Letter #1: From Mrs. Emma Knightley to Mrs. Harriet Martin Posted on Saturday, 2 October 1999
My dear Harriet:
As I have not had a chance to talk or write to you since your wedding, there is much for me to write of. You simply must come to visit me soon, or I shall die. Now that Mrs. Churchill, neÚ Fairfax has gone away, there is no company for me besides Mrs. Elton. That woman is insufferable! But I shall wish her no ill, for she has not done harm to me, personally.
The first to weeks of my marriage to Mr. Knightley have been pure bliss. My caro sposo, or so Mrs. Elton would say, has entirely spoiled me, ever since the day of our marriage. For the time being, we are living at Hartfield with Papa, but we hope, in the future, to sell Hartfield and take Papa to live at Donwell Abbey.
I really should be going, for I was going to walk to the post office and do some errands in town.
Papa and Mr. Knightley send their good wishes, and I my love.
Letter #2: From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley Dear Mrs. Knightley,
You cannot fathom how glad I was to receive your letter. I, too, hope that we will meet soon, and not for a very short time.
I am quite in love with Mr. Martin, and often find myself regretting my refusal to his first proposal of marriage. But I suppose that it was meant to be so.
Abbey Mill Farm is delightful. It is not small, but not extremely large, either. It is beautiful, and I feel quite at home here. Miss Martin is pleasant and kind, though at times rather dull. Mrs. Martin is very amiable, and eager to make me feel at home here.
I must go, for there is much to be done, which I have put off long enough already.
Your affectionate friend,
Letter #3: From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Dearest Harriet,
Much has happened since my last letter. George and I have persuaded Papa to move with us to Donwell. We have sold dear old Hartfield, and to whom do you think? Well, I shall not keep you in suspense any longer. We have sold Hartfield to Mr. and Miss Suckling, Mrs. Elton's brother and sister. I have heard Mr. Suckling to be a good man, and I look forward to meeting him. I pray that Miss suckling is not another Mrs. Elton, for I do not think that I could bear another of her.
Tomorrow we are to take up residence at Donwell. Oh, I shall miss Hartfield, where I have spent my whole life. But I think I shall feel quite at home at Donwell Abbey, and I dare say that Mr. and Miss Suckling will feel at home at Hartfield, on account of its being 'so like Maple Grove' according to Mrs. Elton.
I must stop now, for there is so much to be done before tomorrow.
Letter #4: From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley My dear Emma,
It is strange to think that I will never again return to Hartfield, unless I become acquainted with the Sucklings, which, at the moment, is very unlikely. I look forward to visiting you at Donwell, and want you to know that you are always welcome here at Abbey Mill.
It is nearly harvest time, and our crops are abundant. Robert has temporarily hired some men to help him with the harvesting, so that he can get it in before the cold weather. Robert has said that he has begun to earn his fortune, and talks of buying more land and permanently hiring some men to farm it for him.
Letter #5: From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Dear Harriet:
Please forgive me for not writing to you for so long; it has been nearly a fortnight since I received your last letter.
We are now settled at Donwell Abbey, and Mr. and Miss Suckling have moved to Hartfield. I have finally been able to meet them, and have concluded that they are a good sort of people, not at all like the Eltons.
Little Anna Weston is nearly three months old. She is a healthy baby, and is so sweet and pretty. Mrs. Weston says that she hardly ever fusses, and indeed, I have not heard her, ever. When I have children, I shall want them to be just like little Anna, for she is a darling child.
I really ought to be going now. Again, please forgive me for my delay in writing.
Letter #6: From Jane Fairfax Churchill to Emma Knightley My dear Mrs. Knightley:
I have been thinking of you lately, and realized that I had not congratulated you on your marriage to Mr. Knightley. I know that we have not been very good friends in the past, but I am ready to put the past behind me, if you are.
Frank and I are to visit Highbury next month. We shall be staying with the Westons, and I look forward to visiting you at Donwell.
Jane Fairfax Churchill
Letter #7: From Emma Knightley to Jane Churchill Posted on Friday, 8 October 1999
My dear Jane,
You do not know how glad I was to receive you letter this morning. I gladly accept your offer of friendship, and am looking forward to your visit to Highbury.
I suppose you have heard through the Weston's that Papa has sold Hartfield to Mr. and Mrs. Suckling. I am not well acquainted with them, having only visited them once, but they seem like good, kind, people, and are very pleasant company. Miss Selina Suckling is not at all like her sister, Mrs. Elton, and for that I am glad.
Write back and tell me all your news, dear Jane. I quite look forward to your letter and visit.
Letter #8: From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin: Dearest Harriet:
How are you? I hope you are doing well. I am, and also Mr. Knightley and Papa.
Yesterday I received a letter from Jane Churchill, nee Fairfax. She sounds quite lonely. I wonder if she is regretting her marriage to Mr. Churchill. I think not, though. She will most likely be most happy with him. They make a good couple. The Churchill's are to be in Highbury next month. I find myself looking forward to their visit.
I must go.
Letter #9: From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley Dear Emma:
I have some very happy news for you. At least, I am quite excited about it. I am with child! Yes, it is true! I am going to be a mother! Robert took me to the doctor yesterday-he says that the baby will be born in early April. I am so excited, I can think of nothing else. Already I have stated to make clothes for the child.
I really must be going, Emma. I am sorry for the short letter, but there is much to be done.
Your Affectionate Friend,
Letter #10: From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Dearest Harriet:
Your news is happy, indeed! It is hard for me to believe. You, Harriet, to become a mother! May I tell Isabella? She likes you very much, you know. Are you hoping for a boy, or a girl? What names have you picked? If it is a boy, you will name him after Robert, I am sure.
By the way, how is Robert? And Mrs. And Miss Martin? Have you become very good friends with Miss Martin? Alas, I have never met her. You shall have to introduce us sometime.
Dearest Harriet, I am sorry to cut this letter so dreadfully short, but my dear Mr. Knightley is asking me to walk with him.
Your most affectionate friend,
Letter #11: From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley Dearest Emma:
I must apologize for not answering your letter soon after I received it. It has been nearly a week. I have been so busy, though.
Already, I am beginning to grow large. Robert and I have picked out two names, one for a boy, and the other for a girl, of course. If the child is a girl, she shall be named Emma Elizabeth, after whom else but you and Elizabeth Martin? If the baby is a boy, he shall be named Robert Charles, after his father and grandfather.
Robert has just bought the most beautiful little piano that I have ever seen. He has also bought me several books of music. I have been practicing a prelude and fugue by Johann S Bach.
I have become quite intimate with Elizabeth Martin. She is but a few years older than I, and we share many of the same interests, music being one of them. She is young, and pretty, and I have often wondered why she has not married. When I asked her, she only mumbled something about her fiancÚ disappearing before their wedding. She seems so sad and lonely.
I really must be going, Emma. Write back and tell me all your news.
Letter 12 ~ From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Posted on Wednesday, 27 October 1999
My dear Harriet:
You really must try to find out Elizabeth Martin's story for me. Mayhap I could find her lost fiancÚ or perhaps and eligible young man for her.
Have I told you about Lyssa, Ella, and Margaret? They are parlor boarders at Mrs. Goddard's school. Lyssa and Ella are sisters, and Margaret is their cousin. Ella is eighteen, and Lyssa and Margaret are seventeen. Lyssa and Margaret are both very sweet, and are good friends. Ella is rather stuck-up and snobbish. They have all three been here to the abbey several times. I have been thinking what a fine thing Mr. Suckling might be for one of them. But, alas, there are not enough young men here in Highbury to go around.
I have thought of giving a ball, an d I shall carry out my plan quite soon. I need your help to decide who I should invite. You and Mr. Martin, of course, and Mr. and Mrs. Knightley, the Sucklings, and the Eltons. Now, should I ask Mrs. Goddard and Miss Bates? Oh, and of course I will ask all the Gordon girls, the ones I was telling you about at the beginning of this letter. I really do not want to invite the Eltons, but think how angry they should be if I do not!
Take care, dear Harriet. I hope I shall see you soon.
Letter 13 ~ From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley Dearest Emma:
About your ball: I think that you should invite Mrs. Goddard and Miss Bates, but you should also pray that Miss Bates comes down with laryngitis that night. And if you really do not want to have the Eltons, you should not. I agree with you on not want in to invite them. They are so very conceited and disagreeable. I cannot see why anyone would want to be around them.
I must go, Emma, we have callers.
Letters 14 ~ From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Posted on Thursday, 28 October 1999
I have realized a few people that I have forgotten to add to my guest list. One of them is Miss Elizabeth Martin. How could I forget her? And I was hoping to make her a match! Oh, well, I shall send her an invitation tomorrow. The other couple is Mr. and Mrs. Frank Churchill, who will be in town on the night of the ball. And, I understand that they shall have a wealthy young man traveling with them. So, if both he and Mr. Suckling attend, we shall have two single men, instead of one, at the ball. And four young ladies. I do not know what we shall do. How shall these girls find husbands here in Highbury?
Lyssa and Margaret were over here yesterday, and bother begged to help me with the decorations for the ball. I agreed, and they shall be over tomorrow. I know it is a little early, as the ball is a fortnight away, but it was the only day that they could come. The girls are lively company, although they chatter ceaselessly, and I am very glad to know them. Lyssa said that they should bring Ella with them, but I doubt that she will consent to come.
I must go and prepare the invitations for the ball. That job will likely take all afternoon!
Your most affectionate friend,
Letter 15 ~ From Harriet Martin to Emma Knightley Dear Emma:
I do not expect a reply to this letter for quite a while, as you shall be busy preparing for your ball, so don't worry about answering until the preparations for your ball are well under control. Mr. Martin and I shall accept your invitation, but you must not expect me to dance, though I would most love to.
I would like to hear more about your three young friends, Emma. I should very much like to meet them. You will introduce me to them at the ball, will you not?
Elizabeth walked over today, and I asked her about her lost fiancÚ. It seems that she was engaged to a Mr. Suckling, (Now, Emma, do not immediately think of your Mr. Suckling, it is quite a common name)who disappeared shortly before their wedding. That was all I could get out of her. Isn't it sad, though? I feel rather glad that he left her, because he must not have loved her very much to run off like that. My only hope is that she should fall in love with another man, one who would love her far more than Mr. Suckling.
I must go, Emma. Robert and I are looking forward to the ball.
Postscript: Elizabeth asked me to tell you that she will attend the ball.
Letter 16 ~ From Emma Knightley to Harriet Martin Dearest Harriet:
You are right, Elizabeth Martin's story is tragic indeed. But, dearest Harriet, I cannot help thinking of Mr. Suckling of Hartfield. I have often wondered why he has not married. He seems so sad.
Now, in exchange for you telling me about Miss Martin, I shall tell you about the three Gordon girls. I may have already told you that Margaret is a cousin to Lyssa and Ella; their fathers are brothers. Margaret's father is not living, and Lyssa and Ella's mother has passed away. Lyssa has told me that her father does not manage his money well, and so he has sent the girls away so that he might be able to work more. She says that after paying for hers and Ella's board at Mrs. Goddard's, he is nearly penniless. Margaret's mother lives with her brother, in a small cottage, so Margaret has stayed at Mrs. Goddard's as there is no room her at present in the little cottage. I imagine that the girls have been sent here so that they might catch a husband, but I am afraid that there are not enough young men to go around.
I must go, we have callers.