Emma looked out of the window at the dismal landscape. The wind was blowing and the rain fell aggressively on the grass. Even though it was only three it was already dark. She had had to abandon her plan to visit her father as the weather was too inclement and did not know what to do with the rest of her day. There would be no visitors for sure. Nobody would venture out into this kind of storm.
Mr Knightley was away in London on some kind of business and the only people she could talk to were the servants.
‘I have to admit I am horribly bored’ she said to herself in a loud voice and then hoped nobody had heard her. As mistress of Donwell Abbey she had to be able to command respect, it would not do if the maids thought she was mad.
Sometimes she missed her single life. The time when she could do as she wanted. She had really enjoyed being the village matchmaker. But those days were over, her husband would not hear of such an idle pursuit without getting angry.
She decided to write a letter to her sister to pass the time. She did not have much to tell her as she had already written the day before, but it was better than nothing.
She also thought of writing to Harriet, but the truth was she did not have much to say to her ever since she had disregarded her advice and become Mrs Martin. Their lives were so different now. Well, she would write anyway. It would be quite an honour for Harriet to receive post from such an illustrious address.
She wished Mr Knightley was with her. He always knew how to keep her on her toes. There was not a boring moment by his side.
At six o’clock, when she thought she could not take any more of this unbearable solitude and empty time, her tea was brought to her.
She loved the delicate china, decorated with pink roses. And the cake looked scrumptious.
She ate a piece and then another one and then some bread and butter. She drank two cups of tea and then realized she was still hungry so she ate some more.
‘I did not use to eat so much before.’ she said in a loud voice once again. There was a maid waiting to take the tea things in the room with her and she noticed she had blushed. Mystified, she wondered why.
And then she started thinking and doing some calculations in her head.
‘Oh!’ she exclaimed. ‘It cannot be, can it?’
She smiled to herself, her boredom instantly forgotten. She had so many things to plan. She would have to redecorate the nursery and think of a name. Charlotte for a girl. And for a boy… She was not sure, she would let Mr Knightley choose.
It would be so wonderful, having a little person to love. A little person who would do what she told him to do. She would have someone to boss around again. But she would never tell her husband that.
At ten she went up to bed, exhausted but happy. She would wake up early the next day and if the weather was nice she would go to visit her Papa. She had to share the news with somebody and he would be so glad. Her Papa did not have too much to look forward to these days.
In the afternoon Mr Knightley would be back from his trip and she would surprise him. He had always loved children. He doted on their nephews and nieces and always played with them.
The next morning the sun shone brightly. A couple of trees had been felled by the gale and the grass was drenched but she would be able to venture outside in the carriage.
Her father was elated, as she had anticipated. But of course he had to be his usual anxious self.
‘Dear, you must have the best midwife to assist you during your confinement. You know giving birth is dangerous. I will take care of it. I would not want anything to happen to you.’
‘Nothing will happen to me, Papa.’
‘Mr Knightley has just arrived, Madam.’
She rushed up the stairs to look for him and found him in his room, freshening up.
‘How are you, my darling? Where have you been?’
‘I went to visit Papa. You know how lonely he is. How was your trip?’
‘Good. I even had time to visit John last night.’
‘Excellent. How are the children? And my sister?’
‘They are all fine.’
‘I have something to tell you… It is a great surprise!’
‘Yes, I think we are… I am… We are going to have a baby.’
‘That is wonderful news, my darling.’ he said with a smile.
‘You don’t seem surprised!’ Emma pouted.
‘Well, I had kind of suspected it. You have been eating ferociously of late. And you have this beautiful colour on your cheeks.’
Emma bit her tongue. Why did he always have to be more perceptive than her? Oh, well. It did not matter. She would enjoy this as much as she could.
‘Come on, let us go downstairs. There are lots of things we have to talk about. We have to agree on a name. And we also need to get the baby’s room ready.’
Mr Knightley smiled. His dear Emma would never change. So full of energy, so full of life. She needed constant entertainment. He had always feared married life would be too monotonous for her. But now he could relax. The little one would keep her occupied for many years to come.
(c) Maria Jose Garcia Ferrer