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by Jane Austen

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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