Emma Chapter 8
Harriet has been spending so much time at Hartfield that Emma has a bedroom made up for her. One morning when Harriet is absent from Hartfield, Mr. Knightley stops by. After some dawdling Mr. Woodhouse excuses himself and leaves to take a walk. Now alone with Emma, Mr. Knightley compliments Harriet, and admits that Emma has helped her. He has news, and alludes to Mr. Martin's marriage proposal. Mr. Martin had asked his advice, and the gentleman advised Mr. Martin to act on his feelings. Emma tries to hide her own knowledge, but eventually cannot help it and tells Mr. Knightley what occurred. He is shocked and angry that Miss Smith would do something so stupid, and he blames Emma. Mr. Martin is a good man and would make a wonderful match, and he expects that Emma's snobbery propelled the refusal. Mr. Knightley points out Harriet's unknown class and origin, and her poverty--qualities that would make Mr. Martin, not Harriet, at the losing end of the match. But Emma sees Harriet as a wonderful catch, good enough even for Mr. Knightley. But the gentleman thinks that Harriet's flaws will be seen as great disadvantages. This may be her only proposal, and Emma has ruined it. In Mr. Knightley's opinion Emma greatly misjudged Mr. Martin, and she could not help but feel bad for so upsetting her friend. His respect was important to her, but she was still not willing to change.
Guessing that Emma had another man in mind for Harriet, he tells her that Mr. Elton is too sensible to marry Harriet. Emma denies any match-making, and Mr. Knightley leaves abruptly. She regretted the quarrel, and was glad that "She did not always feel so absolutely satisfied with herself, so entirely convinced that her opinions were right and her adversary's wrong, as Mr. Knightley." Chapter 8, pg. 61 She soon cheered when Harriet returned to Hartfield, and was able to dismiss Mr. Knightley's ideas regarding Mr. Elton. Harriet had heard from Miss Nash how anxious Mr. Elton was to complete his London errand, and Miss Nash wondered if a woman was involved. Everyone at school loves and respects Mr. Elton, and Miss Nash thinks that any woman he asked would be very honored.