Study Guide

Emma Chapter Ten

By Jane Austen

Chapter Ten

  • Emma takes Harriet with her on a visit a poor family. They pause to swoon over Mr. Elton’s house.
  • After congratulating Harriet on her future prospects, Emma declares that she never plans to marry.
  • After all, she’s got the best house in town already – what more could she want? It’s not like she’ll ever fall in love!
  • Harriet is aghast at Emma’s declaration.
  • Emma, an old maid? Horror of horrors!! In twenty years, she’ll be like Miss Bates!
  • Emma explains that the difference between Miss Bates and herself is (not to put too fine a point on it) money. Cash makes just about anything possible – even being an old maid. (We know, we know, the heroine of a romance has to get married...right?)
  • They arrive at the poor family’s home. Emma deals with the poor honestly, kindly, and sympathetically.
  • She doesn’t even expect them to do more for themselves than they can actually do. She just helps where she’s needed.
  • Strange? Well, not really. Emma seems to have a knack for dealing with people who are worse off than she is.
  • Harriet stands around for awhile.
  • On the way home, Emma and Harriet run into Mr. Elton.
  • Emma fakes an untied shoe to let Harriet have Mr. Elton all to herself – but they only end up talking about what Mr. Elton had for dinner. He’s a fascinating guy.
  • Desperate to make something happen, Emma breaks her shoelace.
  • Unable to walk any further, she begs Mr. Elton to take them to his house. He’s delighted to agree.
  • Harriet and Emma trek to Mr. Elton’s house.
  • Emma tries to leave Harriet alone with Mr. Elton, but not much happens.
  • Emma’s a bit frustrated – Harriet doesn’t seem to be making the most of her opportunities.

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