Study Guide

Emma Chapter Thirty-Six

By Jane Austen

Chapter Thirty-Six

  • Mr. Weston thinks that it’s only polite to tell Mrs. Elton how pleased he will be to introduce her to Frank.
  • Mrs. Elton immediately assumes that Mr. Weston is paying her a special compliment. (Probably because she’s the most important woman she knows.)
  • Mr. Weston declares that Frank’s aunt is a "fine lady."
  • Not willing to be outdone, Mrs. Elton asserts that her sister is also a fine lady.
  • It becomes clear that Mr. Weston didn’t mean his comment to be a compliment.
  • Mrs. Elton’s in a pickle: she wants Mr. Weston to admire her sister, but she doesn’t want her to be the same sort of fine lady as Mrs. Churchill.
  • She does some fancy back-pedaling.
  • Luckily, Mr. Weston’s attention span isn’t too good. He’s forgotten all about their conversation within seconds.
  • Mr. Weston and Mrs. Elton begin to have a battle of the tongues:
  • He talks for awhile about Frank and the Churchills.
  • She replies by talking for awhile about her sister and Maple Grove.
  • He responds with an answer about Frank. She talks about her sister. It’s almost like two monologues going on side-by-side.
  • Emma sends for tea. Several members of the party play cards.
  • Emma is left to talk to her brother-in-law, Mr. John Knightley.
  • Mr. John Knightley usually hates dinner parties. Also, he’s a bit of a bear to begin with. Emma’s actually delighted to find that he seems to be in a fairly good mood!
  • Mr. John Knightley mentions that his two boys (who will be spending the next few weeks with their aunt Emma) can be a bit rowdy.
  • He offers to take them back whenever they begin to cause trouble.
  • Observing that Emma seems to have a much more active social calendar than she used to, he smilingly asks her if she’ll have any time at all for the boys.
  • Mr. Knightley interrupts to say that the boys can come over to his house whenever Emma wishes.
  • Indignant, Emma refuses to give up any time with her beloved nephews. (It seems that Emma, for all her faults, loves her family very, very much).
  • The Knightley brothers chuckle over Emma’s ruffled feathers.