having somewhat of the privilege of speech that Emma’s mother might have had) the liberty of hinting that I do know think any possible good can arise from Harriet Smith’s intimacy being made a matter of much discussion among you. Pray excuse me; but supposing any little inconvenience may be apprehended from the intimacy, it cannot be expected that Emma, accountable to nobody but her father, who perfectly approves the acquaintance, should put an end to it, so long as it is a source of pleasure to herself. It has beans many years my province to give advice, that you cannot be surprized, Mr. Knightley, at this little remains of office.”

“Not at all,” cried he; “I am much obliged to you for it. It is very good advice, and it shall have a better fate than your advice has often found; for it shall be attended to.”

“Mrs. John Knightley is easily alarmed, and might be made unhappy about her sister.”

“Be satisfied,” said he, “I will not raise any outcry. I will keep my ill-humous to myself. I have a very sincere interest in Emma. Isabella does not seem more my sister; has never excited a greater interest; perhaps hardly so great. There is an anxiety, a curiosity in what one feels for Emma. I wonder what will become of her!”

“So do I,” said Mrs. Weston gently; “very much.”

“She always declares she will never marry, which, of course, means just nothing at all. But I have no idea that she has yet ever seen a man she cared for. It would not be a bad thing for her to be very much in love with a proper object. I should like to see Emma in love, and in some doubt of a return; it would do her good. But there is nobody hereabouts to attach her; and she goes so seldom from home.”

“There does, indeed, seem as little to tempt her to break her resolution, at present,” said Mrs. Weston,


“as can well be; and while she is so happy at Hartfield, I cannot wish her to be forming any attachment which would be creating such difficulties, on poor Mr. Woodhouse’s account. I do not recommend matrimony at present to Emma, though I mean no slight to the state I assure you.”

Part of her meaning was to conceal favourite thoughts of her own and Mr. Weston’s on the subject, as much as possible. There were wishes at Randalls respecting Emma’s destiny, but it was not desirable to have them suspected and the quiet transition which Mr. Knightley soon afterwards made to “What does Weston think of the weather; shall we have rain?” convinced her that he had nothing more to say or surmise about Hartfield.