On Monday, I posted the song Friends Don’t by Maddie and Tae. I wrote that it reminded me of Emma and Knightley. I could have written from a few other locations in the book, but chose the scene where Harriet Smith acknowledges that she loves Mr. Knightley–and believes he loves her in return. I generously use some lines straight from Miss Austen. I don’t think she would mind. 🙂
Greater than Friends
“Let us understand each other now, without the possibility of farther mistake. Are you speaking of—Mr. Knightley?”
“To Be sure I am.”
Harriet continued speaking, and Emma vaguely registered the girl’s words, managing somehow to talk while all her mind worked on Harriet’s strange series of utterances. Harriet Smith in love with her good friend Mr. Knightley? But no, that was not the correct word for Mr. Knightley.
Did friends mean to one another what Mr. Knightley and Emma meant to one another? How often had they made plans around the feeling of the other? How many silent conversations had they had with nothing but their eyes? If Mr. Knightley were only a friend, should she not be able to hear Mrs. Elton speak of him with familiarity without possessive irritation?
For months, years, even he had often visited Hartfield. His visits began shortly, but now they seemed to linger. He found any excuse to come and the purpose seemed just as much to visit Emma as to sit with her father. A hundred tender memories of conversations and Knightley’s nearness flashed like lightning in Emma’s mind and swelled her heart.
However, unfortunate recollections also recollected. She had pushed him aside. He probably believed—just as everyone else did, it seemed—that she loved Frank Churchill. His low opinion of her was very plain and Harriet—sweet, simple, pretty Harriet—he had confessed to think well of.
No, no, no! It would not do! “Good God!” cried Emma, “this has been a most unfortunate—most deplorable mistake!—What is to be done?”
Again, Harriet chattered on. Emma could not speak. Mr. Knightley would never linger at Hartfield again. No, he would have his dear Harriet to think about. They would visit together, and Emma would have to find a way to send them off. No more chats after supper while the stars shone. No more daily walks from Donwell Abbey.
No, no. Mr. Knightley was not merely her friend. “Have you any idea of Mr. Knightley’s returning your affection?”
“Yes,” replied Harriet modestly, but not fearfully—”I must say that I have.”
Emma sat in silence while a thunderclap sounded in her mind—nay, her heart. With the speed of an arrow, she acknowledged Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!
On and on, Harriet continued explaining and rationalizing—with merit, Emma detested to admit—that Knightley did care for her.
Feeling her heart die and her soul weep, Emma acknowledged, “I will only venture to declare, that Mr. Knightley is the last man in the world, who would intentionally give any woman the idea of his feeling for her more than he really does.”
Finally, Harriet left, and Emma sat in dejected spirits wishing she had never met the girl. This much she knew, no one would love Mr. Knightley as she did. How she wished she had the opportunity to tell him before he made a choice that would forever separate them.
3 thoughts on “Thursday Three Hundred–Greater than Friends”
I don’t believe she would mind at all. Given the great care you took of them.
Love rereading of that scene. Thanks for sharing. The various movie versions are interesting also – of that scene.
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I know this is probably Austen blasphemy, but I think Emma’s scene where she realizes her love for Knightley and his scene where he proposes are actually the times when we see those situations the most. Wentworth’s letter is great but if he had to do it in speech, I think it would have come out very differently. There’s no defining moment that we see with any other heroine where she has an aha I *do* love him moment and usually key details of the proposal are left out.