8. CHAPTER VIII
Frank Churchill came back again; and if he kept his father's
dinner waiting, it was not known at Hartfield; for Mrs. Weston
was too anxious for his being a favourite with Mr. Woodhouse,
to betray any imperfection which could be concealed.
He came back, had had his hair cut, and laughed at himself with
a very good grace, but without seeming really at all ashamed
of what he had done. He had no reason to wish his hair longer,
to conceal any confusion of face; no reason to wish the money unspent,
to improve his spirits. He was quite as undaunted and as lively
as ever; and, after seeing him, Emma thus moralised to herself:--
"I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things
do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an
impudent way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not
always folly.--It depends upon the character of those who handle it.
Mr. Knightley, he is not a trifling, silly young man. If he were,
he would have done this differently. He would either have gloried
in the achievement, or been ashamed of it. There would have been
either the ostentation of a coxcomb, or the evasions of a mind too
weak to defend its own vanities.--No, I am perfectly sure that he
is not trifling or silly."
With Tuesday came the agreeable prospect of seeing him again,
and for a longer time than hitherto; of judging of his general manners,
and by inference, of the meaning of his manners towards herself;
of guessing how soon it might be necessary for her to throw coldness
into her air; and of fancying what the observations of all those
might be, who were now seeing them together for the first time.
She meant to be very happy, in spite of the scene being laid at
Mr. Cole's; and without being able to forget that among the failings
of Mr. Elton, even in the days of his favour, none had disturbed
her more than his propensity to dine with Mr. Cole.