infinite pleasure should he have in executing it! he could ride to London at any time. It was impossible to say how much he should be gratified by being employed on such an errand.”

“He was too good! – she could not endure the thought! – she would not give him such a troublesome office for the world” – brought on the desired repetition of entreaties and assurances, and a very few minutes settled the business.

Mr. Elton was to take the drawing to London, chuse the frame, and give the directions; and Emma thought she could pack it as to ensure its safety without much incommoding him, while he seemed mostly fearful of not being incommoded enough.

“What a precious deposit!” said he with a tender sigh, as he received it.

“This man is almost too gallant to be in love,” thought Emma. “I should say so, but that I suppose there may be a hundred different ways of being in love. He is an excellent young man, and will suit Harriet exactly; it will be an ‘Exactly so,’ as he says himself; but he does sigh and languish, and study for compliments rather more than I could endure as a principal. I come in for a pretty good share as a second. But it is his gratitude on Harriet’s account.”



The very day of Mr. Elton’s going to London produced a fresh occasion for Emma’s services towards her friend. Harriet had been at Hartfield, as usual, soon after breakfast; and after a time, had gone home to return again to dinner, she returned, and sooner than had been talked of, and with an agitated, hurried look, announcing something extraordinary to have happened which she was longing to tell. Half a minute brought it all out. She had heard, as soon as she got back to Mrs. Goddard’s, that Mr. Martin had been there an hour before, and finding she was not at home, nor particularly expected, had left a little parcel for her from one of his sisters, and gone away; and on opening this parcel, she had actually found, besides the two songs which she had lent Elizabeth to copy, a letter to herself; and this letter was from him, from Mr. Martin, and contained a direct proposal of marriage.

“Who could have thought it! She was so surprized she did not know what to do. Yes, quite a proposal of marriage; and a very good letter, at least she thought so. And he wrote as if he really loved her very much—but she did not know—and so, she was come as fast as she could to ask Miss Woodhouse what she should do.”—Emma was half ashamed of her friend for seeming so pleased and so doubtful.

“Upon my word,” she cried, “the young man is determined not to lose any thing for want of asking. He will connect himself well if he can.”

“Will you read the letter?” cried Harriet. “Pray do. I’d rather you would.”