Emma Chapter 4
Harriet Smith soon became a regular visitor to Hartfield. She was a sweet girl, eager to be guided by someone like Miss Woodhouse. Emma found Harriet's simplicity and impressionable nature pleasant. But Emma fears that Harriet's friend Mr. Martin, a single young man, might have designs on her friend. Emma felt he was too low-class for Harriet, even though Harriet's parentage is not known. Emma has Harriet describe Mr. Martin, which she does enthusiastically. Emma snubs him, doubting she would ever have noticed this resident of Highbury. She tells Harriet that when he marries, she won't be able to see Mr. Martin because his wife will likely be too low-class.
Harriet goes along with this, and Emma says it is her wish to make Harriet respectable even when not in her company. Harriet wavers back and forth between her good opinions of the Martins, and the likelihood of a lower class marriage. Emma does not think her friend in love.
The next day they ran into Mr. Martin, and Emma is convinced that she was right, seeing in him no manners or class. Harriet was excited and surprised to see him, but Emma burst her bubble by telling her exactly what she thought of Mr. Martin. Somewhat shamed to hear her friend talked about this way, Harriet tried her best to agree with Emma and still stick up for Mr. Martin. Emma compares Mr. Martin to a gentleman Harriet has met, and Harriet cannot help but see the differences. Emma switches topics suddenly, and begins to praise Mr. Elton. She wants to match Harriet with Mr. Elton, and when Harriet compliments him, Emma's plan is set in motion. She believes Mr. Elton to be of an acceptable class, and already aware of Harriet's beauty and charms.