1. CHAPTER I
The mention of the Coles was sure to be followed by that of Mr. Elton.
There was intimacy between them, and Mr. Cole had heard from
Mr. Elton since his going away. Emma knew what was coming; they must
have the letter over again, and settle how long he had been gone,
and how much he was engaged in company, and what a favourite he
was wherever he went, and how full the Master of the Ceremonies'
ball had been; and she went through it very well, with all the
interest and all the commendation that could be requisite, and always
putting forward to prevent Harriet's being obliged to say a word.
This she had been prepared for when she entered the house;
but meant, having once talked him handsomely over, to be no farther
incommoded by any troublesome topic, and to wander at large amongst
all the Mistresses and Misses of Highbury, and their card-parties.
She had not been prepared to have Jane Fairfax succeed Mr. Elton;
but he was actually hurried off by Miss Bates, she jumped away
from him at last abruptly to the Coles, to usher in a letter from
"Oh! yes--Mr. Elton, I understand--certainly as to dancing--
Mrs. Cole was telling me that dancing at the rooms at Bath was--
Mrs. Cole was so kind as to sit some time with us, talking of Jane;
for as soon as she came in, she began inquiring after her,
Jane is so very great a favourite there. Whenever she is with us,
Mrs. Cole does not know how to shew her kindness enough;
and I must say that Jane deserves it as much as any body can.
And so she began inquiring after her directly, saying, `I know you
cannot have heard from Jane lately, because it is not her time
for writing;' and when I immediately said, `But indeed we have,
we had a letter this very morning,' I do not know that I ever saw
any body more surprized. `Have you, upon your honour?' said she;
`well, that is quite unexpected. Do let me hear what she says.'"
Emma's politeness was at hand directly, to say, with smiling interest--
"Have you heard from Miss Fairfax so lately? I am extremely happy.
I hope she is well?"