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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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