16. CHAPTER XVI
It was a very great relief to Emma to find Harriet as desirous
as herself to avoid a meeting. Their intercourse was painful
enough by letter. How much worse, had they been obliged to meet!
Harriet expressed herself very much as might be supposed,
without reproaches, or apparent sense of ill-usage; and yet Emma fancied
there was a something of resentment, a something bordering on it in
her style, which increased the desirableness of their being separate.--
It might be only her own consciousness; but it seemed as if an
angel only could have been quite without resentment under such a stroke.
She had no difficulty in procuring Isabella's invitation;
and she was fortunate in having a sufficient reason for asking it,
without resorting to invention.--There was a tooth amiss.
Harriet really wished, and had wished some time, to consult a dentist.
Mrs. John Knightley was delighted to be of use; any thing of ill
health was a recommendation to her--and though not so fond of a
dentist as of a Mr. Wingfield, she was quite eager to have Harriet
under her care.--When it was thus settled on her sister's side,
Emma proposed it to her friend, and found her very persuadable.--
Harriet was to go; she was invited for at least a fortnight; she was
to be conveyed in Mr. Woodhouse's carriage.--It was all arranged,
it was all completed, and Harriet was safe in Brunswick Square.
Now Emma could, indeed, enjoy Mr. Knightley's visits; now she
could talk, and she could listen with true happiness, unchecked by
that sense of injustice, of guilt, of something most painful,
which had haunted her when remembering how disappointed a heart was
near her, how much might at that moment, and at a little distance,
be enduring by the feelings which she had led astray herself.
The difference of Harriet at Mrs. Goddard's, or in London, made perhaps
an unreasonable difference in Emma's sensations; but she could not
think of her in London without objects of curiosity and employment,
which must be averting the past, and carrying her out of herself.