by Jane Austen
Emma Chapter Forty Summary
- Harriet shows up at Emma’s house with a strange parcel under her arm.
- She explains that she’s ready to give up on Mr. Elton now (only a few months after he got married)!
- In the box, she’s collected trinkets which memorialize her love for him. She’s ready to burn it.
- Surprised, Emma asks Harriet what trinkets she could have collected.
- Harriet lovingly unwraps a wooden casket and pulls out a bit of "plaister" (sort of like a band-aid). Mr. Elton played with it once.
- It goes on. And believe us, it only gets more pathetic. It’s also pretty funny.
- Harriet’s got a pencil Mr. Elton used once.
- She’s got lots more stuff. All of it would raise a fortune on EBay.
- Actually, that’s not totally true. It’s all mostly worthless.
- Emma happens to think Harriet’s collection is pretty amusing, as well.
- She struggles to hide a laugh at the maudlin nature of her friend.
- Harriet insists on burning the entire contents of the box – even though Emma points out that the plaister might be useful later on. Who knows? Maybe she could cut herself while burning the box.
- After the box burns, Harriet confesses that she’s beginning to fall in love again.
- Surprised and rather relieved, Emma sits down to listen.
- Harriet humbly asks Emma if she thinks that Harriet should even think about the new man she admires.
- After all, this man is a perfect gentleman.
- He’s far above Harriet in rank and reputation – but Harriet is sure that he’s shown some signs of affection for her!
- And he recently saved her from a horrible situation.
- Determined not to meddle in any more love affairs, Emma asks Harriet never to reveal her crush’s name.
- (Of course, she’s absolutely sure that it’s Frank. After all, didn’t he save her from the gypsies?)
- Emma couldn’t be happier. Harriet and Frank would be perfect together.
- Sure, he’s more eligible than she is – but Harriet is sweet enough and pretty enough to make up for her lack of fortune.
- She resolves to wish them well.
- Beyond that, however, she’s not going to do anything to advance their love. She’s had enough matchmaking for now.
- Saying enough to make Harriet happy, however, Emma manages to convince her that it’s OK for her to think about (and even love) a man who outranks her socially.
- She tells Harriet, however, never to mention her man by name.
- That way, Emma’s not really helping her along.
- They leave each other, confident that they’ve not said enough so that they understand each other perfectly.
- ...and anytime there’s perfect understanding, there’s got to be trouble ahead!
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