Author's Note: Thank you to LeeLaaLoove for favoriting this story. It makes me feel happy that somebody is seeing my work, as simple as it is. I would appreciate reviews from people who read this- Please?
Disclaimer: I do not own Emma. I merely filled in some gaps with my imagination.
Robert Martin was a pleasing tenant of Mr. Knightley's. He was young-but four-and-twenty. While not handsome, he had pleasing, straightforward manners and better informed his mind through reading. Harriet spent the summer with him and his two sisters, and he found her the most delightful creature he had ever set eyes on. Her simple manner and quiet charm captivated him- and not many weeks after her friendship with Miss Woodhouse began, he wrote to her, pouring his feelings out and proposing.
His mortification when the reply came ended his temporary felicity. The cold language, showing Harriet determined against him, went against all his ideas of her. Almost as if somebody else had written it-yet it was her handwriting! The affection he thought was mutual did not, however, subside. And when Mr. Knightly asked him to deliver a letter to John Knightley, he graciously obliged. And when John Knightley asked him to dine with their party at the Astley's, how could he deny himself the chance to see his beloved. And so the six of them-John, Isabella, their two eldest boys, Miss Smith, and Mr. Martin-happily went to the small dinner party, each one with the full expectation of enjoyment. Mr. Martin could gaze on his object, the two boys could create mischief, John and Isabella could enjoy a quiet night out, and Miss Smith found herself forgetting-yes indeed, forgetting!-her woes and carrying on in her quiet conversation with Mr. Martin.
"My sisters miss having another female to keep them company. Do you plan on honouring us with a visit any time soon?"
"I dare say I don't quite know. Last summer was so pleasant. I would love a repetition." Here she coloured, and he glanced down, both remembering what transpired not too long after her departing the Martin's.
"Trust me, nobody should be happier than if you would visit us once more."
"Oh! Well, then-I should say that-Thank you. How is that little Welsh cow your mother called mine?" Her naivety reared itself, showing her ignorance of cows and of farming in general, endearing herself to the gentleman all the more.
So continued their conversation, very few pauses in between. On both sides there was the recollection of his proposal, and while all may assume how the gentleman, who was still in love yet, could feel on the occasion, the lady's own feelings were a surprise even to her.
A deep, heartfelt regret filled her heart. Could it be just from disappointing a man that had such tender feelings for her? Emma had told her so… It couldn't be the Harriet loved Robert Martin. Emma had told her she should look higher for a husband.
Yet… With Mr. Elton and Mr. Knightley both being quite higher, neither of them could bear to condescend into a marriage with her. Perhaps Harriet had no right to look above this kind man with whom her tender heart cared for. Or perhaps Harriet had every right to choose a man with whom she could find true love and happiness-even if he was a tenant of Mr. Knightley's and not Mr. Knightley himself.