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by Jane Austen

Emma Chapter Forty-Two Summary

  • The Sucklings are supposed to come to Highbury, but they never show.
  • Mrs. Elton is severely put out.
  • She had planned on showing off her sister (and, of course, her sister’s fancy ride) to the entire town.
  • Now the summer seems like one long boring stretch of…boringness.
  • Mrs. Elton decides to take matters into her own hands and propose a group outing. (Field trip! Yay!)
  • She proposes that everyone (everyone who’s anyone, of course) take a trip to Box Hill. It’s a day trip, and the weather is lovely!
  • Ironically, Emma and Mr. Weston had been planning their own trip to Box Hill.
  • Without Mrs. Elton.
  • As it turns out, Mr. Weston may have mentioned their plans to Mrs. Elton…
  • Right before the scheduled trip, one of Mr. Weston’s horses goes lame.
  • This throws their entire plan off.
  • And, of course, it also throws Mrs. Elton into whining mode.
  • She complains to Mr. Knightley, who suggests that the whole group come to Donwell Abbey (his estate) instead.
  • The strawberries are ripe – and he’d love to have people over to pick them.
  • Mrs. Elton, delighted at the new plan, insists that she be the "Lady Patroness" of the venture.
  • Mr. Knightley curtly rejects her offer. (Insert typical Mrs. Elton gasps and long, windy responses here.)
  • Mrs. Elton wants a donkey. It seems like all smart women have them these days.
  • Mr. Knightley ignores most of this.
  • Mrs. Elton wants to eat outside.
  • Mr. Knightley thinks that that’s a horrible idea.
  • He says that any party at his house will involve eating inside.
  • Like civilized people do.
  • Mrs. Elton wants to arrange the guest list (although she’s willing to allow Mr. Knightley to invite Emma and her father).
  • Mr. Knightley ignores this, as well.
  • Finally, Mrs. Elton wants to greet everyone once they arrive.
  • Mr. Knightley wryly remarks that only one woman will ever arrange things at Donwell Abbey – Mrs. Knightley.
  • Gasp. Mrs. Knightley? What Mrs. Knightley?
  • OK, OK – Mr. K explains that there’s no missus yet.
  • Until she exists, he plans to organize his own parties in his own way.
  • The day of the party arrives. Everyone (even Mr. Woodhouse) comes.
  • Except Frank, that is.
  • He’s been delayed with his aunt – but he promises to come as soon as he can.
  • The company has a delightful time picking strawberries.
  • The narrator pauses several times to admire Donwell Abbey.
  • It’s a beautiful, old, unpretentious house which rambles all over a large and beautiful lawn. Emma loves it.
  • Mr. Knightley is thoughtful enough to leave out all sorts of collections of stuff for Mr. Woodhouse to look through inside. (Being outside all day in the sun would, of course, cause horrible things to happen to him. He’s sure of it.)
  • Before lunch, Emma overhears Mrs. Elton pushing Jane to take a job which Mrs. Elton has found for her.
  • Jane tries (several times) to say no, but a pushy woman is hard to ignore.
  • Mrs. Elton determines that she’ll send an acceptance letter for Jane, anyway.
  • She’s sure that Jane will change her mind.
  • With friends like her, who needs enemies?
  • After lunch, the group heads out for a walk.
  • Emma notices that Mr. Knightley singles Harriet out and walks ahead with her.
  • Curious about what they could be talking about, she sneaks up behind them (it’s not like she’s jealous or anything).
  • It turns out that they’re talking about architecture.
  • And Harriet actually sounds…well, if not intelligent, then close to it!
  • Emma goes inside to check in on her father.
  • He’s happily going through all the collections, and he wants to show Emma all of them.
  • As Emma settles in for a full (and boring) afternoon, Jane Fairfax hurries to the door.
  • Emma runs to meet her.
  • Jane says that she intends to walk back to town – the situation here has become unbearable.
  • For the first time, Emma feels sympathy for Jane.
  • Miss Bates and Mrs. Elton would be enough to drive anyone crazy!
  • She promises not to tell anyone that Jane is leaving.
  • Grateful, Jane presses Emma’s hand and runs out.
  • A few minutes after Jane leaves, Frank rushes into the house.
  • He seems disgruntled and mutters a lot about the madness of walking out in the heat.
  • Emma tries to calm him down, but it’s no use. Finally, he leaves to eat.
  • When he returns, he’s in a much better mood.
  • A good sandwich can make all the difference in the world!
  • He flirts with Emma and promises to come with her (and only her) to Box Hill when they go the next day.

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