4. CHAPTER IV
Harriet Smith's intimacy at Hartfield was soon a settled thing.
Quick and decided in her ways, Emma lost no time in inviting, encouraging,
and telling her to come very often; and as their acquaintance increased,
so did their satisfaction in each other. As a walking companion,
Emma had very early foreseen how useful she might find her.
In that respect Mrs. Weston's loss had been important. Her father
never went beyond the shrubbery, where two divisions of the ground
sufficed him for his long walk, or his short, as the year varied;
and since Mrs. Weston's marriage her exercise had been too much confined.
She had ventured once alone to Randalls, but it was not pleasant;
and a Harriet Smith, therefore, one whom she could summon at any
time to a walk, would be a valuable addition to her privileges.
But in every respect, as she saw more of her, she approved her,
and was confirmed in all her kind designs.
Harriet certainly was not clever, but she had a sweet, docile,
grateful disposition, was totally free from conceit, and only desiring
to be guided by any one she looked up to. Her early attachment
to herself was very amiable; and her inclination for good company,
and power of appreciating what was elegant and clever, shewed that
there was no want of taste, though strength of understanding must
not be expected. Altogether she was quite convinced of Harriet
Smith's being exactly the young friend she wanted--exactly the
something which her home required. Such a friend as Mrs. Weston
was out of the question. Two such could never be granted.
Two such she did not want. It was quite a different sort of thing,
a sentiment distinct and independent. Mrs. Weston was the object
of a regard which had its basis in gratitude and esteem.
Harriet would be loved as one to whom she could be useful.
For Mrs. Weston there was nothing to be done; for Harriet every thing.
Her first attempts at usefulness were in an endeavour to find out who
were the parents, but Harriet could not tell. She was ready to tell
every thing in her power, but on this subject questions were vain.
Emma was obliged to fancy what she liked--but she could never
believe that in the same situation she should not have discovered
the truth. Harriet had no penetration. She had been satisfied
to hear and believe just what Mrs. Goddard chose to tell her;
and looked no farther.