so deep in conversation with John Knightley, that it would have been too positive an interruption; and finding himself close to Mrs. Elton, and her attention disengaged, he necessarily began on the subject with her.
'I HOPE I shall soon have the pleasure of introducing my son to you,' said Mr. Weston.
Mrs. Elton, very willing to suppose a particular compliment intended her by such a hope, smiled most graciously.
'You have heard of a certain Frank Churchill, I presume,' he continued--'and know him to be my son, though he does not bear my name.'
'Oh! yes, and I shall be very happy in his acquaintance. I am sure Mr. Elton will lose no time in calling on him; and we shall both have great pleasure in seeing him at the Vicarage.'
'You are very obliging.--Frank will be extremely happy, I am sure.--He is to be in town next week, if not sooner. We have notice of it in a letter to-day. I met the letters in my way this morning, and seeing my son's hand, presumed to open it--though it was not directed to me--it was to Mrs. Weston. She is his principal correspondent, I assure you. I hardly ever get a letter.'
'And so you absolutely opened what was directed to her! oh! Mr. Weston--(laughing affectedly) I must protest against that.--A most dangerous precedent indeed!--I beg you will not let your neighbours follow your example.--Upon my word, if this is what I am to expect, we married women must begin to exert ourselves!--Oh! Mr. Weston, I could not have believed it of you!'
'Aye, we men are sad fellows. You must take care of yourself, Mrs. Elton.--This letter tells us--it is a short letter-- written in a hurry, merely to give us notice--it tells us that they are all coming up to town directly, on Mrs. Churchill's