12. CHAPTER XII
"A material difference then," she replied--"and no doubt you were
much my superior in judgment at that period of our lives; but does
not the lapse of one-and-twenty years bring our understandings
a good deal nearer?"
"Yes--a good deal nearer."
"But still, not near enough to give me a chance of being right,
if we think differently."
"I have still the advantage of you by sixteen years' experience, and by
not being a pretty young woman and a spoiled child. Come, my dear Emma,
let us be friends, and say no more about it. Tell your aunt, little Emma,
that she ought to set you a better example than to be renewing
old grievances, and that if she were not wrong before, she is now."
"That's true," she cried--"very true. Little Emma, grow up
a better woman than your aunt. Be infinitely cleverer and not
half so conceited. Now, Mr. Knightley, a word or two more, and I
have done. As far as good intentions went, we were both right,
and I must say that no effects on my side of the argument have yet
proved wrong. I only want to know that Mr. Martin is not very,
very bitterly disappointed."
"A man cannot be more so," was his short, full answer.
"Ah!--Indeed I am very sorry.--Come, shake hands with me."
This had just taken place and with great cordiality, when John
Knightley made his appearance, and "How d'ye do, George?" and "John,
how are you?" succeeded in the true English style, burying under
a calmness that seemed all but indifference, the real attachment
which would have led either of them, if requisite, to do every thing
for the good of the other.
The evening was quiet and conversable, as Mr. Woodhouse declined
cards entirely for the sake of comfortable talk with his
dear Isabella, and the little party made two natural divisions;
on one side he and his daughter; on the other the two Mr. Knightleys;
their subjects totally distinct, or very rarely mixing--and Emma
only occasionally joining in one or the other.