Last Updated May 30, 2023.
SummaryEmma experiences feelings of remorse about her father and Harriet during the night. She decides to never leave her father alone. She believes that as long as he is alive, she can only be engaged to Mr. Knightley. She contemplates how to protect Harriet from getting hurt. In an effort to delay the day when she has to tell Harriet the truth, Emma plans to secure an invitation for Harriet from her sister to come and visit them in London.
Emma receives a letter from Frank Churchill, introduced by a note from Mrs. Weston. In the letter, Frank apologizes to his stepmother for not visiting her earlier. He explains that he came to Highbury to be close to his fiancée, Jane Fairfax, and had used Emma as a decoy. He admits that he had no romantic interest in Emma but still has affection for her as a friend. Frank expresses his remorse and hopes for Emma's forgiveness.
In his letter to Mrs. Weston, Frank Churchill confesses that he had sent the piano anonymously because he knew Jane would not have approved. He also explains why he was late to the strawberry party at Donwell Abbey, revealing that he had a quarrel with Jane on the way to Highbury because she disapproved of his flirting with Emma. Furthermore, Frank tells Mrs. Weston that Jane had accepted a position as a governess after learning that Frank had returned to Enscombe following the Box Hill incident.
Frank pleaded with Jane to be understanding, but she ended their engagement and returned all of his letters. This prompted Frank to take action, and he went to his father and revealed everything to him. Frank's father gave his blessing, and Frank and Jane were reconciled. The letter ended with Frank expressing his deep gratitude to Mrs. Weston and acknowledging Emma's role in the situation.
Emma urges Mr. Knightley to read Frank's letter, and he does so cautiously. He goes through it thoroughly, holding Frank accountable and absolving Emma of wrongdoing. He expresses his empathy for Jane's situation and shows reluctance to talk about the Eltons whenever they are brought up.
Mr. Knightley and Emma discuss their potential marriage and how it could affect Mr. Woodhouse. Initially, Mr. Knightley thought they could take Mr. Woodhouse with them to Donwell, but he realized it would be unwise. Instead, he suggests moving to Hartfield. Emma considers this and decides it would be best for Mr. Knightley to come live with them. However, Emma worries about how this will affect Harriet. She knows it would be best to keep Harriet away from Hartfield, as it would only hurt her more. Emma acknowledges that forgetting about Mr. Knightley won’t be easy for Harriet, but she cannot expect her to turn her affections to another man so soon.
Harriet travels to London using Mr. Woodhouse's carriage to stay with Emma's sister in Brunswick Square, which relieves Emma as she won't have to confront Harriet for at least two weeks. Emma decides to delay informing her father about her marriage until Mrs. Weston has delivered her baby.
Emma visits Jane Fairfax, and she is struck by the coincidence that both of them are engaged. This time, Emma notes that Jane welcomes her warmly, without Miss Bates flustered covering. Emma finds Mrs. Elton also visiting the Bates’ house, but she doesn't let it bother her. Emma suspects that Mrs. Elton still thinks that Jane's engagement is a secret that must be kept from Emma based on her sly behavior.
Mr. Elton shows up to pick up his wife and seems exhausted. He explains...
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that he walked all the way to Donwell Abbey for a meeting with Mr. Knightley, but he wasn't there. Emma prepares to depart, and Jane accompanies her to the door.
Jane and Emma have a private conversation in which Jane tries to apologize to Emma for her past behavior. Emma responds that Jane doesn't need to apologize and that she is actually the one who should be apologizing. They quickly forgive each other. As Emma leaves, she feels sad that she is just starting to get to know Jane better, but she will soon leave to get married. Jane reassures Emma that she will be getting married soon as well. Emma says goodbye to Jane and expresses her love for having things decided and open.