Emma - Volume 3 (Chapter 4, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 4

A very few days had passed after this adventure, when Harriet came one morning to Emma with a small parcel in her hand, and after sitting down and hesitating, thus began: "Miss Woodhouse--if you are at leisure--I have something that I should like to tell you--a sort of confession to make--and then, you know, it will be over."

Emma was a good deal surprized; but begged her to speak. There was a seriousness in Harriet's manner which prepared her, quite as much as her words, for something more than ordinary.

"It is my duty, and I am sure it is my wish," she continued, "to have no reserves with you on this subject. As I am happily quite an altered creature in _one_ _respect_, it is very fit that you should have the satisfaction of knowing it. I do not want to say more than is necessary--I am too much ashamed of having given way as I have done, and I dare say you understand me."

"Yes," said Emma, "I hope I do."

"How I could so long a time be fancying myself! . . ." cried Harriet, warmly. "It seems like madness! I can see nothing at all extraordinary in him now.--I do not care whether I meet him or not--except that of the two I had rather not see him--and indeed I would go any distance round to avoid him--but I do not envy his wife in the least; I neither admire her nor envy her, as I have done: she is very charming, I dare say, and all that, but I think her very ill-tempered and disagreeable--I shall never forget her look the other night!--However, I assure you, Miss Woodhouse, I wish her no evil.--No, let them be ever so happy together, it will not give me another moment's pang: and to convince you that I have been speaking truth, I am now going to destroy--what I ought to have destroyed long ago--what I ought never to have kept-- I know that very well (blushing as she spoke).--However, now I will destroy it all--and it is my particular wish to do it in your presence, that you may see how rational I am grown. Cannot you guess what this parcel holds?" said she, with a conscious look.

"Not the least in the world.--Did he ever give you any thing?"

"No--I cannot call them gifts; but they are things that I have valued very much."

She held the parcel towards her, and Emma read the words Most precious treasures on the top. Her curiosity was greatly excited.

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