but it had been so strong an idea, that it
would escape her, and his submission to all that she told,
was a compliment to her penetration, which made it difficult
for her to be quite certain that she ought to have held her tongue.
The other circumstance of regret related also to Jane Fairfax;
and there she had no doubt. She did unfeignedly and unequivocally
regret the inferiority of her own playing and singing. She did
most heartily grieve over the idleness of her childhood--and sat
down and practised vigorously an hour and a half.
She was then interrupted by Harriet's coming in; and if Harriet's
praise could have satisfied her, she might soon have been comforted.
"Oh! if I could but play as well as you and Miss Fairfax!"
"Don't class us together, Harriet. My playing is no more like
her's, than a lamp is like sunshine."
"Oh! dear--I think you play the best of the two. I think you play
quite as well as she does. I am sure I had much rather hear you.
Every body last night said how well you played."
"Those who knew any thing about it, must have felt the difference.
The truth is, Harriet, that my playing is just good enough to be praised,
but Jane Fairfax's is much beyond it."