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Emma Chapter Forty-Six Summary
Mr. Weston comes to Hartfield just to ask Emma to come back with him to Randalls. Mrs. Weston has to talk to her – alone. Surprised and frightened, Emma joins him immediately. Mr. Weston’s not very good at keeping secrets. He’s upset, and he tries to calm Emma down by telling her that it might not be as bad as he thinks it is. (What’s "it?" Well, read on…) Sure that something happened to her sister’s family, Emma begs him to tell her immediately. Mr. Weston assures her that nothing is wrong with the Knightleys. Somewhat reassured, Emma hurries along. When they get to Randalls, Mrs. Weston takes Emma by the hand and tells her that Frank is engaged – to Jane Fairfax. We’ll pause here so that you can catch your breath. Jane Fairfax??? And Frank???? Who would have guessed it? OK, Mr. Knightley guessed, but who pays attention to him, anyway? It gets worse. Frank and Jane became secretly engaged when they met a year ago. They’ve been hiding their love ever since. Mrs. Weston, terrified that Emma’s heart is broken, tries to console her. It takes a few tries – and a lot of smiles – before Emma can convince the Westons that, by a strange fluke, she’s no longer in love with Frank. Nonetheless, Emma condemns the underhanded way Frank has conducted his business ever since he arrived in Highbury (and we all know she’s thinking of the things she’s said, as well!) Mrs. Weston assures Emma that Frank has suffered greatly in the past few months – which isn’t quite easy to believe, is it? Nonetheless, as soon as Mrs. Churchill died, Frank confessed his engagement to his uncle – and then ran to Highbury to tell Jane. Frank’s already rushed back to his uncle, leaving an astonished set of parents in his wake. Emma wonders aloud if Frank’s concealment led to unjust or even unkind things being said about Jane. Mrs. Weston is sure that she never even thought anything but the best of Jane. Emma, of course, remains silent. Initially, Mr. Weston condemns the marriage… …but that’s really only because he’s worried about Emma. Once he finds out where Emma’s heart stands, he’s actually really happy. Jane Fairfax is pretty great. In fact, this may be the best thing that Frank has ever done. It’s lucky that he’s easy to convince, huh?
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