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EMMABy Jane AustenVOLUME ICHAPTER IEmma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable homeand happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings ofexistence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with verylittle 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, beenmistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had diedtoo long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance ofher caresses; and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman asgoverness, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection.Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as agoverness than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularlyof Emma. Between _them_ it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even beforeMiss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, themildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint;and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had beenliving together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emmadoing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, butdirected chiefly by her own.The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of havingrather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little toowell of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy toher 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 anydisagreeable consciousness.--Miss Taylor married. It was Miss Taylor'sloss which first brought grief. It was on the wedding-day of thisbeloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of anycontinuance. The wedding over, and the bride-people gone, her father andherself were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheera long evening. Her father composed himself to sleep after dinner, asusual, and she had then only to sit and think of what she had los.