Emma could not feel a doubt of having given Harriet's fancy a proper direction
and raised the gratitude of her young vanity to a very good purpose, for she
found her decidedly more sensible than before of Mr. Elton's being a remarkably
handsome man, with most agreeable manners; and as she had no hesitation in
following up the assurance of his admiration by agreeable hints, she was soon
pretty confident of creating as much liking on Harriet's side, as there could be any
occasion for. She was quite convinced of Mr. Elton's being in the fairest way of
falling in love, if not in love already. She had no scruple with regard to him. He
talked of Harriet, and praised her so warmly, that she could not suppose any
thing wanting which a little time would not add. His perception of the striking
improvement of Harriet's manner, since her introduction at Hartfield, was not one
of the least agreeable proofs of his growing attachment.
"You have given Miss Smith all that she required," said he; "you have made her
graceful and easy. She was a beautiful creature when she came to you, but, in
my opinion, the attractions you have added are infinitely superior to what she
received from nature."
"I am glad you think I have been useful to her; but Harriet only wanted drawing
out, and receiving a few, very few hints. She had all the natural grace of
sweetness of temper and artlessness in herself. I have done very little."
"If it were admissible to contradict a lady," said the gallant Mr. Elton--
"I have perhaps given her a little more decision of character, have taught her to
think on points which had not fallen in her way before."
"Exactly so; that is what principally strikes me. So much superadded decision of
character! Skilful has been the hand!"
"Great has been the pleasure, I am sure. I never met with a disposition more truly
"I have no doubt of it." And it was spoken with a sort of sighing animation, which
had a vast deal of the lover. She was not less pleased another day with the
manner in which he seconded a sudden wish of hers, to have Harriet's picture.
"Did you ever have your likeness taken, Harriet?" said she: "did you ever sit for
Harriet was on the point of leaving the room, and only stopped to say, with a very
"Oh! dear, no, never."
No sooner was she out of sight, than Emma exclaimed,
"What an exquisite possession a good picture of her would be! I would give any
money for it. I almost long to attempt her likeness myself. You do not know it I
dare say, but two or three years ago I had a great passion for taking likenesses,
and attempted several of my friends, and was thought to have a tolerable eye in
general. But from one cause or another, I gave it up in disgust. But really, I could
almost venture, if Harriet would sit to me. It would be such a delight to have her