Study Guide

Emma Chapter Seven

By Jane Austen

Chapter Seven

  • Harriet receives a love letter from our farmer-friend, Mr. Martin.
  • Emma, of course, is outraged on her friend’s behalf. How could Mr. Martin dream of lowering Harriet to his social station?
  • Unable to decide how to respond to the letter, Harriet turns to Emma for advice.
  • After reading Mr. Martin’s letter, Emma is secretly troubled – it sure doesn’t sound like a farmer’s letter. It’s too well-written.
  • Emma wonders if Mr. Martin is actually more of a gentleman than she’d thought.
  • She decides to ignore her better instincts, however. After all, a farmer is a farmer – at the end of the day, he still smells like the cows.
  • Emma refuses to sway Harriet’s decision (although she’s secretly determined to stop Harriet from making the biggest mistake of her life).
  • Hilarity ensues.
  • Harriet wants to like Mr. Martin’s letter.
  • Emma doesn’t say anything.
  • Harriet thinks Mr. Martin’s letter might be too short. That’s how you judge the quality of a letter, right?
  • Emma secretly cringes at Harriet’s standards, but she senses that Harriet might be moving in the right direction.
  • Wait – didn’t we say that Emma wasn’t going to push Harriet into anything? Well, yes.
  • But we weren’t quite telling the truth. That’s because Emma wasn’t quite truthful with herself.
  • Emma doesn’t quite push Harriet into rejecting Mr. Martin. (OK, that’s not quite true. But let’s go with it for now.)
  • Although she seems faintly troubled at the thought of hurting Mr. Martin, Harriet decides she’d far rather refuse him than disagree with her friend.
  • After the letter is written, Emma pats Harriet on the head (not literally, but you get the picture).
  • Recognizing that Harriet seems glum, Emma attempts to cheer her up by talking about the fabulous Mr. Elton.
  • She’s convinced that Mr. Elton has taken Harriet’s portrait in order to show it to his family – and she soon convinces Harriet, as well.