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Emma, Volume III, Chapter 1 (Chapter 37)



Remember how Emma thought she might be in love with Frank? Well, she realizes after hearing that he's coming back that she wasn't - nor does she want to be. She believes, however, that he is in love with her. And in a moment of clear foreshadowing (one of those things that some critics say Austen never does - I'm pretty sure it means they don't actually read her books?), we get this:

She wished she might be able to keep him from an absolute declaration. That would be so very painful a conclusion of their present acquaintance! and yet, she could not help rather anticipating something decisive. She felt as if the spring would not pass without bringing a crisis, an event, a something to alter her present composed and tranquil state.

Initially, I was going to post only the final sentence, but those of you who are re-reading will be quick to see how all of it foreshadows things that will come to pass ere we reach The End.

When Frank arrives in Highbury again, it is only for a few hours. He quickly calls at Hartfield to visit Emma, but he is distracted and eager to be gone to pay a call on some acquaintances in Highbury before returning to London, where he is tied up for the better part of ten days by his aunt, who is ill. Frank tells the Westons that he believes she's actually ill and not malingering - moreover, London is too noisy for her nerves, so the Churchills are to remove to Richmond, which is only nine miles from Highbury, for the months of May and June.

Given the circumstances, we are to have that ball at the Crown after all. You can feel that shoe being lifted somehow, can't you? - even if you cannot tell exactly how or when it will fall.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Jun. 19th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
I totally got that. But thanks for the explanation - it amused me!
helgatwb
Jun. 21st, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
It's also Emma learning a little bit more about herself, I think.
kellyrfineman
Jun. 21st, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
You are correct - she's figuring out that she's not attached to or interested in Frank Churchill, but she hasn't yet sorted out that she is attracted to and interested in Mr Knightley. Even in the next chapter, when she is so interested in watching him and assessing his figure, etc., she never realizes that she's looking at him differently or that she's interested in him. Yet an alert reader cannot miss it. (Clever, clever Austen!)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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