From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Jane Austen

Emma Chapter Thirty-Nine Summary

  • As Emma thinks over the ball the next day, she’s satisfied to remember that Mr. Knightley shares her opinion about the Eltons.
  • Even Harriet seems to be getting over Mr. Elton after his snub at the ball.
  • Everything is as perfect as Emma could want it to be: Harriet is no longer in love, Mr. Knightley is not quarrelling with her, and Frank Churchill seems to be staying away from Hartfield.
  • Emma settles down to play with her nephews for the morning.
  • Before long, however, Frank and a very weak Harriet come in the gate.
  • Emma rushes out to meet them. Harriet’s face is completely white.
  • Together Emma and Frank assist her into the house, where she faints on the couch.
  • Once Harriet recovers, she shares her story.
  • Harriet and another classmate had been walking along a lane when a small band of gypsy children came up behind them.
  • Harriet’s friend ran away.
  • Harriet, whose muscles were cramped from dancing the night before, couldn’t really walk.
  • The gypsy kids surround her threateningly.
  • We know what you’re thinking. She’s scared of a group of kids? Seriously? But maybe they were really scary kids.
  • Or maybe she’s just a wimp.
  • Either way, she’s having a rough day.
  • She offers the children a shilling to go away, but they seem to know a good thing when they’ve found it. They refuse to leave.
  • Suddenly, Frank Churchill comes around the corner and rescues her.
  • (Frank had meant to go back to London early in the morning, but he stayed to return a pair of scissors to Miss Bates.)
  • Frank chases the children away and helps Harriet to Emma’s door.
  • Frank leaves to begin his journey to London.
  • Although Emma worries about Harriet, she’s actually rather delighted about this turn of events.
  • Woman in distress + handsome hero = true love. Right?
  • She’s sure that this rescue is the groundwork for Harriet and Frank’s love.
  • Nonetheless, Emma worries about telling her father the news – and rightfully so.
  • Mr. Woodhouse frets for days about the threat of savages on the loose.
  • Our narrator informs us that the gypsies move out of Highbury before they can be found.
  • Fortunately, upon hearing of the incident, all of Mr. Woodhouse’s neighbors make sure to ask him about his health. (C’mon, even hearing about a gypsy attack is enough to make any man sick!)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...