Summary Chapter 4
Harriet Smith becomes a frequent visitor at Hartfield. Emma encourages this. They are satisfied in each other’s friendship. Harriet is a particularly nice companion for walks. She is not clever but is amiable. She looks to Emma to guide her as a mentor. Emma appreciates Harriet’s merits, though she realizes she lacks Mrs. Weston’s virtues.
Harriet’s world comprises mostly of school, but she remembers fondly her visit with the Martin family. Emma becomes concerned when she learns that harriet likes the single Mr. Martin. Harriet constantly talks about him. Emma observes Mr. Martin won’t inherit his fortune for a long time. Harriet says the Martins live comfortably. Emma advises Harriet to be aware of her station and not lower herself.
They meet Mr. Martin the next day. Emma sees nothing to recommend him, for he is rough. Harriet is pleased to see him, as he is her. Emma cuts him down as common and coarse when they are out of earshot. Harriet is embarrassed. Emma is certain when Harriet spends more time in genteel society, she’ll notice Robert Martin’s defects.
Harriet realizes Mr. Martin is not a gentleman. Emma tells her that it is important for men to be well bred, for they only get worse with age. She points out that Mr. Martin only cares about business, and that is why he forgot a book Harriet recommended. Harriet is more dismayed.
Emma praises Mr. Elton. She repeats some praise she had coerced from him about Harriet. She hopes to drive Mr. Martin out of Harriet’s head. She plans to match Harriet up with Mr. Elton.