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Part 3 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 confession1 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 pang2: 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 spoke3). - 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. Harriet unfolded the parcel, and she looked on with impatience4. Within abundance of silver paper was a pretty little Tunbridge-ware box, which Harriet opened: it was well lined with the softest cotton; but, excepting the cotton, Emma saw only a small piece of court-plaister.

`Now,' said Harriet, `you must recollect5.'

`No, indeed I do not.'

`Dear me! I should not have thought it possible you could forget what passed in this very room about court-plaister, one of the very last times we ever met in it! - It was but a very few days before I had my sore throat - just before Mr. and Mrs. John Knightley came - I think the very evening. - Do not you remember his cutting his finger with your new penknife, and your recommending court-plaister? - But, as you had none about you, and knew I had, you desired me to supply him; and so I took mine out and cut him a piece; but it was a great deal too large, and he cut it smaller, and kept playing some time with what was left, before he gave it back to me. And so then, in my nonsense, I could not help making a treasure of it - so I put it by never to be used, and looked at it now and then as a great treat.'

`My dearest Harriet!' cried Emma, putting her hand before her face, and jumping up, `you make me more ashamed of myself than I can bear. Remember it? Aye, I remember it all now; all, except your saving this relic6 - I knew nothing of that till this moment - but the cutting the finger, and my recommending court-plaister, and saying I had none about me! - Oh! my sins, my sins! - And I had plenty all the while in my pocket! - One of my senseless tricks! - I deserve to be under a continual blush all the rest of my life. - Well - (sitting down again) - go on - what else?'

`And had you really some at hand yourself? I am sure I never suspected it, you did it so naturally.'

`And so you actually put this piece of court-plaister by for his sake!' said Emma, recovering from her state of shame and feeling divided between wonder and amusement. And secretly she added to herself, `Lord bless me! when should I ever have thought of putting by in cotton a piece of court-plaister that Frank Churchill had been pulling about! I never was equal to this.'

`Here,' resumed Harriet, turning to her box again, `here is something still more valuable, I mean that has been more valuable, because this is what did really once belong to him, which the court-plaister never did.'

Emma was quite eager to see this superior treasure. It was the end of an old pencil, - the part without any lead.

`This was really his,' said Harriet. - `Do not you remember one morning? - no, I dare say you do not. But one morning - I forget exactly the day - but perhaps it was the Tuesday or Wednesday before that evening, he wanted to make a memorandum7 in his pocket-book; it was about spruce-beer. Mr. Knightley had been telling him something about brewing8 spruce-beer, and he wanted to put it down; but when he took out his pencil, there was so little lead that he soon cut it all away, and it would not do, so you lent him another, and this was left upon the table as good for nothing. But I kept my eye on it; and, as soon as I dared, caught it up, and never parted with it again from that moment.'

`I do remember it,' cried Emma; `I perfectly9 remember it. - Talking about spruce-beer. - Oh! yes - Mr. Knightley and I both saying we liked it, and Mr. Elton's seeming resolved to learn to like it too. I perfectly remember it. - Stop; Mr. Knightley was standing10 just here, was not he? I have an idea he was standing just here.'

`Ah! I do not know. I cannot recollect. - It is very odd, but I cannot recollect. - Mr. Elton was sitting here, I remember, much about where I am now.' -

`Well, go on.'

`Oh! that's all. I have nothing more to shew you, or to say - except that I am now going to throw them both behind the fire, and I wish you to see me do it.'

`My poor dear Harriet! and have you actually found happiness in treasuring up these things?'

`Yes, simpleton as I was! - but I am quite ashamed of it now, and wish I could forget as easily as I can burn them. It was very wrong of me, you know, to keep any remembrances, after he was married. I knew it was - but had not resolution enough to part with them.'

`But, Harriet, is it necessary to burn the court-plaister? - I have not a word to say for the bit of old pencil, but the court-plaister might be useful.'

`I shall be happier to burn it,' replied Harriet. `It has a disagreeable look to me. I must get rid of every thing. - There it goes, and there is an end, thank Heaven! of Mr. Elton.'

`And when,' thought Emma, `will there be a beginning of Mr. Churchill?'

She had soon afterwards reason to believe that the beginning was already made, and could not but hope that the gipsy, though she had told no fortune, might be proved to have made Harriet's. - About a fortnight after the alarm, they came to a sufficient explanation, and quite undesignedly. Emma was not thinking of it at the moment, which made the information she received more valuable. She merely said, in the course of some trivial chat, `Well, Harriet, whenever you marry I would advise you to do so and so' - and thought no more of it, till after a minute's silence she heard Harriet say in a very serious tone, `I shall never marry.'

Emma then looked up, and immediately saw how it was; and after a moment's debate, as to whether it should pass unnoticed or not, replied,

`Never marry! - This is a new resolution.'

`It is one that I shall never change, however.'

After another short hesitation11, `I hope it does not proceed from - I hope it is not in compliment to Mr. Elton?'

`Mr. Elton indeed!' cried Harriet indignantly. - `Oh! no' - and Emma could just catch the words, `so superior to Mr. Elton!'

She then took a longer time for consideration. Should she proceed no farther? - should she let it pass, and seem to suspect nothing? - Perhaps Harriet might think her cold or angry if she did; or perhaps if she were totally silent, it might only drive Harriet into asking her to hear too much; and against any thing like such an unreserve as had been, such an open and frequent discussion of hopes and chances, she was perfectly resolved. - She believed it would be wiser for her to say and know at once, all that she meant to say and know. Plain dealing12 was always best. She had previously13 determined14 how far she would proceed, on any application of the sort; and it would be safer for both, to have the judicious15 law of her own brain laid down with speed. - She was decided16, and thus spoke -

`Harriet, I will not affect to be in doubt of your meaning. Your resolution, or rather your expectation of never marrying, results from an idea that the person whom you might prefer, would be too greatly your superior in situation to think of you. Is not it so?'

`Oh! Miss Woodhouse, believe me I have not the presumption17 to suppose - Indeed I am not so mad. - But it is a pleasure to me to admire him at a distance - and to think of his infinite superiority to all the rest of the world, with the gratitude18, wonder, and veneration19, which are so proper, in me especially.'

`I am not at all surprized at you, Harriet. The service he rendered you was enough to warm your heart.'

`Service! oh! it was such an inexpressible obligation! - The very recollection of it, and all that I felt at the time - when I saw him coming - his noble look - and my wretchedness before. Such a change! In one moment such a change! From perfect misery20 to perfect happiness!'

`It is very natural. It is natural, and it is honourable21. - Yes, honourable, I think, to chuse so well and so gratefully. - But that it will be a fortunate preference is more that I can promise. I do not advise you to give way to it, Harriet. I do not by any means engage for its being returned. Consider what you are about. Perhaps it will be wisest in you to check your feelings while you can: at any rate do not let them carry you far, unless you are persuaded of his liking22 you. Be observant of him. Let his behaviour be the guide of your sensations. I give you this caution now, because I shall never speak to you again on the subject. I am determined against all interference. Henceforward I know nothing of the matter. Let no name ever pass our lips. We were very wrong before; we will be cautious now. - He is your superior, no doubt, and there do seem objections and obstacles of a very serious nature; but yet, Harriet, more wonderful things have taken place, there have been matches of greater disparity. But take care of yourself. I would not have you too sanguine23; though, however it may end, be assured your raising your thoughts to him, is a mark of good taste which I shall always know how to value.'

Harriet kissed her hand in silent and submissive gratitude. Emma was very decided in thinking such an attachment24 no bad thing for her friend. Its tendency would be to raise and refine her mind - and it must be saving her from the danger of degradation25.











































1 confession 8Ygye     
  • Her confession was simply tantamount to a casual explanation.她的自白简直等于一篇即席说明。
  • The police used torture to extort a confession from him.警察对他用刑逼供。
2 pang OKixL     
  • She experienced a sharp pang of disappointment.她经历了失望的巨大痛苦。
  • She was beginning to know the pang of disappointed love.她开始尝到了失恋的痛苦。
3 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
4 impatience OaOxC     
  • He expressed impatience at the slow rate of progress.进展缓慢,他显得不耐烦。
  • He gave a stamp of impatience.他不耐烦地跺脚。
5 recollect eUOxl     
  • He tried to recollect things and drown himself in them.他极力回想过去的事情而沉浸于回忆之中。
  • She could not recollect being there.她回想不起曾经到过那儿。
6 relic 4V2xd     
  • This stone axe is a relic of ancient times.这石斧是古代的遗物。
  • He found himself thinking of the man as a relic from the past.他把这个男人看成是过去时代的人物。
7 memorandum aCvx4     
  • The memorandum was dated 23 August,2008.备忘录上注明的日期是2008年8月23日。
  • The Secretary notes down the date of the meeting in her memorandum book.秘书把会议日期都写在记事本上。
8 brewing eaabd83324a59add9a6769131bdf81b5     
n. 酿造, 一次酿造的量 动词brew的现在分词形式
  • It was obvious that a big storm was brewing up. 很显然,一场暴风雨正在酝酿中。
  • She set about brewing some herb tea. 她动手泡一些药茶。
9 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
10 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
11 hesitation tdsz5     
  • After a long hesitation, he told the truth at last.踌躇了半天,他终于直说了。
  • There was a certain hesitation in her manner.她的态度有些犹豫不决。
12 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
13 previously bkzzzC     
  • The bicycle tyre blew out at a previously damaged point.自行车胎在以前损坏过的地方又爆开了。
  • Let me digress for a moment and explain what had happened previously.让我岔开一会儿,解释原先发生了什么。
14 determined duszmP     
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
15 judicious V3LxE     
  • We should listen to the judicious opinion of that old man.我们应该听取那位老人明智的意见。
  • A judicious parent encourages his children to make their own decisions.贤明的父亲鼓励儿女自作抉择。
16 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
17 presumption XQcxl     
  • Please pardon my presumption in writing to you.请原谅我很冒昧地写信给你。
  • I don't think that's a false presumption.我认为那并不是错误的推测。
18 gratitude p6wyS     
  • I have expressed the depth of my gratitude to him.我向他表示了深切的谢意。
  • She could not help her tears of gratitude rolling down her face.她感激的泪珠禁不住沿着面颊流了下来。
19 veneration 6Lezu     
  • I acquired lasting respect for tradition and veneration for the past.我开始对传统和历史产生了持久的敬慕。
  • My father venerated General Eisenhower.我父亲十分敬仰艾森豪威尔将军。
20 misery G10yi     
  • Business depression usually causes misery among the working class.商业不景气常使工薪阶层受苦。
  • He has rescued me from the mire of misery.他把我从苦海里救了出来。
21 honourable honourable     
  • I don't think I am worthy of such an honourable title.这样的光荣称号,我可担当不起。
  • I hope to find an honourable way of settling difficulties.我希望设法找到一个体面的办法以摆脱困境。
22 liking mpXzQ5     
  • The word palate also means taste or liking.Palate这个词也有“口味”或“嗜好”的意思。
  • I must admit I have no liking for exaggeration.我必须承认我不喜欢夸大其词。
23 sanguine dCOzF     
  • He has a sanguine attitude to life.他对于人生有乐观的看法。
  • He is not very sanguine about our chances of success.他对我们成功的机会不太乐观。
24 attachment POpy1     
  • She has a great attachment to her sister.她十分依恋她的姐姐。
  • She's on attachment to the Ministry of Defense.她现在隶属于国防部。
25 degradation QxKxL     
  • There are serious problems of land degradation in some arid zones.在一些干旱地带存在严重的土地退化问题。
  • Gambling is always coupled with degradation.赌博总是与堕落相联系。


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