unprepared I was!—for I had reason to believe her very lately more determined against him, much more, than she was before.”

“You ought to know your friend best,” replied Mr. Knightley; “but I should say she was a good-tempered, soft-hearted girl, not likely to be very, very determined against any young man who told her he loved her.”

Emma could not help laughing as she answered, “Upon my word, I believe you know her quite as well as I do.—But, Mr. Knightley, are you perfectly sure that she has absolutely and downright accepted him.—I could suppose she might in time—but can she already?—Did not you misunderstand him?—You were both talking of other things; of business, shows of cattle, or new drills—and might not you, in the confusion of so many subjects, mistake him?—It was not Harriet’s hand that he was certain of—it was the dimensions of some famous ox.”

The contrast between the countenance and air of Mr. Knightley and Robert Martin was, at this moment, so strong to Emma’s feelings, and so strong was the recollection of all that had so recently passed on Harriet’s side, so fresh the sound of those words spoken with such emphasis, “No, I hope I know better than to think of Robert Martin,” that she was really expecting the intelligence to prove, in some measure, premature. It could not be otherwise.

“Do you dare say this?” cried Mr. Knightley. “Do you dare to suppose me so great a blockhead, as to not know what a man is talking of?—What do you deserve?”

“Oh! I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other; and therefore, you must give me a plain, direct answer. Are you quite sure that you understand the terms on which Mr. Martin and Harriet now are?”


“I am quite sure,” he replied, speaking very distinctively, “that he told me she had accepted him; and that there was obscurity, nothing doubtful, in the words he used; and I think I can give you a proof that it must be so. He asked my opinion as to what he was now to do. He knew of no one but Mrs. Goddard to whom he could apply for information of her relations or friends. Could I mention anything more fit to be done, than to go to Mrs. Goddard? I assured him that I could not. Then, he said, he would endeavor to see her in the course of this day.”

“I am perfectly satisfied,” replied Emma, with the brightest of smiles, “and most sincerely wish them happy.”

“You are materially changed since we talked on this subject before.”

“I hope so—for at that time I was a fool.”

“And I am changed also; for I am now very willing to grant you all Harriet’s good qualities. I have taken some pains for your sake, and for Robert Martin’s sake, (whom I have always had reason to believe as much in love with her as ever,) to get acquainted with her. I have often talked to her a good deal. You must have seen that I did. Sometimes, indeed, I have thought you were half suspecting me of pleading poor Martin’s cause, which was never the case: but, from all my observations, I am convinced of her being an artless, amiable girl, with very good notions, very seriously good principles, and placing her happiness in the affections and utility of domestic life.—Much of this, I have no doubt, she may thank you for.”

“Me!” cried Emma, shaking her head.—“Ah! poor Harriet!”

She checked herself, however, and submitted quietly to a little more praise than she deserved. Their conversation was soon afterwards closed by the entrance of her father. She was not sorry. She

VOL. ii. Y