Chapters 46-47 Summary

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Last Updated May 30, 2023.

Summary
After ten days, Mr. Weston arrives to take Emma to Randalls, where Mrs. Weston tells her that Jane Fairfax and Frank have been engaged since the autumn. The news saddens Mrs. Weston, but Emma is furious. She wonders how Frank could have shown so much interest in her when he was actually in love with Jane. Emma believes that his behavior is not just improper but also despicable, and her esteem for him has plummeted.

Mrs. Weston informs Emma that Mr. Churchill readily approved of the engagement. However, when Emma asks if the Campbells or Dixons were aware of it, Mrs. Weston confirms that the engagement was kept confidential between Frank and Jane. Emma becomes furious again as she thinks of Frank and Jane working together to deceive everyone.

Mrs. Weston attempts to calm things down by suggesting it's time to wish Frank and Jane well. However, Emma is offended and blames Jane for being selfish. She scolds both of them for breaking social norms and creating their own rules. Emma regains her composure when Mr. Weston arrives, confirms the engagement, and asks her to keep it a secret. Emma criticizes Mr. Weston for not informing her of the news earlier, but she congratulates him on his future daughter-in-law.

Later when she is alone, Emma laments for Harriet and blames herself for being deceived by another man whom she had intended for Harriet. She realizes now why Jane rejected her and thinks that Jane might have been jealous of her as a potential rival for Frank's affection. Emma worries that the news of Frank's engagement may hurt Harriet more than Mr. Elton's rejection did. She decides to break her promise of secrecy and tell Harriet about the engagement.

As Harriet enters the room, she reveals that she already knows about Jane and Frank's engagement, and Mr. Weston warns her not to tell anyone. Surprisingly, Harriet seems unfazed by the news. Emma assures Harriet that she had no knowledge of the engagement and that if she had, she would have told her to prevent her from getting involved with Frank.

Harriet wonders why Emma thinks she has feelings for Frank. Emma clarifies that when she mentioned someone of superior rank, she thought she had been referring to Frank Churchill. Harriet clarifies that she believes Mr. Knightley to be infinitely superior and had thought that Emma was talking about him. This clears up their misunderstanding.

Emma asks Harriet if she believes Mr. Knightley returns her affection, and Harriet tells Emma that she believes he does. This revelation sends Emma into a tumultuous emotional state. She suddenly realizes that she wants Mr. Knightley for herself and recognizes how terribly she has acted. She struggles to compose herself so she can investigate the relationship between Mr. Knightley and Harriet.

Harriet informs Emma that Mr. Knightley's behavior towards her has recently changed. He has been seeking her out and having private conversations with her. Naturally, Emma feels jealous and insecure about this. When Harriet departs, Emma exclaims that she regrets ever meeting Harriet Smith.

Emma now feels a deep sense of sadness. She reflects on the lies, the mistakes, and the suffering that she has caused everyone, including herself. She realizes that she never actually loved Frank Churchill and had pretended. Moreover, she regrets introducing Harriet to Mr. Knightley, as she may have given Harriet hopes of marrying above her social status. Emma takes responsibility for her actions and feels remorse for the pain and confusion she has caused.

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Chapters 43-45 Summary

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Chapters 48-49 Summary