Mr. Elton certainly did not very well know what to say. He looked rather doubtingly--rather confused; said something about 'honour;'--glanced at Emma and at Harriet, and then seeing the book open on the table, took it up, and examined it very attentively. With the view of passing off an awkward moment, Emma smilingly said,
'You must make my apologies to your friend; but so good a charade must not be confined to one or two. He may be sure of every woman's approbation while he writes with such gallantry.'
'I have no hesitation in saying,' replied Mr. Elton, though hesitating a good deal while he spoke, 'I have no hesitation in saying--at least if my friend feels at all as I do--I have not the smallest doubt that, could he see his little effusion honoured as I see it, (looking at the book again, and replacing it on the table,) he would consider it as the proudest moment of his life.'
After this speech he was gone as soon as possible. Emma could not think it too soon; for with all his good and agreeable qualities, there was a sort of parade in his speeches which was very apt to incline her to laugh. She ran away to indulge the inclination, leaving the tender and the sublime of pleasure to Harriet's share.
THOUGH now the middle of December, there had yet been no weather to prevent the young ladies from tolerably regular exercise; and on the morrow, Emma had a charitable visit to pay to a poor sick family, who lived a little way out of Ffighbury.
Their road to this detached cottage was down Vicarage- lane, a lane leading at right-angles from the broad, though irregular, main street of the place; and, as may be inferred, containing the blessed abode of Mr. Elton. A few inferior