2. CHAPTER II
No misfortune occurred, again to prevent the ball. The day approached,
the day arrived; and after a morning of some anxious watching,
Frank Churchill, in all the certainty of his own self, reached Randalls
before dinner, and every thing was safe.
No second meeting had there yet been between him and Emma.
The room at the Crown was to witness it;--but it would be better
than a common meeting in a crowd. Mr. Weston had been so very
earnest in his entreaties for her arriving there as soon as possible
after themselves, for the purpose of taking her opinion as to the
propriety and comfort of the rooms before any other persons came,
that she could not refuse him, and must therefore spend some quiet
interval in the young man's company. She was to convey Harriet,
and they drove to the Crown in good time, the Randalls party just
sufficiently before them.
Frank Churchill seemed to have been on the watch; and though
he did not say much, his eyes declared that he meant to have
a delightful evening. They all walked about together, to see
that every thing was as it should be; and within a few minutes
were joined by the contents of another carriage, which Emma
could not hear the sound of at first, without great surprize.
"So unreasonably early!" she was going to exclaim; but she presently
found that it was a family of old friends, who were coming, like herself,
by particular desire, to help Mr. Weston's judgment; and they were
so very closely followed by another carriage of cousins, who had been
entreated to come early with the same distinguishing earnestness,
on the same errand, that it seemed as if half the company might
soon be collected together for the purpose of preparatory inspection.
Emma perceived that her taste was not the only taste on which
Mr. Weston depended, and felt, that to be the favourite and
intimate of a man who had so many intimates and confidantes,
was not the very first distinction in the scale of vanity.
She liked his open manners, but a little less of open-heartedness
would have made him a higher character.--General benevolence,
but not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be.--
She could fancy such a man. The whole party walked about,
and looked, and praised again; and then, having nothing else to do,
formed a sort of half-circle round the fire, to observe in their
various modes, till other subjects were started, that, though May,
a fire in the evening was still very pleasant.