Chapter 1

Harriet Smith had never been said to be exceptional at anything. Her beauty was not revered by all, her wit was severely lacking, and while good-natured, Harriet lacked in independent thought. Her own humble nature made her think little of her own claims to beauty or wealth, yet she was never pained by thoughts of her own inadequate mind. No, Harriet Smith was not exceptional in talent, taste, or thought. And yet, her very nature, which denied her these, allowed her to be exceptionally happy. That is until Emma Woodhouse came into her life.

Harriet was not unhappy with her friendship, nor with all that it procured her- that is an increase of taste, and an introduction into what Emma declared as "superior society." No, Harriet was simply unhappy with what Emma wished upon her. Emma was guilty of wishing her a successful marriage to a man she was not meant for, and engaging herself in a marriage to the very man Harriet longed for. Indeed, Emma was guilty many times over in crimes of marriage.

Emma contrived to bring Harriet and Mr. Elton together. She was quite convinced that he was in love with Harriet and quite convinced Harriet of this. Mr. Elton, however, had Harriet's dearest friend in mind during this time.

Emma's more recent act cut her fair friend much deeper. Her engagement to Mr. Knightley was a thousand times worse, and Harriet could blame her for none of it. Harriet's love was once more crushed beside her friend's superior charms. Many a tear had been shed, and many a sigh been cast over her lost lovers. Both of them preferring her friend to herself made her friendship with Emma strained, unbearable even for Harriet. Which is why this convenient trip to London was much looked forward to.

Emma, feeling pity for her friend, sent her to London to stay with Isabella Knightley, to be useful and busy with the Knightley children under the pretense of a bad toothache, which required a dentist. Harriet, despite all that had passed, was eternally grateful to Emma for the trip- and would bless her all the more in the future. For it is here that pretty, good-natured, unexceptional Harriet would become reacquainted with the intelligent, love-stricken, faithful, unexceptional farmer.

Robert Martin.