16. CHAPTER XVI
Every body in and about Highbury who had ever visited Mr. Elton,
was disposed to pay him attention on his marriage. Dinner-parties and
evening-parties were made for him and his lady; and invitations
flowed in so fast that she had soon the pleasure of apprehending
they were never to have a disengaged day.
"I see how it is," said she. "I see what a life I am to lead
among you. Upon my word we shall be absolutely dissipated.
We really seem quite the fashion. If this is living in the country,
it is nothing very formidable. From Monday next to Saturday,
I assure you we have not a disengaged day!--A woman with fewer
resources than I have, need not have been at a loss."
No invitation came amiss to her. Her Bath habits made evening-parties
perfectly natural to her, and Maple Grove had given her a taste
for dinners. She was a little shocked at the want of two
drawing rooms, at the poor attempt at rout-cakes, and there being
no ice in the Highbury card-parties. Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Perry,
Mrs. Goddard and others, were a good deal behind-hand in knowledge
of the world, but she would soon shew them how every thing ought
to be arranged. In the course of the spring she must return their
civilities by one very superior party--in which her card-tables
should be set out with their separate candles and unbroken packs
in the true style--and more waiters engaged for the evening
than their own establishment could furnish, to carry round
the refreshments at exactly the proper hour, and in the proper order.
Emma, in the meanwhile, could not be satisfied without a dinner
at Hartfield for the Eltons. They must not do less than others,
or she should be exposed to odious suspicions, and imagined capable
of pitiful resentment. A dinner there must be. After Emma had
talked about it for ten minutes, Mr. Woodhouse felt no unwillingness,
and only made the usual stipulation of not sitting at the bottom
of the table himself, with the usual regular difficulty of deciding
who should do it for him.