Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Emma, Volume II, Chapter 10 (Chapter 28)

This chapter is composed of Austen hiding many of her clues in plain sight. Totally brilliant.

After all the clatter and chatter of mounting the steps that closes the prior chapter, Emma and friends enter the Bates's drawing room to find Mrs Bates asleep in her chair, Frank Churchill working on fixing Mrs Bates's eyeglasses, and Jane Fairfax standing with her back to them, looking at her pianoforte.

Frank Churchill: Holy cow! I didn't expect you for at least another 10 minutes.

Jane Fairfax: *is flustered*

Frank Churchill: *chatters madly, drawing Emma's attention to himself*

Emma: *is flattered*

Jane Fairfax: *starts to play the pianoforté, still flustered*

Emma: *thinks Jane is still overwhelmed by getting the pianoforté*

Frank Churchill: *talks to Emma, so that Jane can also hear* Nice pianoforte, isn't it? It's just exactly the sort of piano that everyone in Colonel Campbell's party liked best. The person who ordered it must have paid special attention to that.

Emma: *tries to shush Frank*

Frank Churchill: NICE PIANOFORTE. I wonder if the Campbells know about it being here.

Jane Fairfax: Until I get a letter from the Campbells, I cannot say. It would be conjecture.

Frank Churchill: "Conjecture--aye, sometimes one conjectures right, and sometimes one conjectures wrong." I wish I could conjecture how soon I shall make this rivet quite firm." *finally fixes the glasses and gives them to Mrs Bates, then goes over to the pianoforte*

"If you are very kind," said he, "it will be one of the waltzes we danced last night;--let me live them over again. You did not enjoy them as I did; you appeared tired the whole time. I believe you were glad we danced no longer; but I would have given worlds--all the worlds one ever has to give--for another half-hour."

She played.

"What felicity it is to hear a tune again which has made one happy!--If I mistake not that was danced at Weymouth."

She looked up at him for a moment, coloured deeply, and played something else. He took some music from a chair near the pianoforte, and turning to Emma, said,

"Here is something quite new to me. Do you know it?--Cramer.--And here are a new set of Irish melodies. That, from such a quarter, one might expect. This was all sent with the instrument. Very thoughtful of Colonel Campbell, was not it?--He knew Miss Fairfax could have no music here. I honour that part of the attention particularly; it shews it to have been so thoroughly from the heart. Nothing hastily done; nothing incomplete. True affection only could have prompted it."

Emma wished he would be less pointed, yet could not help being amused; and when on glancing her eye towards Jane Fairfax she caught the remains of a smile, when she saw that with all the deep blush of consciousness, there had been a smile of secret delight, she had less scruple in the amusement, and much less compunction with respect to her.--This amiable, upright, perfect Jane Fairfax was apparently cherishing very reprehensible feelings.

He brought all the music to her, and they looked it over together.--Emma took the opportunity of whispering,

"You speak too plain. She must understand you."

"I hope she does. I would have her understand me. I am not in the least ashamed of my meaning."

Miss Bates: Oh! There's Mr Knightley on his horse! Yoo-hoo! Mr Knightley! Thanks for the carriage last night! Please come in - we have lots of people here!

Mr Knightley: How is your niece? I want to ask how all of you are, but especially Jane Fairfax? I hope she didn't catch a cold last night. How is Miss Fairfax?

Mrs Weston: *to Emma: wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more*

Emma: *shakes Mrs Weston off*

Mr Knightley: I'm going to Kingston. Can I bring you anything?

Miss Bates: Mrs Cole said something about needing something from Kingston.

Mr Knightley: Mrs Cole has a servant and can run her own errands. Do you need anything?

Miss Bates: Won't you come in? Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith are here.

Mr Knightley: Well, maybe I can come in for five minutes.

Miss Bates: And Mrs Weston and Mr Churchill.

Mr Knightley: Never mind. I can't come in at all. Your room is already crowded.

Miss Bates: Wasn't that a lovely party last night? Wasn't the dancing wonderful? Didn't Miss Woodhouse and Mr Churchill dance well together?

Mr Knightley: Indeed. And since they are all listening in, it's not like I could say otherwise, so I'll go further and say that Miss Fairfax dances extremely well, too, and Mrs Weston is the best player of country dances in all of England. "Now, if your friends have any gratitude, they will say something pretty loud about you and me in return; but I cannot stay to hear it."

Readers cannot help but notice the particular care Frank takes to pay attention to Emma in this chapter, and the particular care that Mr Knightley shows for Jane's health (and his interest in paying her a compliment). Nor does it go unnoticed that Mr Knightley is willing to come in to see everyone until he learns that Frank Churchill is there - but is his refusal based on Frank's presence, or simply on his awareness that their parlor must be very crowded?

And yet there are other things afoot here - Mrs Weston is looking for evidence of Mr Knightley's interest in Jane, yet Emma insists it's not there. And why did Mr Knightley refuse to come in, then say he might, then refuse again? Is it Harriet Smith or Emma that provided the inducement to come in? And why was Jane Fairfax so flustered? And Frank certainly seemed as attentive to her as to Emma, did he not?

If you have spoilery comments to make, by all means make them, but do the first-time readers a favor and flag them as such so that they can avoid reading them!

Kiva - loans that change lives

Site Meter



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Devious writer is devious. :D

I love rereading Emma and coming across a major clue that I didn't catch before.
Jun. 1st, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
Like, I dunno, every word Frank Churchill says within Jane Fairfax's hearing? Or the way Mr Knightley's decision waffles when Emma is mentioned? Or the fact that Frank Churchill made zero progress on those eyeglasses while he and Jane were alone with a sleeping old lady, and Jane was entirely discomposed when the others arrived so he called their attention to himself as a distraction? *grins*

Austen is brilliant, yes? It's all right there, but because we buy into Emma's filter, we don't see any of it.
Jun. 1st, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
Dude, I've read Emma a dozen or so times, but until I read your post, I *totally* didn't get the Frank/Jane dynamic at the beginning of the chapter.

Once again, you amaze.
Jun. 1st, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
This is the first reading where I've caught the double meaning throughout the entire chapter, although I think the understanding of the start of the chapter was substantially aided by the 1996 ITV version starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong - the actors playing Jane and Frank are touching and spring apart when Miss Bates enters with her guests.
Jun. 2nd, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
This is the first time I caught the unfinished eyeglass repair, too, and Frank's nattering on about it!

Frank Churchill tends to chatter on like Miss Bates and I confess to skimming most of his dialogue when he gets started like this. I can't believe it never occurred to me to wonder WHY he chatters like an idiot. I just always chalked it up to him being a bit of a dandy.
Jun. 2nd, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
And that's why Austen is so clever - she hides it all right there in plain sight.

Of course, this is also one of the key reasons that Austen lends herself so well to re-reading.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 2nd, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
It certainly is quite a topic of discussion!
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
Really. What in the world could Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax have been doing or talking of that he couldn't fix the eyeglasses? *contrives to look innocent*

And Mr. Knightly is very well trained. You just have to know the right words. Miss Woodhouse is come, and Mr. Churchill is go. Simple.

I still don't quite get his interest in Jane Fairfax, unless it is his innate kindness, and a desire to have her be Emma's companion.
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Re: Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
That is, Mr. Knightly's interest.
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)
Re: Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
Whatever they were doing, it sure had Jane discombobulated! *grins*

I believe that Mr Knightley is (a) seeking to flatter Miss Bates and (b) seeking to pay a compliment to Miss Fairfax (whom Miss Bates has not mentioned) and (c) seeking to needle Emma a bit.
Mar. 8th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
I didn't even notice until just now, Frank Churchill and Emma are talking at cross-purposes. SHE thinks he's talking about her conjecture about Miss Fairfax and Mr. Dixon, while HE thinks she's cottoned on to his secret. I never really undersstood before why he thought she was in on it. Miss Austin, NOW I see what you did there.
Mar. 9th, 2013 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!
Now you see why I've been going on about mystery-like clues and foreshadowing and such, yes?
Feb. 21st, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
What about them apples, surely Mrs. Weston will think Mr. Knightly giving all his apples to the worthy Bates another proof of affection.

Frank certainly thins a lot of this gift of the pianoforte & music. He thinks a lot of the giver too. ;)
Feb. 21st, 2013 11:01 pm (UTC)
Frank says, "But enough about me. What do YOU think of me?"
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

July 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com