8. CHAPTER VIII
There was a bustle on her approach; a good deal of moving and talking.
She heard Miss Bates's voice, something was to be done in a hurry;
the maid looked frightened and awkward; hoped she would be pleased
to wait a moment, and then ushered her in too soon. The aunt and
niece seemed both escaping into the adjoining room. Jane she had
a distinct glimpse of, looking extremely ill; and, before the door
had shut them out, she heard Miss Bates saying, "Well, my dear,
I shall say you are laid down upon the bed, and I am sure you are
Poor old Mrs. Bates, civil and humble as usual, looked as if she
did not quite understand what was going on.
"I am afraid Jane is not very well," said she, "but I do not know;
they tell me she is well. I dare say my daughter will be here presently,
Miss Woodhouse. I hope you find a chair. I wish Hetty had not gone.
I am very little able--Have you a chair, ma'am? Do you sit where
you like? I am sure she will be here presently."
Emma seriously hoped she would. She had a moment's fear of Miss
Bates keeping away from her. But Miss Bates soon came--"Very happy
and obliged"--but Emma's conscience told her that there was not the
same cheerful volubility as before--less ease of look and manner.
A very friendly inquiry after Miss Fairfax, she hoped, might lead
the way to a return of old feelings. The touch seemed immediate.