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Emma by Jane Austen
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VOLUME I



CHAPTER I


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

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. 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.