Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oh no, I couldn't, but here -- I did

------------- [excerpt, Emma] ----------------- CHAPTER IX

Mr. Knightley might quarrel with her, but Emma could not quarrel with herself.  He was so much displeased, that it was longer than usual before he came to Hartfield again; and when they did meet, his grave looks shewed 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 visibly 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 little 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 to-morrow.  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.... -------- [end / excerpt]


Procrastinating on the intended heavy-duty studying, Emma and Harriet start putting together a book of riddles, popular poems, and "charades" -- "Why will not you write one yourself for us, Mr. Elton?" asks Emma during one of Elton's visits to Hartfield.  "That is the only security for its freshness; and nothing could be easier to you."

     "Oh no! he had never written, hardly ever, any thing of the kind in his life.  The stupidest fellow!  He was afraid not even Miss Woodhouse -- he stopt a moment -- "or Miss Smith could inspire him."

[excerpt continues] ----- 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 object of 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 eye 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 loth to be first, was obliged to examine it herself. ------ [end / excerpt]

_______________________ Emma, with Harriet, pores over the little verse, and interprets... "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."


     As the two young ladies discuss Mr. Elton's lovely charade, they comment upon how he brought it by even after protesting that he could not come up with anything like that.
     "I thought he meant to try his skill, by his manner of declining it yesterday," says Emma.


The two friends -- leader and follower -- continue to spend time together and parts of their conversations always arrange themselves around speculations and daydreams concerning Mr. Elton.


Then, as Christmastime approaches, Emma doesn't see Harriet as much because her time is full, preparing for guests at Hartfield -- her sister and husband, Mr. John Knightley, and their five children are coming for a visit.  

[Mr. Knightley the neighbor who visits Emma and her father at Hartfield, and Mr. John Knightley, husband of Emma's sister Isabella, are brothers.  The Mr. Knightley of the neighborhood is named George, but the narrative rarely brings in his first name.  So mostly I think of them as 

Mr. Knightley (local)


Mr. John Knightley (Isabella's husband; Emma's brother-in-law).]

---------------- [excerpt] --------- Mr. John Knightley was a tall, gentleman-like, 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 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. -------------- [excerpt ends]


As days and local mini-events progress toward the holiday, The Woodhouses, Knightleys, Harriet, Mr. Elton, and some others are invited to Randalls, home of Mr. and Mrs. Weston, for a dinner party -- then Harriet catches cold the day before -- Emma visits her; and then, she and her brother-in-law are on their way home when they encounter Mr. Elton.

Emma hints that she realizes Mr. Elton will not want to come to the dinner since he is so disappointed at Harriet's not being able to attend -- but Mr. Elton insists that No, he will be there, after Mr. John Knightley offers him a seat in their carriage for the trip, as snow is predicted.

     "Well," thinks Emma to herself, "this is most strange! -- After I had got him off so well, to chuse to go into company, and leave Harriet ill behind! -- Most strange indeed!"

Soon afterwards Mr. Elton quitted them, and she could not but do him the justice of feeling that there was a great deal of sentiment in his manner of naming Harriet at parting...
     ...and he sighed and smiled himself off in a way that left the balance of approbation much in his favour.

     After a few minutes of entire silence between them, John Knightley began with --
     "I never in my life saw a man more intent on being agreeable than Mr. Elton.  It is downright labour to him where ladies are concerned.  With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please, every feature works."

     "Mr. Elton's manners are not perfect," replied Emma; "but where there is a wish to please, one ought to overlook, and one does overlook a great deal.  Where a man does his best with only moderate powers, he will have the advantage over negligent superiority.  There is such perfect good-temper and good-will in Mr. Elton as one cannot but value."

     "Yes," said Mr. John Knightley presently, with some slyness, "he seems to have a great deal of good-will towards you."

     "Me!" she replied with a smile of astonishment, "are you imagining me to be Mr. Elton's object?"

     "Such an imagination has crossed me, I own, Emma; and if it never occurred to you before, you may as well take it into consideration now."
     "Mr. Elton in love with me! -- What an idea!"

     "I do not say it is so; but you will do well to consider whether it is so or not, and to regulate your behaviour accordingly.  

I think your manners to him encouraging.  I speak as a friend, Emma.  You had better look about you, and ascertain what you do, and what you mean to do."


Monday, November 20, 2017

not for the world...

Jane Austen's novel, Emma

     When Mr. Knightley disapprovingly speculates that Emma has influenced Harriet to refuse Robert Martin's marriage proposal, Emma denies influencing Harriet, but then says she might have, only a little....

     In the marriage proposal chapter, Harriet says,

     "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 yourself very 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."


And the reader keeps feeling like -- should Emma be giving advice, even in the form of "hints"?  And -- should Harriet be listening to Emma?

     But there's little hope of Harriet not leaning on Emma's judgment and opinion.  Harriet's personality is not the stronger of the two.  And Harriet is 17 years old; Emma, 20 or 21.  At that stage of life an age gap of only a few years seems to give, or imply, significantly superior Life Knowledge and Wisdom to whichever of the friends is older.

     And the life-and-financial-security-and-social-position of Emma Woodhouse is "above" that of Harriet Smith, and so Harriet believes that Emma "knows"....  

(The English professor who took us through this novel commented on, and made sure we noticed, how Austen describes the characters' behaviors, manners, knowledge ["is he a man of information?"] and economic-security as "rising" or "sinking" -- being "above" or "below"....  Like figures on a computer screen, or bubbles blown from a child's plastic wand....)

     Is Emma's influence good for Harriet Smith?  Or is Emma more or less "trifling" with the fortunes of someone whose social position (or lack thereof) she cannot, or will not, seriously comprehend?

     Does Emma truly care for Harriet's future, as she forwards her Matchmaking Project with Mr. Elton, or is she just having fun?

     Does Emma pay enough attention to Harriet's actual feelings for Robert Martin?

----------------- [excerpt] --------- "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 any body 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?" ---------- [end, excerpt] ----


After Mr. Knightley tells Emma of his disapproval and disappointment about the Harriet Smith - Robert Martin connection, he leaves, and Emma feels upset.  She gets to thinking, though, and reworks the components of the situation:

---------------- [excerpt]---------- 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 any thing 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.


Friday, November 17, 2017

shuck and the revolution jive

some headlines

The New York Times

~~  Trump's Tax Cuts Are Likely to Increase Trade Deficit

~~  Opinion | The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students

~~  Opinion | Jay-Z:  The Criminal Justice system Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill

~~  House and Senate Panel Pass Tax Bill in Major Step Toward Overhaul

~~  Alabama G.O.P. Says It Stands Behind Roy Moore

~~  Bill Signals G.O.P. Prioritizes Corporate Tax Cuts
     --------- "There are tough choices at the heart of the Republican tax bills speeding through Congress, and they make clear the party values deep and lasting tax cuts for corporations above all else."

~~  Middle-Class Families Confront Soaring Health Insurance Costs

~~  Seeing U.S. in Retreat Under Trump, Japan and China Move to Mend Ties

~~  Op-Ed Columnist:  Everybody Hates the Trump Tax Plan

~~  Common Sense:  With AT&T and Time Warner, Battle Lines Form for an Epic Antitrust Case



"It's as if the system is having a nervous breakdown, putting at risk all our city's great advantages:  our economy, our environment and our mobility."

~~ Gene Russianoff, New York City's leading transit advocate for four decades, on deteriorating subway service and the decline in ridership that has followed.


You better stop, look around,

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown....

~ The Rolling Stones

some Reader Comments on tax bill:

------------- Every day I wake up and ask myself, "How is the GOP planning to screw me today?"  It is remarkable how little they care about the pains and worries of ordinary people.  

No wonder everybody is stressed out.

New Jersey
----------- This whole thing sounds nefarious...as if the Republicans want to hurt the average citizen.  Clearly we don't all make millions or own a company....we just work, make a living...go home to our family...then, go back to work.  

WHY....is this tax bill put together to help wealthy people and huge corporations...WHY?  This feels like a 

huge middle finger 

to all of us average Americans....this bill can not, should not be passed.  It's just not right.

------------ This comes as no surprise to me.  The Republican establishment have brazenly supported proposals that mainly benefit the 1%.  It's time for a revolution, to 

take back the reins of power from these plutocrats, 

and redistribute the power among the common citizens of the United States.

R. Littlejohn
---------------- Is there another advanced democratic nation where the governing party is 

obsessing how to destroy the working middle-class?  

Republicans have become despicable.

Orange County, California
------------- Help corporations with WHAT?  A soaring stock market, a current tax code with loopholes so corporations pay an average of 17% or less -- record profits, huge CEO bonuses, tax free offshore havens...  Yeah - they really need all the help they can get right now!

I can't believe they are getting away with this!  How is this happening?  

Where is the tainted kool-aid coming from?  

We need to find the source of this brain washing spring and add an antidote!  In this age of media and instant information how are we not able to discern fact from fiction?  This is 

the greatest fleecing of our society 

since the industrial robber barons.

     Can the Democratic leadership at least get mad?  

Or at least hold an all night vigil and pretend they are mad?  I've never felt so alone or let down by my party!  Not only did the GOP shut the lights out - the Democrats are hanging around in the dark -- not even bothering to find a light switch!

For God's sake and the sake of this nation - somebody DO SOMETHING!

New York, NY
--------------- For the last time, Republicans, when you cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations, they don't reinvest to help those below them get jobs and improve the economy.  


Los Angeles
--------------- Say I run a very large corporation.  If my dreams come true and Congress guarantees lower corporate tax rates and also lower income tax rates for my mega salary and stock options, what is my motivation to hire more employees or raise wages when it is my fiduciary responsibility to shareholders like me to reduce costs, of which labor is always the most odious?

If I have more after-tax money to work with, why would I want to waste it on workers when instead I could use it to speed automation and buy up my competitors, thus increasing shareholder value and hence earning more mega salary and stock options?

PJ Childress
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

--------------- I'm not an economist and don't play one on TV, but 

I don't see how anyone can believe this shuck-and-jive 

about corporate tax cuts somehow bringing The Amazing Job and Wage Growth Miracle!  Has anyone ever proven a connection between lower corporate taxation and more hiring?  Or, far more important, the wage increases which the US worker has desperately needed for years?

Yep:  full employment, corporate profits at record highs; stock markets at record highs... yet wages stay flat.

"Investments to increase productivity" from the cuts... more smoke and mirrors:  Worker productivity has been very high for quite some time now.  Surprise!  Wages are still flat!  It's a productivity-pay gap, and 

it's a Very Bad Thing, since for the first time in apparently ever, wages and productivity have been decoupled.  

Increased productivity, pay the same in wages... doesn't take a supercomputer to see who benefits ...hint:  It's not the workers.

So:  Isn't it kind of axiomatic that generally, what does stimulate corporate expansion and that whole 'growth' thing is demand?

...Where's increased demand going to come from, 

when middle and lower earners have less disposable income thanks to this tax "cut", increased health care/insurance costs, and -- don't forget -- continued flat wages?  

Shuck and jive, 

friends and neighbors.

Ask CEOs -- I think this has been done -- what they'll do with the tax cuts, and see how many of them say they plan to increase wages.  I'll wait...

Richard Monckton
San Francisco, California
------------- Penalizing college tuition by requiring students to pay taxes on the full tuition the university doesn't charge them for, will have the effect of discouraging American students from pursuing advanced degrees.  

This makes perfect sense to the Republicans.  They know that Republican identity is lowest among the top educated citizens - in fact, less than 4 percent of Americans with doctorate degrees identify as Republicans.  Advanced education is the GOP's number one enemy, and they know it full well.  

Combating education...is precisely one of the things Republicans need to do if they want to keep a stranglehold on the nation....  

-------------- NBC says Trump and his family will benefit to the tune of one billion dollars 

if the tax bill goes through as it is now.  The media, especially the NYT so hated by Trump, must investigate the ethics and legality of Trump signing into law a bill that will personally benefit him to that degree.

Trump signing this tax bill is the definition of an ethics violation.  If nothing else gets Trump impeached, 

signing this bill has to be an impeachable offense if not an outright violation of law.  

The media absolutely must investigate the possibility that Trump will break one or more laws by signing this travesty into law.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

a little influence

The impression of U.S. Congress I am left with is, one party has been overwhelmed by crazy people, and the representatives and senators in the other party seem to be -- inert.

Why did things get to this point?  I could come up with a few inter-meshing theories, but I currently do not have the will, or desire, to really contemplate it.

I am pretty sure that it isn't good, which means -- there's work to be done.

     I happened to see a Comment on You Tube which expressed something like the American-political "malaise" we're noticing:  on a video

titled, "John Oliver Tackles Louis C.K. And Donald Trump" a person with the screen name "Haze H" wrote the following:

     [QUOTE]  The left needs to learn from Danika:  identity politics is the way you give a free win to the right, campaigning on an economic program aimed at increasing the standard of living for EVERYONE is how you win elections legitimately.

     If the left continue campaigning on identity politics alone ... hilary "I sold out to wall street but I don't understand why people think I'm a crook" Clinton, 

then they are showing either a level of incompetence equal with the right or, more likely, that they don't actually want to win and govern for the people, they are simply campaigning for the same people as the right wing but with a slightly different rhetoric.  [END QUOTE]


...And now, continuing yesterday's passage from the Jane Austen novel, Emma...

          Emma:  "...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 any body 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 any body 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, errant 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 herself a 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 imprudent match.  

He knows the value of a good income as well as any body.  

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 hers, than in his.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

too true for contradiction

"My body will not tolerate alcohol; I had two martinis New Year's Eve, and I tried to hijack an elevator and fly it to Cuba..."

~~  Woody Allen


In Jane Austen's novel, Emma, when Mr. Robert Martin proposes marriage to Harriet Smith, Emma considers this a negative development.

Emma believes if Harriet marries Robert Martin, she will be "marrying down" into society below the Woodhouses and their family and friends.  Marrying Mr. Elton would be a step "up" for Harriet, in Emma's estimation, and she stays steady with this goal, even though she can see that Harriet likes Mr. Martin, and highly esteems the letter he has written her.

Harriet asks her, "Will you read the letter?...Pray do...."

     -------------- [excerpt] ------------------------- Emma was not sorry to be pressed.  She read, and was surprized.  The style of the letter was much above her expectation.  There were not merely no grammatical errors, but as a composition it would not have disgraced a gentleman; the language, though plain, was strong and unaffected, and the sentiments it conveyed very much to the credit of the writer.  

It was short, but expressed good sense, warm attachment, liberality, propriety, even delicacy of feeling.  She paused over it, while Harriet stood anxiously watching for her opinion, 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 every thing 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.... [end / excerpt] -------------

     Should Emma influence Harriet's decision as to whether to accept or reject Mr. Martin's offer?

     (When we read this novel in school, the professor highlighted and discussed the sentence, "Emma was not sorry to be pressed."...)

In the next chapter, VIII, Mr. Knightley from Donwell Abbey stops at the Woodhouses' to visit; Mr. Woodhouse is out for a walk.

     Mr. Knightley [excerpt from the novel] ------------ ...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 that you have improved her.  You have cured her of her school-girl'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 every body 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 every body 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," he added, 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 every thing; his circumstances and plans, and what they all proposed doing in the event of his marriage.  

He is an excellent young man, both as son and brother.  I had no hesitation in advising him to marry.  He proved to me that he could afford it; and that being the case, I was convinced he could not do better.  I praised the fair lady too, and altogether sent him away very happy.  

If he had never esteemed my opinion before, he would have thought highly of me 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, surprized, "I do not absolutely know it; but it may be inferred.  Was not she the whole day with you?"
    "Come," said she, "I will tell you something, in return for what you have told me.  He did speak 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 surprize 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 any body 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 surprized 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 connexion 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 any thing herself.  At her age she can have no experience, and with her little wit, is not very likely ever to have any that can avail 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 connexion 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's 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.'" ------------------- [end, excerpt]


Mr. Knightley and Emma continue to argue, with energy.