Summary and Analysis
Emma is still pensive when she reaches home to find that George and Harriet have arrived during her absence. George is about to go to London for a few days, and his grave manner assures Emma that he has not forgiven her. When Mr. Woodhouse asks about the Bateses, Jane colors, though she notes in George "an instantaneous impression in her favour." With a glow of regard, he presses her hand and is about to kiss it but lets it go. She is nonetheless greatly satisfied that he had the thought of doing it, and they part thorough friends, though she is very sorry not to have come back earlier for the pleasure of talking with him.
The following day news comes that Mrs. Churchill has died, a fact that tends to raise her in the estimation of Highbury. Emma now feels that an attachment between Frank and Harriet has "nothing to encounter." She notes that Harriet behaves with "great self-command" upon hearing the news.
Emma wishes very much "to show attention to Jane Fairfax, whose prospects were closing, while Harriet's opened." An invitation to visit Hartfield, however, is refused; and Mr. Perry reports that Jane has severe headaches and nervous fever. An offer of Emma's carriage at any hour is also refused. Determined to be of help, Emma takes the carriage over, but she gets to talk with only Miss Bates. Jane will not see her. Learning that Jane will eat nothing, Emma sends some superior arrowroot, which is returned. When Emma afterward learns that on that very afternoon Jane was seen wandering about the meadows, she is very sorry to realize "that Jane was resolved to receive no kindness from her." However, she has the consolation of her good intentions and feels sure that George will approve them.
As the novel draws toward its close, some of the plot elements develop rapidly, set free to a degree by the death of Mrs. Churchill. For Emma two opposite relationships develop. While she proves herself to George and comes to more understanding with him, she gets from Jane some comeuppance different from that which came from Augusta Elton; in this instance it comes from someone who, except in the matter of wealth, is Emma's equal but who has not really been treated as an equal by Emma.