Study Guide

Emma Chapter Twenty-Three

By Jane Austen

Chapter Twenty-Three

  • Emma hatches a plan: she’ll drive Harriet out to the Martins’ farm, wait fifteen minutes, and then drive back to pick her up.
  • This way, Harriet can get all the excitement of a new visit – and there will be no chance that she’ll slip back into her old friendships.
  • Everything goes according to plan.
  • Harriet seems delighted to have met the Martins again.
  • As she tells Emma, it was awkward at first, sure, but then they got started talking about the cows Harriet met last summer…and who doesn’t get excited about cows?
  • The Martins also point to the place where Harriet once measured her height on a wall.
  • Looking at the spot, Harriet remembers Robert. Sigh.
  • Just as Harriet starts to feel at home again with the Martins, however, Emma’s carriage pulls up.
  • The Martins recognize this for what it is – an attempt to show them that Harriet only came to visit out of politeness, not out of friendship. They’re hurt.
  • Emma feels a teenie-weenie bit bad about helping Harriet to be so cruel…but, after all, one must make sacrifices to remain in good society!
  • A visit to the Westons at Randalls (their house) will push Harriet and her messy love life out of Emma’s mind – she heads over to their house, but they’ve just left.
  • Disappointed, Emma returns home. Once there, she finds that Mr. Weston is sitting in the parlor.
  • With the long-awaited Frank Churchill.
  • Gasp.
  • He’s everything she dreamed of.
  • Handsome, friendly, polite and apparently attached to his new step-mother, Frank charms all the people he meets – including Emma.
  • Emma immediately starts daydreaming about marrying Frank.
  • He’s the perfect match, really, and she can tell that the Westons are already thinking about the same thing.
  • Mr. Woodhouse isn’t thinking about marriage at all. But that’s because marriage is the greatest evil he can think of. It takes people away from him.
  • Emma finds out that Frank met Miss Jane Fairfax while he was in Weymouth.
  • The Westons leave to visit the Bateses.