Chapter Nineteen – Male Concerns
Mr Woodhouse was not in a happy frame of mind. He had some very serious concerns about his daughter, because she seemed to have turned into a completely different woman, of lately.
Instead of rushing headlong from one scheme into another, Emma seemed calm and serene, which was not in her habit. What could cause such a change, Mr Woodhouse asked himself. He pondered over several reasons, or events, or even mood swings, which could probably be the source of Emma’s serenity.
Was she unwell? Although it was the end of July, the afternoons sometimes turned frisky, and young persons were not inclined to notice such temperature drops, until it was too late.
Was she perhaps unhappy? Mr Woodhouse remembered his own marriage to Emma’s mother, and how they had fared during those first months. Although they had done tolerably well, and been more than tolerably happy, they had to endure various changes in their status and consequence. Emotions ran high when two people were so intimately involved with each other.
Ah, emotions … Mr Woodhouse did fervently disapprove of the cursed things, and more to point, of expressing them in public. And to be precise, Mr Woodhouse considered the marriage bed the only place where those dangerous emotions were to be let loose. Never, ever should they be allowed to pass the threshold of the conjugal bedchamber.
In short, Mr Woodhouse was so thoroughly uneasy that he decided – albeit reluctantly – to take action. He went in search of Mr Knightley.
George Knightley sat behind his desk in Mr Woodhouse’s study, which was now his study. Emma’s father happily left the estate matters to his son-in-law, so he gladly made use of the spacious, loftily furnished room.
Yet George was not doing anything useful, and had not been doing it for the last two hours. He was brooding over Emma, and there was nothing new in that. After they had returned to the house, that morning, Emma had excused herself to her husband, claiming she had important and urgent matters to see to. She had left the house, carrying two wicker baskets, which contained – or so George surmised – the acclaimed Donwell Abbey strawberries. Since then, she had not returned.
George’s brooding was disturbed when his father-in-law entered, and the old man was wearing the same brooding expression that was visible on George’s own face.
“Good afternoon, sir,” George greeted his visitor. “How can I help you?”
“Ah, Mr Knightley, I apologize for disturbing you, but there is a matter of great concern that asks for your insight and remediation.”
“Please, have a seat. I think I know what worries you so, sir. It worries me just the same. Forgive my boldness, but is it Emma you are concerned of?”
“Yes!” Mr Woodhouse exclaimed. “How did you guess?”
“Ah, my dear sir, it is very obvious, is it not? She has been behaving strangely for the past days, has she not? I tried to wriggle it out of her, but failed. I presumed you have made the same effort?”
“Well, erm, I have but … I fear I am not very skilled in prodding for Emma’s thoughts. She always manages to escape as soon as I start prodding, wretched girl that she is! But, Mr Knightley, we are digressing. So you do not know what ails her, either?”
“It is, in my opinion, not an ailment we have to reckon with. It is a frame of mind which I have never seen on her before. She is … and here I find myself searching for the right word – being surreptitious, Mr Woodhouse. She is avoiding us, and that we cannot have. We must try and entrap her, and then force her to make a full confession. Not an easy task, if you ask me.”
Mr Woodhouse sighed. “No, Mr Knightley, it certainly is not.”
And so it happened to be that Emma was waylaid the minute she entered Hartley’s hall. The two men in her life that were most important to her were waiting, Papa seated in a high-backed chair, and George standing near the banister, arm crossed and a mocking smile on his handsome face.
As always, Emma’s defence was ready.
Returning Series in Season 3
Season 2 DVD Released (rent or buy)
In this revisioning of the classic story by Alexandre Dumas, the young D’Artagnan of Gascon sets out for Paris and ends up becoming a King’s Musketeer. Veteran Musketeers Athos, Porthos, and Aramis take him under their wing and together they battle against the machinations of those who would undermine the rule of King Louis XIII. Their primary enemy is Cardinal Richelieu, the most powerful man in France, who often controls the young king despite the efforts of Louis’ wife Queen Anne of Spain. Richelieu will do anything to see France meet its destiny… even if it means undermining the King. His primary agent is Milady, a mysterious woman with ties to Athos’ past. But the Musketeers have allies of their own, including the beautiful young Constance, and the support of Captain Treville.
The highly fictionalized series follows the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots during her years living in France. The first season opens in 1557, with Mary living in French court and awaiting her marriage to Prince Francis, to whom she has been engaged since they were six. Mary has to contend with changing politics and power plays, as well as her burgeoning feelings for Francis and the romantic attentions of Francis’ bastard half-brother, Bash. Francis’ mother, Catherine de’ Medici, secretly tries to prevent the marriage following Nostradamus’s confidential prediction that the marriage will lead to Francis’ death. The series also follows the affairs of Mary’s Scottish handmaidens Kenna, Aylee, Lola and Greer, who are searching for husbands of their own at court.
Despite the show’s subject matter, there are no Scottish or French actors in the main cast and the show has yet to air in the UK, although full episodes are found on YouTube
On February 13, 2014, The CW renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on October 2, 2014. On January 11, 2015, The CW renewed the series for a third season, which is currently in production and will premiere on October 9, 2015
A personal favorite on mine.
Sir Tony Robinson has revealed that Blackadder might be coming back for a brand new season.
The classic sitcom ran on BBC One for four seasons between 1985 and 1989, followed by a number of one-off specials.
Robinson, who played Baldrick, told The Sun: “I do think a new series of Blackadder is on the cards. I have spoken to virtually all the cast about this now.”
The 69-year-old Time Team presenter joked: “The only problem is Hugh [Laurie]’s fee. He’s a huge star now – or so he’d like to think.”
Laurie was reportedly paid £250,000 per episode of House at its peak. The US medical drama ran from 2004 to 2012.
Robinson added: “Expectations for a new series will be high because people not only remember the original; they remember who they were when it was on. It’s a big danger.”
Note: Hugh Bonnevile (Downton Abbey) was in that show on occasions, but they don’t mention him or his salary.
While in medieval Korea, a young girl sets out to revenge the betrayal and the death of her mother. But therefore she must face one of the most powerful men and warriors of the Goryo Dynasty.
Chapter Eighteen – Understanding Dawns
As if drawn by an invisible force, Emma did as she was told. She let herself down on a hassock at the old gypsy woman’s feet. An unfamiliar, though not unpleasant scent reached her nose, and when the woman took her hand, Emma found the touch warm and strong.
“You, my child, have two heavy burdens weighing upon your young life. One of them is about your fear that you will not bear your husband an heir.”
Emma looked up in surprise. The old woman’s face was still, her eyes closed, as if her touch alone was able to make her read Emma’s thoughts. She opened her mouth to ask questions, but Elsbietha quieted her with a gesture of her hand.
“Many young women of your class have that same fear, child. It is a burden, laid upon you by English society, in which young women are sold into marriage. Yes, sold. Their fathers or brothers bargain for a marriage that brings advantage to both families. Such a shame, because it brings only sorrow and heartache. But you, my child, are not one of those unfortunates. You have married for love.”
How did this woman know all that? Emma was stunned, because she had thought that her private life had been very much her own. Yet here was a stranger, both to her class and her nation, who knew her so well that she could read Emma’s mind. How was that possible? She wanted to ponder over it, but Elsbietha was speaking again.
“Because you love your husband, you will give him children. You do not have to do anything, nor concern yourself over it. Nature – our mutual Mother, who guides both our lives – will prevail.”
“But … I do not understand,” Emma stammered. “Why has it not happened yet, if you speak the truth?”
Elsbietha smiled. “How long have you been married, my child?”
Emma – her wit returning – said in defiance, “If you are so omniscient, you must surely know that, ma’am!”
A cackle of high-pitched laughter escaped the old woman. “Very good! I like a bit of spirit in a young woman!” Then she grew serious again.
“It has only been these three months, child. It is too early yet to be increasing. A woman’s body has to grow accustomed to a man’s touch, and to adjust to the state of marriage. Give yourself some time and do not fret unnecessarily. If you keep worrying, you will close off your heart and your body for the touches of your husband. His seed will not take root inside you.”
Such talk was very unfamiliar to Emma, and she blushed fiercely. Elsbietha smiled and touched her cheek with a withered finger. “It is high summer now. Before the heat of next year, you will have a son. I make this vow to you, child, because I know. I have seen a little boy in your future.”
“How?” Emma asked, her voice trembling. “How can you see such a thing? You are telling me this, just to soothe me and maybe, to extract money from me. Is it money you want? I will not give you any, ma’am! I think you are a fraud!”
Elsbietha smiled again, unperturbed. “We will see who is right, my child. Now, let me tell you about your other deep concern.”
She opened her eyes, for the first time since Emma had been there. Her eyes were a bright green, Emma saw, and they fixed on her with intent.
“You must not worry over your dear father, child. He is getting on in years, I know, but he is stronger than he looks. Do you think a man weak, when he has been able to rise two infant daughters on his own? No, your papa will live to be old, but there will be the curses of old age to be reckoned with. He will slowly lose his memory, forget about his family, only to dwell in the far past, when he was in the bliss of youth. It was then that he knew your mama, and was extremely happy with her.”
“Oh, you are mean to tell me this!” Emma blurted out, jumping up from the hassock. “My papa is the best, the cleverest, the sweetest of men!”
She turned and ran past Agnetha, out of the wagon and the camp. All the way to Hartley, Emma cried and sobbed, hurrying from the woods in deep distress. She had reached the outer borders of the grounds, when she ran into her husband. She threw herself against him and sobbed her heart out.
George caught her hastily in his arms, lest she fell to the ground. “Emma, Emma, my love, whatever happened? Are you hurt? Unwell? Blast it, Emma, talk!”
“Oh, George, I am such a hare-brained idiot!” She clung to him, staring him in the face with tears running down her cheeks. “I was such a foolish, shallow, arrogant creature, that I cannot imagine you could ever have me as your wife!”
Oh, dear. George scooped her up and walked toward a bench bordering the formal gardens. He knew this place well. It had been on that same spot, where he and Emma had first professed their love for each other. He sat down and put Emma on his lap. Framing her face in his big hands, he said in a stern voice, “Emma Knightley, if you do not instantly tell me what is wrong, I am going to spank you.”
He grinned when he saw her scowling at him in her almost usual fiery mood. “Oh, good! You are with me, then! Start talking, woman.”
Emma hiccupped, accepted George’s proffered handkerchief, and wiped her face.
“George, I apologize for being such a nitwit, but I promise I will mend my ways. I have been acting in a most inappropriate way, and not only to my friends and neighbours, but also, and foremost, to you.”
Puzzled – for he had still not an inkling of what his Emma was talking about – George asked, “Inappropriate? You, my love? Pray, tell me, in what way?”
“My dearest George, you are the sweetest of men, but I cannot believe that you do not conceive of what I am talking! You are only indulging me, are you not?”
“Emma, I give in. Please, free me of this conundrum!”
Emma jumped up, took her husband’s hand and said, “Let us go home, my love. Papa will not know where we have gone to.”
George could not do otherwise but follow his wife home.