When the ladies returned to the drawing-room after dinner, Emma found it hardly possible to prevent their making two distinct parties;--with so much perseverance in judging and behaving ill did Mrs. Elton engross Jane Fairfax and slight herself. She and Mrs. Weston were obligated to be almost always either talking together or silent together. Mrs. Elton left them no choice. If Jane repressed her for a little time, she soon began again; and though much that time passed between them was in a half-whisper, especially on Mrs. Elton’s side, there was no avoiding a knowledge of their principle subjects:—The post-office—catching cold—fetching letters—and friendship, were long under discussion; and to them succeeded one, which must be at least equally unpleasant to Jane- inquiries whether she had yet heard of any situation likely to suit her, and professions of Mrs. Elton’s meditated activity.
“Here is April come!” said she, “I get quite anxious about you. June will soon be here.”
“But I have never fixed on June or any other month—merely looked forward to the summer in general.”
“But have you really heard of nothing?”
“I have not even made any inquiry; I do not wish to make any yet.”
“Oh my dear, we cannot begin too early; you are not aware of the difficulty of procuring exactly the desirable thing.”
“I not aware!” said Jane, shaking her head; “dear Mrs. Elton, who can have thought of it as I have done?”