Summary and Analysis
Volume 2: Chapter XV
Emma finds nothing to change her ill opinion of Augusta; in fact, while Mr. Elton appears happy and even proud of his wife, she alters her feelings toward Emma and becomes quite unpleasant toward Harriet. She takes a great fancy to Jane Fairfax and declares she will "help" her. What surprises Emma is that Jane tolerates and accepts the woman's attentions.
When Jane gets another invitation to join the Campbells in Ireland and declines, Emma feels that she "must have some motive, more powerful than appears, for refusing." Mrs. Weston and George
suggest that Jane lets the Eltons entertain her because she must at times get away from the Bates household. This is Emma's opportunity to press George about how highly he regards Jane; but brought to the point, he assures her that he will never ask Jane to marry him, saying that she has the fault of lacking an open temper in spite of her other virtues. Emma feels that she has won her argument on this with Mrs. Weston, but the latter is not so certain.
Though Emma is not consciously aware of it, she is getting a rather good dose of comeuppance from the "managing" Mrs. Elton, and more is to come. Otherwise, so far as Emma is concerned, two elements of plot movement develop here: George's supposed interest in Jane is clarified, while the puzzle of Jane itself continues and is augmented by Jane's toleration of Mrs. Elton.