فصل 09

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 09

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CHAPTER NINE

Three Weddings

That afternoon, Emma was walking in the garden when she saw Mr Knightley come through the gate. She did not know he had returned to Highbury and she was thinking of him and Harriet at exactly that moment. She was beginning to believe he might really love Harriet and they may perhaps marry one day.

They talked about Isabella and John but Mr Knightley was quieter than usual. Emma wondered whether he wanted to talk to her about Harriet but found it difficult to know how to start. She tried to make conversation.

‘We have some surprising news - a wedding.’

‘Miss Fairfax and Frank Churchill. I have already heard about it,’ he replied.

Emma immediately thought he had been to see Harriet before he came to Hartfield and she had told him. ‘How is it possible that you know?’ she asked.

‘Mr Weston wrote to me on business and he told me the news in his letter,’ he explained.

‘You are probably not as surprised as we were. You suspected it before and tried to warn me.’ Emma sighed. ‘But I would not listen to you. I seem to have been blind about a lot of things.’

Nothing was said for a few minutes, then Mr Knightley took her hand and pressed it to his heart.

‘Dear Emma, time will help you forget him,’ he said, ‘and he will soon be gone.’

‘You are very kind, but you have misunderstood. I am sorry for things I did and tried to do, but I never loved Frank Churchill and he did not love me. He was only trying to hide his love for Jane and I just enjoyed being with him. It was not love,’ said Emma.

There was suddenly a great difference in Mr Knightley. He held her hand tightly. ‘Emma, might there be a chance for me?’

Emma was so surprised she could not speak.

‘If your answer is “No” please tell me now, Emma. I cannot tell you everything I feel for you. If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more,’ he continued. ‘But you know what I am, everything I say to you is true. And I tell you now, my dear, that I have always loved you.’

Emma had never been happier. She told him then that she loved him too. As they kissed she thought, just for a moment, of Harriet and was glad she had not said anything to Mr Knightley about her.

They went into the house and had tea with Mr Woodhouse but, for the present, said nothing to him about their love. After Mr Knightley had gone, Emma wrote to Isabella and suggested she invited Harriet to London. She thought it would be a good idea if Harriet went away from Highbury for a short time so they did not see each other for a few weeks.

Later that day, Mr Knightley returned to Hartfield. He wanted to ask Emma to marry him but he was worried that Mr Woodhouse would be very upset if Emma left Hartfield and went to live in Mr Knightley’s house.

‘I could not leave him,’ said Emma.

‘We could all live in my house,’ he suggested.

‘He would be very unhappy if he had to leave Hartfield,’ said Emma.

‘Then there is only one answer,’ said Mr Knightley. ‘We must all live in Hartfield.’

It was a good idea and Emma said she would think about it before speaking to her father. The more she thought about it, the more delightful the idea became. The only thing that made her sad was Harriet. If she was still in love with Mr Knightley, she could not be a part of the happy picture in Emma’s mind.

Poor Harriet. Emma knew there was going to be a day when she could forget Mr Knightley, but it was not likely to be soon. It was too much to hope that even Harriet could be in love with more than three men in one year.

Harriet was invited to London as planned and, before Harriet left, Emma wrote to her and explained that she and Mr Knightley wanted to marry.

Mr Woodhouse’s carriage took Harriet to Isabella’s house and, after she had gone, Emma felt more comfortable. Now she could enjoy Mr Knightley’s visits without feeling guilty. She was sure that Harriet could find interesting things to do and there may be people to meet in London to help her forget all that had happened.

Emma told her father she and Mr Knightley were going to get married and they were all going to live in Hartfield. Mr Woodhouse did not like changes in his life and at first he was a little shocked.

‘We will always be here to look after you, Papa. Nothing will change for you, and you know how much you enjoy talking to Mr Knightley’ she said. Emma talked to him about it a little longer and he soon saw that they could all be happy together and it was really quite a good plan. ‘Perhaps in a year or two …’ he said.

The news spread quickly and generally people in Highbury thought it was a very good match, except for Mr and Mrs Elton. She had never liked Emma and thought it was terrible that they would all live together at Hartfield.

‘It will not work. It is a shocking idea,’ she said to her husband.

He just said, ‘She probably always meant to catch Knightley if she could.’

About two weeks later, Mr Knightley called at Hartfield one morning as usual and told Emma, ‘I have something to tell you - some news.’

‘Good or bad?’ she asked.

I think it is good, but I am afraid you will not agree with me. It is about Harriet Smith.’

Emma could not think what had happened to her.

‘She is going to marry Robert Martin,’ he said.

‘Good God, that is impossible so soon … how do you know this?’

‘Robert Martin told me himself, half an hour ago. You do not like the idea, I can see. But in time you will grow to like him as much as I do,’ he said.

‘I am not unhappy at all, just very surprised. Tell me the whole story. How did it happen?’ asked Emma.

Mr Knightley told her he had sent Robert to London with a message for John, and at his house he met Harriet again.

‘The family were going out together that evening and they asked Robert to join them. During the evening he told Harriet he still loved her and she agreed to marry him,’ he said.

‘I hope they will be very happy together,’ said Emma, with a smile.

‘Have you changed your mind about him?’

‘I think I have. I hope so, because I was a fool before.’

‘I have also changed my mind about her,’ said Mr Knightley. ‘I used to think she was a silly girl, but the more I talked to her the more I saw that she is kind and sensible. I sometimes thought you must wonder why I had suddenly started to spend time talking to Harriet,’ he continued, ‘but I wanted to get to know her and understand why you liked her so much. They will make a good match.’

Emma agreed and was very glad that her friend was now as happy as she was.

That afternoon, Emma and her father drove to Randalls. Mrs Weston was alone in the drawing room when they arrived but they had only just sat down when they saw a group of people in the garden.

‘Frank arrived here this morning and he has just come back in the carriage with Miss Fairfax, her aunt and her grandmother. They are coming in now,’ Mrs Weston said.

The little group came into the drawing room with Mr Weston, and Emma was very pleased to see Frank and Jane again. While the rest of the party talked together, Frank said to Emma, ‘I am surprised you did not suspect us. Once, I nearly told you but I changed my mind. I hope you can forgive me for the way I behaved to you. I know I was wrong and I only did it because I could see you had no thoughts of marriage.’

‘There is nothing to forgive,’ she said. ‘I also behaved badly.’ ‘I am delighted to see you again,’ he said,’ and also to hear that you and Mr Knightley are engaged. You will be very happy, I am sure of it.’

The next day, Harriet arrived back in Highbury and called on Emma immediately. She told her she felt a little foolish now when she thought of Mr Knightley, and Emma was pleased to see that she loved Mr Martin very much.

Very soon, Robert Martin was invited to Hartfield and Emma saw that Mr Knightley had been right about him. He was polite and kind and she had no doubt that Harriet was always going to be happy in his home surrounded by people who loved her.

Before the end of September, Harriet and Robert Martin were married in Highbury church by Mr Elton - the last of the three couples to get engaged and the first to be married.

Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill had planned their wedding for November and Emma and Mr Knightley thought October was a good time for theirs. Isabella and John were going to be staying at Hartfield at that time and they could look after Mr Woodhouse while the couple went away to the sea for a fortnight.

The only problem was making Emma’s father agree with them that October was a good time for the wedding. Mr Woodhouse thought it was too soon and suggested they wait a little longer but something happened to change his mind.

Mrs Weston’s chickens were all stolen from the chicken house one night and the same thing happened to other people in Highbury. Mr Woodhouse was very worried about this. He said he would be nervous in his house after John and Isabella had gone back to London if there was no other man at Hartfield to look after him. John had to return to London by the end of the first week in November so it was finally agreed that the wedding must be arranged for October.

Emma and Mr Knightley’s wedding was a simple one. Mrs Elton had not been invited and so her husband described it to her. She thought it sounded very plain and was nothing compared to her own wedding.

But the small group of true friends who were invited were delighted by it, and Emma and Mr Knightley were perfectly and completely happy.

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