12. CHAPTER XII
It was a sad change. They had been meeting almost every day
since his arrival. Certainly his being at Randalls had given
great spirit to the last two weeks--indescribable spirit; the idea,
the expectation of seeing him which every morning had brought,
the assurance of his attentions, his liveliness, his manners!
It had been a very happy fortnight, and forlorn must be the sinking
from it into the common course of Hartfield days. To complete every
other recommendation, he had almost told her that he loved her.
What strength, or what constancy of affection he might be subject to,
was another point; but at present she could not doubt his having
a decidedly warm admiration, a conscious preference of herself;
and this persuasion, joined to all the rest, made her think that
she must be a little in love with him, in spite of every previous
determination against it.
"I certainly must," said she. "This sensation of listlessness,
weariness, stupidity, this disinclination to sit down and employ myself,
this feeling of every thing's being dull and insipid about the house!--
I must be in love; I should be the oddest creature in the world if I
were not--for a few weeks at least. Well! evil to some is always
good to others. I shall have many fellow-mourners for the ball,
if not for Frank Churchill; but Mr. Knightley will be happy.
He may spend the evening with his dear William Larkins now if he likes."
Mr. Knightley, however, shewed no triumphant happiness. He could
not say that he was sorry on his own account; his very cheerful look
would have contradicted him if he had; but he said, and very steadily,
that he was sorry for the disappointment of the others, and with
considerable kindness added,
"You, Emma, who have so few opportunities of dancing, you are really
out of luck; you are very much out of luck!"
It was some days before she saw Jane Fairfax, to judge of her
honest regret in this woeful change; but when they did meet,
her composure was odious. She had been particularly unwell, however,
suffering from headache to a degree, which made her aunt declare,
that had the ball taken place, she did not think Jane could have
attended it; and it was charity to impute some of her unbecoming
indifference to the languor of ill-health.