Summary: Chapter 52
Harriet agrees to Emma’s plan to send her to London on the pretense that she needs to see a dentist, which satisfies Emma since she does not want to hurt Harriet with news of Emma and Mr. Knightley’s engagement. Emma decides not to tell her father of her engagement until Mrs. Weston, who is pregnant, has given birth to her baby. Meanwhile, she pays a visit to Jane. They are unable to speak openly because Mrs. Elton is there, and Jane’s engagement is still supposed to be a secret. However, Emma interprets some of Mrs. Elton’s remarks and expressions as ostentatious indications that Mrs. Elton is in on the secret of Jane and Frank’s engagement.
Mr. Elton turns up, annoyed that Mr. Knightley has missed a meeting with him. Emma decides he must be waiting for her at Hartfield and leaves. When Jane walks her out, they are reconciled, each feeling that she owes the other an apology, both full of goodwill.
Summary: Chapter 53
Mrs. Weston safely delivers a baby girl, much to Emma’s delight. Mr. Knightley reminisces about how headstrong Emma was when she was a child. She expresses gratitude that he so often corrected her mistakes, and he asserts that she would have done just as well without him. Emma is grieved that she cannot speak more openly with him about Harriet. Mr. John Knightley congratulates Mr. Knightley and Emma on their engagement, and shocks the couple by saying that he is not surprised by their news.
Emma works up the courage to give her father the news. Mr. Woodhouse is shocked, but he gradually begins to resign himself to it. Mrs. Weston helps persuade him that his happiness will be increased rather than diminished. She is surprised and overwhelmingly pleased by the match. Mr. Weston shares the news with Jane and Miss Bates, and soon Emma and Knightley’s engagement is the talk of Highbury. Only the Eltons are displeased that Emma has made such a good match.
Summary: Chapter 54
Mr. Knightley has news for Emma: Harriet is to marry Robert Martin. Knightley had sent Mr. Martin to London with a package for his brother while Harriet was there, and Mr. Martin began to spend time with the family. Knightley worries that Emma is upset, but in fact she is thrilled, amazed, and amused at Harriet’s rapid recovery. Emma is thankful that she has not done Harriet greater injury, and she is glad that soon she will no longer need to conceal Harriet’s emotional state from Knightley.
Emma and Mr. Knightley go to visit Randalls and find Frank and Jane there. At first, Emma’s meeting with Frank is awkward, but soon they are back on easy terms, joking about all that has passed. Frank’s ability to speak lightly of all he and Jane have suffered is not entirely approved by his fiancée, and Emma feels Knightley’s superiority to Frank.