• Narrator

    Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence;

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  • 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.

  • Narrator

    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.

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  • 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.

  • Narrator

    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;

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  • these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments.

  • The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.

  • Sorrow came--a gentle sorrow--but not at all in the shape of any disagreeable consciousness.--Miss Taylor married.

  • It was Miss Taylor's loss which first brought grief.

  • Narrator

    It was on the wedding-day of this beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of any continuance.

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  • The wedding over, and the bride-people gone, her father and herself were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening.

  • Her father composed himself to sleep after dinner, as usual, and she had then only to sit and think of what she had lost.