Emma Chapter 5
Mr. George Knightley and Mrs. Weston are discussing Emma and her new friend Harriet Smith. Mr. Knightley is critical of the relationship, and predicts a bad outcome. Mrs. Weston thinks that the girls will encourage each other, but Mr. Knightley sees Emma as a girl with great aspirations but little motivation. She writes up marvelous reading lists, then abandons them. Though the smartest in her family, or perhaps because of it, she is spoiled. Mrs. Weston is insulted to hear her pupil so judged, but Mr. Knightley insists Mrs. Weston is a better wife than a governess. Emma had too strong a hand, leading rather than being lead.
Mr. Knightley predicts that this friendship will only make Harriet uncomfortable with her former acquaintances, while still out of place in the upper class. Harriet practically worships Emma, which is the last thing Emma's ego needs. Mrs. Weston defends Emma, and praises her beauty, which Mr. Knightley agrees, is great. Not vain about her appearance, Emma is vain in other ways, claims Mr. Knightley. But he cannot convince Mrs. Weston, and must resign himself to waiting for a more objective judge, such as his brother John. After this unresolved quarrel the two discuss the possibility of Emma's marrying. Mr. Knightley thinks it would do her good to be in love, though she has promised never to marry. Leaving her father would be difficult, and Mrs. Weston drops a hint that though Emma has no prospects at present, in the future her son could make a good match. Mr. Knightley did not seem to notice, and changed the subject.