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Emma Chapter Forty-Five Summary
Emma walks slowly home, thinking about Jane’s change in fortunes. She’s surprised to find Mr. Knightley at home when she arrives. He’s sitting beside Harriet. He only meant to stay five minutes – but he’s been sitting there for 30. Apparently, he’s made a sudden decision to travel to London and visit his brother. (Mr. Woodhouse, as you can imagine, is highly unnerved by such unnecessary travel!) Emma arrives in time to hear her father discussing her visit to the Bates house with Mr. Knightley. As he looks at her approvingly, Emma blushes. She’s glad that she seems to have done exactly the right thing for once. The next day, an express letter arrives at the Westons’. Mrs. Churchill finally died. After death, everyone seems a lot nicer than they were alive. Even Mrs. Churchill. Mr. Weston begins to think that he might have liked her, after all. Emma realizes at once what this means: Mr. Churchill, Frank’s uncle, is a pretty easygoing guy. It was only Mrs. Churchill who kept Frank on such a short string. Now that she’s gone, Harriet and Frank can be together at last! (OK, so maybe Emma’s skipping a few steps…like figuring out if they actually like each other. But let’s overlook that for now.) Emma decides that there’s not much she can do immediately to help forward Harriet’s love. More pressingly, Jane Fairfax has taken very ill. Determined to be more friendly, Emma offers to take her on a drive. She’s rejected. She drives by her house, trying to make it seem like an accident. Jane still doesn’t come out. She sends some arrowroot to the house (a medicinal root). It’s sent back. Dejected, Emma realizes that Jane doesn’t want her help at all. Surprised? Well, not everything works out as Emma plans it. As she’s beginning to figure out. Later, she hears rumors that Jane was out walking on the cliffs by herself. Emma tries not to think about what that might mean.
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