Jane Austen: Emma

11. CHAPTER XI (continued)

The rest of the day, the following night, were hardly enough for her thoughts.--She was bewildered amidst the confusion of all that had rushed on her within the last few hours. Every moment had brought a fresh surprize; and every surprize must be matter of humiliation to her.--How to understand it all! How to understand the deceptions she had been thus practising on herself, and living under!--The blunders, the blindness of her own head and heart!--she sat still, she walked about, she tried her own room, she tried the shrubbery--in every place, every posture, she perceived that she had acted most weakly; that she had been imposed on by others in a most mortifying degree; that she had been imposing on herself in a degree yet more mortifying; that she was wretched, and should probably find this day but the beginning of wretchedness.

To understand, thoroughly understand her own heart, was the first endeavour. To that point went every leisure moment which her father's claims on her allowed, and every moment of involuntary absence of mind.

How long had Mr. Knightley been so dear to her, as every feeling declared him now to be? When had his influence, such influence begun?-- When had he succeeded to that place in her affection, which Frank Churchill had once, for a short period, occupied?--She looked back; she compared the two--compared them, as they had always stood in her estimation, from the time of the latter's becoming known to her-- and as they must at any time have been compared by her, had it-- oh! had it, by any blessed felicity, occurred to her, to institute the comparison.--She saw that there never had been a time when she did not consider Mr. Knightley as infinitely the superior, or when his regard for her had not been infinitely the most dear. She saw, that in persuading herself, in fancying, in acting to the contrary, she had been entirely under a delusion, totally ignorant of her own heart--and, in short, that she had never really cared for Frank Churchill at all!

This was the conclusion of the first series of reflection. This was the knowledge of herself, on the first question of inquiry, which she reached; and without being long in reaching it.-- She was most sorrowfully indignant; ashamed of every sensation but the one revealed to her--her affection for Mr. Knightley.-- Every other part of her mind was disgusting.

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