4. CHAPTER IV
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.