Emma HTML version

Chapter 9
Mr. Knightley might quarrel with her, but Emma could not quarrel with herself. He
was so much displeased, that it was longer than usual before he came to
Hartfield again; and when they did meet, his grave looks showed that she was
not forgiven. She was sorry, but could not repent. On the contrary, her plans and
proceedings were more and more justified and endeared to her by the general
appearances of the next few days.
The Picture, elegantly framed, came safely to hand soon after Mr. Elton's return,
and being hung over the mantelpiece of the common sitting-room, he got up to
look at it, and sighed out his half sentences of admiration just as he ought; and
as for Harriet's feelings, they were visibly forming themselves into as strong and
steady an attachment as her youth and sort of mind admitted. Emma was soon
perfectly satisfied of Mr. Martin's being no otherwise remembered, than as he
furnished a contrast with Mr. Elton, of the utmost advantage to the latter.
Her views of improving her little friend's mind, by a great deal of useful reading
and conversation, had never yet led to more than a few first chapters, and the
intention of going on to-morrow. It was much easier to chat than to study; much
pleasanter to let her imagination range and work at Harriet's fortune, than to be
labouring to enlarge her comprehension or exercise it on sober facts; and the
only literary pursuit which engaged Harriet at present, the only mental provision
she was making for the evening of life, was the collecting and transcribing all the
riddles of every sort that she could meet with, into a thin quarto of hot-pressed
paper, made up by her friend, and ornamented with ciphers and trophies.
In this age of literature, such collections on a very grand scale are not
uncommon. Miss Nash, head-teacher at Mrs. Goddard's, had written out at least
three hundred; and Harriet, who had taken the first hint of it from her, hoped, with
Miss Woodhouse's help, to get a great many more. Emma assisted with her
invention, memory and taste; and as Harriet wrote a very pretty hand, it was
likely to be an arrangement of the first order, in form as well as quantity.
Mr. Woodhouse was almost as much interested in the business as the girls, and
tried very often to recollect something worth their putting in. "So many clever
riddles as there used to be when he was young-- he wondered he could not
remember them! but he hoped he should in time." And it always ended in "Kitty, a
fair but frozen maid."
His good friend Perry, too, whom he had spoken to on the subject, did not at
present recollect any thing of the riddle kind; but he had desired Perry to be upon
the watch, and as he went about so much, something, he thought, might come
from that quarter.
It was by no means his daughter's wish that the intellects of Highbury in general
should be put under requisition. Mr. Elton was the only one whose assistance
she asked. He was invited to contribute any really good enigmas, charades, or
conundrums that he might recollect; and she had the pleasure of seeing him
most intently at work with his recollections; and at the same time, as she could
perceive, most earnestly careful that nothing ungallant, nothing that did not