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MMA Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a
comfortablehome and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of E
the best blessings of existence；and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father；and had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been mistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses；and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection.
Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma.Between them it was more the intimacy of sisters.Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint；and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked；highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own.
The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself：these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.
Sorrow came—a gentle sorrow—but not at all in the shape of any disagreeable consciousness. Miss Taylor married.It was Miss Taylor's loss which first brought grief.It was on the wedding day of this beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of any continuance.The wedding over, and the bride people gone, her father and herself were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening.Her father composed himself to sleep after dinner, as usual, and she had then only to sit and think of what she had lost.
The event had every promise of happiness for her friend. Mr.Weston wasa man of unexceptionable character, easy fortune, suitable age, and pleasant manners；and there was some satisfaction in considering with what selfdenying, generous friendship she had always wished and promoted the match；but it was a black morning's work for her.The want of Miss Taylor would be felt every hour of every day.She recalled her past kindness—the kindness, the affection of sixteen years—how she had taught and how she had played with her from five years old—how she had devoted all her powers to attach and amuse her in health—and how nursed her through the various illnesses of childhood.A large debt of gratitude was owing here；but the intercourse of the last seven years, the equal footing and perfect unreserve which had soon followed Isabella's marriage, on their being left to each other, was yet a dearer, tenderer recollection.It had been a friend and companion such as few possessed：intelligent, well-informed, useful, gentle, knowing all the ways of the family, interested in all its concerns, and peculiarly interested in herself, in every pleasure, every scheme of hers—one to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and who had such an affection for her as could never find fault.
How was she to bear the change？—It was true that her friend was going only half a mile from them；but Emma was aware that great must be the difference between a Mrs. Weston, only half a mile from them, and a Miss Taylor in the house；and with all her advantages, natural and domestic, she was now in great danger of suffering from intellectual solitude.She dearly loved her father, but he was no companion for her.He could not meet her in conversation, rational or playful.
The evil of the actual disparity in their ages（and Mr. Woodhouse had not married early）was much increased by his constitution and habits；for having been a valetudinarian all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years；and though everywhere beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could not have recommended him at any time.
Her sister, though comparatively but little removed by matrimony, being settled in London, only sixteen miles off, was much beyond her daily reach；and many a long October and November evening must be struggled through atHartfield, before Christmas brought the next visit from Isabella and her husband, and their little children, to fill the house, and give her pleasant society again.
Highbury, the large and populous village, almost amounting to a town, to which Hartfield, in spite of its separate lawn, and shrubberies, and name, did really belong, afforded her no equals. The Woodhouses were first in consequence there.All looked up to them.She had many acquaintance in the place, for her father was universally civil, but not one among them who could be accepted in lieu of Miss Taylor for even halfa day.It was a melancholy change；and Emma could not but sigh over it, and wish for impossible things, till her father awoke, and made it necessary to be cheerful.His spirits required support.He was a nervous man, easily depressed；fond of everybody that he was used to, and hating to part with them；hating change of every kind.Matrimony, as the origin of change, was always disagreeable；and he was by no means yet reconciled to his own daughter's marrying, nor could ever speak of her but with compassion, though it had been entirely a match of affection, when he was now obliged to part with Miss Taylor too；and from his habits of gentle selfishness, and of being never able to suppose that other people could feel differently from himself, he was very much disposed to think Miss Taylor had done as sad a thing for herself as for them, and would have been a great deal happier if she had spent all the rest of her life at Hartfield.Emma smiled and chatted as cheerfully as she could, to keep him from such thoughts；but when tea came, it was impossible for him not to say exactly as he had said at dinner，“Poor Miss Taylor！I wish she were here again. What a pity it is that Mr.Weston ever thought of her！”
“I cannot agree with you, papa；you know I cannot. Mr.Weston is such a good-humoured, pleasant, excellent man, that he thoroughly deserves a good wife；and you would not have had Miss Taylor live with us for ever, and bear all my odd humours, when she might have a house of her own？”
“A house of her own！But where is the advantage of a house of her own？This is three times as large；and you have never any odd humours, my dear.”
“How often we shall be going to see them, and they coming to see us！We shall be always meeting！We must begin；we must go and pay ourwedding-visit very soon.”
“My dear, how am I to get so far？Randalls is such a distance. I could not walk half so far.”
“No, papa；nobody thought of your walking. We must go in the carriage, to be sure.”
“The carriage！But James will not like to put the horses to for such a little way；and where are the poor horses to be while we are paying our visit？”
“They are to be put into Mr. Weston's stable, papa.You know we have settled all that already.We talked it all over with Mr.Weston last night.And as for James, you may be very sure he will always like going to Randalls, because of his daughter's being housemaid there.I only doubt whether he will ever take us anywhere else.That was your doing, papa.You got Hannah that good place.Nobody thought of Hannah till you mentioned her—James is so obliged to you！”
“I am very glad I did think of her. It was very lucky, for I would not have had poor James think himself slighted upon any account；and I am sure she will make a very good servant；she is a civil, pretty-spoken girl；I have a great opinion of her.Whenever I see her, she always curtseys and asks me how I do, in a very pretty manner；and when you have had her here to do needlework, I observe she always turns the lock of the door the right way, and never bangs it.I am sure she will be an excellent servant；and it will be a great comfort to poor Miss Taylor to have somebody about her that she is used to see.Whenever James goes over to see his daughter, you know, she will be hearing of us.He will be able to tell her howwe all are.”
Emma spared no exertions to maintain this happier flow of ideas, and hoped, by the help of backgammon, to get her father tolerably through the evening, and be attacked by no regrets but her own. The backgammon-table was placed；but a visitor immediately afterwards walked in and made it unnecessary.
Mr. Knightley, a sensible man about seven or eight-and-thirty, was not only a very old and intimate friend of the family, but particularly connected with it, as the elder brother of Isabella's husband.He lived about a mile from Highbury, was a frequent visitor, and always welcome, and at this time morewelcome than usual, as coming directly from their mutual connections in London.He had returned to a late dinner after some days'absence, and now walked up to Hartfield to say that all were well in Brunswick Square.It was a happy circumstance, and animated Mr.Woodhouse for some time.Mr.Knightley had a cheerful manner, which always did him good；and his many inquiries after“poor Isabella”and her children were answered most satisfactorily.When this was over, Mr.Woodhouse gratefully observed：
“It is very kind of you, Mr. Knightley, to come out at this late hour to call upon us.I am afraid you must have had a shocking walk.”
“Not at all, sir. It is a beautiful moonlight night；and so mild that I must draw back from your great fire.”
“But you must have found it very damp and dirty. I wish you may not catch cold.”
“Dirty, sir！Look at my shoes. Not a speck on them.”
“Well！That is quite surprising, for we have had a vast deal of rain here. It rained dreadfully hard for half an hour while we were at breakfast.I wanted them to put off the wedding.”
“By the bye, I have not wished you joy. Being pretty well aware of what sort of joy you must both be feeling, I have been in no hurry with my congratulations；but I hope it all went off tolerably well.How did you all behave？Who cried most？”
“Ah！poor Miss Taylor！'Tis a sad business.”
“Poor Mr. and Miss Woodhouse, if you please；but I cannot possibly say“poor Miss Taylor.”I have a great regard for you and Emma；but when it comes to the question of dependence or independence！At any rate, it must be better to have only one to please than two.”
“Especially when one of those two is such a fanciful, troublesome creature！”said Emma playfully.“That is what you have in your head, I know—and what you would certainly say if my father were not by.”
“I believe it is very true, my dear, indeed，”said Mr. Woodhouse, with a sigh.“I am afraid I am sometimes very fanciful and troublesome.”
“My dearest papa！You do not think I could mean you, or suppose Mr. Knightley to mean you.What a horrible idea！Oh no！I meant only myself.Mr.Knightley loves to find fault with me, you know—in a joke—it is all a joke.We always say what we like to one another.”
Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them；and though this was not particularly agreeable to Emma herself, she knew it would be so much less so to her father, that she would not have him really suspect such a circumstance as her not being thought perfect by everybody.
“Emma knows I never flatter her，”said Mr. Knightley，“but I meant no reflection on anybody.Miss Taylor has been used to have two persons to please；she will now have but one.The chances are that she must be a gainer.”
“Well，”said Emma, willing to let it pass，“you want to hear about the wedding；and I shall be happy to tell you, for we all behaved charmingly. Everybody was punctual, everybody in their best looks：not a tear, and hardly a long face to be seen.Oh, no；we all felt that we were going to be only half a mile apart, and were sure of meeting every day.”
“Dear Emma bears everything so well，”said her father.“But, Mr. Knightley, she is really very sorry to lose poor Miss Taylor, and I am sure she will miss her more than she thinks for.”
Emma turned away her head, divided between tears and smiles.
“It is impossible that Emma should not miss such a companion，”said Mr. Knightley.‘“We should not like her so well as we do, sir, if we could suppose it：but she knows how much the marriage is to Miss Taylor's advantage；she knows how very acceptable it must be, at Miss Taylor's time of life, to be settled in a home of her own, and how important to her to be secure of a comfortable provision, and therefore cannot allow herself to feel so much pain as pleasure.Every friend of Miss Taylor must be glad to have her so happily married.”
“And you have forgotten one matter of joy to me，”said Emma，“and a very considerable one—that I made the match myself. I made the match, you know, four years ago；and to have it take place, and be proved in the right, when so many people said Mr.Weston would never marry again, may comfort me for anything.”
Mr. Knightley shook his head at her.Her father fondly replied，“Ah！mydear, I wish you would not make matches and foretell things, for whatever you say always comes to pass.Pray do not make any more matches.”
“I promise you to make none for myself, papa；but I must, indeed, for other people. It is the greatest amusement in the world！And after such success, you know！Every body said that Mr.Weston would never marry again.Oh dear, no！Mr.Weston who had been a widower so long, and who seemed so perfectly comfortable without a wife, so constantly occupied either in his business in town or among his friends here, always acceptable wherever he went, always cheerful—Mr.Weston need not spend a single evening in the year alone if he did not like it.Oh no！Mr.Weston certainly would never marry again.Some people even talked of a promise to his wife on her deathbed, and others of the son and the uncle not letting him.All manner of solemn nonsense was talked on the subject, but I believed none of it.Ever since the day（about four years ago）that Miss Taylor and I met with him in Broadway Lane, when, because it began to mizzle, he darted away with so much gallantry, and borrowed two umbrellas for us from Farmer Mitchell's, I made up my mind on the subject.I planned the match from that hour；and when such success has blessed me in this instance, dear papa, you cannot think that I shall leave off matchmaking.”
“I do not understand what you mean by‘success'，”said Mr. Knightley.“Success supposes endeavour.Your time has been properly and delicately spent, if you have been endeavouring for the last four years to bring about this marriage.A worthy employment for a young lady's mind！But if, which I rather imagine, your making the match, as you call it, means only your planning it, your saying to yourself one idle day，‘I think it would be a very good thing for Miss Taylor if Mr.Weston were to marry her，'and saying it again to yourself every now and then afterwards—why do you talk of success？Where is your merit？What are you proud of？You made a luckyguess；and that is all that can be said.”
“And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess？I pity you. I thought you cleverer；for, depend upon it, a lucky guess is never merely luck.There is always some talent in it.And as to my poor word‘success'，which you quarrel with, I do not know that I am so entirely without any claim to it.You have drawn two pretty pictures；but I think there may be athird—a something between the do-nothing and the do-all.If I had not promoted Mr.Weston's visits here, and given many little encouragements, and smoothed many little matters, it might not have come to anything after all.I think you must know Hartfield enough to compre.hend that.”
“A straightforward, open-hearted man like Weston, and a rational, unaffected woman like Miss Taylor, may be safely left to manage their own concerns. You are more likely to have done harm to yourself, than good to them, by interference.”
“Emma never thinks of herself, if she can do good to others，”rejoined Mr. Woodhouse, understanding but in part.“But, my dear, pray do not make any more matches；they are silly things, and break up one's family circle grievously.”
“Only one more, papa；only for Mr. Elton.Poor Mr.Elton！You like Mr.Elton, papa；I must look about for a wife for him.There is nobody in Highbury who deserves him—and he has been here a whole year, and has fitted up his house so comfortably, that it would be a shame to have him single any longer；and I thought when he was joining their hands today, he looked so very much as if he would like to have the same kind office done for him！I think very well of Mr.Elton, and this is the only way I have of doing him a service.”
“Mr. Elton is a very pretty young man, to be sure, and a very good young man, and I have a great regard for him.But if you want to show him any attention, my dear, ask him to come and dine with us some day.That will be a much better thing.I dare say Mr.Knightley will be so kind as to meet him.”
“With a great deal of pleasure, sir, at any time，”said Mr. Knightley, laughing：“and I agree with you entirely that it will be a much better thing.Invite him to dinner, Emma, and help him to the best of the fish and the chicken, but leave him to choose his own wife.Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself.”第二章 Chapter2导读
泰勒小姐的丈夫韦斯顿先生也是海伯利本地人，他继承了一笔遗产，参加了国民军，认识了邱吉尔小姐，双方都对彼此有爱意。邱吉尔小姐不顾家人的反对，与韦斯顿结了婚。结果三年后妻子便去世了，留下了孩子小弗兰克。邱吉尔夫妇俩心疼孩子，又想与韦斯顿先生重归于好，建议由他们抚养这个孩子。韦斯顿先生同意了，这样他也可以好好地享受自己的生活。从那以后他转而经商，有了丰厚的收入，并且达到了自己的目标：有了房子，有了妻子，财产也都完全属于自己。因为弗兰克已经改姓邱吉尔，继承了他舅舅的财产。他现在已经成为大家热切想见到的人，但他并没有参加自己父亲的婚礼，只是写了一封很感人的信。R. Weston was a native of Highbury, and born of a respectablefamily, which for the last two or three generations Mhad been rising into gentility and property.He had received a good education, but, on succeeding early in life to a small independence, had become indisposed for any of the more homely pursuits in which his brothers were engaged；and had satisfied an active, cheerful mind and social temper by entering into the militia of his county, then embodied.
Captain Weston was a general favourite；and when the chances of his military life had introduced him to Miss Churchill, of a great Yorkshire family, and Miss Churchill fell in love with him, nobody was surprised, except her brother and his wife, who had never seen him, and who were full of pride and importance, which the connection would offend.
Miss Churchill, however, being of age, and with the full command of her fortune—though her fortune bore no proportion to the family estate—was not to be dissuaded from the marriage, and it took place, to the infinite mortification of Mr. and Mrs.Churchill, who threw her off with due decorum.It was an unsuitable connection, and did not produce much happiness.Mrs.
Weston ought to have found more in it, for she had a husband whose warm heart and sweet temper made him think everything due to her in return for the great goodness of being in love with him；but though she had one sort of spirit, she had not the best. She had resolution enough to pursue her own will in spite of her brother, but not enough to refrain from unreasonable regrets at that brother's unreasonable anger, nor from missing the luxuries of her former home.They rived beyond their income, but still it was nothing in comparison of Enscombe：she did not cease to love her husband, but she wanted at once to be the wife of Captain Weston, and Miss Churchill of Enscombe.
Captain Weston, who had been considered, especially by the Churchills, as making such an amazing match, was proved to have much the worst of the bargain；for when his wife died, after a three years'marriage, he was rather a poorer man than at first, and with a child to maintain. From the expense of the child, however, he was soon relieved.The boy had, with the additional softening claim of a lingering illness of his mother's, been the means of a sort of reconciliation；and Mr.and Mrs.Churchill, having no children of their own, nor any other young creature of equal kindred to care for, offered to take the whole charge of the little Frank soon after her decease.Some scruples and some reluctance the widower-father may be supposed to have felt；but as they were overcome by other considerations, the child was given up to the care and the wealth of the Churchills, and he had only his own comfort to seek, and his own situation to improve as he could.
A complete change of life became desirable. He quitted the militia and engaged in trade, having brothers already established in a good way in London, which afforded him a favourable opening.It was a concern which brought justemployment enough.He had still a small house in Highbury, wher most of his leisure days were spent；and between useful occupation and the pleasures of society, the next eighteen or twenty years of his life passed cheerfully away.He had, by that time, realised an easy competece—enough to secure the purchase of a little estate adjoining Highbury, which he had always longed for—enough to marry a woman as portionless even as Miss Taylor, and to live according to the wishes of his own friendly and social disposition.
It was now some time since Miss Taylor had begun to influence his schemes；but as it was not the tyrannic influence of youth on youth, it had not shaken his determination of never settling till he could purchase Randalls, and the sale of Randalls was long looked forward to；but he had gone steadily on, with these objects in view, till they were accomplished. He had made his fortune, bought his house, and obtained his wife；and was beginnin g a new period of existence, with every probability of greater happiness than in any yet passed through.He had never been an unhappy man；his own temper had secured him form that, even in his first marriage；but his second must show him how delightful a well-judging and truly amiable woman could be, and must give him the pleasantest proof of its being a grea deal better to choose than to be chosen, to excite gratitude than to feel it.
He ahd only himself to please in his choice；his fortune was his own；for as to Frank, it was more than being tacitly brought up as his uncle's heir, it had become so avowed an adoption as to have him assume the name of Churchill or coming of age. It was most unlikely, therefore, that he should ever want his father's assistance.His father had no apprehension of it.The aunt was a capricious woman, and governed her husband entirely；but it was not in Mr.Weston's nature to imagine that any caprice could be strong enough to affect one so dear, and, as he believed, so deservedly dear.He saw his son every year in London, and was proud of him；and his fond report of him as a very fine young man had made Highbury feel a sort of pride in him too.He was looked on as sufficiently belonging to the place to make his merits and prospects a kind of common concern.
Mr. Frank Churchill was one of the boasts of Highbury, and a lively curiosity to see him prevailed, though the compliment was so little returnedthat he had never been there in his life.His coming to visit his father had been often talked of but never achieved.
Now, upon his father's marriage, it was very generally proposed, as a most proper attention, that the visit should take place. There was not a dissentient voice on the subject, either when Mrs.Perry drank tea with Mrs.and Miss Bates, or when Mrs.and Miss Bates returned the visit.Now was the time for Mr.Frank Churchill to come among them；and the hope strengthened when it was understood that he had written to his new mother on the occasion.For a few days, every morning visit in Highbury included some mention of the handsome letter Mrs.Weston had received.“I suppose you have heard of the handsome letter Mr.Frank Churchill has written to Mrs.Weston？I understand it was a very handsome letter, indeed.Mr.Woodhouse told me of it.Mr.Woodhouse saw the letter, and he says he never saw such a handsome letter in his life.”
It was, indeed, a highly-prized letter. Mrs.Weston had, of course, formed a very favourable idea of the young man；and such a pleasing attention was an irresistible proof of his great good sense, and a most welcome addition to every source and every expression of congratulation which her marriage had already secured.She felt herself a most fortunate woman；and she had lived long enough to know how fortunate she might well be thought, where the only regret was for a partial separation from friends whose friendship for her had never cooled, and who could ill bear to part with her.
She knew that at times she must be missed；and could not think, without pain, of Emma's losing a single pleasure, or suffering an hour's ennui from the want of her companionableness：but dear Emma was of no feeble character；she was more equal to her situation than most girls would have been, and had sense and energy, and spirits that might be hoped would bear her well and happily through its little difficulties and privations. And then there was such comfort in the very easy distance of Randalls from Hartfield, so convenient for even solitary female walking, and in Mr.Weston's disposition and circumstances, which would make the approaching season no hindrance to their spending half the evenings in the week together.
Her situation was altogether the subject of hours of gratitude to Mrs. Weston, and of moments only of regret；and her satisfaction—her more than satisfaction—her cheerful enjoyment, was so just and so apparent, that Emma, well as she knew her father, was sometimes taken by surprise at his being still able to pity“poor Miss Taylor”，when they left her at Randalls in the centre of every domestic comfort, or saw her go away in the evening attended by her pleasant husband to a carriage of her own.But never did she go without Mr.Woodhouse's giving a gentle sigh, and saying：
“Ah, poor Miss Taylor！She would be very glad to stay.”
There was no recovering Miss Taylor—nor much likelihood of ceasing to pity her；but a few weeks brought some alleviation to Mr. Woodhouse.The compliments of his neighbours were over；he was no longer teased by being wished joy of so sorrowful an event；and the wedding-cake, which had been a great distress to him, was all eaten up.His own stomach could bear nothing rich, and he could never believe other people to be different from himself.What was unwholesome to him he regarded as unfit for anybody；and he had, therefore, earnestly tried to dissuade them from having any wedding-cake at all, and when that proved vain, as earnestly tried to prevent anybody's eating it.He had been at the pains of consulting Mr.Perry, the apothecary, on the subject.Mr.Perry was an intelligent, gentlemanlike man, whose frequent visits were one of the comforts of Mr.Woodhouse's life；and, upon being applied to, he could not but acknowledge（though it seemed rather against the bias of inclination）that wedding-cake might certainly disagree with many—perhaps with most people, unless taken moderately.With such an opinion, in confirmation of his own, Mr.Woodhouse hoped to influence every visitor of the newlymarried pair；but still the cake was eaten；and there was no rest for his benevolent nerves till it was all gone.
There was a strange rumour in Highbury of all the little Perrys being seen with a slice of Mrs. Weston's wedding-cake in their hands；but Mr.Woodhouse would never believe it.第三章 Chapter3导读
伍德豪斯先生在晚餐的时候一直在做斗争，他认为桌上的菜肴对身体很不健康，他建议大家只要喝下自己喝的那种稀粥就好，但大家对此似乎都不感兴趣，宁可吃些鸡蛋和果子馅饼，这让他很无奈。R. Woodhouse was fond of society in his own way.He liked verymuch to have his friends come and see him；and from Mvarious united causes, from his long residence at Hartfield, and his good nature, from his fortune, his house, and his daughter, he could command the visits of his own little circle, in a great measure, as he liked.He had not much intercourse with any families beyond that circle；his horror of late hours, and large dinner-parties, made him unfit for any acquaintance but such as would visit him on his own terms.Fortunately for him, Highbury, including Randalls in the same parish, and Donwell Abbey in the parish adjoining, the seat of Mr.Knightley, comprehended many such.Not unfrequently, through Emma's persuasion, he had some of the chosen and the best to dine with him：but evening parties were what he preferred；and, unless he fancied himself at any time unequal to company, there was scarcely an evening in the week in which Emma could not make up a card-table for him.
Real, long-standing regard brought the Westons and Mr. Knightley；and by Mr.Elton, a young man living alone without liking it, the privilege of exchanging any vacant evening of his own blank solitude for the elegancies and society of Mr.Woodhouse's drawing-room, and the smiles of his lovely daughter, was in no danger of being thrown away.
After these came a second set：among the most come-at-able of whom were Mrs. and Miss Bates, and Mrs.Goddard, three ladies almost always at the service of an invitation from Hartfield, and who were fetched and carried home so often, that Mr.Woodhouse thought it no hardship for either James or the horses.Had it taken place only once a year, it would have been a grievance.
Mrs. Bates, the widow of a former vicar of Highbury, was a very old lady, almost past everything but tea and quadrille.She lived with her single daughter in a very small way, and was considered with all the regard and respect which a harmless old lady, under such untoward circumstances, can excite.Her daughter enjoyed a most uncommon degree of popularity for a woman neither young, handsome, rich, nor married.Miss Bates stood in the very worst predicament in the world for having much of the public favour；and she had no intellectual superiority to make atonement to herself, or frighten those who might hate her into outward respect.She had never boasted either beauty or cleverness.Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavour to make a smallincome go as far as possible.And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without goodwill.It was her own universal goodwill and contented temper which worked such wonders.She loved everybody, was interested in everybody's happiness, quicksighted to everybody's merits；thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so manygood neighbours and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing.The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to everybody, and a mine of felicity to herself.She was a great talker upon little matters, which exactly suited Mr.Woodhouse, full of trivial communications and harmless gossip.
Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a school—not of a seminary, or an establishment, or anything which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality, upon new principles and new systems—and where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity—but a real, honest, old-fashioned boardingschool, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way, and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies.Mrs.Goddard's school was in high repute—and very deservedly；for Highbury was reckoned a particularly healthy spot：she had an ample house and garden, gave the children plenty of wholesome food, let them run about a great deal in the summer, and in winter dressed their chilblains with her own hands.It was no wonder that a train of twenty young couple now walked after her to church.She was a plain, motherly kind of woman, who had worked hard in her youth, and now thought herself entitled to the occasional holiday of a tea-visit；and having formerly owed much to Mr.Woodhouse's kindness, felt his particular claim on her to leave her neat parlour, hung round with fancy work, whenever she could, and win or lose a few sixpences by his fireside.
These were the ladies whom Emma found herself very frequently able to collect；and happy was she, for her father's sake, in the power；though, as far as she was herself concerned, it was no remedy for the absence of Mrs. Weston.She was delighted to see her father look comfortable, and very much pleased with herself for contriving things so well；but the quiet prosings of three such women made her feel that every evening so spent was indeed one of the long evenings she had fearfully anticipated.
As she sat one morning, looking forward to exactly such a dose of the present day, a note was brought from Mrs. Goddard requesting, in most respectful terms, to be allowed to bring Miss Smith with her：a most welcome request；for Miss Smith was a girl of seventeen, whom Emma knew very well by sight, and had long felt an interest in, on account of her beauty.A very gracious invitation was returned, and the evening no longer dreaded by the fair mistress of the mansion.
Harriet Smith was the natural daughter of somebody. Somebody had placed her, several years back, at Mrs.Goddard's school, and somebody had lately raised her from the condition of scholar to that of parlour boarder.This was all that was generally known of her history.She had no visible friends, but what had been acquired at Highbury, and was now just returned from a long visit in the country to some young ladies who had been at school there with her.
She was a very pretty girl, and her beauty happened to be of a sort which Emma particularly admired. She was short, plump, and fair, with a fine bloom, blue eyes, light hair, regular features, and a look of great sweetness；and, before the end of the evening, Emma was as much pleased with her manners as her person, and quite determined to continue the acquaintance.
She was not struck by anything remarkably clever in Miss Smith's conversation, but she found her altogether very engaging—not inconveniently shy, not unwilling to talk—and yet so far from pushing, showing so proper and becoming a deference, seeming so pleasantly grateful for being admitted to Hartfield, and so artlessly impressed by the appearance of everything in so superior a style to what she had been used to, that she must have good sense, and deserve encouragement. Encouragement should be given.Those soft blue eyes, and all those natural graces, should not be wasted on the inferior society of Highbury and its connections.The acquaintance she had already formed were unworthy of her.The friends from whom she had just parted, though very good sort of people, must be doing her harm.They were afamily of the name of Martin, whom Emma well knew by character, as renting a large farm of Mr.Knightley, and residing in the parish of Donwell—very creditably, she believed—she knew Mr.Knightley thought highly of them；but they must be coarse and unpolished, and very unfit to be the intimates of a girl who wanted only a little more knowledge and elegance to be quite perfect.She would notice her；she would improve her；she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society；she would form her opinions and her manners.It would be an interesting, and certainly a very kind undertaking；highly becoming her own situation in life, her leisure, and powers.
She was so busy in admiring those soft blue eyes, in talking and listening, and forming all these schemes in the inbetweens, that the evening flew away at a very unusual rate；and the supper-table, which always closed such parties, and for which she had been used to sit and watch the due time, was all set out and ready, and moved forwards to the fire, before she was aware. With an alacrity beyond the common impulse of a spirit which yet was never indifferent to the credit of doing everything well and attentively, with the real goodwill of a mind delighted with its own ideas, did she then do all the honours of the meal, and help and recommend the minced chicken and scalloped oysters, with an urgency which she knew would be acceptable to the early hours and civil scruples of their guests.
Upon such occasions poor Mr. Woodhouses feelings were in sad warfare.He loved to have the cloth laid, because it had been the fashion of his youth, but his conviction of suppers being very unwholesome made him rather sorry to see anything put on it；and while his hospitality would have welcomed his visitors to everything, his care for their health made him grieve that they would eat.
Such another small basin of thin gruel as his own was all that he could, with thorough self-approbation, recommend；though he might constrain himself, while the ladies were comfortably clearing the nicer things, to say：
“Mrs. Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs.An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome.Serle understands boiling an egg better than anybody.I would not recommend an egg boiled by anybody else—but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see—one of our small eggswill not hurt you.Miss Bates, let Emma help you to a little bit of tart—a very little bit.Ours are all apple-tarts.You need not be afraid of unwholesome preserves here.I do not advise the custard.Mrs.Goddard, what say you to half a glass of wine？A small half-glass, put into a tumbler of water？I do not think it could disagree with you.”
Emma allowed her father to talk—but supplied her visitors in a much more satisfactory style, and on the present evening had particular pleasure in sending them away happy. The happifiess of Miss Smith was quite equal to her intentions.Miss Woodhouse was so great a personage in Highbury, that the prospect of the introduction had given as much panic as pleasure；but the humble, grateful little girl went off with highly gratified feelings, delighted with the affability with which Miss Woodhouse had treated her all the evening, and actually shaken hands with her at last！第四章 Chapter4导读
爱玛正在极力地把马丁先生从哈丽埃特脑海里赶走，想撮合埃尔顿先生和她在一起，郎才女貌的结合似乎是理所当然的。她认为埃尔顿先生并不会嫌弃哈丽埃特的出身，而且两个优雅的人在一起一定会很幸福。ARRIET Smith's intimacy at Hartfield was soon a settled thing. Quick and decided in her ways, Emma lost no time in inviting, Hencouraging, and telling her to come very often；and as their acquaintance increased, so did their satisfaction in each other.As a walking companion, Emma had very early foreseen how useful she might find her.In that respect Mrs.Weston's loss had been important.Her father never went beyond the shrubbery, where two divisions of the ground sufficed him for his long walk, or his short, as the year varied；and since Mrs.Weston's marriage her exercise had been too much confined.She had ventured once alone to Randalls, but it was not pleasant；and a Harriet Smith, therefore, one whom she could summon at any time to a walk, would be a valuable addition to her privileges.But in every respect, as she saw more of her, she approved her, and was confirmed in all her kind designs.
Harriet certainly was not clever, but she had a sweet, docile, grateful disposition, was totally free from conceit, and only desiring to be guided by any one she looked up to. Her early attachment to herself was very amiable；and her inclination for good company, and power of appreciating what was elegant and clever, showed that there was no want of taste, though strength of understanding must not be expected.Altogether she was quite convinced of Harriet Smith's being exactly the young friend she wanted—exactly the something which her home required.Such a friend as Mrs.Weston was out of the question.Two such could never be granted.Two such she did not want.It was quite a different sort of thing, a sentiment distinct and independent.Mrs.Weston was the object of a regard which had its basis in gratitude and esteem.Harriet would be loved as one to whom she could be useful.For Mrs.Weston there was nothing to be done；for Harriet everything.
Her first attempts at usefulness were in an endeavour to find out who werethe parents；but Harriet could not tell. She was ready to tell everything in her power, but on this subject questions were vain.Emma was obliged to fancy what she liked；but she could never believe that in the same situation she should not have discovered the truth.Harriet had no penetration.She had been satisfied to hear and believe just what Mrs.Goddard chose to tell her；and looked no farther.
Mrs. Goddard and the teachers, and the girls, and the affairs of the school in general, formed naturally a great part of the conversation—and but for her acquaintance with the Martins of Abbey Mill Farm, it must have been the whole.But the Martins occupied her thoughts a good deal；she had spent two very happy months with them, and now loved to talk of the pleasures of her visit, and describe the many comforts and wonders of the place.Emma encouraged her talkativeness, amused by such a picture of another set of beings, and enjoying the youthful simplicity which could speak with so much exultation of Mrs.Martin's having“two parlours, two very good parlours, indeed；one of them quite as large as Mrs.Goddard's drawing-room；and of her having an upper maid who had lived five-and-twenty years with her；and of their having eight cows, two of them Alderneys, and one a little Welsh cow, a very pretty little Welsh cow, indeed；and of Mrs.Martin's saying, as she was so fond of it, it should be called her cow；and of their having a very handsome summer-house in their garden, where some day next year they were all to drink tea；a very handsome summer-house, large enough to hold a dozen people.”
For some time she was amused, without thinking beyond the immediate cause；but as she came to understand the family better, other feelings arose. She had taken up a wrong idea, fancying it was a mother and daughter, a son and son's wife, who all lived together；but when it appeared that the Mr.Martin, who bore a part in the narrative, and was always mentioned with approbation for his great good-nature in doing something or other, was a single man—that there was no young Mrs.Martin, no wife in the case—she did suspect danger to her poor little friend from all this hospitality and kindness, and that, if she were not taken care of, she might be required to sink herself for ever.
With this inspiriting notion, her questions increased in number and meaning；and she particularly led Harriet to talk more of Mr. Martin, and therewas evidently no dislike to it.Harriet was very ready to speak of the share he had had in their moonlight walks and merry evening games；and dwelt a good deal upon his being so very goodhumoured and obliging.He had gone three miles round one day in order to bring her some walnuts, because she had said how fond she was of them, and in everything else he was so very obliging.He had his shepherd's son into the parlour one night on purpose to sing to her.She was very fond of singing.He could sing a little himself.She believed he was very clever, and understood everything.He had a very fine flock, and, while she was with them, he had been bid more for his wool than anybody in the country.She believed everybody spoke well of him.His mother and sisters were very fond of him.Mrs.Martin had told her one day（and there was a blush as she said it）that it was impossible for anybody to be a better son, and therefore she was sure, whenever he married, he would make a good husband.Not that she wanted him to marry.She was in no hurry at all.
“Well done, Mrs. Martin！”thought Emma.“You know what you are about.”
“And when she had come away, Mrs. Martin was so very kind as to send Mrs.Goddard a beautiful goose—the finest goose Mrs.Goddard had ever seen.Mrs.Goddard had dressed it on a Sunday, and asked all the three teachers, Miss Nash, and Miss Prince, and Miss Richardson, to sup with her.”
“Mr. Martin, I suppose, is not a man of information beyond the line of his own business？He does not read？”
“Oh yes！—that is, no—I do not know—but I believe he has read a good deal—but not what you would think anything of. He reads the Agricultural Reports, and some other books that lay in one of the window seats—but he reads all them to himself.But sometimes of an evening, before we went to cards, he would read something aloud out of the Elegant Extracts, very entertaining.And I know he has read the Vicar of Wakefield.He never read the Romance of the Forest, nor the Children of the Abbey.He had never heard of such books before I mentioned them, but he is determined to get them now as soon as ever he can.”
The next question was：
“What sort of looking man is Mr. Martin？”
“Oh！not handsome—not at all handsome. I thought him very plain at first, but I do not think him so plain now.One does not, you know, after a time.But did you never see him？He is in Highbury every now and then, and he is sure to ride through every week in his way to Kingston.He has passed you very often.”
“That may be, and I may have seen him fifty times, but without having any idea of his name. A young farmer, whether on horseback or on foot, is the very last sort of person to raise my curiosity.The yeomanry are precisely the order of people with whom I feel I can have nothing to do.A degree or two lower, and a creditable appearance might interest me；I might hope to be useful to their families in some way or other.But a farmer can need none of my help, and is, therefore, in one sense, as much above my notice, as in every other he is below it.”
“To be sure. Oh, yes！It is not likely you should ever have observed him；but he knows you very well indeed—I mean by sight.”
“I have no doubt of his being a very respectable young man. I know, indeed, that he is so, and, as such, wish him well.What do you imagine his age to be？”
“He was four-and-twenty the 8th of last June, and my birthday is the 23rd—just a fortnight and a day's difference—which is very odd.”
“Only four-and-twenty. That is too young to settle.His mother is perfectly right not to be in a hurry.They seem very comfortable as they are, and if she were to take any pains to marry him, she would probably repent it.Six years hence, if he could meet with a good sort of young woman in the same rank as his own, with a little money, it might be very desirable.”
“Six years hence！Dear Miss Woodhouse, he would be thirty years old！”
“Well, and that is as early as most men can afford to marry, who are not born to an independence. Mr.Martin, I imagine, has his fortune entirely to make—cannot be at all beforehand with the world.Whatever money he might come into when his father died, whatever his share of the family property, it is, I dare say, all afloat, all employed in his stock, and so forth；and though, with diligence and good luck, he may be rich in time, it is next to impossible that he should have realised anything yet.”
“To be sure, so it is. But they live very comfortably.They have no indoors man, else they do not want for anything；and Mrs.Martin talks of taking a boy another year.”
“I wish you may not get into a scrape, Harriet, whenever he does marry—I mean, as to being acquainted with his wife；for though his sisters, from a superior education, are not to be altogether objected to, it does not follow that he might marry anybody at all fit for you to notice. The misfortune of your birth ought to make you particularly careful as to your associates.There can be no doubt of your being a gentleman's daughter, and you must support your claim to that station by everything within your own power, or there will be plenty of people who would take pleasure in degrading you.”
“Yes, to be sure, I suppose there are. But while I visit at Hartfield, and you are so kind to me, Miss Woodhouse, I am not afraid of what anybody can do.”
“You understand the force of influence pretty well, Harriet；but I would have you so firmly established in good society, as to be independent even of Hartfield and Miss Woodhouse. I want to see you permanently well connected, and to that end it will be advisable to have as few odd acquaintance as may be；and, therefore, I say, that if you should still be in this country when Mr.Martin marries, I wish you may not be drawn in by your intimacy with the sisters, to be acquainted with the wife, who will probably be some mere farmer's daughter, without education.”
“To be sure. Yes.Not that I think Mr.Martin would ever marry anybody but what had had some education, and been very well brought up.However, I do not mean to set up my opinion against yours—and I am sure I shall not wish for the acquaintance of his wife.I shall always have a great regard for the Miss Martins, especially Elizabeth, and should be very sorry to give them up, for they are quite as well educated as me.But if he marries a very ignorant vulgar woman, certainly I had better not visit her, if I can help it.”
Emma watched her through the fluctuations of this speech, and saw no alarming symptoms of love. The young man had been the first admirer, but she trusted there was no other hold, and that there would be no serious difficulty, on Harriet's side, to oppose any friendly arrangement of her own.
They met Mr. Martin the very next day, as they were walking on theDonwell road.He was on foot, and after looking very respectfully at her, looked with most unfeigned satisfaction at her companion.Emma was not sorry to have such an opportunity of survey；and walking a few yards forward, while they talked together, soon made her quick eye sufficiently acquainted with Mr.Robert Martin.His appearance was very neat, and he looked like a sensible young man, but his person had no other advantage：and when he came to be contrasted with gentlemen, she thought he must lose all the ground he had gained in Harriet's inclination.Harriet was not insensible of marmer；she had voluntarily noticed her father's gentleness with admiration as well as wonder.Mr.Martin looked as if he did not know what manner was.
They remained but a few minutes together, as Miss Woodhouse must not be kept waiting；and Harriet then came running to her with a smiling face, and in a flutter of spirits, which Miss Woodhouse hoped very soon to compose.
“Only think of our happening to meet him！How very odd. It was quite a chance, he said, that he had not gone round by Randalls.He did not think we ever walked this road.He thought we walked towards Randalls most days.He has not been able to get the Romance of the Forest yet.He was so busy the last time he was at Kingston that he quite forgot it, but he goes again tomorrow.So very odd we should happen to meet！Well, Miss Woodhouse, is he like what you expected？What do you think of him？Do you think him so very plain？”
“He is very plain, undoubtedly；remarkably plain；but that is nothing compared with his entire want of gentility. I had no right to expect much, and I did not expect much；but 1 had no idea that he could be so very clownish, so totally without air.I had imagined him, I confess, a degree or two nearer gentility.”
“To be sure，”said Harriet, in a mortified voice，“he is not so genteel as real gentlemen.”
“I think, Harriet, since your acquaintance with us, you have been repeatedly in the company of some such very real gentlemen, that you must yourself be struck with the difference in Mr. Martin.At Hartfield, you have had very good specimens of well-educated, well-bred men.I should be surprised if, after seeing them, you could be in company with Mr.Martin again without perceiving him to be a very inferior creature—and rather wondering atyourself for having ever thought him at all agreeable before.Do not you begin to feel that now？Were not you struck？I am sure you must have been struck by his awkward look and abrupt manner, and the uncouthness of a voice which I heard to be wholly unmodulated as I stood here.”
“Certainly, he is not like Mr. Knightley.He has not such a fine air and way of walking as Mr.Knightley.I see the difference plain enough.But Mr.Knightley is so very fine a man！”
“Mr. Knightley's air is so remarkably good that it is not fair to compare Mr.Martin with him.You might not see one in a hundred with gentleman so plainly written as in Mr.Knightley.But he is not the only gentleman you have been lately used to.What say you to Mr.Weston and Mr.Elton？Compare Mr.Martin with either of them.Compare their manner of carrying themselves, of walking, of speaking, of being silent.You must see the difference.”
“Oh yes, there is a great difference. But Mr.Weston is almost an old man.Mr.Weston must be between forty and fifty.”
“Which makes his good manners the more valuable. The older a person grows, Harriet, the more important it is that their manners should not be bad；the more glaring and disgusting any loudness, or coarseness, or awkwardness becomes.What is passable in youth is detestable in later age.Mr.Martin is now awkward and abrupt；what will he be at Mr.Weston's time of life？”
“There is no saying, indeed，”replied Harriet rather solemnly.
“But there may be pretty good guessing. He will be a completely gross, vulgar farmer, totally inattentive to appearances, and thinking of nothing but profit and loss.”
“Will he, indeed？That will be very bad.”
“How much his business engrosses him already, is very plain from the circumstance of his forgetting to inquire for the book you recommended. He was a great deal too full of the market to think of anything else—which is just as it should be for a thriving man.What has he to do with books？And I have no doubt that he will thrive, and be a very rich man in time；and his being illiterate and coarse need not disturb us.”
“I wonder he did not remember the book，”was all Harriet's answer, and spoken with a degree of grave displeasure which Emma thought might besafely left to itself. She, therefore, said no more for some time.Her next beginning was：
“In one respect, perhaps, Mr. Elton's manners are superior to Mr.Knightley's or Mr.Weston's.They have more gentleness.They might be more safely held up as a pattern.There is an openness, a quickness, almost a bluntness in Mr.Weston, which everybody likes in him, because there is so much good humour with it—but that would not do to be copied.Neither would Mr.Knightley's downright, decided, commanding sort of manner, though it suits him very well：his figure, and look, and situation in life seem to allow it；but if any young man were to set about copying him, he would not be sufferable.On the contrary, I think a young man might be very safely recommended to take Mr.Elton as a model.Mr.Elton is good-humoured, cheerful, obliging, and gentle.He seems to me to be grown particularly gentle of late.I do not know whether he has any design of ingratiating himself with either of us, Harriet, by additional softness, but it strikes me that his manners are softer than they used to be.If he means anything, it must be to please you.Did not I tell you what he said of you the other day？”
She then repeated some warm personal praise which she had drawn from Mr. Elton, and now did full justice to；and Harriet blushed and smiled, and said she had always thought Mr.Elton very agreeable.
Mr. Elton was the very person fixed on by Emma for driving the young farmer out of Harriet's head.She thought it would be an excellent match；and only too palpably desirable, natural, and probable, for her to have much merit in planning it.She feared it was what everybody else must think of and predict.It was not likely, however, that anybody should have equalled her in the date of the plan, as it had entered her brain during the very first evening of Harriet's coming to Hartfield.The longer she considered it, the greater was her sense of its expediency.Mr.Elton's situation was most suitable, quite the gentleman himself, and without low connections；at the same time, not of any family that could fairly object to the doubtful birth of Harriet.He had a comfortable home for her, and Emma imagined a very sufficient income；for though the vicarage of Highbury was not large, he was known to have some independent property；and she thought very highly of him as a good-humoured, wellmeaning, respectable young man, without any deficiency of useful understanding or knowledge of the world.
She had already satisfied herself that he thought Harriet a beautiful girl, which she trusted, with such frequent meetings at Hartfield, was foundation enough on his side；and on Harriet's there could be little doubt that the idea of being preferred by him would have all the usual weight and efficacy. And he was really a very pleasing young man, a young man whom any woman not fastidious might like.He was reckoned very handsome；his person much admired in general, though not by her, there being a want of elegance of feature which she could not dispense with：but the girl who could be gratified by a Robert Martin's riding about the country to get walnuts for her might very well be conquered by Mr.Elton's admiration.第五章 Chapter5导读
与此同时，奈特利先生认为爱玛和哈丽埃特在一起是件坏事，这让韦斯顿太太惊讶，她一直认为两个年轻的女孩在一起对彼此都有好处：哈丽埃特能够有爱玛这样的朋友是她的荣幸，因为见多识广的爱玛可以教会她很多东西，而且爱玛也需要有人陪伴。奈特利先生认为爱玛已经被宠坏了，她过于早熟；而哈丽埃特却视爱玛的话为真理，认为她什么都懂，处处奉承她；这样两个人都不可能从对方身上学到什么东西，反而会让哈丽埃特逐渐变得清高起来，她会不习惯以前的生活环境，会有很大的心理落差。韦斯顿太太表示反对，她看到两个女孩在一起都很开心，她觉得爱玛是健康成年人的化身，奈特利先生没有反对这种说法，但仍相信内心大于外表。韦斯顿太太认为讨论这样一个话题并没有什么意义，因为爱玛的父亲都没有反对；接着她把话题转移到爱玛的感情问题上，因为爱玛一直声称自己永远不结婚。两个人又讨论起爱玛的生活，认为那多半与她父亲有关。 do not know what your opinion may be, Mrs. Weston，”said Mr.Knightley，“of this great intimacy between Emma and Harriet “ISmith, but I think it a bad thing.”
“A bad thing！Do you really think it a bad thing？Why so？”
“I think they will neither of them do the other any good.”
“You surprise me！Emma must do Harriet good；and by supplying her with a new object of interest, Harriet may be said to do Emma good. I have been seeing their intimacy with the greatest pleasure.How very differently we feel！Not think they will do each other any good！This will certainly be the beginning of one of our quarrels about Emma, Mr.Knightley.”
“Perhaps you think I am come on purpose to quarrel with you, knowing Weston to be out, and that you must still fight your own battle.”
“Mr. Weston would undoubtedly support me, if he were here, for he thinks exactly as I do on the subject.We were speaking of it only yesterday, and agreeing how fortunate it was for Emma that there should be such a girl in Highbury for her to associate with.Mr.Knightley, I shall not allow you to be a fair judge in this case.You are so much used to live alone, that you do not know the value of a companion；and, perhaps no man can be a good judge of the comfort a woman feels in the society of one of her own sex, after being used to it all her life.I can imagine your objection to Harriet Smith.She is not the superior young woman which Emma's friends ought to be.But, on the other hand, as Emma wants to see her better informed, it will be an inducement to her to read more herself.They will read together.She means it, I know.”
“Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing-up, at various times, of books that she meant to read regularly through—and very good lists they were, very well chosen, and very neatly arranged—sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule.The list she drew up when only fourteen—I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time, and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now.But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma.She will never submit to anything requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding.Where Miss Taylor failed to stimulate, I may safely affirm that Harriet Smith will do nothing.You never could persuade her to read half so much as you wished.You know you could not.”
“I dare say，”replied Mrs. Weston, smiling，“that I thought so then；but since we have parted, I can never remember Emma omitting to do anything I wished.”
“There is hardly any desiring to refresh such a memory as that，”said Mr. Knightley feelingly；and for a moment or two he had done.“But I，”he soon added，“who have had no such charm thrown over my sense, must still see, hear, and remember.Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family.At ten years old she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen.She was always quick and assured；Isabella slow and diffident.And ever since she was twelve, Emma has been mistress of the house and of you all.In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her.She inherits her mother's talents, and must have been under subjection to her.”
“I should have been sorry, Mr. Knightley, to be dependent on your recommendation, had I quitted Mr.Woodhouse's family and wanted another situation；I do not think you would have spoken a good word for me to anybody.I am sure you always thought me unfit for the office I held.”
“Yes，”said he, smiling.“You are better placed here-very fit for a wife, but not at all for a governess. But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife all the time you were at Hartfield.You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise；but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of submitting your own will, and doing as you were bid；and if Weston had asked me to recommend him a wife, I should certainly have named Miss Taylor.”
“Thank you. There will be very little merit in making a good wife to such a man as Mr.Weston.”
“Why, to own the truth, I am afraid you are rather thrown away, and that with every disposition to bear, there will be nothing to be borne. We will not despair, however.Weston may grow cross from the wantonness of comfort, or his son may plague him.”
“I hope not that. It is not likely.No, Mr.Knightley, do not foretell vexation from that quarter.”
“Not I, indeed. I only name possibilities.I do not pretend to Emma's genius for foretelling and guessing.I hope, with all my heart, the young man may be a Weston in merit, and a Churchill in fortune.But Harriet Smith—Ihave not half done about Harriet Smith.I think her the very worst sort of companion that Emma could possibly have.She knows nothing herself, and looks upon Emma as knowing everything.She is a flatterer in all her ways；and so much the worse, because undesigned.Her ignorance is hourly flattery.How can Emma imagine she has anything to learn herself while Harriet is presenting such a delightful inferiority？And as for Harriet, I will venture to say that she cannot gain by the acquaintance.Hartfield will only put her out of conceit with all the other places she belongs to.She will grow just refined enough to be uncomfortable with those among whom birth and circumstances have placed her home.I am much mistaken if Emma's doctrines give any strength of mind, or tend at all to make a girl adapt herself rationally to the varieties of her situation in life.They only give a little polish.”
“I either depend more upon Emma's good sense than you do, or am more anxious for her present comfort；for I cannot lament the acquaintance. How well she looked last night！”
“Oh, you would rather talk of her person than her mind, would you？Very well；I shall not attempt to deny Emma's being pretty.”
“Pretty！Say beautiful rather. Can you imagine anything nearer perfect beauty than Emma altogether—face and figure？”
“I don't know what I could imagine, but I confess that I have seldom seen a face or figure more pleasing to me than hers. But I am a partial old friend.”
“Such an eye！—The true hazle eye—and so brilliant！Regular features, open countenance, with a complexion—oh！What a bloom of full health, and such a pretty height and size！such a firm and upright figure！There is health not merely in her bloom, but in her air, her head, her glance. One hears sometimes of a child being“the picture of health”；now, Emma always gives me the idea of being the complete picture of grown-up health.She is loveliness itself.Mr.Knightley, is not she？”
“I have not a fault to find with her person，”he replied.“I think her all you describe. I love to look at her；and I will add this praise, that I do not think her personally vain.Considering how very handsome she is, she appears to be little occupied with it；her vanity lies another way.Mrs.Weston, I am not to be talked out of my dislike of her intimacy with Harriet Smith, or my dread of itsdoing them both harm.”
“And I, Mr. Knightley, am equally stout in my confidence of its not doing them any harm.With all dear Emma's little faults, she is an excellent creature, Where shall we see a better daughter, or a kinder sister, or a truer friend？No, no；she has qualities which may be trusted；she will never lead any one really wrong；she will make no lasting blunder；where Emma errs once, she is in the right a hundred times.”
“Very well；I will not plague you any more. Emma shall be an angel, and I will keep my spleen to myself till Christmas brings John and Isabella.John loves Emma with a reasonable, and therefore not a blind affection, and Isabella always thinks as he does, except when he is not quite frightened enough about the children.I am sure of having their opinions with me.”
“I know that you all love her really too well to be unjust or unkind；but excuse me, Mr. Knightley, if I take the liberty（I consider myself, you know, as having somewhat of the privilege of speech that Emma's mother might have had）the liberty of hinting that I do not 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 been so many years my province to give advice, that you cannot be surprised, 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 humour 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 some 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.第六章 Chapter6导读
MMA could not feel a doubt of having given Harriet's fancy a
properdirection, and raised the gratitude of her young vanity to a E
very good purpose；for she found her decidedly more sensible than before of Mr. Elton's being a remarkably handsome man, with most agreeable manners；and as she had no hesitation in following up the assurance of his admiration by agreeable hints, she was soon pretty confident of creating as much liking on Harriet's side as there could be any occasion for.She was quite convinced of Mr.Elton's being in the fairest way of falling in love, if not in love already.She had no scruple with regard to him.He talked of Harriet；and praised her so warmly that she could not suppose anything wanting which a little time would not add.His perception of the striking improvement of Harriet's manner, since her introduction at Hartfield, was not one of the least agreeable proofs of his growing attachment.
“You have given Miss Smith all that she required，”said he；“you have made her graceful and easy. She was a beautiful creature when she came to you；but, in my opinion, the attractions you have added are infinitely superior to what she received from nature.”
“I am glad you think I have been usefttl to her；but Harriet only wanted drawing out, and receiving a few, very few hints. She had all the natural grace of sweetness of temper and artlessness in herself.I have done very little.”
“If it were admissible to contradict a lady—”said the gallant Mr. Elton.
“I have, perhaps, given her a little more decision of character—have taught her to think on points which had not fallen in her way before.”
“Exactly so；that is what principally strikes me. So much superadded decision of character！Skilful has been the hand！”
“Great has been the pleasure, I am sure. I never met with a disposition more truly amiable.”
“I have no doubt of it.”And it was spoken with a sort of sighing animation which had a vast deal of the lover. She was not less pleased, another day, with the manner in which he seconded a sudden wish of hers—to have Harriet's picture.
“Did you ever have your likeness taken, Harriet？”said she；“did you ever sit for your picture？”
Harriet was on the point of leaving the room, and only stopped to say, with a very interesting naveté—
“Oh dear, no—never.”
No sooner was she out of sight than Emma exclaimed：
“What an exquisite possession a good picture of her would be！I would give any money for it. I almost long to attempt her likeness myself.You do not know it, I dare say, but two or three years ago I had a great passion for taking likenesses, and attempted several of my friends, and was thought to have a tolerable eye in general；but, from one cause or another, I gave it up in disgust.But really, I could almost venture if Harriet would sit to me.It would be such a delight to have her picture！”
“Let me entreat you，”cried Mr. Elton；“it would indeed be a delight；let me entreat you, Miss Woodhouse, to exercise so charming a talent in favour of your friend.I know what your drawings are.How could you suppose me ignorant？Is not this room rich in specimens of your landscapes and flowers！And has not Mrs.Weston some inimitable figure pieces in her drawing-room at Randalls？”
Yes, good man！Thought Emma, but what has all that to do with taking likenesses？You know nothing of drawing. Don't pretend to be in raptures about mine.Keep your raptures for Harriet's face.“Well, if you give me such kind encouragement, Mr.Elton, I believe I shall try what I can do.Harriet's features are very delicate, which makes a likeness difficult；and yet, there is a peculiarity in the shape of the eye, and the lines about the mouth, which one ought to catch.”
“Exactly so—the shape of the eye and the fines about the mouth—I have not a doubt of your success. Pray, pray attempt it.As you will do it, it will indeed, to use your own words, be an exquisite possession.”
“But I am afraid, Mr. EIton, Harriet will not like to sit；she thinks so litde of her own beauty.Did not you observe her manner of answering me？How completely it meant‘Why should my picture be drawn？'”
“Oh, yes, I observed it, I assure you. It was not lost on me.But still I cannot imagine she would not be persuaded.”
Harriet was soon back again, and the proposal almost immediately made；and she had no scruples which could stand many minutes against the earnest pressing of both the others. Emma wished to go to work directly, and thereforeproduced the portfolio containing her various attempts at portraits, for not one of them had ever been finished, that they might decide together on the best size for Harriet.Her many beginnings were displayed.Miniatures, half-lengths, whole-lengths, pencil, crayon, and watercolours had been all tried in turn.She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress, both in drawing and music, than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to.She played and sang, and drew in almost every style；but steadiness had always been wanting；and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of.She was not much deceived as to her own skill, either as an artist or a musician；but she was not unwilling to have others deceived, or sorry to know her reputation for accomplishment often higher than it deserved.
There was merit in every drawing—in the least finished, perhaps the most. Her style was spirited；but had there been much less, or had there been ten times more, the delight and admiration of her two companions would have been the same.They were both in ecstasies.A likeness pleases everybody；and Miss Woodhouse's performances must be capital.
“No great variety of faces for you，”said Emma.“I had only my own family to study from. There is my father—another of my father—but the idea of sitting for his picture made him so nervous, that I could only take him by stealth, neither of them very like, therefore.Mrs.Weston again, and again, and again, you see.Dear Mrs.Weston—always my kindest friend on every occasion.She would sit whenever I asked her.There is my sister；and really quite her own little elegant figure—and the face not unlike.I should have made a good likeness of her, if she would have sat longer；but she was in such a hurry to have me draw her four children that she would not be quiet.Then, here comes all my attempts at three of those four children—there they are, Henry, and John, and Bella, from one end of the sheet to the other, and any one of them might do for any one of the rest.She was so eager to have them drawn that I could not refuse；but there is no making children of three or four years old stand still, you know；nor can it be very easy to take any likeness of them, beyond the hair and complexion, unless they are coarser featured than any mamma's children ever were.Here is my sketch of the fourth, who was a baby.I took him as he was sleeping on the sofa, and it is as strong a likeness of his cockade as you would wish to see.He had nestled down his head most conveniently：that's very like.I am rather proud of little George.The corner of the sofa is very good.Then here is my last，”—unclosing a pretty sketch of a gentleman in small size, whole length—my last and my best—my brother, Mr.John Knightley.This did not want much of being finished, when I put it away in a pet, and vowed I would never take another likeness.I could not help being provoked；for, after all my pains, and when I had really made a very good likeness of it—（Mrs.Weston and I were quite agreed in thinking it very like）—only too handsome—too flattering—but that was a fault on the right side—after all this, came poor dear Isabella's cold approbation of‘Yes, it was a little like；but, to be sure, it did not do him justice.'We had had a great deal of trouble in persuading him to sit at all.It was made a great favour of；and altogether it was more than I could bear；and so I never would finish it, to have it apologised over as an unfavourable likeness, to every morning visitor in Brunswick Square；and, as I said, I did then forswear ever drawing anybody again.But, for Harriet's sake, or rather for my own, and as there are no husbands and wives in the case at present, I will break my resolution now.”
Mr. Elton seemed very properly struck and delighted by the idea, and was repeating，“No husbands and wives in the case at present indeed, as you obs-erve.Exactly so.No husbands and wives，”with so interesting a consciousness, that Emma began to consider whether she had not better leave them together at once.But as she wanted to be drawing, the declaration must wait a little longer.
She had soon fixed on the size and sort of portrait. It was to be a whole-length in water-colours, like Mr.John Knightley's, and was destined, if she could please herself, to hold a very honourable station over the mantelpiece.
The sitting began；and Harriet, smiling and blushing, and afraid of not keeping her attitude and countenance, presented a very sweet mixture of youthful expression to the steady eyes of the artist. But there was no doing anything, with Mr.Elton fidgeting behind her, and watching every touch.She gave him credit for stationing himself where he might gaze and gaze again without offence；but was really obliged to put an end to it, and request him toplace himself elsewhere.It then occurred to her to employ him in reading.
“If he would be so good as to read to them, it would be a kindness indeed！It would amuse away the difficulties of her part, and lessen the irksomeness of Miss Smith's.”
Mr. Elton was only too happy.Harriet listened, and Emma drew in peace.She must allow him to be still frequently coming to look；anything less would certainly have been too little in a lover；and he was ready at the smallest intermission of the pencil to jump up and see the progress, and be charmed.There was no being displeased with such an encourager, for his admiration made him discern a likeness almost before it was possible.She could not respect his eyes, but his love and his complaisance were unexceptionable.
The sitting was altogether very satisfactory：she was quite enough pleased with the first day's sketch to wish to go on. There was no want of likeness；she had been fortunate in the attitude；and as she meant to throw in a little improvement to the figure, to give a little more height, and considerably more elegance, she had great confidence of its being in every way a pretty drawing at last, and of its filling its destined place with credit to them both, a standing memorial of the beauty of one, the skill of the other, and the friendship of both；with as many other agreeable associations as Mr.Elton's very promising attachment was likely to add.
Harriet was to sit again the next day；and Mr. Elton, just as he ought, entreated for the permission of attending and reading to them again.
“By all means. We shall be most happy to consider you as one of the party.”
The same civilities and courtesies, the same success and satisfaction, took place on the morrow, and accompanied the whole progress of the picture, which was rapid and happy. Everybody who saw it was pleased, but Mr.Elton was in continual raptures, and defended it through every criticism.
“Miss Woodhouse has given her friend the only beauty she wanted，”observed Mrs. Weston to him, not in the least suspecting that she was addressing a lover.
“The expression of the eye is most correct, but Miss Smith has not those eyebrows and eyelashes. It is the fault of her face that she has them not.”
“Do you think so？”replied he.“I cannot agree with you. It appears to me a most perfect resemblance in every feature.I never saw such a likeness in my life.We must allow for the effect of shade you know.”
“You have made her too tall, Emma，”said Mr. Knightley.
Emma knew that she had, but would not own it；and Mr. Elton warmly added：
“Oh no—certainly not too tall—not in the least too tall. Consider, she is sitting down, which naturally presents a different—which in short gives exactly the idea—and the proportions must be preserved, you know.Proportions, fore-shortening—oh no！It gives one exactly the idea of such a height as Miss Smith's.—Exactly so, indeed.”
“It is very pretty，”said Mr. Woodhouse.“So prettily done！Just as your drawings always are, my dear.I do not know anybody who draws so well as you do.The only thing I do not thoroughly like is, that she seems to be sitting out-of-doors, with only a little shawl over her shoulders；and it makes one think she must catch cold.”
“But, my dear papa, it is supposed to be summer；a warm day in summer. Look at the tree.”
“But it is never safe to sit out-of-doors, my dear.”
“You, sir, may say anything，”cried Mr. Elton，“but I must confess that I regard it as a most happy thought the placing of Miss Smith out of doors；and the tree is touched with such inimitable spirit！Any other situation would have been much less in character.The navetéof Miss Smith’s manners—and altogether—oh, it is most admirable！I cannot keep my eyes from it.I never saw such a likeness.”
The next thing wanted was to get the picture framed；and here were a few difficulties. It must be done directly；it must be done in London；the order must go through the hands of some intelligent person whose taste could be depended on；and Isabella, the usual doer of all commissions, must not be applied to, because it was December, and Mr.Woodhouse could not bear the idea of her stirring out of her house in the fogs of December.But no sooner was the distress known to Mr.Elton than it was removed.His gallantry was always on the alert.“Might he be trusted with the commission, what infinite pleasureshould 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, choose the frame, and give the directions；and Emma thought she could so 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.”第七章 Chapter7导读
在哈丽埃特慌乱失措时，爱玛劝她赶紧回信，虽然哈丽埃特心里不太情愿，但还是写了回信。想起马丁的母亲和姐妹，想到以后不能再去农场，哈丽埃特的心情一直很低落。当爱玛不停地提起埃尔顿先生，提到他主动为画像挑选镜框时，哈丽埃特终于露出了愉快的微笑。HE very day of Mr. Elton's going to London produced a freshoccasion for Emma's services towards her friend.Harriet had Tbeen 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 anything 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.”
Emma was not sorry to be pressed. She read, and was surprised.The styleof the letter was much above her expectation.There were not merely nogrammatical errors, but as a composition it would not have disgraced agentleman；the language, though plain, was strong and unaffected, and thesentiments it conveyed very much to the credit of the writer.It was short, butexpressed good sense, warm attachment, liberality, propriety, even delicacy offeeling.She paused over it, while Harriet stood anxiously watching for heropinion, with a“Well, well，”and was at last forced to add，“Is it a good letter？or is it too short？”
“Yes, indeed, a very good letter，”replied Emma, rather slowly；“so good a letter, Harriet, that, everything considered, I think one of his sisters must have helped him. I can hardly imagine the young man whom I saw talking with you the other day could express himself so well, if left quite to his own powers, and yet it is not the style of a woman；no, certainly, it is too strong and concise；not diffuse enough for a woman.No doubt he is a sensible man, and I suppose may have a natural talent for—thinks strongly and clearly—and when he takesa pen in hand, his thoughts naturally find proper words.It is so with some men.Yes, I understand the sort of mind.Vigorous, decided, with sentiments to a certain point not coarse.A better written letter, Harriet（returning it）than I had expected.”
“Well，”said the still waiting Harriet；“well—and—and what shall I do？”
“What shall you do！In what respect？Do you mean with regard to this letter？”
“But what are you in doubt of？You must answer it of course, and speedily.”
“Yes. But what shall I say？Dear Miss Woodhouse, do advise me.”
“Oh, no, no；the letter had much better be all your own. You will express yourselfves T properly, I am sure.There is no danger of your not being intelligible, which is the first thing.Your meaning must be unequivocal；no doubts or demurs；and such expressions of gratitude and concern for the pain you are inflicting as propriety requires, will present themselves unbidden to your mind, I am persuaded.You need not be prompted to write with the appearance of sorrow for his disappointment.”
“You think I ought to refuse him then？”said Harriet, looking down.
“Ought to refuse him！My dear Harriet, what do you mean？Are you in any doubt as to that？I thought—but I beg your pardon, perhaps I have been under a mistake. I certainly have been misunderstanding you, if you feel in doubt as to the purport of your answer.I had imagined you were consulting me only as to the wording of it.”
Harriet was silent. With a little reserve of manner, Emma continued：“You mean to return a favourable answer, I collect.”
“No, I do not；that is, I do not mean—what shall I do？What would you advise me to do？Pray, dear Miss Woodhouse, tell me what I ought to do.”
“I shall not give you any advice, Harriet. I will have nothing to do with it.This is a point which you must settle with your own feelings.”
“I had no notion that he liked me so very much，”said Harriet, contemplating the letter. For a little while Emma persevered in her silence；but, beginning to apprehend the bewitching flattery of that letter might be too powerful, she thought it best to say：
“I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that ifa woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to‘Yes'，she ought to say‘No'，directly.It is not a state to be safely entered into with doubtful feelings, with half a heart.I thought it my duty as a friend, and older than yourself, to say thus much to you.But do not imagine that I want to influence you.”
“Oh, no, I am sure you are a great deal too kind to—but if you would just advise me what I had best do—no, no, I do not mean that—as you say, one's mind ought to be quite made up—one should not be hesitating—it is a very serious thing. It will be safer to say‘No'，perhaps.Do you think I had better say‘No'？”
“Not for the world，”said Emma, smiling graciously，“would I advise you either way. You must be the best judge of your own happiness.If you prefer Mr.Martin to every other person, if you think him the most agreeable man you have ever been in company with, why should you hesitate？You blush, Harriet.Does anybody else occur to you at this moment under such a definition？Harriet, Harriet, do not deceive yourself；do not be run away with by gratitude and compassion.At this moment whom are you thinking of？”
The symptoms were favourable. Instead of answering, Harriet turned away confused, and stood thoughtfully by the fire；and though the letter was still in her hand, it was now mechanically twisted about without regard.Emma waited the result with impatience, but not without strong hopes.At last, with some hesitation, Harriet said：
“Miss Woodhouse, as you will not give me your opinion, I must do as well as I can by myself；and I have now quite determined, and really almost made up my mind to refuse Mr. Martin.Do you think I am right？”
“Perfectly, perfectly right, my dearest Harriet；you are doing just what you ought. While you were at all in suspense, I kept my feelings to myself, but now that you are so completely decided, I have no hesitation in approving.Dear Harriet, I give myself joy of this.It would have grieved me to lose your acquaintance, which must have been the consequence of your marrying Mr.Martin.While you were in the smallest degree wavering, I said nothing about it, because I would not influence；but it would have been the loss of a friend to me.I could not have visited Mrs.Robert Martin, of Abbey Mill Farm.Now I am secure of you for ever.”
Harriet had not surmised her own danger, but the idea of it struck her forcibly.
“You could not have visited me！”she cried, looking aghast.“No, to be sure you could not；but I never thought of that before. That would have been too dreadful！What an escape！Dear Miss Woodhouse, I would not give up the pleasure and honour of being intimate with you for anything in the world.”
“Indeed, Harriet, it would have been a severe pang to lose you；but it must have been. You would have thrown yourself out of all good society.I must have given you up.”
“Dear me！How should I ever have borne it！It would have killed me never to come to Hartfield any more.”
“Dear, affectionate creature！You banished to Abbey Mill Farm！You confined to the society of the illiterate and vulgar all your life！I wonder how the young man could have the assurance to ask it. He must have a pretty good opinion of himself.”
“I do not think he is conceited, either, in general，”said Harriet, her conscience opposing such censure；“at least, he is very good-natured, and I shall always feel much obliged to him, and have a great regard for—but that is quite a different thing from—and you know, though he may like me, it does not follow that I should—and certainly I must confess that since my visiting here, I have seen people—and if one comes to compare them, person and manners, there is no comparison at all, one is so very handsome and agreeable. However, I do really think Mr.Martin a very amiable young man, and have a great opinion of him；and his being so much attached to me, and his writing such a letter；but as to leaving you, it is what I would not do upon any consideration.”
“Thank you, thank you, my own sweet little friend. We will not be parted.A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter.”
“Oh, no；and it is but a short letter too.”
Emma felt the bad taste of her friend, but let it pass with a“Very true：and it would be a small consolation to her, for the clownish manner which might be offending her every hour of the day, to know that her husband could write a good letter.”
“Oh！yes, very. Nobody cares for a letter；the thing is, to be always happy with pleasant companions.I am quite determined to refuse him.But how shall I do？What shall I say？”
Emma assured her there would be no difficulty in the answer, and advised its being written directly, which was agreed to, in the hope of her assistance；and though Emma continued to protest against any assistance being wanted, it was, in fact, given in the formation of every sentence. The looking over his letter again, in replying to it, had such a softening tendency, that it was particularly necessary to brace her up with a few decisive expressions；and she was so very much concerned at the idea of making him unhappy, and thought so much of what his mother and sisters would think and say, and was so anxious that they should not fancy her ungrateful, that Emma believed, if the young man had come in her way at that moment, he would have been accepted after all.
This letter, however, was written, and sealed, and sent. The business was finished, and Harriet safe.She was rather low all the evening；but Emma could allow for her amiable regrets, and sometimes relieved them by speaking of her own affection, sometimes by bringing forward the idea of Mr.Elton.
“I shall never be invited to Abbey Mill again，”was said in rather a sorrowful tone.
“Nor, if you were, could I ever bear to part with you, my Harriet. You are a great deal too necessary at Hartfield to be spared to Abbey Mill.”
“And I am sure I should never want to go there；for I am never happy but at Hartfield.”
Some time afterwards it was，“I think Mrs. Goddard would be very much surprised if she knew what had happened.I am sure Miss Nash would；for Miss Nash thinks her own sister very well married, and it is only a linen-draper.”
“One should be sorry to see greater pride or refinement in the teacher of a school, Harriet. I dare say Miss Nash would envy you such an opportunity asthis of being married.Even this conquest would appear valuable in her eyes.As to anything superior for you, I suppose she is quite in the dark.The attentions of a certain person can hardly be among the tittle-tattle of Highbury yet.Hitherto I fancy you and I are the only people to whom his looks and manners have explained themselves.”
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 tenderhearted again towards the rejected Mr.Martin.
“Now he has got my letter，”said she 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 showing 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.”
“Has he so！Then I know nothing of Mr. Elton.No, my dear little modest Harriet, depend upon it, the picture will not be in Bond Street till just before he mounts his horse tomorrow.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 pleasantest feelings of our nature—eager curiosity and warm prepossession.How cheerful, how animated, how auspicious, how busy their imaginations all are！”
Harriet smiled again, and her smiles grew stronger.第八章 Chapter8导读
爱玛没有放弃辩驳，她认为哈丽埃特有权去选择一个更加优秀的男人做丈夫，这样以后的生活才能够更加幸福。奈特利先生认为问题的所在就在于爱玛和哈丽埃特的亲密关系，就因为爱玛的言行举止、想法都在不停地影响着哈丽埃特原本的思维，让哈丽埃特自认为高贵，竟然不愿意嫁给一个真正深爱自己的人。爱玛和奈特利先生一直在为哈丽埃特与马丁之间婚事的问题争吵，最终谁也没有让步。奈特利先生提醒爱玛如果她意在挑选埃尔顿作为哈丽埃特的男人，那纯粹是枉费心机。一想到马丁先生遭到拒绝，而且爱玛还从中插手，奈特利就很生气；爱玛也很生气，她坚信自己的想法是正确的，两个人很不愉快地分开了。ARRIET slept at Hartfield that night. For some weeks past she hadbeen spending more than half her time there, and gradually Hgetting 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 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 of 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 protracted apologies and civil hesitations of the other.
“Well, I believe, if you will excuse me, Mr. Knightley, if you will 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 therefore I think I will beg your excuse, and take my three turns-my winter walk.”
“You cannot do better, sir.”
“I would ask for the pleasure of your company, Mr. Knightley, but I am a very slow walker, and my pace would be tedious to you；and, besides, you have another long walk before you, to Donwell Abbey.”
“Thank you, sir, thank you；I am going this moment myself；and I think the sooner you go the better. I will fetch your great coat and open the garden door for you.”
Mr. Woodhouse at last was off；but Mr.Knightley, instead of being immediately off likewise, sat down again, seemingly inclined for more chat.He began speaking of Harriet, and speaking of her with more voluntary praise than Emma had ever heard before.
“I cannot rate her beauty as you do，”said he；“but she is a pretty little creature, and I am inclined to think very well of her disposition. Her character depends upon those she is with；but in good hands she will turn out a valuable woman.”
“I am glad you think so；and the good hands, I hope, may not be wanting.”
“Come，”said he，“you are anxious for a compliment, so I will tell you thatyou have improved her. You have cured her of her schoolgirl's giggle；she really does you credit.”
“Thank you. I should be mortified, indeed, if I did not believe I had been of some use；but it is not everybody who will bestow praise where they may.You do not often overpower me with it.”
“You are expecting her again, you say, this morning？”
“Almost every moment. She has been gone longer already than she intended.”
“Something has happened to delay her；some visitors, perhaps.”
“Highbury gossips！Tiresome wretches！”
“Harriet may not consider everybody tiresome that you would.”
Emma knew this was too true for contradiction, and, therefore, said nothing. He presently added, with a smile：
“I do not pretend to fix on times or places, but I must tell you that I have good reason to believe your little friend will soon hear of something to her advantage.”
“Indeed！How so？Of what sort？”
“A very serious sort, I assure you，”still smiling.
“Very serious！I can think of but one thing—who is in love with her？Who makes you their confidant？”
Emma was more than half in hopes of Mr. Elton's having dropt a hint.Mr.Knightley was a sort of general friend and adviser, and she knew Mr.Elton looked up to him.“I have reason to think，”he replied，“that Harriet Smith will soon have an offer of marriage, and from a most unexceptionable quarter—Robert Martin is the man.Her visit to Abbey Mill, this summer, seems to have done his business.He is desperately in love, and means to marry her.”
“He is very obliging，”said Emma；“but is he sure that Harriet means to marry him？”
“Well, well, means to make her an offer, then. Will that do？He came to the Abbey two evenings ago, on purpose to consult me about it.He knows I have a thorough regard for him and all his family, and, I believe, considers me as one of his best friends.He came to ask me whether I thought it would be imprudent in him to settle so early；whether I thought her too young—in short, whether I approved his choice altogether；having some apprehension, perhaps, of her being considered（especially since your making so much of her）as in a line of 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, straightforward, and very well judging.He told me everything；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 then；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 today；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，”replied he, surprised，“I do not absolutely know it；but it maybe 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 yesterday—that is, he wrote, and was refused.”
This was obliged to be repeated before it could be believed；and Mr. Knightley actually looked red with surprise and displeasure, as he stood up, in tall indignation, and said，“Then she is a greater simpleton than 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 anybody who asks her.”
“Nonsense！a man does not imagine any such thing. But what is the meaning of this？Harriet Smith refuse 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 am rather surprised, indeed, that he should have ventured to address her.By your account he does seem to have had 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 provision 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 anything herself.At her age she can have no experience；and, with her little wit, is not very likely ever to have any that canavail her.She is pretty, and she is good tempered, and that is all.My only scruple in advising the match was on his account, as being beneath his deserts, and a bad connection for him.I felt that, as to fortune, in all probability he might do much better；and that, as to a rational companion or useful helpmate, he could not do worse.But I could not reason so to a man in love, and was willing to trust to there being no harm in her；to her having that sort of disposition, which, in good hands like his, might be easily led aright, and turn out very well.The advantage of the match I felt to be all On her side；and had not the smallest doubt（nor have I now）that there would be a general cry out upon her extreme good luck.Even your satisfaction I made sure of.It crossed my mind immediately that you would not regret your friend leaving Highbury, for the sake of her being settled so well.I remember saying to myself，‘Even Emma, with all her partiality for Harriet, will think this a good match.'”
“I cannot help wondering at your knowing so little of Emma as to say any such thing. What！think a farmer（and with all his sense and all his merit Mr.Martin is nothing more）a good match for my intimate friend！Not regret her leaving Highbury, for the sake of marrying a man whom I could never admit as an acquaintance of my own！I wonder you should think it possible for me to have such feelings.I assure you mine are very different.I must think your statement by no means fair.You are not just to Harriet's claims.They would be estimated very differently by others as well as myself；Mr.Martin may be the richest of the two, but he is undoubtedly her inferior as to rank in society.The sphere in which she moves is much above his.It would be a degradation.”
“A degradation to illegitimacy and ignorance to be married to a respectable, intelligent, gentleman-farmer！”
“As to the circumstances of her birth, though in a legal sense she may be called Nobody, it will not hold in common sense. She is not to pay for the offence of others, by being held below the level of those with whom she is brought up.There can scarcely be a doubt that her father is a gentleman—and a gentleman of fortune.Her allowance is very liberal；nothing has ever been grudged for her improvement or comfort.That she is a gentleman's daughter is indubitable to me；that she associates with gentlemen's daughters, no one, I apprehend, will deny.She is superior to Mr.Robert Martin.”
“Whoever might be her parents，”said Mr. Knightley，“whoever may have had the charge of her, it does not appear to have been any part of their plan to introduce her into what you would call good society.After receiving a very indifferent education, she is left in Mrs.Goddard's hands to shift as she can—to move, in short, in Mrs.Goddard's line, to have Mrs.Goddard's acquaintance.Her friends evidently thought this good enough for her；and it was good enough.She desired nothing better herself.Till you chose to turn her into a friend, her mind had no distaste for her own sex, nor any ambition beyond it.She was as happy as possible with the Martins in the summer.She had no sense of superiority then.If she has it now, you have given it.You have been no friend to Harriet Smith, Emma.Robert Martin would never have proceeded so far, if he had not felt persuaded of her not being disinclined to him.I know him well.He has too much real feeling to address any woman on the haphazard of selfish passion.And as to conceit, he is the furthest from it of any man I know.Depend upon it, he had encouragement.”
It was most convenient to Emma not to make a direct reply to this assertion；she chose rather to take up her own line of the subject again.
“You are a very warm friend to Mr. Martin；but, as I said before, are unjust to Harriet.Harriet's claims to marry well are not so contemptible as you represent them.She is not a clever girl, but she has better sense than you are aware of, and does not deserve to have her understanding spoken of so slightingly.Waiving that point, however, and supposing her to be, as you describe her, only pretty and good-natured, let me tell you, that in the degree she possesses them, they are not trivial recommendations to the world in general, for she is, in fact, a beautiful girl, and must be thought so by ninety-nine people out of an hundred；and till it appears that men are much more philosophic on the subject of beauty than they are generally supposed, till they do fall in love with well-informed minds instead of handsome faces, a girl, with such loveliness as Harriet, had a certainty of being admired and sought after, of having the power of choosing from among many, consequently a claim to be nice.Her good nature, too, is not so very slight a claim, comprehending, as it does, real, thorough sweetness of temper and manner, a very humble opinion of herself, and a great readiness to be pleased with other people.I amvery much mistaken if your sex in general would not think such beauty, and such temper, the highest claim a woman could possess.”
“Upon my word, Emma, to hear you abusing the reason you have, is almost enough to make me think so too. Better be without sense than misapply it as you do.”
“To be sure，”cried she playfully.“I know that is the feeling of you all. I know that such a girl as Harriet is exactly what every man delights in—what at once bewitches his senses and satisfies his judgment.Oh, Harriet may pick and choose.Were you, yourself, ever to marry, she is the very woman for you.And is she, at seventeen, just entering into life, just beginning to be known, to be wondered at because she does not accept the first offer she receives？No—pray, let her have time to look about her.”
“I have always thought it a very foolish intimacy，”said Mr. Knightley presently，“though I have kept my thoughts to myself；but I now perceive that it will be a very unfortunate one for Harriet.You will puff her up with such ideas of her own beauty, and of what she has a claim to, that, in a little while, nobody within her reach will be good enough for her.Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.Nothing so easy as for a young lady to raise her expectations too high.Miss Harriet Smith may not find offers of marriage flow in so fast, though she is a very pretty girl.Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.Men of family would not be very fond of connecting themselves with a girl of such obscurity—and most prudent men would be afraid of the inconvenience and disgrace they might be involved in, when the mystery of her parentage came to be revealed.Let her marry Robert Martin, and she is safe, respectable, and happy for ever；but if you encourage her to expect to marry greatly, and teach her to be satisfied with nothing less than a man of consequence and large fortune, she may be a parlour boarder at Mrs.Goddard's all the rest of her life—or, at least（for Harriet Smith is a girl who will marry somebody or other）till she grow desperate, and is glad to catch at the old writing-master's son.”
“We think so very differently on this point, Mr. Knightley, that there can be no use in canvassing it.We shall only be making each other more angry.But as to my letting her marry Robert Martin, it is impossible；she has refused him, and so decidedly, I think, as must prevent any second application.She must abide by the evil of having refused him, whatever it may be；and as to the refusal itself, I will not pretend to say that I might not influence her a little；but I assure you there was very little for me or for anybody to do.His appearance is so much against him, and his manner so bad, that if she ever were disposed to favour him, she is not now.I can imagine, that, before she had seen anybody superior, she might tolerate him.He was the brother of her friends, and he took pains to please her；and altogether, having seen nobody better（that must have been his great assistant），she might not, while she was at Abbey Mill, find him disagreeable.But the case is altered now.She knows now what gentlemen are；and nothing but a gentleman in education and manner has any chance with Harriet.”
“Nonsense, arrant nonsense, as ever was talked！”cried Mr. Knightley.“Robert Martin's manners have sense, sincerity, and good humour to recommend them；and his mind has more true gentility than Harriet Smith could understand.”
Emma made no answer, and tried to look cheerfully unconcerned, but was really feeling uncomfortable, and wanting him very much to be gone. She did not repent what she had done；she still thought herselfa better judge of such a point of female right and refinement than he could be；but yet she had a sort of habitual respect for his judgment in general, which made her dislike having it so loudly against her；and to have him sitting just opposite to her in angry state was very disagreeable.Some minutes passed in this unpleasant silence, with only one attempt on Emma's side to talk of the weather, but he made no answer.He was thinking.The result of his thoughts appeared at last in these words.
“Robert Martin has no great loss—if he can but think so；and I hope it will not be long before he does. Your views for Harriet are best known to yourself；but as you make no secret of your love of match-making, it is fair to suppose that views, and plans, and projects you have；and as a friend I shall just hint to you, that if Elton is the man, I think it will be all labour in vain.”
Emma laughed and disclaimed. He continued：
“Depend upon it, Elton will not do. Elton is a very good sort of man, and a very respectable vicar of Highbury, but not at all likely to make an imprudentmatch.He knows the value of a good income as well as anybody.Elton may talk sentimentally, but he will act rationally.He is as well acquainted with his own claims as you can be with Harriet's.He knows that he is a very handsome young man, and a great favourite wherever he goes；and from his general way of talking in unreserved moments, when there are only men present, I am convinced that he does not mean to throw himself away.I have heard him speak with great animation of a large family of young ladies that his sisters are intimate with, who have all twenty thousand pounds apiece.”
“I am very much obliged to you，”said Emma, laughing again.“If I had set my heart on Mr. Elton's marrying Harriet, it would have been very kind to open my eyes；but at present I only want to keep Harriet to myself.I have done with match-making, indeed.I could never hope to equal my own doings at Randalls.I shall leave off while I am well.”
“Good morning to you，”said he, rising and walking off abruptly. He was very much vexed.He felt the disappointment of the young man, and was mortified to have been the means of promoting it, by the sanction he had given；and the part which, he was persuaded, Emma had taken in the affair was provoking him exceedingly.
Emma remained in a state of vexation too；but there was more indistinctness in the causes of her's than in his. She did not always feel so absolutely satisfied with herself, so entirely convinced that her opinions were right and her adversary's wrong, as Mr.Knightley.He walked off in more complete self-approbation than he left for her.She was not so materially cast down, however, but that a little time and the return of Harriet were very adequate restoratives.Harriet's staying away so long was beginning to make her uneasy.The possibility of the young man's coming to Mrs.Goddard's that morning, and meeting with Harriet and pleading his own cause, gave alarming ideas.The dread of such a failure after all became the prominent uneasiness；and when Harriet appeared, and in very good spirits, and without having any such reason to give for her long absence, she felt a satisfaction which settled her with her own mind, and convinced her that, let Mr.Knightley think or say what he would, she had done nothing which woman’s friendship and woman’s feelings would not justify.
He had frightened her a little about Mr. Elton；but when she considered that Mr.Knightley could not have observed him as she had done, neither with the interest nor（she must be allowed to tell herself, in spite of Mr.Knightley's pretensions）with the skill of such an observer on such a question as herself, that he had spoken it hastily and in anger, she was able to believe, that he had rather said what he wished resentfully to be true, than what he knew anything about.He certainly might have heard Mr.Elton speak with more unreserve than she had ever done, and Mr.Elton might not be of an imprudent, inconsiderate disposition, as to money matters；he might naturally be rather attentive than otherwise to them；but then, Mr.Knightley did not make due allowance for the influence of a strong passion, at war with all interested motives.Mr.Knightley saw no such passion, and of course thought nothing of its effects；but she saw too much of it to feel a doubt of its overcoming any hesitations that a reasonable prudence might originally suggest；and more than a reasonable, becoming degree of prudence, she was very sure did not belong to Mr.Elton.
Harriet's cheerful look and manner established hers；she came back, not to think of Mr. Martin, but to talk of Mr.Elton.Miss Nash had been telling her something, which she repeated immediately with great delight.Mr.Perry had been to Mrs.Goddard's to attend a sick child, and Miss Nash had seen him；and he had told Miss Nash that as he was coming back yesterday from Clayton Park he had met Mr.Elton, and found, to his great surprise, that Mr.Elton was actually on his road to London, and not meaning to return till the morrow, though it was the whist club night, which he had been never known to miss before；and Mr.Perry had remonstrated with him about it, and told him how shabby it was in him, their best player, to absent himself, and tried very much to persuade him to put off his journey only one day；but it would not do；Mr.Elton had been determined to go on, and had said in a very particular way indeed, that he was going on business which he would not put off for any inducement in the world；and something about a very enviable commission, and being the bearer of something exceedingly precious.Mr.Perry could not quite understand him, but he was very sure there must be a lady in the case, and he told him so；and Mr.Elton only looked very conscious and smiling, and rode off in great spirits.Miss Nash had told her all this, and had talked a great dealmore about Mr.Elton；and said, looking so very significantly at her，“that she did not pretend to understand what his business might be, but she only knew that any woman whom Mr.Elton could prefer, she should think the luckiest woman in the world；for, beyond a doubt, Mr.Elton had not his equal for beauty or agreeableness.”第九章 Chapter9导读
爱玛把这首字谜念给父亲听，父亲感慨之余想起了大女儿伊莎贝拉，因为女婿约翰·奈特利工作的原因，他们总不能在家待上足够的时间。伍德豪斯先生盼望着女儿能够回家多住些日子，但大女儿却总是舍不得离开自己的丈夫，这让他很苦恼。爱玛赶紧转移开话题，开始谈论起那些可爱的小侄子。下午时分，埃尔顿先生再次造访，谈话的气氛和他离去时的微笑让爱玛更加肯定他对哈丽埃特的情意。R. Knightley might quarrel with her, but Emma could not quarrelwith herself.He was so much displeased, that it was Mlonger than usual before he came to Hartfield again；and when they did meet, his grave looks showed that she was not forgiven.She was sorry but could not repent.On the contrary, her plans and proceedings were more and more justified, and endeared to her by the general appearances of the next few days.
The Picture, elegantly framed, came safely to hand soon after Mr. Elton's return, and being hung over the mantelpiece of the common sitting-room, he got up to look at it, and sighed out his half sentences of admiration, just as he ought；and as for Harriet's feelings, they were vividly forming themselves into as strong and steady an attachment as her youth and sort of mind admitted.Emma was soon perfectly satisfied of Mr.Martin's being no otherwise remembered, than as he furnished a contrast with Mr.Elton, of the utmost advantage to the latter.
Her views of improving her tittle friend's mind, by a great deal of useful reading and conversation, had never yet led to more than a few first chapters, and the intention of going on tomorrow. It was much easier to chat than to study；much pleasanter to let her imagination range and work at Harriet's fortune, than to be labouring to enlarge her comprehension, or exercise it on sober facts；and the only literary pursuit which engaged Harriet at present, the only mental provision she was making for the evening of life, was the collection and transcribing all the riddles of every sort that she could meet with, into a thin quarto of hot-pressed paper, made up by her friend, and ornamented with cyphers and trophies.
In this age of literature, such collections on a very grand scale are not uncommon. Miss Nash, head-teacher at Mrs.Goddard's, had written out at least three hundred；and Harriet, who had taken the first hint of it from her, hoped, with Miss Woodhouse's help, to get a great many more.Emma assisted with her invention, memory, and taste；and as Harriet wrote a very pretty hand, it was likely to be an arrangement of the first order, in form as well as quantity.
Mr. Woodhouse was almost as much interested in the business as the girls, and tried very often to recollect something worth their putting in.“So many clever riddles as there used to be when he was young—he wondered he could not remember them；but he hoped he should in time.”And it always ended in“Kitty, a fair but frozen maid.”
His good friend Perry, too, whom he had spoken to on the subject, did not at present recollect anything of the riddle kind；but he had desired Perry to be upon the watch, and as he went about so much, something, he thought, might come from that quarter.
It was by no means his daughter's wish that the intellects of Highbury in general should be put under requisition. Mr.Elton was the only one whose assistance she asked.He was invited to contribute any really good enigmas, charades or conundrums, that he might recollect；and she had the pleasure of seeing him most intently at work with his recollections；and at the same time, as she could perceive, most earnestly careful that nothing ungallant, nothing that did not breathe a compliment to the sex, should pass his lips.They owed to him their two or three politest puzzles；and the joy and exultation with which at last he recalled, and rather sentimentally recited, that well known charade：
My first doth affliction denote，
Which my second is destin'd to feel；
And my whole is the best antidote
That affliction to soften and heal，
made her quite sorry to acknowledge that they had transcribed it some pages ago already.
“Why will not you write one yourself for us, Mr. Elton？”said she；“that is the only security for its freshness；and nothing could be easier to you.”
“Oh, no, he had never written, hardly ever, anything of the kind in his life. The stupidest fellow！He was afraid not even Miss Woodhouse”—he stopped a moment—“or Miss Smith could inspire him.”
The very next day, however, produced some proof of inspiration. He called for a few moments, just to leave a piece of paper on the table containing, as he said, a charade which a friend of his had addressed to a young lady, the objectof his admiration；but which, from his manner, Emma was immediately convinced must be his own.
“I do not offer it for Miss Smith's collection，”said he.“Being my friend's, I have no right to expose it in any degree to the public eye, but perhaps you may not dislike looking at it.”
The speech was more to Emma than to Harriet, which Emma could understand. There was deep consciousness about him, and he found it easier to meet her eyes than her friend's.He was gone the next moment；after another moment's pause：
“Take it，”said Emma, smiling, and pushing the paper towards Harriet—“it is for you. Take your own.”
But Harriet was in a tremor, and could not touch it；and Emma, never loath to be first, was obliged to examine it herself.
My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings，
Lords of the earth！their luxury and ease.
Another view of man, my second brings
Behold him there, the monarch of the seas！
But ah！united, what reverse we have！
Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown：an'sboastedpowerandfreedom, allareflown：
Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave，
And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
Thy ready wit the word will soon supply，
May its approval beam in that soft eye！
She cast her eye over it, pondered, caught the meaning, read it throughagain to be quite certain, and quite mistress of the lines, and then passing it toHarriet, sat happily smiling, and saying to herself, while Harriet was puzzlingover the paper in all the confusion of hope and dullness，“Very well, Mr. Elton, very well, indeed.I have read worse charades.Courtship—a very good hint.I give you credit for it.This is feeling your way.This is saying very plainly—‘Pray, Miss Smith, give me leave to pay my addresses to you.Approve mycharade and my attentions in the same glance.'
May its approval beam in that soft eye！
Harriet exactly. Soft is the very word for her eye—of all epithets, the justest that could be given.
Thy ready wit the word will soon supply.
Humph—Harriet's ready wit. All the better.A man must be very much in love indeed, to describe her so.Ah！Mr.Knightley, I wish you had the benefit of this；I think this would convince you.For once in your life you would be obliged to own yourself mistaken.An excellent charade, indeed, and very much to the purpose.Things must come to a crisis soon now.”
She was obliged to break off from these very pleasant observations, which were otherwise of a sort to run into great length, by the eagerness of Harriet's wondering questions.
“What can it be, Miss Woodhouse？—What can it be？I have not an idea—I cannot guess it in the least. What can it possibly be？Do try to find it out, Miss Woodhouse.Do help me.I never saw anything so hard.Is it kingdom？I wonder who the friend was—and who could be the young lady.Do you think it is a good one？Can it be woman？
And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
Can it be Neptune？
Behold him there, the monarch of the seas！
Or a trident？Or a mermaid？Or a shark？Oh, no；shark is only one syllable. It must be very clever, or he would not have brought it.Oh, Miss Woodhouse, do you think we shall ever find it out？”
“Mermaids and sharks！Nonsense！My dear Harriet, what are you thinking of？Where would be the use of his bringing us a charade made by a friend upon a mermaid or a shark？Give me the paper and listen.
“For Miss—“read Miss Smith，
My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings，
Lords of the earth！their luxury and ease.
That is court.
Another view of man, my second brings.
Behold him there, the monarch of the seas！
That is ship—plain as it can be. Now for the cream.
But ah！united（courtship, you know），what reverse
Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown：
Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave，
And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.
A very proper compliment！And then follows the appfication which I think, my dear Harriet, you cannot find much difficulty in comprehending. Read it in comfort to yourself.There can be no doubt of its being written for you and to you.”
Harriet could not long resist so delightful a persuasion. She read the concluding lines, and was all flutter and happiness.She could not speak.But she was not wanted to speak.It was enough for her to feel.Emma spoke for her.
“There is so pointed and so particular a meaning in this compliment，”said she，“that I cannot have a doubt as to Mr. Elton's intentions.You are his object—and you will soon receive the completest proof of it.I thought it must be so.I thought I could not be so deceived；but now it is clear；the state of his mind is as clear and decided as my wishes on the subject have been ever since I knew you.Yes, Harriet, just so long have I been wanting the very circumstance to happen what has happened.I could never tell whether an attachment between you and Mr.Elton were most desirable or most natural.Its probability and its eligibility have really so equalled each other！I am very happy.I congratulate you, my dear Harriet, with all my heart.This is an attachment which a woman may well feel proud in creating.This is a connection which offers nothing but good.It will give you everything that you want—consideration, independence, a proper home—it will fix you in the centre of all your real friends, close to Hartfield and to me, and confirm our intimacy for ever.This, Harriet, is an alliance which can never raise a blush in either of us.”
“Dear Miss Woodhouse！”and“Dear Miss Woodhouse！”was all that Harriet, with many tender embraces, could articulate at first；but when they did arrive at something more like conversation, it was sufficiently clear to her friend that she saw, felt, anticipated, and remembered just as she ought. Mr.Elton's superiority had very ample acknowledgment.
“Whatever you say is always right，”cried Harriet，“and therefore I suppose, and believe, and hope it must be so；but otherwise I could not have imagined it. It is so much beyond anything I deserve.Mr.Elton, who might marry anybody！There cannot be two opinions about him.He is so very superior.Only think of those sweet verses—‘To Miss—.'Dear me, how clever！Could it really be meant for me？”
“I cannot make a question, or listen to a question about that. It is a certainty.Receive it on my judgment.It is a sort of prologue to the play, a motto to the chapter；and will be soon followed by matter-of-fact prose.”
“It is a sort of thing which nobody could have expected. I am sure, a month ago, I had no more idea myself.The strangest things do take place！”
“When Miss Smiths and Mr. Eltons get acquainted—they do indeed—and really it is strange；it is out of the common course that what is so evidently, so palpably desirable—what courts the pre-arrangement of other people—should so immediately shape itself into the proper form.You and Mr.Elton are by situation called together；you belong to one another by every circumstance of your respective homes.Your marrying will be equal to the match at Randalls.There does seem to be something in the air of Hartfield which gives love exactly the right direction, and sends it into the very channel where it ought to flow.
The course of true love never did run smooth—
A Hartfield edition of Shakespeare would have a long note on that passage.”
“That Mr. Elton should really be in love with me—me, of all people, who did not know him, to speak to him at Michaelmas.And he, the very handsomest man that ever was, and a man that everybody looks up to, quite like Mr.Knightley.His company so sought after, that everybody says he need not eat a single meal by himself if he does not choose it；that he has more invitations than there are days in the week.And so excellent in the Church！Miss Nash has put down all the texts he has ever preached from since he came to Highbury.Dear me！When I look back to the first time I saw him！How little did I think！The two Abbots and I ran into the front room, and peeped throughthe blind when we heard he was going by, and Miss Nash came and scolded us away, and stayed to look through herself；however, she called me back presently, and let me look too, which was very good-natured.And how beautiful we thought he looked！He was arm-in-arm with Mr.Cole.”
“This is an alliance which, whoever—whatever your friends may be, must be agreeable to them, provided at least, they have common sense；and we are not to be addressing our conduct to fools. If they are anxious to see you happily married, here is a man whose amiable character gives every assurance of it；if they wish to have you settled in the same country and circle which they have chosen to place you in, here it will be accomplished；and if their only object is that you should, in the common phrase, be well married, here is the comfortable fortune, the respectable establishment, the rise in the world which must satisfy them.”
“Yes, very true. How nicely you talk！I love to hear you.You understand everything.You and Mr.Elton are one as clever as the other.This charade！If I had studied a twelvemonth, I could never have made anything like it.”
“I thought he meant to try his skill, by his manner of declining it yesterday.”
“I do think it is, without exception, the best charade I ever read.”
“I never read one more to the purpose, certainly.”
“It is as long again as almost all we have had before.”
“I do not consider its length as particularly in its favour. Such things in general cannot be too short.”
Harriet was too intent on the lines to hear. The most satisfactory comparisons were rising in her mind.
“It is one thing，”said she presently, her cheeks in a glow，“to have very good sense in a common way, like everybody else, and if there is anything to say, to sit down and write a letter, and say just what you must, in a short way；and another to write verses and charades like this.”
Emma could not have desired a more spirited rejection of Mr. Martin's prose.
“Such sweet lines！”continued Harriet，“These two last！But how shall I ever be able to return the paper, or say I have found it out？Oh！MissWoodhouse, what can we do about that？”
“Leave it to me. You do nothing.He will be here this, evening, I dare say, and then I will give it him back, ant some nonsense or other will pass between us, and yot shall not be committed.Your soft eyes shall choose their own time for beaming.Trust to me.”
“Oh, Miss Woodhouse, what a pity that I must not write this beautiful charade into my book；I am sure I have not got one half so good.”
“Leave out the two last lines, and there is no reason why you should not write it into your book.”
“Oh！but those two lines are—”
“The best of all. Granted—for private enjoyment；and for private enjoyment keep them.They are not at all the less written, you know, because you divide them.The couplet does not cease to be, nor does its meaning change.But take it away, and all appropriation ceases, and a very pretty gallant charade remains, fit for any collection.Depend upon it, he would not like to have his charade slighted much better than his passion.A poet in love must be encouraged in both capacities, or neither.Give me the book, I will write it down, and then there can be no possible reflection on you.”
Harriet submitted, though her mind could hardly separate the parts, so as to feel quite sure that her friend were not writing down a declaration of love. It seemed too precious an offering for any degree of publicity.
“I shall never let that book go out of my own hands，”said she.
“Very well，”replied Emma，“a most natural feeling, and the longer it lasts, the better I shall be pleased. But here is my father coming；you will not obiect to my reading the charade to him.It will be giving him so much pleasure.He loves anything of the sort, and especially anything that pays woman a compliment.He has the tenderest spirit of gallantry towards us all.You must let me read it to him.”
Harriet looked grave.
“My dear Harriet, you must not refine too much upon this charade. You will betray your feelings improperly, if you are too conscious and too quick, and appear to affix more meaning or even quite all the meaning which may be affixed to it.Do not be overpowered by such a little tribute of admiration.If hehad been anxious for secrecy, he would not have left the paper while I was by, but he rather pushed it towards me than towards you.Do not let us be too solemn on the business.He has encouragement enough to proceed, without our sighing out our souls over this charade.”
“Oh, no；I hope I shall not be ridiculous about it. Do as you please.”
Mr. Woodhouse came in, and very soon led to the subject again, by the recurrence of his very frequent inquiry of“Well, my dears, how does your book go on？Have you got anything fresh？”
“Yes, papa；we have something to read you, something quite fresh. A piece of paper was found on the table this morning（dropped, we suppose, by a fairy）containing a very pretty charade, and we have just copied it in.”
She read it to him, just as he liked to have anything read, slowly and distinctly, and two or three times over, with explanations of every part as she proceeded；and he was very much pleased, and, as she had foreseen, especially struck with the complimentary conclusion.
“Aye, that's very just, indeed；that's very properly said. Very true.‘Woman, lovely woman.'It is such a pretty charade, my dear, that I can easily guess what fairy brought it.Nobody could have written so prettily but you, Emma.”
Emma only nodded and smiled. After a little thinking, and a very tender sigh, he added：
“Ah, it is no difficulty to see who you take after. Your dear mother was so clever at all those things.If I had but her memory.But I can remember nothing；not even that particular riddle which you have heard me mention；I can only recollect the first stanza；and there are several：
Kitty, a fair but frozen maid, Kindled a flame I yet deplore；
The hoodwink'd boy I called to aid，
Though of his near approach afraid，
So fatal to my suit before.
And that is all that I can recollect of it；but it is very clever all the way through. But I think, my dear, you said you had got it.”
“Yes, papa, it is written out in our second page. We copied it from the Elegant Extracts.It was Garrick's, you know.”
“Aye, very true—I wish I could recollect more of it：
Kitty, a fair but frozen maid.
The name makes me think of poor Isabella；for she was very near being christened Catherine, after her grandmamma. I hope we shall have her here next week.Have you thought, my dear, where you shall put her, and what room there will be for the children？”
“Oh, yes；she will have her own room of course；the room she always has；and there is the nursery for the children—just as usual, you know. Why should there be any change？”
“I do not know, my dear；but it is so long since she was here—not since last Easter, and then only for a few days. Mr.John Knightley's being a lawyer is very inconvenient.Poor Isabella！She is sadly taken away from us all；and how sorry she will be, when she comes, not to see Miss Taylor here.”
“She will not be surprised, papa, at least.”
“I do not know, my dear. I am sure I was very much surprised when I first heard she was going to be married.”
“We must ask Mr. and Mrs.Weston to dine with us, while Isabella is here.”
“Yes, my dear, if there is time. But”（in a very depressed tone）“she iscoming for only one week.There will not be time for anything.”
“It is unfortunate that they cannot stay longer, but it seems a case of necessity. Mr.John Knightley must be in town again on the 28th；and we ought to be thankful, papa, that we are to have the whole of the time they can give to the country, that two or three days arc not to be taken out for the Abbey.Mr.Knightley promises to give up his claim this Christmas, though you know it is longer since they were with him than with us.”
“It would be very hard, indeed, my dear, if poor Isabella were to be anywhere but at Hartfield.”
Mr. Woodhouse could never allow for Mr.Knightley's claims on his brother, or anybody's claims on Isabella, except his own.He sat musing a little while, and then said：
“But I do not see why poor Isabella should be obliged to go back so soon, though he does. I think, Emma, I shall try and persuade her to stay longer with us.She and the children might stay very well.”
“Ah, papa, that is what you never have been able to accomplish, and I do not think you ever will. Isabella cannot bear to stay behind her husband.”
This was too true for contradiction. Unwelcome as it was, Mr.Woodhouse could only give a submissive sigh；and as Emma saw his spirits affected by the idea of his daughter's attachment to her husband, she immediately led to such a branch of the subject as must raise them.
“Harriet must give us as much of her company as she can while my brother and sister are here. I am sure she will be pleased with the children.We are very proud of the children, are not we, papa？I wonder which she will think the handsomest, Henry or John？”
“Aye, I wonder which she will. Poor little dears, how glad they will be to come.They are very fond of being at Hartfield, Harriet.”
“I dare say they are, sir. I am sure I do not know who is not.”
“Henry is a fine boy, but John is very like his mamma. Henry is the eldest；he was named after me, not after his father.John, the second, is named after his father.Some people are surprised, I believe, that the eldest was not, but Isabella would have him called Henry, which I thought very pretty of her.And he is a very clever boy, indeed.They are all remarkably clever；and they have so many pretty ways.They will come and stand by my chair and say，‘Grandpapa, can you give me a bit of string？'and once Henry asked me for a knife, but I told him knives were only made for grandpapas.I think their father is too rough with them very often.”
“He appears rough to you，”said Emma，“because you are so very gentleyourself；but if you could compare him with other papas, you would not thinkhim rough. He wishes his boys to be active and hardy；and if they misbehave, can give them a sharp word now and then；but he is an affectionate father—certainly Mr.John Knightley is an affectionate father.The children are all fondof him.”
“And then their uncle comes in and tosses them up to the ceiling in a very frightful way.”
“But they like it, papa；there is nothing they like so much. It is such enjoyment to them, that if their uncle did not lay down the rule of their taking turns, whichever began would never give way to the other.”
“Well, I cannot understand it.”
“That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”
Later in the morning, and just as the girls were going to separate, in preparation for the regular four o'clock dinner, the hero of this inimitable charade walked in again. Harriet turned away；but Emma could receive him with the usual smile, and her quick eye soon discerned in his the consciousness of having made a push, of having thrown a die；and she imagined he was come to see how it might turn up.His ostensible reason, however, was to ask whether Mr.Woodhouse's party could be made up in the evening without him, or whether he should be in the smallest degree necessary at Hartfield.If he were, everything else must give way；but otherwise his friend Cole had been saying so much about his dining with—him—had made such a point of it—that he had promised him conditionally to come.
Emma thanked him, but could not allow of his disappointing his friend on their account；her father was sure of his rubber. He reurged—she re-declined；and he seemed then about to make his bow, when, taking the paper from the table, she returned it.
“Oh, here is the charade you were so obliging as to leave with us；thank you for the sight of it. We admired it so much that I have ventured to write it into Miss Smith's collection.Your friend will not take it amiss, I hope.Of course, I have not transcribed beyond the first eight lines.”
Mr. Elton certainly did not very well know what to say.He looked rather doubtingly—rather confused；said something about“honour，”—glanced at Emma and at Harriet, and then, seeing the book open on the table, took it up, and examined it very attentively.With the view of passing off an awkward moment, Emma smilingly said：
“You must make my apologies to your friend；but so good a charade must not be confined to one or two. He may be sure of every woman's approbation while he writes with such gallantry.”
“I have no hesitation in saying，”replied Mr. Elton, though hesitating a good deal while he spoke—“I have no hesitation in saying—at least if my friend feels at all as I do—I have not the smallest doubt that, could he see hislittle effusion honoured as I see it（looking at the book again and replacing it on the table），he would consider it as the proudest moment of his life.”
After this speech he was gone as soon as possible. Emma could not think it too soon；for with all his good and agreeable qualities, there was a sort of parade in his speeches which was very apt to incline her to laugh.She ran away to indulge the inclination, leaving the tender and the sublime of pleasure to Harriet's share.第十章 Chapter10导读
她们走到了附近的穷人区，爱玛每次都会亲自照料那些穷苦的人们，并慷慨解囊，总是尽自己所能去安慰他们，给予他们希望。在某家拜访的时候她们竟然遇到了埃尔顿先生，爱玛觉得有必要让他们俩单独在一起，便加快了脚步，谁知哈丽埃特跟随惯了，还是继续跟了上来。路上又碰到了村子里的一个女孩，爱玛停下聊了两句，埃尔顿先生和哈丽埃特在一旁兴致勃勃地交谈着。爱玛假装鞋带断了，这样便有借口去埃尔顿家里，从而为哈丽埃特提供了一个很好的机会。尽管这一次故意安排并没有很明显地促进两个人之间的感情，但爱玛相信他们的终身大事已经不远了。HOUGH now the middle of December, there had yet been noweather to prevent the young ladies from tolerably regular Texercise；and on the morrow, Emma had a charitable visit to pay to a poor sick family who lived a little way out of Highbury.
Their road to this detached cottage was down Vicarage Lane, a lane leading at right angles from the broad, though irregular, main street of the place；and, as may be inferred, containing the blessed abode of Mr. Elton.A few inferior dwellings were first to be passed, and then, about a quarter of a mile down the lane, rose the vicarage, an old and not very good house, almost as close to the road as it could be.It had no advantage of situation；but had been very much smartened up by the present proprietor；and, such as it was, there could be no possibility of the two friends passing it without a slackened pace and observing eyes.Emma's remark was：
“There it is. There go you and your riddle book one of these days.”Harriet's was：
“Oh, what a sweet house！How very beautiful！There are the yellow curtains that Miss Nash admires so much.”“I do not often walk this way now，”said Emma, as they proceeded，“but then there will be an inducement, and I shall gradually get intimately acquainted with all the hedges, gates, pools, and pollards, of this part of Highbury.”
Harriet, she found, had never in her life been within sight the vicarage；and her curiosity to see it was so extreme, that, considering exteriors and probabilities, Emma could only class it as a proof of love, with Mr. Elton's seeing ready wit in her.
“I wish we could contrive it，”said she；“but I cannot think of any tolerable pretence for going in；no servant that I want to inquire about of his housekeeper—no message from my father.”
She pondered, but could think of nothing. After a mutual silence of some minutes, Harriet thus began again：
“I do so wonder, Miss Woodhouse, that you should not be married, or going to be married—so charming as you are.”
Emma laughed, and replied：
“My being charming, Harriet, is not quite enough to induce me to marry；I must find other people charming—one other person at least. And I am not only not going to be married at present, but have very little intention of ever marrying at all.”
“Ah, so you say, but I cannot believe it.”
“I must see somebody very superior to any one I have seen yet, to be tempted；Mr. Elton, you know”（recollecting herself）“is out of the question；and I do not wish to see any such person.I would rather not be tempted.I cannot really change for the better.If I were to marry, I must expect to repent it.”
“Dear me！—It is so odd to hear a woman talk so！”
“I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing；but I never have been in love；it is not my way, or my nature；and I do not think I ever shall.And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine.Fortune I do not want；employment I do not want；consequence I do not want；I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house as I am of Hartfield；and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important；so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's.”
“But then, to be an old maid at last, like Miss Bates！”
“That is as formidable an image as you could present, Harriet；and if I thought I should ever be like Miss Bates—so silly, so satisfied, so smiling, so prosing, so undistinguishing, and unfastidious, and so apt to tell everything relative to everybody about me, I would marry tomorrow. But between us, I am convinced there never can be any likeness, except in being unmarried.”
“But still, you will be an old maid—and that's so dreadful！”
“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid；and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public！A single woman with a very narrow income must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid！The proper sport of boys and girls；but a single woman of good fortune is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else！And the distinction is not quite so much against the candour and common sense of the world as appears at first；for a very narrow income has a tendency to contractthe mind, and sour the temper. Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior, society, may well be illiberal and cross.This does not apply, however, to Miss Bates；she is only too good-natured and too silly to suit me；but, in general, she is very much to the taste of everybody, though single, and though poor.Poverty certainly has not contracted her mind；I really believe, if she had only a shilling in the world, she would be very likely to give away sixpence of it；and nobody is afraid of her—that is a great charm.”
“Dear me！But what shall you do？How shall you employ yourself when you grow old？”
“If I know myself, Harriet, mine is an active, busy mind, with a great many independent resources；and I do not perceive why I should be more in want of employment at forty or fifty than one-and-twenty. Woman's usual occupations of eye, and hand, and mind, will be as open to me then as they are now, or with no important variation.If I draw less, I shall read more；if I give up music, I shall take to carpet-work.And as for objects of interest, objects for the affections, which is, in truth, the great point of inferiority, the want of which is really the great evil to be avoided in not marrying, I shall be very well off, with all the children of a sister I love so much to care about.There will be enough of them in all probability, to supply every sort of sensation that declining life can need.There will be enough for every hope and every fear；and though my attachment to none can equal that of a parent, it suits my ideas of comfort better than what is warmer and blinder.My nephews and nieces：I shall often have a niece with me.”
“Do you know Miss Bates's niece？That is, I know you must have seen her a hundred times—but are you acquainted？”
“Oh, yes；we are always forced to be acquainted whenever she comes to Highbury. By the bye, that is almost enough to put one out of conceit with a niece.Heaven forbid at least, that I should ever bore people half so much about all the Knightleys together as she does about Jane Fairfax.One is sick of the very name of Jane Fairfax.Every letter from her is read forty times over；her compliments to all friends go round and round again；and if she does but send her aunt the pattern of a stomacher, or knit a pair of garters for her grandmother, one hears of nothing else for a month.I wish Jane Fairfax very well, but she tires me to death.”
They were now approaching the cottage, and all idle topics were superseded. Emma was very compassionate；and the distresses of the poor were as sure of relief from her personal attention and kindness, her counsel and her patience, as from her purse.She understood their ways, could allow for their ignorance and their temptations, had no romantic expectations of extraordinary virtue from those for whom education had done so little, entered into their troubles with ready sympathy, and always gave her assistance with as much intelligence as goodwill.In the present instance it was sickness and poverty together which she came to visit；and after remaining there as long as she could give comfort or advice, she quitted the cottage with such an impression of the scene as made her say to Harriet, as they walked away：
“These are the sights, Harriet, to do one good. How trifling they make everything else appear！I feel now as if I could think of nothing but these poor creatures all the rest of the day；and yet who can say how soon it may all vanish from my mind？”
“Very true，”said Harriet.“Poor creatures！One can think of nothing else.”“And really, I do not think the impression will soon be over，”said Emma，as she crossed the low hedge, and tottering footstep which ended the narrow slippery path through the cottage garden, and brought them into the lane again.“I do not think it will，”stopping to look once more at all the outward wretchedness of the place, and recall the still greater within.
“Oh, dear no，”said her companion.
They walked on. The lane made a slight bend；and when that bend was passed, Mr.Elton was immediately in sight and so near as to give Emma time only to say further：
“Ah, Harriet, here comes a very sudden trial of our stability in good thoughts. Well”（smiling），“I hope it may be allowed that if compassion has produced exertion and relief to the sufferers, it has done all that is truly important.If we feel for the wretched enough to do all we can for them, the rest is empty sympathy, only distressing to ourselves.”
Harriet could just answer，“Oh, dear, yes，”before the gentleman joined them. The wants and sufferings of the poor family, however, were the firstsubject on meeting.He had been going to call on them.His visit he would now defer；but they had a very interesting parley about what could be done and should be done.Mr.Elton then turned back to accompany them.
“To fall in with each other on such an errand as this，”thought Emma；“to meet in a charitable scheme；this will bring a great increase of love on each side. I should not wonder if it were to bring on the declaration.It must, if I were not here.I wish I were anywhere else.”
Anxious to separate herself from them as far as she could, she soon afterwards took possession of a narrow footpath, a little raised on one side of the lane, leaving them together in the main road. But she had not been there two minutes when she found that Harriet's habits of dependence and imitation were bringing her up too, and that, in short, they would both be soon after her.This would not do；she immediately stopped, under pretence of having some alteration to make in the lacing of her halfboot, and stooping down in complete occupation of the footpath, begged them to have the goodness to walk on, and she would follow in half a minute.They did as they were desired；and by the time she judged it reasonable to have done with her boot, she had the comfort of further delay in her power, being overtaken by a child from the cottage, setting out, according to orders, with her pitcher, to fetch broth from Hartfield.To walk by the side of this child, and talk to and question her, was the most natural thing in the world, or would have been the most natural, had she been acting just then without design；and by this means the others were still able to keep ahead, without any obligation of waiting for her.She gained on them, however, involuntarily；the child's pace was quick, and theirs rather slow；and she was the more concerned at it, from their being evidently in a conversation which interested them.Mr.Elton was speaking with animation, Harriet listening with a very pleased attention；and Emma having sent the child on, was beginning to think how she might draw back a little more, when they both looked around, and she was obliged to join them.
Mr. Elton was still talking, still engaged in some interesting detail；and Emma experienced some disappointment when she found that he was only giving his fair companion an account of the yesterday's party at his friend Cole's, and that she was come in herself for the Stilton cheese, the northWiltshire, the butter, the celery, the beetroot, and all the dessert.
“This would soon have led to something better, of course，”was her consoling reflection；“anything interests between those who love；and anything will serve as introduction to what is near the heart. If I could but have kept longer away.”
They now walked on together quietly till within view of the vicarage pales, when a sudden resolution of at least getting Harriet into the house, made her again find something very much amiss about her boot, and fall behind to arrange it once more. She then broke the lace off short, and dexterously throwing it into a ditch, was presently obliged to entreat them to stop, and acknowledged her inability to put herself to rights so as to be able to walk home in tolerable comfort.
“Part of my lace is gone，”said she，“and I do not know how I am to contrive. I really am a most troublesome companion to you both, but I hope I am not often so illequipped.Mr.Elton, I must beg leave to stop at your house, and ask your housekeeper for a bit of ribband or string, or anything iust to keep my boot on.”
Mr. Elton looked all happiness at this proposition；and nothing could exceed his alertness and attention in conducting them into his house, and endeavouring to make everything appear to advantage.The room they were taken into was the one he chiefly occupied, and looking forwards；behind it was another with which it immediately communicated；the door between them was open, and Emma passed into it with the housekeeper, to receive her assistance in the most comfortable manner.She was obliged to leave the door aiar as she found it；but she fully intended that Mr.Elton should close it.It was not closed, however, it still remained aiar；but by engaging the housekeeper in incessant conversation, she hoped to make it practicable for him to choose his own subiect in the adjoining room.For ten minutes she could hear nothing but herself.It could be protracted no longer.She was then obliged to be finished, and make her appearance.
The lovers were standing together at one of the windows. It had a most favourable aspect；and, for half a minute, Emma felt the glory of having schemed successfully.But it would not do；he had not come to the point.Hehad been most agreeable, most delightful；he had told Harriet that he had seen them go by, and had purposely followed them；other little gallantries and allusions had been dropped, but nothing serious.
“Cautious, very cautious，”thought Emma；“he advances inch by inch, and will hazard nothing till he believes himself secure.”
Still, however, though everything had not been accomplished by her ingenious device, she could not but flatter herself that it had been the occasion of much present enjoyment to both, and must be leading them forward to the great event.第十一章 Chapter11导读
伊莎贝拉举止文静、端庄优雅，是个贤妻良母，对父亲和妹妹也特别关心。她对任何人都很有礼貌，但身体却不是很好。约翰·奈特里先生也很值得人尊敬，具有聪明的头脑，对家庭十分负责，却不爱说话。虽然他脾气不坏，但是沉默寡言的性格让大家都不是很喜欢他。当大家提到泰勒小姐，也就是现在的韦斯顿太太时，伍德豪斯先生又开始悲叹伤感起来。爱玛劝父亲不要这么难受，不然姐姐会产生误解的。约翰·奈特利和伊莎贝拉都夸赞韦斯顿先生的为人，认为也只有泰勒小姐才配得上他。后来提起韦斯顿先生的儿子弗兰克·邱吉尔，知道他并没有参加父亲的婚礼，只是写了封祝贺信给泰勒小姐，伊莎贝拉替这孩子不能与父亲生活在一起而难过，约翰则有些指责韦斯顿先生的意思。R. Elton must now be left to himself.It was no longer in Emma'spower to superintend his happiness or quicken his Mmeasures.The coming of her sister's family was so very near at hand, that first in anticipation, and then in reality, it became henceforth her prime object of interest；and during the tendays of their stay at Hartfield it was not to be expected—she did not herself expect—that anything beyond occasional, fortuitous assistance could be afforded by her to the lovers.They might advance rapidly if they would, however；they must advance somehow or other, whether they would or no.She hardly wished to have more leisure for them.There are people, who, the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.
Mr. and Mrs.John Knightley, from having been longer than usual absent from Surrey, were exciting, of course, rather more than the usual interest.Till this year, every long vacation since their marriage had been divided between Hartfield and Donwell Abbey；but all the holidays of this autumn had been given to sea-bathing for the children；and it was therefore many months since they had been seen in a regular way by their Surrey connections, or seen at all by Mr.Woodhouse, who could not be induced to get so far as London, even for poor Isabella's sake；and who, consequently, was now most nervously and apprehensively happy in forestalling this too short visit.
He thought much of the evils of the journey for her, and not a little of the fatigues of his own horses and coachman, who were to bring some of the party the last half of the way；but his alarms were needless, the sixteen miles being happily accomplished, and Mr. and Mrs.John Knightley, their five children, and a competent number of nurserymaids, all reaching Hartfield in safety.The bustle and joy of such an arrival, the many to be talked to, welcomed, encouraged, and variously dispersed and disposed of, produced a noise and confusion which his nerves could not have borne under any other cause, nor have endured much longer even for this；but the ways of Hartfield and the feelings of her father were so respected by Mrs.John Knightley, that in spite of maternal solicitude for the immediate enjoyment of her little ones, and for their having instantly all the liberty and attendance, all the eating and drinking, and sleeping and playing, which they could possibly wish for, without the smallest delay, the children were never allowed to be long a disturbance to him, either in themselves or in any restless attendance on them.
Mrs. John Knightley was a pretty, elegant little woman, of gentle, quiet manners, and a disposition remarkably amiable and affectionate, wrapped up in her family, a devoted wife, a doting mother, and so tenderly attached to herfather and sister that, but for these higher ties, a warmer love might have seemed impossible.She could never see a fault in any of them.She was not a woman of strong understanding, or any quickness；and with this resemblance of her father, she inherited also much of his constitution；was delicate in her own health, over careful of that of her children, had many fears, and many nerves, and was as fond of her own Mr.Wingfield in town as her father could be of Mr.Perry.They were alike, too, in a general benevolence of temper, and a strong habit of regard for every old acquaintance.Mr.John Knightley was a tall, gentlemanlike, and very clever man, rising in his profession；domestic and respectable in his private character；but with reserved manners which prevented his being generally pleasing；and capable of being sometimes out of humour.He was not an ill-tempered man, not so often unreasonably cross as to deserve such a reproach；but his temper was not his great perfection；and, indeed, with such a worshipping wife, it was hardly possible that any natural defects in it should not be increased.The extreme sweetness of her temper must hurt his.He had all the clearness and quickness of mind which she wanted；and he could sometimes act an ungracious, or say a severe thing.He was not a great favourite with his fair sister-in-law.Nothing wrong in him escaped her.She was quick in feeling the little injuries to Isabella, which Isabella never felt herself.Perhaps she might have passed over more had his manners been flattering to Isabella's sister, but they were only those of a calmly kind brother and friend, without praise and without blindness；but hardly any degree of personal compliment could have made her regardless of that greatest fault of all in her eyes which he sometimes fell into, the want of respectful forbearance towards her father.There he had not always the patience that could have been wished.Mr.Woodhouse's peculiarities and fidgetiness were sometimes provoking him to a rational remonstrance or sharp retort equally illbestowed.It did not often happen；for Mr.John Knightley had really a great regard for his father-in-law, and generally a strong sense of what was due to him：but it was too often for Emma's charity, especially as there was all the pain of apprehension frequently to be endured, though the offence came not.The beginning, however, of every visit displayed none but the properest feelings, and this being of necessity so short might be hoped to pass away in unsulliedcordiality.They had not been long seated and composed when Mr.Woodhouse, with a melancholy shake of the head and a sigh, called his daughter's attention to the sad change at Hartfield since she had been there last.
“Ah, my dear，”said he，“poor Miss Taylor！It is a grievous business.”
“Oh yes, sir，”cried she, with ready sympathy，“how you must miss her！And dear Emma too. What a dreadful loss to you both！I have been so grieved for you.I could not imagine how you could possibly do without her.It is a sad change, indeed；but I hope she is pretty well, sir.”
“Pretty well, my dear—I hope—pretty well. I do not know but that the place agrees with her tolerably.”
Mr. John Knightley here asked Emma, quietly, whether there were any doubts of the air of Randalls.
“Oh, no, none in the least. I never saw Mrs.Weston better in my life—never looking so well.Papa is only speaking his own regret.”
“Very much to the honour of both，”was the handsome reply.
“And do you see her, sir, tolerably often？”asked Isabella, in the plaintive tone which just suited her father.
Mr. Woodhouse hesitated.“Not near so often, my dear, as I could wish.”
“Oh, papa, we have missed seeing them but one entire day since they married. Either in the morning or evening of every day, excepting one, have we seen either Mr.Weston or Mrs.Weston, and generally both, either at Randalls or here；and, as you may suppose, Isabella, most frequently here.They are very, very kind in their visits.Mr.Weston is really as kind as herself.Papa, if you speak in that melancholy way, you will be giving Isabella a false idea of us all.Everybody must be aware that Miss Taylor must be missed；but everybody ought also to be assured that Mr.and Mrs.Weston do really prevent our missing her by any means to the extent we ourselves anticipated—which is the exact truth.”
“Just as it should be，”said Mr. John Knightley，“and just as I hoped it was from your letters.Her wish of showing you attention could not be doubted, and his being a disengaged and social man makes it all easy.I have been always telling you, my love, that I had no idea of the change being so very material to Hartfield as you apprehended；and now you have Emma's account, I hope youwill be satisfied.”
“Why, to be sure，”said Mr. Woodhouse—“yes, certainly.I cannot deny that Mrs.Weston—poor Mrs.Weston—does come and see us pretty often；but then, she is always obliged to go away again.”
“It would be very hard upon Mr. Weston if she did not, papa.You quite forget poor Mr.Weston.”
“I think, indeed，”said John Knightley, pleasantly，“that Mr. Weston has some litde claim.You and I, Emma, will venture to take the part of the poor husband.I being a husband, and you not being a wife, the claims of the man may very likely strike us with equal force.As for Isabella, she has been married long enough to see the convenience of putting all the Mr.Westons aside as much as she can.”
“Me, my love？”cried his wife, hearing and understanding only in part.“Are you talking about me？I am sure nobody ought to be, or can be, a greater advocate for matrimony than I am；and if it had not been for the misery of her leaving Hartfield, I should never have thought of Miss Taylor but as the most fortunate woman in the world；and as to slighting Mr. Weston—that excellent Mr.Weston—I think there is nothing he does not deserve.I believe he is one of the very best-tempered men that ever existed.Excepting yourself and your brother, I do not know his equal for temper.I shall never forget his flying Henry's kite for him that very windy day last Easter；and ever since his particular kindness last September twelvemonth in writing that note, at twelve o'clock at night, on purpose to assure me that there was no scarlet fever at Cobham, I have been convinced there could not be a more feeling heart nor a better man in existence.If anybody can deserve him, it must be Miss Taylor.”
“Where is the young man？”said John Knightley.“Has he been here on this occasion, or has he not？”
“He has not been here yet，”replied Emma.“There was a strong expectation of his coming soon after the marriage, but it ended in nothing；and I have not heard him mentioned lately.”
“But you should tell them of the letter, my dear，”said her father.“He wrote a letter to poor Mrs. Weston, to congratulate her, and a very proper, handsome letter it was.She showed it to me.I thought it very well done of him, indeed.Whether it was his own idea, you know, one cannot tell.He is but young, and his uncle, perhaps—”
“My dear papa, he is three-and-twenty. You forget how time passes.”
“Three-and-twenty！Is he indeed？Well, I could not have thought it；and he was but two years old when he lost his poor mother. Well, time does fly, indeed！And my memory is very bad.However, it was an exceeding good, pretty letter, and gave Mr.and Mrs.Weston a great deal of pleasure.I remember it was written from Weymouth, and dated Sept.28th, and began‘My dear Madam，'but I forget how it went on；and it was signed‘F.C.Weston Churchill.'I remember that perfectly.”
“How very pleasing and proper of him！”cried the goodhearted Mrs. John Knightley.“I have no doubt of his being a most amiable young man.But how sad it is that he should not live at home with his father！There is something so shocking in a child's being taken away from his parents and natural home.I never could comprehend how Mr.Weston could part with him.To give up one's child.I really never could think well of anybody who proposed such a thing to anybody else.”
“Nobody ever did think well of the Churchills, I fancy，”observed Mr. John Knightley coolly.“But you need not imagine Mr.Weston to have felt what you would feel in giving up Henry or John.Mr.Weston is rather an easy cheerful-tempered man, than a man of strong feelings；he takes things as he finds them, and makes enjoyment of them somehow or other, depending, I suspect, much more upon what is called society for his comforts, that is, upon the power of eating and drinking and playing whist with his neighbours five times a week, than upon family affection, or anything that home affords.”
Emma could not like what bordered on a reflection on Mr. Weston, and had half a mind to take it up；but she struggled, and let it pass.She would keep the peace if possible；and there was something honourable and valuable in the strong domestic habits, the all-sufficiency of home to himself, whence resulted her brother's disposition to look down on the common rate of social intercourse, and those to whom it was important.It had a high claim to forbearance.第十二章 Chapter12导读
晚上伍德豪斯先生坚持要和伊莎贝拉谈心，而奈特利兄弟在另一边聊天，爱玛则在两边跑来跑去。奈特利先生将家里的一些事情告诉了约翰，兄弟俩探讨着农场的经营以及一些法律问题；伍德豪斯先生和女儿讨论着家庭以及孩子的话题。他似乎不太同意孩子们去洗海水浴的事情，爱玛担心继续下去会惹得大家都不开心，赶紧将话题扯到了别的地方。可是当谈到伦敦的空气质量时，伍德豪斯先生又一次表现出不满，认为生活在伦敦，没有一个人是健康的。伊莎贝拉赶紧解释说他们住的地方比伦敦市区强多了，空气好极了。爱玛不停地在两人的谈话中引开父亲对所不满事情的注意力，当听到姐姐询问简·菲尔费克斯的情况时，她虽然不是很喜欢简，却仍然赞美了几句。虽然爱玛极力维护着谈话的和谐气氛，但当粥端上来之后，伊莎贝拉说起自己以前雇佣的厨娘的糟糕表现时，又引发了伍德豪斯先生的担心。他为女儿去海边而不回家感到遗憾，建议还是别去绍森德，因为自己的朋友佩里认为那里的空气很糟糕。这引起了约翰的不满，他认为这是自己家的事情，外人不应该干涉。伍德豪斯听到约翰责备自己的朋友，心里很不高兴，但因为两个女儿的安慰和奈特利先生的及时圆场，不愉快的心情才逐渐平复了。R. Knightley was to dine with them, rather against the inclinationof Mr.Woodhouse, who did not like that any one should Mshare with him in Isabella's first day.Emma's sense of right, however, had decided it；and, besides the consideration of what was due to each brother, she had particular pleasure, from the circumstance of the late disagreement between Mr.Knightley and herself, in procuring him the proper invitation.
She hoped they might now become friends again. She thought it was time to make up.Making up, indeed, would not do.She certainly had not been in the wrong, and he would never own that he had.Concession must be out of the question；but it was time to appear to forget that they had ever quarrelled；and she hoped it might rather assist the restoration of friendship, that when he came into the room she had one of the children with her—the youngest, a nice little girl about eight months old, who was now making her first visit to Hartfield, and very happy to be danced about in her aunt's arms.It did assist；for though he began with grave looks and short questions, he was soon led on to talk of them all in the usual way, and to take the child out of her arms with all the unceremoniousness of perfect amity.Emma felt they were friends again；and the conviction giving her at first great satisfaction, and then a little sauciness, she could not help saying, as he was admiring the baby：
“What a comfort it is that we think alike about our nephews and nieces！As to men and women, our opinions are sometimes very different；but with regard to these children I observe we never disagree.”
“If you were as much guided by nature in your estimate of men and women, and as little under the power of fancy and whim in your dealings with them, as you are where these children are concerned, we might always think alike.”
“To be sure—our discordancies must always arise from my being in the wrong.”
“Yes，”said he, smiling，“and reason good. I was sixteen years old when you were born.”
“A material difference, then，”she replied；“and no doubt you were much my superior in judgment at that period of our lives；but does not the lapse ofone-and-twenty years bring our understandings a good deal nearer？”
“Yes, a good deal nearer.”
“But still, not near enough to give me a chance of being right, if we think differently.”
“I have still the advantage of you by sixteen years'experience, and by not being a pretty young woman and a spoiled child. Come, my dear Emma, let us be friends, and say no more about it.Tell your aunt, little Emma, that she outght to set you a better example than to be