فصل 02

مجموعه: کتاب های خیلی ساده / کتاب: اِما / درس 2

کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 02

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CHAPTER TWO

A Second Offer

Mr Knightley was so angry that it was some time before he went to Hartfield again. When Emma saw him again she could see that he had not forgiven her and she was sorry about that.

But she thought her plan was succeeding. Every time Mr Elton met Harriet and Emma he sighed a little more and Emma was certain he really did love Harriet.

Harriet was making herself a little book of poems, and some of the people she knew had suggested their favourites for the book. One day Emma told Mr Elton about it and then she said, ‘Perhaps you could write something for Harriet’s book? You are so clever it will be easy for you,’

‘I’m sure I couldn’t do it,’ he replied, but the next day he called at Hartfield and left a paper with a short poem written on it. It was addressed to Miss -.

‘He means it for you of course,’ said Emma.

They read the poem together and saw that it was a very pretty love poem. Harriet was delighted with it.

‘Mr Elton! He really is in love with me!’ she sighed.

The poem was read to Mr Woodhouse and he said it was probably the best they had found. Then he started talking about Isabella.

‘She is coming next week, and they will all be here for Christmas.’

‘We must ask Mr and Mrs Weston to dinner while they are here, Papa. And Harriet must come as often as she can,’ said Emma. ‘You will love my nieces and nephews,’ Emma said to Harriet,’ and it will be a Christmas to remember.’

The next day, Emma had to visit a poor sick family in the village and Harriet went with her. The road to their little house passed the church and then later Mr Elton’s house and for a moment they stopped to look at it. It was the first time Harriet had seen where Mr Elton lived.

‘What a sweet house!’ said Harriet.

‘And there you and your book of poems will go one day. Then I shall often walk this way,’ replied Emma.

They continued their walk and visited the family. Emma was a very kind young lady and she took them food and clothes for the children and tried to help as much as she could.

As they started their walk back to Hartfield, they met Mr Elton just as he was coming out of his house and he asked if he could walk with them.

Emma wanted to let Harriet and Mr Elton walk together without her and so she stopped and bent down to check her boot. They walked on and seemed to be having an interesting conversation. Emma tried to keep a long way behind but soon they stopped, turned and waited for her to catch up with them. She had hoped Mr Elton might take the opportunity to tell Harriet he loved her, but he didn’t.

‘He is very careful,’ she thought. ‘He will not tell her until he is sure she loves him.’-

But although she did not succeed with that plan, she was certain they had moved a little closer to the great day of their marriage.

Isabella, John Knightley and their children arrived at Hartfield the week before Christmas. Mr Woodhouse was delighted to see them all again and the family were happy to be together. They talked about their friends in Highbury and of course they talked about Mr and Mrs Weston.

‘Do you see Mrs Weston often?’ asked Isabella.

‘Not as often as I would like, and she always goes away again,’ said Mr Woodhouse sadly.

‘But remember poor Mr Weston! She must go now that she is married, Papa,’ laughed Emma.

‘And what about the young man, Mr Weston’s son? Has he been to see his father since the wedding?’ asked John Knightley.

Everyone in Highbury knew about Mr Weston’s son, Frank, but nobody had seen him. Several times he had said he was coming but each time something had happened to stop the visit.

Frank’s aunt and uncle, Mr and Mrs Churchill, had adopted him when his mother died. He was only a baby and it seemed to Mr Weston at the time that it was the best thing to do. The Churchills had no children of their own and Frank took their family name. But Mrs Churchill was very jealous and wanted to keep Frank for herself. Although Frank saw his father once a year in London, he had not yet met his new wife.

If Frank Churchill finally did come to Highbury it would be very exciting for Mr and Mrs Weston, and for the whole village. Everybody looked forward to meeting him, especially Emma.

Mr Woodhouse told Isabella,’ I have seen a letter he wrote to Mrs Weston and he seems a very pleasant young man. I am only sorry he is not here now, so that you could meet him, my dear.’

Mrs Weston invited all the family to Randalls for dinner on Christmas Eve and Harriet, Mr Knightley and Mr Elton were asked to join them.Two carriages were going from Hartfield and Mr Woodhouse arranged to meet Mr Elton at his house and take him to Randalls with them.

The day before, Harriet became ill with a cough and a bad throat and so she could not go. Emma explained to Mr Elton and he said he was very sorry that Harriet was ill. Emma thought he might be so unhappy that he would not go to Randalls without Harriet but he surprised her.

‘It is a pity our friend cannot join our little party but I am looking forward to the evening,’ he told her. ‘We must hope she will soon feel better.’

Emma thought it strange that he was not more worried but she said nothing. During the journey, he was quite happy and even joked a little. He seemed to have forgotten poor Harriet and was obviously enjoying himself.

When they arrived at Randalls, Emma was surprised to find Mr Elton at her side most of the time. She heard Mr Weston telling the others something about Frank, but because Mr Elton was talking to her she could not hear everything.

Emma had an interest in Frank Churchill, although she had never met him. They were about the same age and because their two families were now joined in marriage it seemed to her that he was the man she should marry. She thought Mr and Mrs Weston had probably had the same idea, perhaps her father also.

At dinner she was sitting next to Mr Weston, and far from Mr Elton, so she had a chance to ask about Frank.

‘I should like to see two more people here tonight - your friend Miss Smith and my son,’ he said. ‘Did you know we had another letter from him this morning?

He will be with us in a fortnight. Mrs Weston doubts it, but I am sure he will come this time.’

‘If you think he will come, I shall think so too,’ said Emma. She hoped he was right because she wanted to meet Frank very much.

The evening at Randalls was a very pleasant one and, as they left for home, it started to snow.

Mr Woodhouse, Isabella and John all rode in the first carriage, and so Emma and Mr Elton were alone in the second. They had just driven through the gates and reached the road when suddenly Mr Elton jumped up from his seat to sit next to Emma and took her hand in his. She immediately moved across the carriage.

‘Mr Elton! What are you thinking of? Please stop this minute!’ cried Emma, afraid that he had drunk too much of Mr Weston’s excellent wine. But Mr Elton would not stop. He said he loved her and he would die if she refused to marry him. Again he moved next to Emma and again she moved away.

‘I cannot understand this,’ said Emma.’Surely it is Miss Smith you love, not me!’

‘Miss Smith? How can you think that?’ he asked.

‘But the painting - and the poem. Explain yourself, Mr Elton.’

‘Miss Smith means nothing to me. I thought the artist was wonderful, not the subject. And the poem was for you.’ Mr Elton tried to take Emma’s hand again. ‘Miss Smith is a pretty, pleasant girl and I wish her well, but my visits to Hartfield have been for you only.’

Emma was so surprised that she did not know what to say Mr Elton tried to take her hand again.

‘Your silence makes me think that you always understood me,’ he said.

‘Then I see we have both made a mistake. I do not wish you to have any interest in me, Mr Elton, and I do not intend to marry anyone at present.’

After that they sat silently until the carriage stopped outside Mr Elton’s house and he got out. They both said a cold ‘good night’ and the carriage drove Emma home to Hartfield, where the family were waiting for her.

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