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|Where angels fear to tread
Written by Robbin
(4/22/2008 2:28 a.m.)
Chapter 31 has Emma treading dangerous waters—the urge to be matchmaking again is upon her not only for Harriet but now also for Frank Churchill as recompense for her sure refusal of his inevitable proposal of marriage. She believes he is in love with her. I hope Emma does not follow through on this idea—it could end in disaster as did the plans for Harriet and Mr. Elton. Also then there was no cantankerous Mrs. Churchill to deal with; if she threw off her sister in-law for marrying Mr. Weston, then a captain in the militia—Chapter 2, how is she going to feel about her adopted son and the Churchill heir marrying an illegitimate girl of unknown parentage? I am not even convinced Frank is in love with Emma and his calling Harriet the “beautiful little friend” seems to me little intelligence upon which to hatch a new scheme. (;D)
Gratifying, however, and stimulative as was the letter in the material part, its sentiments, she yet found, when it was folded up and returned to Mrs. Weston, that it had not added any lasting warmth, that she could still do without the writer, and that he must learn to do without her. Her intentions were unchanged. Her resolution of refusal only grew more interesting by the addition of a scheme for his subsequent consolation and happiness. His recollection of Harriet, and the words which clothed it, the "beautiful little friend," suggested to her the idea of Harriet's succeeding her in his affections. Was it impossible? No, -- Harriet undoubtedly was greatly his inferior in understanding; but he had been very much struck with the loveliness of her face and the warm simplicity of her manner; and all the probabilities of circumstance and connection were in her favour. For Harriet, it would be advantageous and delightful indeed.
"I must not dwell upon it," said she. "I must not think of it. I know the danger of indulging such speculations. But stranger things have happened; and when we cease to care for each other as we do now, it will be the means of confirming us in that sort of true disinterested friendship which I can already look forward to with pleasure." …It was well to have a comfort in store on Harriet's behalf, though it might be wise to let the fancy touch it seldom; for evil in that quarter was at hand. (Chapter 31)
Oh! the coldness of a Jane Fairfax! Harriet is worth a hundred such: and for a wife -- a sensible man's wife -- it is invaluable. I mention no names; but happy the man who changes Emma for Harriet!" (Chapter 31)
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