society above him. I was very much pleased with all that he said. I never hear better sense from any one than Robert Martin. He always speaks to the purpose; open, straight forward, and very well judging. He told me every thing; his circumstances and plans, and what they all proposed doing in the event of his marriage. He is an excellent young man, both as son and brother. I had no hesitation in advising him to marry. He proved to me that he could afford it; and that being the case, I was convinced he could not do better. I praised the fair lady too, and altogether sent him away very happy. If he had never esteemed my opinion before, he would have thought highly of me; and, I dare say, left the house thinking me the best friend and counsellor man ever had. This happened the night before last. Now, as we may fairly suppose, he would not allow much time to pass before he spoke to the lady, and as he does not appear to have spoken yesterday, it is not unlikely that he should be at Mrs. Goddard’s to day; and she may be detained by a visitor, without thinking him at all a tiresome wretch.”

“Pray, Mr. Knightley,” said Emma, who had been smiling to herself through a great part of this speech, “how do you know that Mr. Martin did not speak yesterday?”

“Certainly,” he replied, surpirized, “I do not absolutely know it; but it may be inferred. Was not she the whole day with you?”

“Come,” said she, “I will tell you something, in return for what you have told me. He did speak to her yesterday–that is, he wrote, and was refused.”

This was obliged to be repeated before it could be believed; Mr. Knightley actually looked red with surprize and displeasure, as he stood up, in tall indignation, and said,


“Then she is a greater simpleton that I ever believed her. What is the foolish girl about?”

“Oh! to be sure,” cried Emma, it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for any-body who asks her.”

“Nonsense! a man does not imagine any such thing. But what is the meaning of this? Harriet Smith refuses Robert Martin? madness, if it is so; but I hope you are mistaken.”

“I saw her answer, nothing could be clearer.”

“You saw her answer! you wrote her answer too. Emma, this is your doing. You persuaded her to refuse him.”

“And if I did (which, however, I am far from allowing) I should not feel that I had done wrong. Mr. Martin is a very respectable young man, but I cannot admit him to be Harriet’s equal; and I am rather surpized indeed that he should have ventured to address her. By your account, he does seem to have some scruples. It is a pity that they were ever got over.”

“Not Harriet’s equal!” exclaimed Mr. Knightley loudly and warmly; and with calmer asperity, added, a few moments afterwards, “No, he is not her equal indeed, for he is as much her superior in sense as in situation. Emma, your infatuation about that girl blinds you. What are Harriet Smith’s claims, either of birth, nature or education, to any connection higher than Robert Martin? She is the natural daughter of nobody knows whom, with probably no settled provisions at all, and certainly no respectable relations. She is known only as parlour-boarder at a common school. She is not a sensible girl, nor a girl of any information. She has been taught nothing useful, and is too young and too simple to have acquired any thing herself. At her age she can have no experience, and with her