Chapters 53-55 Summary

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Last Updated May 30, 2023.

SummaryMrs. Weston delivers a baby girl, and Emma expresses her joy that she will be able to educate a girl child. Mr. Knightley teases Emma, saying that she will spoil the child just as she was spoiled as a child. However, he admits that he has lost his resentment toward spoiled children since he has found happiness with Emma.

Mr. Knightley and Emma recall significant events from their past that led to their romantic relationship. Mr. Knightley confesses his deep affection for Emma, despite her previous insolent behavior. Emma admits to being a headstrong and impudent young girl. Emma privately contemplates that she and Harriet do not communicate much and feels the burden of keeping their true relationship a secret.

Isabella sends Emma a letter informing her that Harriet's visit to her is going well and that Harriet will stay for two more weeks. Mr. Knightley gives Emma a letter from his brother John, which does not mention Harriet and expresses his pleasure at Emma and Mr. Knightley's engagement. Emma speculates that her father will see the advantages of the engagement in Mr. Knightley's favor.

Emma informs her father about her engagement to Mr. Knightley and tries to convince him of the benefits of their marriage. Mr. Woodhouse is surprised and reminds Emma of her earlier decision never to marry. Emma tries to convince him by assuring him that their lives won't change much after her marriage. Although Mr. Woodhouse is not entirely convinced, Emma manages to plant the idea in his mind. She relies on Mrs. Weston and her sister to assist her in persuading her father to give his approval.

Mrs. Weston is happy upon learning about the engagement, while Mr. Weston sees benefits for both parties and feels proud that he predicted the match. Assuming it is still a secret, he rides to town to inform Jane and Miss Bates and shares the news with others in the town. Everyone approves of the engagement except for Mr. and Mrs. Elton, who criticize the match. Mr. Elton expresses his hope that Emma's pride will finally be satisfied. Mrs. Elton pities Mr. Knightley and regrets that she will no longer be the center of attention at social events since Emma will now be in charge.

Mr. Knightley informs Emma that he needs to break some bad news to her, and when she hears that it is regarding Harriet Smith, she turns red with embarrassment. He then reveals that Harriet is going to marry Robert Martin. Emma expresses her surprise and asks how it came to be, to which Mr. Knightley proceeds to explain the story.

To Emma's surprise, Mr. Knightley shares that Robert Martin and Harriet Smith are going to marry. He explains that while Robert was in London to deliver some papers to his brother, he met Harriet at a party and proposed to her. Mr. Knightley advises Emma to look beyond Robert's social status and acknowledge his excellent character and significance in business matters.

Emma expresses that she doesn't need to be reconciled with the match between Harriet and Mr. Martin, but she questions Mr. Knightley's accuracy in hearing the news. He assures her that he is certain and explains his involvement in helping Mr. Martin with the details of the courtship. Emma wishes the couple well and feels remorse for her past foolishness. Mr. Knightley confesses that he had taken the opportunity to get to know Harriet better by dancing with her and walking with her at Donwell. He believes that Harriet will make a good wife for Mr. Martin and credits Emma for her...

(This entire section contains 913 words.)

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role in bringing them together. Emma acknowledges the praise, although she feels undeserving of it.

Emma's father joins her, and they go to Randalls, where they meet Frank and Jane, who are now openly engaged. Frank greets Emma with warmth, but she feels a sense of shame upon seeing him again. He admits that he should have revealed the secret to her and nearly did so once. He congratulates her on her engagement, but Emma accuses him of finding amusement in deceiving them all. Frank confesses that his deceit made him miserable. Emma expresses her embarrassment about their teasing of Jane, and they agree that they are similar in some ways.

Frank mentions further details of the game he played with Emma, causing Jane to hear and become embarrassed. Emma cannot comprehend why Frank continues to bring up unpleasant memories. She reflects on her good fortune to have a man like Mr. Knightley, who has a superior character.

Emma’s doubts regarding Harriet's marriage are cleared up when Harriet visits her and reveals that she has accepted Mr. Martin's proposal of marriage with happiness and joy. Harriet also learns that her parents, who are tradespeople, do not object to the union. Emma accompanies Harriet to church, where they witness the first of the three weddings.

Mr. Woodhouse is still unhappy about Emma's impending marriage. Although they manage to convince him to accept it, they refrain from telling him that it must happen quickly before John and Isabella return to London. The situation seems to be at a standstill until an intruder raids Mrs. Weston's poultry house. Mr. Woodhouse is so scared of being robbed that he suggests Mr. Knightley move in to protect them all, and he allows Isabella and her husband to return home. A simple wedding takes place, which displeases Mrs. Elton. However, all the other guests wish the couple complete happiness.


Chapters 50-52 Summary