Emma - Jane Austen - Страница 1 из 587

By Jane Austen
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home
and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of
existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very
little to distress or vex her.
She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate,
indulgent father; and had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been
mistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had died
too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of
her caresses; and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as
governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection.
Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as a
governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly
of Emma. Between _them_ it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even before
Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the
mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint;
and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been
living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma
doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but
directed chiefly by her own.
The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having
rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too
well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to
her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived,

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