Book: Emma - Jane Austen
'While you were in the smallest degree wavering, I said nothing about it, because I would not influence; but it would have been the loss of a friend to me. I could not have visited Mrs Robert Martin, of Abbey-Mill Farm. Now I am secure of you forever.'
Harriet had not surmised her own danger, but the idea of it struck her forcibly.
'You could not have visited me!' she cried, looking aghast. 'No, to be sure you could not; but I never thought of that before. That would have been too dreadful! - What an escape! - Dear Miss Woodhouse, I would not give up the pleasure and honour of being intimate with you for any thing in the world.'
'Indeed, Harriet, it would have been a severe pang to lose you; but it must have been. You would have thrown yourself out of all good society. I must have given you up.'
'Dear me! - How should I ever have borne it! It would have killed me never to come to Hartfield any more!'
'Dear affectionate creature! - You banished to Abbey-Mill Farm! - You confined to the society of the illiterate and vulgar all your life! I wonder how the young man could have the assurance to ask it. He must have a pretty good opinion of himself.'
Note: I tried reading Emma a couple of years back when I first got my Austen collection but found that I just couldn't get past Emma's arrogance. However a few weeks ago I was determined to finish it (and my Austen collection in the process), and now am very glad I did. I ended up really enjoying it with its range of characters and the development of Emma's character by the end of the book (not to mention the happy ending and the proposal scene). I like that about Jane Austen romances though, that good characters have happy endings, while annoying or bad characters receive their just desserts. Emma is still quite annoying but it's impressive how far she's come by the proposal scene to be mature and listen to Mr Knightley, even though she fears the worse. There was a lot of dialogue in the book too, mostly idle chatter, but I guess in the case of some characters like Miss Bates it was necessary. However I can understand why my friend didn't enjoy studying it in college!