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|Ch. 4 Emma's intrigue about Harriet...
Written by Moni
(4/1/2008 11:25 p.m.)
"Her first attempts at usefulness were in an endeavour to find out who were the parents; but Harriet could not tell. She was ready to tell every thing 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."
Emma is intrigued about Harriet, though probably not really in a sensitive way. She seems all the more intrigued about what her new friend seems unwilling to tell her. She seems to want Harriet to be bold and ask Mrs Goddard more about her parentage, or seek answers elsewhere.
In a short time, Emma has commandeered Harriet and asked her personal things. Is Emma just intrigued for the sake of it? She says if she were Harriet, she would not just take Mrs Goddard's word, but it strikes me that her new friend is not as bold in nature as she would imagine.
Yet Emma sees herself as trying to be "useful", and perhaps intending to empower her friend. I can't help thinking about Harriet telling about everything else, but this one subject. Was it because she truly didn't know, or was Mrs Goddard obliged to tell her?
I found it interesting the Emma wants to find out what's behind intrigues of this sort, in order to be of assistance, or whatever. More interesting is Harriet's silence on it, which shows her own character coming through, in spite of her absolute respect and admiration of Emma's advice and teachings.
Emma seems to know Mrs Goddard has told Harriet something of her parentage, which I do not think we are privy to. Perhaps there was a standard answer given in those days, which Emma may have been aware of?
Or was it that the done thing for Mrs Goddard was not to say, which was the reason for Harriet's inability to offer the information??
Or was Harriet sworn to secrecy, traditionally, on matters such as this?
Any other ideas?
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