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|Mr. Knightley, I shall not allow you to be a fair judge
Written by Stephanie
(3/19/2011 6:38 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Knightley's Anger & Contempt, penned by Robbin
However, the passage referring to Harriet as a greater simpleton that he had thought, seems obviously an admission that he always thought her a simpleton. This is backed up by his comments about Harriet to Mrs. Weston in ch. 5, when he has not lost his temper, and is newly acquainted with Harriet Smith. He dismissively says Harriet will not stimulate Emma in any way, that Harriet knows nothing, flatters with her ignorance, and is delightfully inferior to Emma. He even implies strongly that her future choices are not in any question, that she must acquaint herself to the 'varieties of her situation in life,' with no acknowledgment that Emma may indeed be correct. (Since we do not know Harriet's background then, the most he can truly say is that Harriet being the offspring of a gentleman or better, is improbable, not impossible.)
Bringing up ch. 5, though, should give you ample support for your point that Mr. Knightley is often more concerned with Emma than with Harriet, even when supposedly discussing them both. Emma's praises, failings, her past, her present and her future take up the lion's share of Mr. Knightley's (and Mrs. Weston's) chat!
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