9. CHAPTER IX
"Miss Fairfax's compliments and thanks, but is quite unequal
to any exercise."
Emma felt that her own note had deserved something better; but it
was impossible to quarrel with words, whose tremulous inequality
shewed indisposition so plainly, and she thought only of how she
might best counteract this unwillingness to be seen or assisted.
In spite of the answer, therefore, she ordered the carriage, and drove
to Mrs. Bates's, in the hope that Jane would be induced to join her--
but it would not do;--Miss Bates came to the carriage door, all gratitude,
and agreeing with her most earnestly in thinking an airing might be of
the greatest service--and every thing that message could do was tried--
but all in vain. Miss Bates was obliged to return without success;
Jane was quite unpersuadable; the mere proposal of going out
seemed to make her worse.--Emma wished she could have seen her,
and tried her own powers; but, almost before she could hint the wish,
Miss Bates made it appear that she had promised her niece on
no account to let Miss Woodhouse in. "Indeed, the truth was,
that poor dear Jane could not bear to see any body--any body at all--
Mrs. Elton, indeed, could not be denied--and Mrs. Cole had made
such a point--and Mrs. Perry had said so much--but, except them,
Jane would really see nobody."
Emma did not want to be classed with the Mrs. Eltons, the Mrs. Perrys,
and the Mrs. Coles, who would force themselves anywhere;
neither could she feel any right of preference herself--
she submitted, therefore, and only questioned Miss Bates farther
as to her niece's appetite and diet, which she longed to be able
to assist. On that subject poor Miss Bates was very unhappy,
and very communicative; Jane would hardly eat any thing:--
Mr. Perry recommended nourishing food; but every thing they could
command (and never had any body such good neighbours) was distasteful.
Emma, on reaching home, called the housekeeper directly, to an
examination of her stores; and some arrowroot of very superior quality
was speedily despatched to Miss Bates with a most friendly note.
In half an hour the arrowroot was returned, with a thousand thanks
from Miss Bates, but "dear Jane would not be satisfied without its
being sent back; it was a thing she could not take--and, moreover,
she insisted on her saying, that she was not at all in want of any thing."