Harriet blushed and smiled, and said something about wondering that people should like her so much. The idea of Mr. Elton was certainly cheering; but still, after a time, she was tender-hearted again about the rejected Mr. Martin.

“Now he has got my letter,” she said softly. “I wonder what they are all doing–whether his sisters know–if he is unhappy, they will be unhappy too. I hope he will not mind it so very much.”

“Let us think of those among our absent friends who are more cheerfully employed,” cried Emma. “At this moment, perhaps, Mr. Elton is shewing your picture to his mother and sisters, telling how much more beautiful is the original, and after being asked for it five or six times, allowing them to hear your name, your own dear name.”

“My picture!–but he has left my picture in Bond-street.”

“He has so!–Then I know nothing of Mr. Elton. No, my dear litle modest Harriet, depend upon it the picture will not be in Bond-street till just before he mounts his horse to-morrow. It is his companion all this evening, his solace, his delight. It opens his designs to his family, it introduces you among them, it diffuses through the party those pleasant feelings of our nature eager curiosity and warm prepossession. How cheerful, how animated, how suspicious, how busy their imaginations are!”

Harriet smiled again, and her smiles grew stronger.



Harriet slept at Hartifled that night. For some weeks past she had been spending more than half her time there, and gradually getting to have a bedroom appropriated to herself; and Emma judged it best in every respect, safest and kindest, to keep her with them as much as possible just at present. She was obliged to go to the next morning for an hour or two to Mrs. Goddard’s, but it was then to be settled that she should return to Hartfield, to make a regular visit for some days.

While she was gone, Mr. Knightley called, and sat some time with Mr. Woodhouse and Emma, till Mr. Woodhouse, who had previously made up his mind to walk out, was persuaded by his daughter not to defer it, and was induced by the entreaties of both, though against the scruples of his own civility, to leave Mr. Knightley for that purpose. Mr. Knightley, who had nothing of ceremony about him, was offering by his short, decided answers, an amusing contrast to the protected apologies and civil hesitations of the other.

“Well, I believe if you will excuse me, Mr. Knightley, if you would not consider me as doing a very rude thing, I shall take Emma’s advice and go out for a quarter of an hour. As the sun is out, I believe I had better take my three turns while I can. I treat you without ceremony, Mr. Knightley. We invalids think we are privileged people.

“My dear sir, do not make a stranger of me.”

“I leave an excellent substitute in my daughter. Emma will be happy to entertain you. And there