17. CHAPTER XVII
"It is to be a secret, I conclude," said he. "These matters are
always a secret, till it is found out that every body knows them.
Only let me be told when I may speak out.--I wonder whether Jane has
He went to Highbury the next morning, and satisfied himself on
that point. He told her the news. Was not she like a daughter,
his eldest daughter?--he must tell her; and Miss Bates being present,
it passed, of course, to Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Perry, and Mrs. Elton,
immediately afterwards. It was no more than the principals were
prepared for; they had calculated from the time of its being known
at Randalls, how soon it would be over Highbury; and were thinking
of themselves, as the evening wonder in many a family circle,
with great sagacity.
In general, it was a very well approved match. Some might think him,
and others might think her, the most in luck. One set might
recommend their all removing to Donwell, and leaving Hartfield
for the John Knightleys; and another might predict disagreements
among their servants; but yet, upon the whole, there was no serious
objection raised, except in one habitation, the Vicarage.--There,
the surprize was not softened by any satisfaction. Mr. Elton
cared little about it, compared with his wife; he only hoped "the
young lady's pride would now be contented;" and supposed "she had
always meant to catch Knightley if she could;" and, on the point
of living at Hartfield, could daringly exclaim, "Rather he than I!"--
But Mrs. Elton was very much discomposed indeed.--"Poor Knightley!
poor fellow!--sad business for him.--She was extremely concerned;
for, though very eccentric, he had a thousand good qualities.--
How could he be so taken in?--Did not think him at all in love--
not in the least.--Poor Knightley!--There would be an end of all
pleasant intercourse with him.--How happy he had been to come and dine
with them whenever they asked him! But that would be all over now.--
Poor fellow!--No more exploring parties to Donwell made for her.
Oh! no; there would be a Mrs. Knightley to throw cold water on
every thing.--Extremely disagreeable! But she was not at all sorry
that she had abused the housekeeper the other day.--Shocking plan,
living together. It would never do. She knew a family near Maple
Grove who had tried it, and been obliged to separate before the end
of the first quarter.