Summary and Analysis
Volume 3: Chapter XVIII
The visit of the John Knightleys is drawing close and Emma is dreading meeting Harriet when one morning George comes in with the news that Harriet is going to marry Robert Martin. Emma is amazed and hides her delight with difficulty. Robert has been to London, where, in seeing the Knightleys, he has also seen Harriet and proposed again, this time successfully. George feels that Emma will be against the marriage, but she finally convinces him that she is not, that she now agrees with him about the rightness of a union between Robert and Harriet.
On one of their now daily visits to Randalls, Emma and her father arrive to find Jane and Frank there. Frank asks and receives her pardon for his past actions. He is still a lively person, and Emma suggests that he must have gotten some pleasure out of deceiving everyone formerly. When he denies it, she says, ". . . to tell you the truth, I think it might have been some amusement to myself in the same situation. I think there is a little likeness between us." Frank jokes about some of the past events, and Jane is forced to smile even as she admonishes him. On the way home, Emma is pleased with seeing Frank, but in comparing him and George she happily finds more worth in the latter.
Emma's final problem is resolved without her assistance: Harriet's natural propensity for being in love rectifies the situation, and in the proper direction. The meeting with Frank at the Westons gets him gracefully off the scene and off Emma's conscience. In leading her to compare the only two men toward whom she has been inclined, the meeting serves to confirm her and the reader in her choice. Miss Austen has succeeded in pairing off each eligible person, including Mr. Elton, with the proper mate.