Saturday, 6 January 2018
"The whole party were but just reassembled in the drawing-room [after dinner], when Mr Weston made his appearance among them. He had returned to a late dinner, and walked to Hatfield as soon as it was over. He had been too much expected by the best judges, for surprize - but there was great joy. Mr Woodhouse was almost as glad to see him now, as he would have been sorry to see him before.
John Knightly only was in mute astonishment. - That a man who might have spent his evening quietly at home after a day of business in London, should set off again, and walk half-a-mile to another man's house, for the sake of being in mixed company till bed-time, of finishing his day in the efforts of civility and the noise of numbers, was a circumstance to strike him deeply. A man who had been in motion since eight o'clock in the morning, and might now have been still, who had been long talking; and might have been silent, who had been in more than one crowd, and might have been alone! -
Such a man, to quit the tranquillity and independence of his own fire-side, and on the evening of a cold and sleety April day rush out again into the cold! -
Could he by the touch of his finger have instantly taken back his wife, there would have been a motive, but his coming would probably prolong rather than break up the party. John Knightly looked at him with amazement, then shrugged his shoulders, and said, 'I could not have believed it even of him.' "
In chapter thirty-five of Emma by Jane Austen (first published 1815).