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|Emma does not learn her lesson
Written by Glenn
(2/14/2011 2:10 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ch23: Sadness for the Martins; Perturbed with Emma!, penned by jeffrey
At the end of Chapter 21, after the Bates leave, Harriet came to Highbury "with just the heated, agitated look which hurrying thither with a full heart was likely to give; and the "Oh! Miss Woodhouse, what do you think has happened!" which instantly burst forth, had all the evidence of corresponding perturbation. Harriet was eager to tell Emma that she had encountered the Martins at Ford's. I get the impression that Robert Martin still loved Harriet and she still loved him. Harriet was embarrassed that she had rejected his proposal but the Martins were kind and helpful to her.
"Oh! Miss Woodhouse, do talk to me and make me comfortable again." Show some independence! Very sincerely did Emma wish to do so; but it was not immediately in her power. She was obliged to stop and think. Emma thinking? That's a good sign! But No! (in a John Belushi voice), she was just going to separate Harriet from her true love again. ...what was the value of Harriet's description? So easily pleased -- so little discerning; -- what signified her praise? Emma has no respect for Harriet's mind or heart. She treats her like a pet, to be led about.
She exerted herself; and did try to make her comfortable, by considering all that had passed as a mere trifle, and quite unworthy of being dwelt on.
"It might be distressing, for the moment," said she; "but you seem to have behaved extremely well; and it is over -- and may never -- can never, as a first meeting, occur again, and therefore you need not think about it."
Harriet said, "very true;" and she "would not think about it;" but still she talked of it -- still she could talk of nothing else; and Emma, at last, in order to put the Martins out of her head, was obliged to hurry on the news (Elton marrying), which she had meant to give with so much tender caution; hardly knowing herself whether to rejoice or be angry, ashamed or only amused, at such a state of mind in poor Harriet -- such a conclusion of Mr. Elton's importance with her!
As Harriet now lived (Highbury), the Martins could not get at her... So, Harriet is isolated and fully under Emma's thumb.
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