Monday, 3 September 2018

Treasured Pencil in Austen's Emma

"Here," resumed Harriet, turning to her box again, "here is something still more valuable - I mean that has been more valuable - because this is what did really once belong to him...

Emma was quite eager to see this superior treasure. It was the end of an old pencil, the part without any lead.

"This was really his," said Harriet. "Do you remember one morning? - no, I dare say you do not. But one morning - I forget exactly the day - but perhaps it was the Tuesday or Wednesday before that evening,  he wanted to make a memorandum in his pocket-book; it was about spruce-beer. Mr Kightley had been telling him something about brewing spruce-beer, and he wanted to put it down; but when he took out his pencil, there was so little lead that he soon cut it all away, and it would not do, so you lent him another, and this was left upon the table as good for nothing. But I kept my eye on it, and, as soon as I dared, caught it up, and never parted with it again from that moment."

Jane Austen, Emma, 1815

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