12. CHAPTER XII
Her father's feelings were quite distinct. He thought principally
of Mrs. Churchill's illness, and wanted to know how she was treated;
and as for the ball, it was shocking to have dear Emma disappointed;
but they would all be safer at home.
Emma was ready for her visitor some time before he appeared;
but if this reflected at all upon his impatience, his sorrowful
look and total want of spirits when he did come might redeem him.
He felt the going away almost too much to speak of it. His dejection
was most evident. He sat really lost in thought for the first
few minutes; and when rousing himself, it was only to say,
"Of all horrid things, leave-taking is the worst."
"But you will come again," said Emma. "This will not be your only
visit to Randalls."
"Ah!--(shaking his head)--the uncertainty of when I may be able
to return!--I shall try for it with a zeal!--It will be the object
of all my thoughts and cares!--and if my uncle and aunt go to town
this spring--but I am afraid--they did not stir last spring--
I am afraid it is a custom gone for ever."
"Our poor ball must be quite given up."
"Ah! that ball!--why did we wait for any thing?--why not seize the
pleasure at once?--How often is happiness destroyed by preparation,
foolish preparation!--You told us it would be so.--Oh! Miss Woodhouse,
why are you always so right?"
"Indeed, I am very sorry to be right in this instance. I would
much rather have been merry than wise."
"If I can come again, we are still to have our ball. My father
depends on it. Do not forget your engagement."
Emma looked graciously.
"Such a fortnight as it has been!" he continued; "every day more
precious and more delightful than the day before!--every day making
me less fit to bear any other place. Happy those, who can remain