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Anniversary Celebration: Revisiting Harriet and Robert Martin — 43 Comments

  1. Oh, l love this angle. Robert and Harriet would have to be inhuman if they didn’t resent Emma’s machinations just a little. I really enjoyed the little vignette. Thank you, Maria Grace!

  2. I enjoyed this so much. How sweet. I totally agree with Sophia that Robert and Harriet have a right to resent Emma’s machinations. A wonderful read to wake up to this morning. Thank you.

  3. I loved the fact that we see things from such an unusual perspective, Grace, and I loved the way you portrayed Mr. Martin. It’s also funny to think that he thinks Harriet is intelligent and Emma stupid. Nicely done!!!

    • Thanks, Monica. I think it is really easy to see Harriet as a total dumb-bunny. But I’ve been thinking a lot about her character and I’m wondering if that is an entirely fair portrayal. Mr. Knightly did after all come to recognize some ‘first rate qualities’ in Harriet at the end of Emma.

  4. Beautiful story. I admit it leaves me feeling both pleased and saddened. I am very glad the Martins are happily married, but the thought of how Emma’s foolishness lead to such a long-lasting consequence leaves a melancholy note….very bittersweet.

  5. Ahhh…so sweet. This is a couple I have not seen followed beyond marriage. One cannot blame Mr Martin for his feelings of Emma. Lovely excerpt. Thank you.

  6. The lingering bitterness that Robert feels is justified. Emma is the one Austen character whom I cannot abide; the only exception is Clueless.

    I really enjoyed this little vignette–Robert and Harriet are so sweet together! 🙂

    Thank you!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  7. I agree with those who expressed opinions that Emma was silly, a busybody, manipulative and not as intelligent as some other of JA’s heroines. I do hope Mr. Knightley took her firmly under hand and saw that she applied herself to finishing her list of books and practicing her piano daily. She seemed lazy and without any true goal in her life (other than mis-matching couples). A separation of the two ladies is a wise move in my book. But it was also nice that Mrs. Goddard got some recognition. I do believe that Mr. Martin’s sisters would be better companions for Harriet in the long run. They, I am sure, had daily occupations to keep them busy.

    The relationship was sweetly portrayed here between husband wife. Thank goodness, Robert Martin had Mr. Knightley on his side, encouraging him to try again in the end.

    Thanks for this look into their lives.

  8. Oh, this vignette is very fun. I love that Harriet is sensible and smart and is seen that way by her husband. I agree that Emma’s meddling could very well have been disastrous for these people, and I certainly see why they would want to keep their distance, but I can’t completely condemn Emma. She was young and silly, but certainly meant no harm, even though she was doing harm. She saw the error of her ways and grew up quite a bit in “her” book. I have always loved Emma – weren’t we all silly and meddlesome at some time in our lives? I just worry for Emma, because I think Knightly will always think he has to teach and show Emma the way…

  9. Nice story, Grace. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into what Harriet’s life with Robert Martin would have been. I like what the book says about her too.

    “She would be placed in the midst of those who loved her… retired enough for safety, and occupied enough for cheerfulness. She would be never led into temptation, nor left for it to find her out. She would be respectable and happy… the luckiest creature in the world to have created so steady and persevering an affection in such a man.”

    • I like that quote, Shannon! And I think that shows her worth, that she was able to “create so steady and persevering an affection”… Isn’t it amazing that Jane Austen left all these clues for people to pick up and carry on with. It’s all there, if we look for it, yet it seems like so many “little nothing” to paraphrase, when we first read the books.

  10. That was really fun to read. I have to admit that I have never even thought about this couple after I closed the book. It was interesting to see some more JA characters brought back to life.

  11. I’ve never read anything about Robert and Harriet, thank you! They definitely deserved a little more character development for all they went through!

    I haven’t read Emma in a long time, and for me, she was always a difficult character to like, so I can see Robert and Harriet resenting her for her very direct interference! I think you showed just how sensible Robert was, and how much better Harriet fares with him. I enjoyed how Emma was portrayed in the mini-series with Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, however, where I thought she seemed less silly and possibly just immature.

    • Robert and Harriet definitely don’t get a great deal of attention, so it was fun fleshing them out a bit. Emma is a very difficult character to figure out what to do with, isn’t she? Thanks, Kathy!

  12. How nice to see Robert and Harriet Martin featured! They are so sweet together here, loved it. I think it is very likely that Emma and Harriet would have a difficult time remaining friends after all that has happened…I like seeing a decisive Mr. Martin. 😉 Thank you for sharing, Maria Grace!

  13. Really enjoyed this glimpse into this couples after story life. I have always enjoyed Roberts character but not so much Harriet.

    I think it would be a tie who was sillier , Emma or Harriet.

    Would love to read about knightly and Emma !

    Very enjoyable !!

    • Thanks, Carol. Harriet has always been a bit of a mystery to me. She tends to get portrayed as stupid, but I wonder if she lacked the confidnce to assert herself in the presence of the far higher status Emma.

      • I’ve always thought that the movies do a terrible job of portraying Harriet. Of course she would be shy and a little reticent to expound on her own views around Emma. I expect that the very fact that Emma is talking to her, let alone taking Harriet under her wing is huge for Harriet. Having been brought up in school with no family, etc., she is used to having people tell her what she thinks. I know that someone like Elizabeth Bennet is one in a million (kind of like Jane…) and so, while it probably happened that young girls really knew their own mind, I don’t think it was the norm.

        • I think your are right, Julie. Harriet was primed to be influenced by someone like Emma–taught to be deferential to those above her in station. I can’t see a girl in her position able to stand up to Emma. Not to mention, from Mrs. Goddard’s point of view, Emma was in a position to improve Harriet’s social connections, so she would have been a desirable connections to have.

  14. The manipulative and self-centered nature of Emma has always made her my least favored Austen heroine. It is nice to see that Robert Martin seems to share my opinion of Emma. A Happy and Healthy February 14th to All, Roberta

  15. I am in the minority because Emma is one of my favorites. I WAS Emma (without the fortune) at the same time in my life and am thankful that I eventually grew up. Though I agree that Robert and Harriet would hold some offense for a time, I don’t see it being a standing thing. After all, we all have to grow up at some point and that is part of the pain of it. I love to think that age and being married to Mr. Knightly brought her to the meeting point between clever and maturity. Only a year into marriage, there is still time for reconciliation betwixt the friends, especially considering his friendship with Mr. Knightly. Very bittersweet piece!

  16. What a sweet, lovely little story, Maria. I’ve a feeling that Robert and Harriet’s marriage might have fewer ups and downs than that of Emma and Mr. Knightley, at least to start with. I can see Mr. Knightley being quite exasperated at times until Emma matures into the woman she should become. Harriet and Emma would probably be estranged for some while, especially as Robert, quite rightly is bearing a grudge, but with his close association with Mr. Knightley, I can’t see them being strangers forever.

    • I still have a hard time wrapping my head around a 17 year age gab between Emma and Mr. Knightly. I have a hard time seeing him not lecturing her. It would be interesting to see what it would take for Emma and Harriet to reconcile….hmmm….

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