3. CHAPTER III
This little explanation with Mr. Knightley gave Emma considerable
pleasure. It was one of the agreeable recollections of the ball,
which she walked about the lawn the next morning to enjoy.--She was
extremely glad that they had come to so good an understanding respecting
the Eltons, and that their opinions of both husband and wife were so
much alike; and his praise of Harriet, his concession in her favour,
was peculiarly gratifying. The impertinence of the Eltons, which for
a few minutes had threatened to ruin the rest of her evening, had been
the occasion of some of its highest satisfactions; and she looked
forward to another happy result--the cure of Harriet's infatuation.--
From Harriet's manner of speaking of the circumstance before they
quitted the ballroom, she had strong hopes. It seemed as if her eyes
were suddenly opened, and she were enabled to see that Mr. Elton
was not the superior creature she had believed him. The fever
was over, and Emma could harbour little fear of the pulse being
quickened again by injurious courtesy. She depended on the evil
feelings of the Eltons for supplying all the discipline of pointed
neglect that could be farther requisite.--Harriet rational,
Frank Churchill not too much in love, and Mr. Knightley not
wanting to quarrel with her, how very happy a summer must be before her!
She was not to see Frank Churchill this morning. He had told
her that he could not allow himself the pleasure of stopping
at Hartfield, as he was to be at home by the middle of the day.
She did not regret it.
Having arranged all these matters, looked them through, and put them all
to rights, she was just turning to the house with spirits freshened up
for the demands of the two little boys, as well as of their grandpapa,
when the great iron sweep-gate opened, and two persons entered
whom she had never less expected to see together--Frank Churchill,
with Harriet leaning on his arm--actually Harriet!--A moment
sufficed to convince her that something extraordinary had happened.
Harriet looked white and frightened, and he was trying to cheer her.--
The iron gates and the front-door were not twenty yards asunder;--
they were all three soon in the hall, and Harriet immediately sinking
into a chair fainted away.