Emma HTML version

Chapter 5
Small heart had Harriet for visiting. Only half an hour before her friend called for
her at Mrs. Goddard's, her evil stars had led her to the very spot where, at that
moment, a trunk, directed to The Rev. Philip Elton, White-Hart, Bath, was to be
seen under the operation of being lifted into the butcher's cart, which was to
convey it to where the coaches past; and every thing in this world, excepting that
trunk and the direction, was consequently a blank.
She went, however; and when they reached the farm, and she was to be put
down, at the end of the broad, neat gravel walk, which led between espalier
apple-trees to the front door, the sight of every thing which had given her so
much pleasure the autumn before, was beginning to revive a little local agitation;
and when they parted, Emma observed her to be looking around with a sort of
fearful curiosity, which determined her not to allow the visit to exceed the
proposed quarter of an hour. She went on herself, to give that portion of time to
an old servant who was married, and settled in Donwell.
The quarter of an hour brought her punctually to the white gate again; and Miss
Smith receiving her summons, was with her without delay, and unattended by
any alarming young man. She came solitarily down the gravel walk--a Miss
Martin just appearing at the door, and parting with her seemingly with
ceremonious civility.
Harriet could not very soon give an intelligible account. She was feeling too
much; but at last Emma collected from her enough to understand the sort of
meeting, and the sort of pain it was creating. She had seen only Mrs. Martin and
the two girls. They had received her doubtingly, if not coolly; and nothing beyond
the merest commonplace had been talked almost all the time-- till just at last,
when Mrs. Martin's saying, all of a sudden, that she thought Miss Smith was
grown, had brought on a more interesting subject, and a warmer manner. In that
very room she had been measured last September, with her two friends. There
were the pencilled marks and memorandums on the wainscot by the window. He
had done it. They all seemed to remember the day, the hour, the party, the
occasion--to feel the same consciousness, the same regrets--to be ready to
return to the same good understanding; and they were just growing again like
themselves, (Harriet, as Emma must suspect, as ready as the best of them to be
cordial and happy,) when the carriage reappeared, and all was over. The style of
the visit, and the shortness of it, were then felt to be decisive. Fourteen minutes
to be given to those with whom she had thankfully passed six weeks not six
months ago!--Emma could not but picture it all, and feel how justly they might
resent, how naturally Harriet must suffer. It was a bad business. She would have
given a great deal, or endured a great deal, to have had the Martins in a higher
rank of life. They were so deserving, that a little higher should have been
enough: but as it was, how could she have done otherwise?--Impossible!--She
could not repent. They must be separated; but there was a great deal of pain in
the process-- so much to herself at this time, that she soon felt the necessity of a
little consolation, and resolved on going home by way of Randalls to procure it.