Study Guide

Emma Chapter Forty-Six

By Jane Austen

Chapter Forty-Six

  • 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?