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by Jane Austen

Emma Chapter Twenty-One Summary

  • The day after the party, Mr. Knightley comes over to Hartfield.
  • He and Emma begin discussing Jane Fairfax: Mr. Knightley admires her perfection, Emma doesn’t.
  • Mr. Woodhouse frets about Mrs. Bates (she’s actually pretty poor).
  • Mr. Woodhouse decides to send her a bit of the hog he just slaughtered. Emma tells him she’s already sent half of it to the Bates house.
  • Sure enough, five minutes later Miss Bates bustles in with Jane in tow, full of thanks for the pork.
  • She’s also full of news. Mr. Elton is getting married to a woman he met in Bath (that’s a resort town in England).
  • Her name is Miss Hawkins.
  • Gossip on the street has it that Miss Hawkins has money – and not too much else going for her.
  • Emma’s not surprised…but she dreads having to tell Harriet.
  • Miss Bates bustles out; a rain shower starts. Five minutes after it stops, Harriet arrives.
  • Emma’s terrified that she’s heard the news, too – but Harriet is a bundle of nerves for a whole different reason.
  • She accidentally ran into Robert Martin and his sister in the store.
  • Harriet hid behind a barrel at first.
  • They saw her anyway. Bet that was awkward, huh?
  • It seemed like Robert and his sister were going to shun Harriet, but then they decided that that was unkind. Harriet tells Emma that she and Robert spoke briefly.
  • Emma is surprised – didn’t she help Harriet get over Robert a long time ago?
  • She’s also a bit troubled by what seems like very gentlemanly behavior on Mr. Martin’s part. Could Mr. Knightley be right about him?
  • Deciding that this adventure might help Harriet keep her mind off of Mr. Elton, Emma breaks the bad news about Elton’s marriage.
  • Harriet is devastated – but strangely not as shaken by this as she was by running into Mr. Martin.

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