The rain had been ticking the whole day against the windows in Hartfield`s parlour. And although the flowers were all at bloom in the garden, they looked depressed, like they were in mourning.
Emma woke up from her thoughts. “Well maybe they are” came up in her mind. They had always been so much joy to dear Mrs Bates. Her deafness had made her quite silent over the last years, but Emma could remember how she used to compliment her father and herself when she and her daughter, Miss Bates, came to visit them.
“It is such a sad day Emma”, said Mr Woodhouse when he walked into the parlour. “I tried to rest, but I can´t stop thinking about poor Miss Bates, how will she cope, how will she manage, how lonely she must be. It is too much to bear. I will send Dr Perry first thing tomorrow to have a look at her.”
“I know my dear Emma but it is so difficult, the sudden death of Mrs Bates and also you being pregnant. What is to be done, my dear Emma?”
If only it would stop raining, thought Emma, I would join him on his daily walk through the gardens. The exercise will do him good. But unfortunately the rain kept pouring down.
She felt relieved when she saw him falling asleep after he had finished a cup of tea, sitting in his sofa near the fire.
Emma had really hoped that her father would have looked more forward to the arrival of her baby. But this had not been the case. On the contrary, not a day went by without her father urging her to sit down as much as possible and asking her if she was feeling alright. Shall I ask James to fetch Dr Perry, you look so pale my dearest Emma, had lately been frequently heard.
Last week, after Mrs Weston came to visit with little Anna, who was now able to walk, he told Emma he hoped her baby would cry less, because it was too much for his nerves.
Emma was so deep in her thoughts, that she had not noticed that Mr Knightley has returned from his visit to Miss Bates.
“My Emma, you looked so distressed. Pray, do tell me what is on your mind. Are you worried about Miss Bates?” Mr Knightley knew how much Emma has tried to do her best to be friendly to Miss Bates after the dreadful Box Hill pick-nick.
“Indeed Mr Knightley, what has to be become of her? She will be so lonely, nobody to talk to, nobody to take care of. Her niece now living in Yorkshire and pregnant as well. Miss Bates is such an unfortunate woman, I wish I could be more of a comfort to her.”
“Oh George”, she cried of happiness.
“My lovely Emma”, said he surprised, “this is the third time ever you called me George. Remember, a year ago I begged you to call me George. Maybe this will be a start to call me less formal.”
“I will really consider it, my dear Mr Knightley, but first let us consider how to tell my father. By all means, it will be a difficult task. But I think you already have come with a plan Mr Knightley.”
“To be sure, my dearest Emma, to be sure.”
(c) Odette Snel