By Conrad Joseph
By Conrad Joseph
Heart of Darknesswas written after Konrad’s sailing career had ended. Most biographers will point to his service aboard the Belgian steamer Roi des Belges in Africa. Many parallels between his real-life experience and Marlow’s can be correlated. The sharp illness contracted by Marlow towards the end of the novel is comparable to Konrad’s own illness. For a long time, Konrad was considered by many to be a narrator of exotic locales- a pulp genre of the time- despite the fact that he was writing literature about the human condition; it was a preconception he was irritated by.
The book serves as his greatest novel and is one of the most influential works in the canon of Western literature.
Heart of Darkness is a tale within a tale. A narrator begins the story by describing himself on a ship in England of whose passengers include Marlow. As the sun sets and they wait for the tide to turn, Marlow begins to tell the story of the time he captained a steamer in Africa.
Having returned from an extended sailing job in the East, Marlow desires to head back out on the water after seeing a map of Africa that rekindles his childhood curiosity of the place. He acquires a job as a steamer captain through his aunt and heads down into the African continent. While he already has doubts about the idea that Europeans can better Africa, he immediately sees that they are harming the place as well when he arrives at the first Company station that’s using “prisoners” to build railroads. He hears about Kurtz from the accountant running the place.
Travelling through the jungle another to the main Company station, Marlow discovers that, in an effort to get to Kurtz, the steamer was taken out before he arrived and subsequently crashed. Marlow’s distaste for everything European in Africa extends to the people. He hears about Kurtz from someone who is labeled a brick maker and overhears a conversation with the manager about the problems Kurtz is causing. After some months of repair, they set off on the river.
The first thing they encounter on the river is an abandoned hut, which provides them with firewood and a warning. Soon after, they are attacked by a group of natives as they approach Kurtz’s station, resulting in the death of multiple crew members- an occurrence that affects Marlow deeply. Once the attack has finished, they arrive at the inner station where they meet a Russian traveller who has met and been charmed by Kurtz.
The Russian explains what has been happening with Kurtz out here in the jungle- from the transforming of a local tribe into a militia and the raids on surrounding territory that produces for Kurtz so much ivory. At this point, Marlow has heard various perspectives on Kurtz- described as the most eloquent of idealists whose mind will change the face of Africa to an insubordinate and troublesome troublemaker who is making enemies left and right.
Kurtz himself is powerfully ill for a third time and spends all of his time on the ride back in bed. Marlow’s short conversations with Kurtz lead the latter to trust him as the executor of his final wishes, while the former simultaneously despises and admires the man. His sickness taking its toll, Kurtz utters “The horror! The horror!” to Marlow and dies soon after.
Marlow falls ill, as well, and has a hazy recovery period back in Europe where he grows to despise all humans who live without the knowledge he has gained in the jungle. Three men visit him, all attempting to obtain something from Kurtz’s personal possessions given to Marlow.
An year after the events in the jungle, Marlow visits Kurtz fiancée under the pretense of giving her the rest of Kurtz’s things- though, in truth, he’s not sure why he is doing so. Her undying optimism about Kurtz angers Marlow, but then causes him pity. Desiring to know what her fiancé’s last words were, Marlow is unable to tell her the truth, saying that it was her name that the dying man whispered at the end.
The unnamed narrator returns once again, describing the water and dark sky on the river Thames.
The location of the Company’s head offices, the Sepulchral city represents death, imperialism and the abject ignorance of the world to Marlow. He sees the citizens of that place as oblivious and opportunistic. On his first visit to the place- when signing up for the job- he meets the women in the front office who appear to him as ushers of death, leading men into a world from which they’ll never return. The citizens of the place seem disconnected from the greater world and have hopes of creating “an overseas empire.”
On his second visit to the city- once his work in the jungle has finished and he is recovering from his sickness- he “[resents] the sight of people hurrying to filch a little money from each other.” Marlow’s unfortunate impression of the city has increased tenfold and sees the people as even greater satires of Europeans than they already were.
Upon first sight, the jungle appears as an impenetrable screen to Marlow. As he heads deeper into it, the power it holds and the chaos it causes grows exponentially. It’s where he finds the bodies of dead natives left along the wayside. It surrounds the central station- the latter feeling like a blotch on the continent ready to be devoured by the surrounding foliage.
The jungle is where Marlow looks whenever he comes to gain some terrible knowledge about the nature of the world. Whether overhearing the manager, listening to the Russian, or hearing Kurtz attempt to claim possession over everything, each time he turns to the jungle.
The untamed nature of the land gives Marlow the sensation of going back in time to when man was a stranger to all the earth.
As Marlow travels deeper into the jungle, each outpost of European civilization begins to break down more. While sailing down the coast, he feels as if each port evokes a sense of strangeness. The outer station has natives being imprisoned and worked to death, but the accountant keeps things in an order that Marlow admires. The central station has the rules of European society breaking down, with the manager’s manservant treating the other white men badly without remorse or fear of reprisal (in stark contrast to the other natives who run away if they suspect retaliation from the whites). The stations along the river seem to Marlow like a cursed prison. Lastly, the inner station has no semblance of order at all, with Kurtz ruling through fear and indulging his every whim.
Women in the Heart of Darkness can best be described as ‘otherworldly.’ The two most prominent portrayals of this are Marlow’s aunt and Kurtz’s fiancee.When saying farewell to his aunt after having her get him the skipper job, Marlow notes that they are out of touch with truth and that if they were allowed to build society, men would knock it down due to their particular access to truth.
The women in the company’s waiting room who are knitting appear to Marlow as omniscient ushers, leading new employees onto a path that leads to inevitable death.
When meeting Kurtz’s fiancée, Marlow is angered- then pitiful- by how willing she is to believe that Kurtz was infallible and perfect. He perceives that the longer they talk, the more the darkness surrounds them and that the only illumination comes from the reflection of love and belief off of her.
But as one of the themes of the entire book is that of facades and the failing of assumed truths, Kurtz’s native lover from the jungle represents both the opposite of his fiancée and the possibility that women can be just as intimidating and authoritative as men.
Darkness is the abstract idea that Marlow constantly harkens back to. Two of the key descriptors of the concept is how impenetrable and unknowable it is. The manager gives a glimpse of darkness but provides no knowledge. The darkness lurks in the jungle but remains a mystery despite its proximity. The darkness claims victory over Kurtz possessing him despite the fact that he believes himself possessor of many things. The symptoms of his possession result in his madness and delirium.
What the darkness is exactly is hard to describe, as the word is thrown around often- and intentionally- by Conrad to describe, not only the abstraction, but also the many environments the book visits.
Facades that are both convenient and necessary are constantly referred to throughout the book as concepts that are required to keep society going- keeping everybody from descending into the barbarism that Marlow perceives in the African natives. During the opening boat scene, Marlow says that it’s the European’s “devotion to efficiency” that keeps them going through the darkness. This is validated when the music is playing from the coast, Marlow notes that it was their attention to all the small workings of the ship that provided a superficial distraction that kept the crew from jumping off and joining the rituals.
Marlow describes how the newspapers in Europe propagate the idea that colonialism is completing charitable work in Africa though he doubts it from the precise beginning and knows it patently false when he finally gets down there. The pretense of charity gives just the right amount of moral justification for Europeans to continue to let companies exploit the territories.
Due to his interaction with many of Kurtz’s acquaintances, he realizes that the latter was himself composed of a series of facades. To the company, he was an ivory collector. To his cousin, he was a budding artist. To his journalistic colleague, an eloquent speaker.To his fiancée, the epitome of goodness.
The character of Marlow is one that Conrad used multiple times throughout various books. While he does serve as a stand in for that author (note the similarity in events that happen to Marlow in the book to what happened to Conrad in real life), Marlow also exists as a character unique to this story that gains his own revelations.
A lifelong sailor, Marlow heads out to Africa as a steamboat captain to fulfill a childhood dream. While he clearly has a sense of humor, the people and situations that he encounters in the jungle slowly destroy any joy left in him. His encounter with Kurtz changes him dramatically, teaching him a dark truth about the world.
A journalist who was a talented musician and visual artist, Kurtz’s eloquence and ability to believe anything he wanted to endeared him to the Company. Taking the job in Africa to better his economic situation, his high ideals about how Europeans can change Africans for the better are eventually nulled by the power he gains in controlling a tribe. Whilst his ivory output is the best of any other agent, his refusal to respond to the Company eventually forces them to go after him. He succumbs to illness on the trip after being picked up.
The head representative of the Company in Africa, the manager is a ruthless man who leads, not through any managerial ability, but by the fact that he has outlasted the illnesses that have taken down other European. His animosity towards Kurtz is based on how much more successful Kurtz is and hopes to take him down. Marlow finds him duplicitous and despicable.
A wanderer who is alleged to have stolen ivory from the Company’s territory, he becomes enraptured by Kurtz and his ideas, going so far as to justify Kurtz’s actions. As the only white man who had extended contact with Kurtz (most agents sent out there fell to illnesses), the young man’s impression of Kurtz frightens Marlow. He leaves soon after Marlow,and the rest arrive as his suspected thievery puts his life in danger.
The story begins with an unnamed narrator on board the Nellie with Marlow, a lawyer, an accountant and the Director of Companies serving as captain. The yawl is waiting for the tide to turn on the River Thames in front of London, which is noted as “the biggest, and the greatest town on earth.” The narrator describes the scene in admiring prose, giving the river an aspect of a tired entity resting, and then describes the setting sun (the first of many references to darkness). He also recounts the tales of Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Franklin- highlighting how they and so many other explorers launched from the Thames into unknown lands, some never returning and others coming home with gold and treasures. And not only did they return with treasures, but the narrator points out how they left with “the dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empire.” The sun finally sets,and London lights up in response, which makes Marlow remark how the city “has been one of the dark places of the earth.”
Marlow is described by the narrator as a sailor through and through, but an atypical one in that while most sailors are happy to never understand the mysteries of life, Marlow sees a mystery enveloping everything. It is here that Marlow’s narrative voice takes over the story.
He begins by imagining out loud what it must have been for a Roman military man to have been stationed here, so far north from the civilized comforts of Rome in a barbarous landscape. He suspects that the terrifying sensation that they felt when facing the darkness doesn’t inflict the modern European in the same way due to a commitment to “efficiency.”
Marlow quickly sketches out what effect his experience in Africa did to him- noting that it cast a light on him- and describes how he went about getting the job that took him down there.
After resting in London from six years in Asia, Marlow tired of the life and sees a map that makes him long for Africa. He bothers some friends about a job who refuse him, and then enlists the women in his life to beg for him. An aunt eventually writes a letter and manages to find Marlow a job due to some other steamboat captain- Fresleven- having been killed. Marlow says that he eventually learned that Freslevenhad been killed in a fight over some hens, and that the tribe whom the killer belonged to had entirely abandoned their village, afraid of the punishment they would receive, though if never came. Eventually, Marlow finds Fresleven’s bones untouched- lying where the man had died.
Marlow details his trip across the English Channel to the Company offices to sign the papers of employment. He says the city reminds him of a “white sepulchre,” where the citizens were happy about the prospect of running an overseas empire. In the waiting room of the office, sit two women knitting black wool, one of which ushers him into a room further in where a map detailing Africa and the colonial powers that hold it hangs on the wall. Another secretary brings him into the owner’s office, where Marlow quickly signs the papers. Before he knows it, he’s outside in the waiting room with knitting women again, who now seem to be making palls. This is appropriate, as Marlow suspects that not even half the men who come into this office ever come back alive.
The Company’s doctor then examines Marlow. They both have a drink, and the latter talks about how the physical and mental effect on men from the Congo is how he is reaping the benefits from colonialism.
Before he sets off, he says his farewells to the aunt that acquired the job for him. They discuss the nature of the work, and the aunt frames Marlow as an envoy of civilization. Marlow clearly doesn’t believe this, and makes observations about the delicate nature of women and how they live in some made-up world that is out of touch with reality.
Marlow sails down the African coastline in a French steamer that stops at various ports along the way to let people off. The names of the ports sound strange to him- fitting, for the coast seems to be grim, formless, and unlike any other he has seen before. They pass another French boat that is blindly firing off its guns into the jungle.
Marlow then reaches the mouth of the Congo River, but still needs to travel 200 miles more. He books passage on a steamer that is captained by a Swedish man who invites him to talk. The Swede brings up that a man had hung himself, though he couldn’t explain as to why the man committed suicide.
Marlow is dropped off by the Swede Company’s station where a railway is being built. He sees the natives in various states: some are chained together, and moving earth, others are sick and starving under the shade of trees, and even others have been “reclaimed” and are dressed in European ware, overlooking the atrocities. He is horrified and suspects that somewhere amongst this horror he will meet a weak European whose only strengthsare greed and a lack of mercy.
Marlow then meets the Company’s chief accountant, an orderly man. Marlow admires the fact that the accountant can manage to both keep his own space in order and still dress well, even after three years of being out in the jungle. That being said, the accountant also seems downright unconcerned about the well being of fields agent who are brought back to the station when they are deathly ill. The accountant is also the first person whom mentions Kurtz, who is described by him as someone who is going to go far in the Company.
Marlow begins a 200-mile trip through the jungle on foot with sixty men. He notices that everything is either abandoned and uninhabited, but it’s no surprise as the men in his company often force the natives to help them carry their packs. Every now and then they’ll come across a dead worker whose load is still strapped to him, and his body left by the wayside or hear the faint sounds of drums and singing in the night.
Marlow has contact with only two other white men on the voyage. The first has come along with him, though his large weight made him physically unfit for the trek. This leads to him having to be carried in a hammock by thesum of the nonwhites- a task that they all despise and makes Marlow threaten the group if they don’t shape up. At some point, the hammock is accidentally felled and- echoing the murder of Fresleven- the workers who had been carrying the hammock were nowhere to be seen.
The other white man was accompanied by some guards and camped along the side of the road, claiming to be looking after it. Marlow then finds the body of worker on the road who had been shot in the head and left there.
After fifteen days, Marlow finally arrives at Central Station where he is informed that the steamer he is to captain has been sunk and should immediately see the general manager.
The manager is described as someone who brings uneasiness to those around him and has gained his position in the company, not through any particularly remarkable managerial or administrative skill, but by the fact that after working nine years for the Company, he has managed to keep healthy while others are made ill by the environment. He runs the central station oddly, with the entire place so out of order that his own manservant treats the other white-men rudely in front of his very eyes without fear of reprisal (in contrast to the other workers who disappear when they think they’ve done something wrong). He also replaced the long, rectangular dining table with a round one after the men argued about who would seat where; it made clear that the only position that mattered was his.
Though Marlow later looks back on the events with suspicion, the manager claims that he didn’t know whether Marlow was coming or not and thus took the steamer out himself with another captain as the stations along the river had to be relieved. He reveals that he is worried about Kurtz- who he praises as the greatest agent the company has- as there are rumors that he is sick. After three hours out, the steamer’s bottom was tore open by some rocks and sank.
Given a time-window of three months, it’snow Marlow’s job to bring up and fix the steamer so he can get going on the river. The opportunity to get away from Central Station is appreciated though- as he sees nothing but death and greed from the place- and he goes so far as to sleep on the broken boat.
A shed catches on fire and one of the workers is severely beat for it. Marlow notes that after laying in the shade for a few days, the man walks into the darkness of the jungle, never to return. The fire leads to Marlow making the acquaintance of the man who is known as the brick maker of Central Station, though no bricks are being made nor is there any evidence that supplies for such activity are available or coming.
In their first conversation, the brick maker attempts to learn whatever he can of Marlow, though the latter realizes that it’s only because of his aunt’s string pulling that he is of any interest to the former. After Marlow notices some haunting oil sketches, the brick maker informs him that Kurtz made them. Marlow asks the brick maker who Kurtz is, and the latter responds that while ‘chief of the Inner Station’ is his official title, Kurtz actually represents both the best of the Company and the man who is accomplishing the allegedly philanthropic goals of colonialism.
After Marlow insinuates that the brick maker will pay for his prying, the latter changes his attitude so as to be more compliant and helpful. While Marlow knows he is in actuality powerless, he lets the brick maker think what he wants and takes advantage of the situation by getting the brick maker to more avidly request supplies needed for repairing the steamer. Again, the brick maker’s tone changes and he makes a veiled threat against Marlow.
As the general manager’s uncle comes into town with his Eldorado Exploring Expedition, Marlow notes that they clearly have no illusions about helping people here, desiring instead to just take from the land.
While sleeping on the steamer, Marlow is awakened by a conversation between the general manager and his uncle. While he never hears the name mentioned, Marlow is able to discern, by the way, they’re talking about a particularly problematic person for them that they’re discussing Kurtz. The manager is angry and upset about how much influence Kurtz has with the Company, as though he is the general manager and holds power over appointments, Kurtz was able to determine where he wanted to be placed.
The manager recounts to Marlow how Kurtz had undermined authority by acting independently, sending back agents that he didn’t approve of. The agent had also gone deeper into the jungle when he was to have returned, going as the lone white man. As long as Kurtz is able to send back ivory though- and he’s managing to do so better than any other agent in the field- there is nothing that the manager can do about it.
The uncle attempts to console him by saying that it’shighly possible that the jungle will get the better of Kurtz, as the agent was known to have not fully recovered from a sickness. Continuing their wishing of death upon others, both men mention that there is a competing agent in Kurtz’s district that is collecting ivory as well and wish that he be hanged. The uncle again tries to console his nephew by telling him to “trust in this” as he waves across the jungle. The gesture terrifies Marlow as he realizes men are using the destructive power of the darkness.
Though Marlow never cares to find out if they had been killed, he comes to find out that the uncle’s Eldorado Expedition lost all of their pack mules on their next trip out.
Having fixed the steamer, Marlow sets off with the manager and three or four more Company men (whom he refers to as ‘pilgrims’ due to their staves) down the river. The boat hires some natives- who Marlow labels as cannibals- as part of the ship’s crew. They stop to pick up ivory at stations along the river whose residents give the impression that they are stuck there due to a spell.
Sometimes the sound of drums and dancing will rumble out from the jungle and the entire crew is made nervous. Marlow postulates that it’s because though they think of themselves as better and more civilized than the African natives; the sounds and motions appeal to them and make them desire to jump from the boat to join in.He says that it wasn’t any sort of principle that kept him from doing so- as none would have been a strong enough preventative- but rather it was the small duties of keeping the ship running that kept his focus. The native who is watching the water gauges acts as an example of this idea in action,as well. Focused on making sure everything stays level, the native is totally distracted and is an edifying sight to Marlow.
The primitiveness of the place makes a deep impression on Marlow.
The steamer happens upon an old hut that has been abandoned and has a pile of firewood nearby. When approaching it on foot, Marlow notices that there’s a sign reading “Wood for you. Hurry up. Approach cautiously.” The entire thing is a mystery to him, accentuated by a book about ships he finds in the hut that has notes written in code in the margins. The event is so potent for him that it makes him forget where his and who he is with.As evidence suggests the occupant was a white-man, the manager takes this to mean that it had to have been the residence of the invading agent and makes another threat against him.
Soon after, a fog falls down and is so thick that it doesn’t allow for vision farther than two feet past the steamer forces it to a halt. In the midst of this fog, they hear a loud yell, followed by a series of short shrieks. Marlow notes that the whites aboard the ship have become rattled- fearing an attack- while the natives seem calm about the entire affair. The leader of the native crew even suggests that they be given the opportunity to capture the people in the jungle so as they can have a meal.
Marlow reflects with wonder on the fact that he hasn’t been eaten yet as he reckons he may be the most appetizing member amongst the non-native crew. The manager makes a weak show of concern for Kurtz, and limply insists that Marlow should take the risk of moving forward for the safety of the station. When Marlow refuses to do so, the manager quickly concedes.
Marlow assures the ‘pilgrims’ that there won’t be an attack, but one eventually does happen after the fog lifts. In hindsight though, he claims that the actions of the natives were less an attack and more of a defensive action, meant to keep them away from Kurtz. While maneuvering around an islet, arrows suddenly begin to rain across the ship from the shoreline, immediately killing the pole man. Marlow notes that the helmsman becomes fervent, jumping up and down and losing control of the ship; he is compared to a horse and Marlow assumes that his behavior is an unavoidable result of who he is.
Echoing the French ship that Marlow saw firing its cannons into the jungle on his trip down, the pilgrims shoot their rifles into the bush. The smoke from the discharge distracts him, and while trying to take control of the helm after the crewman leaves it to fire at the natives, a spear gets through, killing the helmsman. A pool of blood gathers at Marlow’s feet, soaking his shoes and causing him to panic a bit at the immediacy of the death in front of him.
Convinced that Kurtz is dead, Marlow feels regret about having not had the ability to speak to him. He considers how it wasn’t Kurtz’s actions that were intriguing about him, but rather his ideas and his words that are either a “pulsating stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness.”
Breaking the telling of the story, Marlow responds to the reaction of one of his shipmates on the Thames insisting that his expectations about speaking with Kurtz were not “absurd.” Marlow recalls how Kurtz referred to his fiancée, the ivory and the station in the same proprietary tone, and that had the jungle been able to, it would have laughed at him for saying so. The way that Kurtz equated his fiancée with the other things makes Marlow insist that women shouldn’t be part of the conversation and reiterates his earlier observations that he made about women when saying goodbye to his aunt.
Marlow recalls Kurtz’s report, written for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs. In it, Kurtz writes about how the Europeans must seem like gods to the natives and that this power allows them to reform the natives for the better. The essay impresses Marlow deeply and makes him feel positive about the entire colonial effort until he reads the last line: “Exterminate all the brutes!” The report weighs upon Marlow as he’ll eventually have to be in charge of it and many of Kurtz’s possessions from the jungle.
While impressed by Kurtz, Marlow is unsure as to whether or not the men lost on the trip was worth getting him.
Marlow’s thoughts turn to his dead helmsman. He says that while it may be surprising, he felt genuine fondness for the native, and proceeds to describe their relationship as one where he held the authoritative position. The body of the helmsman is thrown overboard, which causes the pilgrims to wonder why they didn’t have a proper burial and makes the cannibals sad to have lost a meal. The pilgrims quickly change topics though, and begin to brag about how they must’vedefeated the natives thoroughly; a sentiment which Marlow quickly shuts down.
They come up on the Inner Station quite quickly, where a white man is on the shore, waving to them. The stranger informs them that Kurtz is in the decrepit shack then joins Marlow on the steamer while the manager and pilgrims head up to meet Kurtz. Marlow learns that the stranger is a young, 25 year old Russian who managed to get a Dutch trader to give him some supplies on the coast, and has been wandering along the river for two years.
The Russian confirms that it was his hut and firewood pile that the steamer chanced upon earlier in the trip. He is clearly impressed by Kurtz and reveals that the reason the steamer was attacked was that the natives had no desire to see Kurtz taken.
The Russian fascinates Marlow; how he has been able to survive with so little in such a dangerous land. What he doesn’t admire is the Russian’s blind devotion to Kurtz, and it makes Marlow despondent about the entire place to think about it. The Russian recounts to Marlow how Kurtz has managed to be so proficient at his job. Having run out of tradable goods, Marlow drummed up a group from one of the villages around a lake further in the jungle and then led them in raids across the area, taking what he wanted by force. He began to live amongst the villagers instead of at the station, which explains the rundown state of it.
It was on one of these raids that the Russian met Kurtz. The former claims that he was in possession of some ivory because it was given to him by a local chief for hunting services and that the latter demanded it be given to him, or he would kill the Russian. The Russian gave into Kurtz and stayed in the area, as he fascinated him. They eventually developed a friendship and held conversations that the Russian was entranced by. When Kurtz got sick, the Russian nursed him back to health, further strengthening their bond.
While listening to the Russian, Marlow uses his binoculars to stare up at the hill and notices that what he thought was merely an ornamental fence are actually heads mounted on poles. While Marlow sees it as a sign of Kurtz’s inability to control himself, the Russian attempts to justify the action by claiming that the Company abandoned Kurtz and that the dead men were rebels. Marlow remembers the so called ‘enemies’ being shot at on his way down the coast and the ‘prisoners’ who were dying under the shady grove and laughs at the ridiculousness of the statement.
The manager and the pilgrims bring Kurtz out on the stretcher- the sight of which brings the natives out of hiding from the surrounding jungle, brandishing weapons. Kurtz talks down the villagers from attacking and is placed on the steamer where he goes through all the correspondence he has missed out on. Though clearly sick and emaciated, his voice manages to be powerful.
A native woman then appears out of the brush, gorgeous and covered in ivory. The Russian insinuates that she was Kurtz’s mistress and she caused trouble for him while trying to nurse Kurtz. After lurking around the steamer for a bit, she eventually disappears into the jungle.
While watching all this unfold with the Russian on the deck, Marlow hears the screaming of Kurtz from inside the cabin, accusing the manager of only wanting to save the ivory and that he’ll come back to accomplish all his plans. The manager steps out and takes Marlow aside, informing him that Kurtz’s methods have utterly ruined the region for the Company. Marlow declares an admiration for Kurtz, and is subtly rebuffed by the manager, walking away.
Approached by the Russian who wants to share a piece of information with him, Marlow informs him that the manager is planning to kill him. The Russian is only slightly surprised by this, and then confides in Marlow that Kurtz- desiring to stay in the jungle- ordered the attack on the steamer to give the impression that he had been killed and insinuates that they might be attacked again if Kurtz wills it. The Russian then manages to get Marlow to give him some ammunition, tobacco and a pair of shoes. Accompanied by some natives equipped with a small canoe, the Russian heads off to a military station some 300 miles away.
During the middle of the night, Marlow wakes up and remembers the Russian’s warning of more attacks. As he goes out on the deck to check up on things, he sees that a fire has been started on the hill the station was positioned on. He then notices that a wide trail has been paved through the grass from the steamer going up towards the fire and deduces that Kurtz has crawled himself up. After catching up with him, Marlow realizes his untenable position, being near enough to the fire that one shout would summon some of the defensive natives.
Marlow confronts Kurtz though, attempting to persuade him away from the darkness of the jungle that has changed him. He realizes that he can’t appeal to reason, faith or any other authority, as Kurtz has lived in a world where he is the only authority. Despite this, Marlow manages to get him back on the steamer.
As they leave the Inner Station the next day, a crowd of natives gathers around the ship and start chanting, yelling and gesticulating wildly; the sight causes Kurtz a mix of joy and anger. Noticing that some of the pilgrims have assembled on the deck with rifles, Marlow pull the whistle and causes all the natives to run off save Kurtz’s mistress who stands unafraid.
On the return trip, Kurtz’s mental health begins to fail. He is often overheard by Marlow muttering something about what he believes is his. He demands to be met along the way by kings, insisting that he’ll do marvellous things. He entrusts Marlow with some of his possessions- papers and photographs wrapped in shoe string- as he is paranoid about the manager sneaking in and looking through his things. In Kurtz’s finals moments, Marlow sees an expression on his face that seems to indicate that he is living through his entire life again- all the terrible moments included. Kurtz lets out in a tiny, breathy voice “The horror! The horror!” and dies soon after.
Marlow becomes just as sick as Kurtz and reflects on how pointless life is and how the best you can expect from it is to learn something about yourself; that fighting against death is a passionless battle where one is not quite sure as to who should win. The most influential realization that he gains though is that when he was at the precipice of death, he didn’t have anything to proclaim. Even if Kurtz’s words weren’t comforting, it was clear that he believed them- something that Marlow admires.
Not entirely recovered, Marlow returns to Europe where a strong animosity and sense of ridicule are the only emotions he can muster towards other people. He believes his experience in the jungle have given him a window into the truth of the world and that everyone else’s actions and motivations are unimportant, insignificant.
At one point, a man with gold-rimmed glasses who says he is a representative of the Company comes along and tries to convince Marlow to hand over the bundle of papers and pictures Kurtz gave him. Marlow denies him though,andit’s only after repeated efforts from the man that he hands over Kurtz’s report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs- though it’s without Kurtz’s last statement of “Kill all the brutes.” The man is clearly unhappy with this though, threatens legal action, and never returns.
Two days after, a man who claims to be Kurtz’s cousin appears. He describes Kurtz as having been a brilliant musician. Marlow sends him off with some appropriate family letters.
Lastly, a man saying that he was journalistic colleague of Kurtz shows up at Marlow’s door. He describes Kurtz as having been a mediocre writer and that his true talent lay in his ability to speak and to make himself believe anything he wanted to- skills the journalist though more apropos to politics than journalism. Marlow gives him the report that the Company man had no use for.
Marlow is left only with the task of returning the remaining papers to Kurtz’s fiance. Standing at her door, he recalls Kurtz- what he said, the way he died, the person he had become. Though it’s only been one year, the fiancee is still in mourning, wearing black attire. With Kurtz’s mother dead, she has been unable to vent some of her feelings and does so on him. Since she only knew the Kurtz that hadn’t gone to the jungle, she does nothing but praise him, a sentiment that Marlow praises women for as it keeps the world going in a delusional state and simultaneously hates, though it eventually subsides into pity.
Wanting to be edified by his final words, the fiancee asks to be told what they are. Marlow is unable to tell her the truth and instead tells her that Kurtz’s last words were her name. He tells to the group he is sailing with that the act would’vebeen “too dark” and stops abruptly. The captain of Director of Companies takes the silence as opportunity to point out that the first of ebb is gone. The narrator looks out to the ocean, which seems to him as leading “into the heart of an immense darkness.”
In Chapter Four’s prologue, Graff is speaking with an as of yet unidentified person. He tells them that for Ender to succeed the way they want him to they’ll need to isolate him from the other boys. “We have to strike a delicate balance. Isolate him enough that he remains creative….[and] make sure he keeps a strong ability to lead.”
Ender along with nineteen other boys are making their way to a spaceship bound for the Battle School. Though the other boys are all laughing and joking around, Ender stoically quiet. Rather he takes in his surroundings. Ender notices that the walls are carpeted like the floor, and as he climbs the ladder into the ship he starts playing with concepts of direction in his head. He imagines that he’s climbing along the floor and then that he’s climbing down into the ship. As he sits, strapped into his seat, he pretends that he’s falling back against it and that their ship, instead of being poised to launch from the planet and is about to fall off of the Earth.
Graff appears aboard the ship and greets Ender. Ender is happy to discover that Graff is the principal of the Battle School. He feels comfortable around Graff and takes some comfort from knowing there will be someone familiar there. The adults aboard the ship help the boy strap in and ready themselves for the launch. Once they’re all set the ship takes off. The launch is violent but not too scary. That said, once they’re in space, many of the boys have a hard time orienting themselves to the lack of gravity and the ways it affects their perception. When Graff returns to the passenger bay, it looks to many like he’s climbing up the ladder backwards.
Ender, having played mentally with his orientation earlier, adapts quickly to the new circumstances and finds the sight of Graff moving “backward” amusing. Seeing Ender smiling Graff snaps at him. “What do you think is so funny, Wiggin?” For an instant, Ender is unsure but soon recognizes this as Graff adopting the military mode of speech. “I though you were hanging upside down by your feet.” He says. “I though it was funny.” Graff asks the rest of the group if any of them had similar thoughts. None reply in the affirmative. “Scumbrains, that’s what we’ve got in this launch.” Graff says. “Only one of you had the brains to realize that in null gravity directions are whatever they conceive them to be.” He continues berating the boys’ intelligence. As he goes on, however, he starts to do this by comparing them to Ender. “Take a good look at him, little boys.” He says. “He’s going to be a commander when you’re still in diapers up here.”
Ender is horrified to hear Graff speak of him this way, fearing that the other boys will come to hate him because of Graff’s praise. Sure enough as soon as Graff leaves the boy sitting behind Ender starts to hit him over the back of the seat. As the blows keep coming, Ender recognizes that Graff intended this to happen. He intentionally set the other boys up so that they would hate Ender from the get go. “If Graff was setting him up,” Thinks Ender. “There’d be no help unless he helped himself.”
The next time when the boy tries to hit, Ender grabs his arm and pulls forward. He expects this to smack the boy into the back of his seat. The lack of gravity, however, amplifies the effects of Ender’s pull. The other boy goes flying over the seat and hits a bulkhead above. Almost immediately Graff returns. He checks over the other boy and says that his arm is broken. Ender feels sick, again ashamed of his violence. “I am Peter.” He thinks. “I’m just like him.”
Another officer tends to the boy’s injury, and Graff takes this as an opportunity to praise Ender further. He scolds the other boys for not figuring out the rules of null gravity. “When I tell you Ender Wiggins is the best in this launch, take hint, my little dorklings. Don’t mess with him.” For the rest of the trip, the other boys are quiet, doing their best to ignore Ender.
When they arrive at the school Ender confronts Graff. “I thought you were my friend.” Graff tells him that it’s not his job to be Ender’s friend. His job is to turn children like Ender into the best commanders they can be, and that he’ll do what’s necessary to achieve that. Ender protests, saying that Graff made the other boys hate him. Graff is unsympathetic, telling Ender that all that matters is the greater good and that he’s willing to do what’s necessary to defeat the Buggers. “I told them you were the best.” Says Graff. “Now you damn well better be.”
Ender leaves disgruntled. Another adult named Anderson approaches Graff. “Is that the one?” Anderson asks. Graff says that it is and woes for a moment the things they’re going to have to do to Ender. “He’s clean. Right to the heart, he’s good.” This said, both men resolve to follow through with Ender’s training.
In the prologue, Graff and another adult are discussing the events on the trip to the Battle School. The other adult is impressed with what happened, but Graff is concerned that Ender breaking the other boy’s arm could breed too much hate amongst the other children to create the optimal learning environment for Ender. They discuss coming up with alternative candidates to replace Ender if he fails. They then discuss what they’re going to do in the mean time. “His isolation can’t be broken.” Says Graff. “He can never come to believe that anybody will ever help him out. If he once thinks there’s any easy way out, he’s wrecked.
Ender arrives at his dormitory to find that the other boys have already chosen their beds, leaving the worst one for him. He shrugs this off and settles himself in his bunk. He starts going through some of the drawers and lockers that will be his, finding in one of them what looks like a space suit with a gun on it. A man, entering the room, explains that it’s a gun used for one of the war games that’s played at the battle school.
The man introduces himself as Dap. “I’m your Mom for the next few months.” Dap tells them that he’ll be in charge of them. He talks to them about navigating the Battle School and warns them to stay out of the areas where the older kids live. “The bigger kids don’t like Launchies butting in.” He tells them that if they have any problems they should come to him and that violence against other students won’t be tolerated. “That kind of thing happens, somebody ices out.” He says. “I understand there was one attempted murder on the way up here. A broken arm.”
Dap leaves and Ender watches the other boys. The boy whose arm he broke, Bernard has become a center of attention amongst the other boys, forming a gang of sorts. They joke around at their end of the room, now and then shooting a glance at Ender. Later that day Ender and the other boys are taken to the mess hall to eat. In the hall is a large scoreboard showing the scores from the war games played by the older children. Ender sits by himself to eat. An older boy named Mick comes and sits with him.
“You the bugger in your launch?” He asks. He explains that every launch group has a “Bugger,” an outcast, a loner. He tells Ender about his own experiences at the Battle School, and how he ultimately amounted to little in his education, something he blames on never standing out. “Make friends. Be a leader. Kiss butts if you’ve got to.” Mick leaves him and Ender continues eating, his thoughts drifting back to his family. He feels a pang of regret; questioning whether it was worth leaving home for a place where he seems doomed to be ostracized. Thinking of Valentine he almost starts to cry, but stops himself.
The days pass and Ender busies himself with schoolwork. Battle School in many ways is much like any other school. They have classes are more difficult than anything he or any of the boys have encountered before. One day Dap introduces them to the game room, an arcade on the Battle School meant for recreation. Ender watches some of the older boys play a game. He studies the mechanics of the game, the tactics the older boys use.
He approaches the older boys and asks for a turn. They scoff at him initially, but finally relent. Ender plays one of them and is swiftly beaten. He convinces them to give him another turn, and having learned the controls, manages to win the second time. He plays a third game against the older boy and quickly wins. Having won two out of three, Ender leaves. The older boys are astonished by his victory and Ender in turn feels more confident in himself. “He had won something, and against older boys. Probably not the best of the older boys, but he no longer had the panicked feeling that he might be out his depth.”
Back in the dormitory Bernard and his friends set to tormenting Ender. Their acts are mostly small and petty. Ender is angered, however, by the injustice of the other boys who participate in Bernard’s “vengeance” when they all saw that Ender was just defending himself. Ender keeps his patience, however, and starts to seek out allies. Another boy, Shen, becomes a target of Bernard and his friends. Ender decides to try and befriend him.
Ender learns to hack the network that runs their personal computers desks and sends a message signed by “God” to Shen, mocking Bernard. Bernard is enraged by this and immediately assumes it was Ender’s work. Despite some violent retaliation, Ender persists, sending out messages signed by Bernard himself. Bernard shortly becomes a laughing stock and quickly loses much of his influence in the classroom. Ender and Shen become friends and Ender begins to gain allies amongst the other boys.
The Giant’s Drink
In the prologue to this chapter, we find that six months have passed. Graff is discussing Ender with a superior from the International Fleet. He’s concerned about Ender, who has been spending an inordinate amount of time playing a fantasy game on his computer. The game is designed to design itself around the player themselves, and Ender is spending a lot of time trying to get past the “Giant” an unsolvable puzzle that another student obsessed over years ago before they killed themselves. Graff tries to calm his superior’s concerns. The superior then tells him that before Ender can advance at the school, he has to fix the chasm that has developed in his launch group between the children that have sided with Ender and those that have sided with Bernard.
Ender and the other boys in his launch group are being brought into the Battle Room for the first time. The Battle Room is where the war games that serve as the central aspect of the Battle School take place. There’s no gravity and all the boys where suits modeled after space suits with mock weaponry. Ender starts to experiment, pushing himself off into the space and rebounding off of the walls around the room. At first the zero gravity environment is disorienting. He notices that most of the other boys are trying to cling to the horizontal orientation they were using in the hallway. Ender tries thinking about the room as a vertical space. He looks across the room and sees it as being down rather than forward.
As Ender and Shen practice together Ender sees Alai, one of Bernard’s friends flying around the room. On a whim, Ender pushed himself out to meet Alai. Though they have previously been enemies on account of Bernard’s rivalry with Ender, they start practicing together and find that they get along well enough. After some time learning how to maneuver around the Battle Room, they decide to try out their guns. They discover that the guns attached to their suits shoot out a small red light that stiffens their suits when it hits them. They decide to try the guns on their classmates, most of whom are floating helplessly in the middle of the room. “Let’s go get Bernard and Shen and freeze these bugger-lovers.” Says Alai.
Together with Shen and Bernard, Ender and Alai start shooting the other boys. After a few minutes, they’re all frozen. Dap enters the room, using a device called a “hook” to move around the Battle Room freely. He scolds the other boys for failing to match Ender and Alai’s progress and begins schooling them on the basics of the Battle Room. After this things start to get better in the launch group. Using Alai as a bridge, Ender makes peace with Bernard and the group as a whole starts to bond and form friendships.
One evening following Ender is playing the fantasy game on his desk. The game is filled with different areas and activities to play with, but Ender keeps finding himself at the Giant. The Giant inevitably plays only one game; a guessing game. The Giant offers to show Ender the way to fairyland if he can pick the right answer in the guessing game. This is an exercise in futility. The game is programmed so that no matter what answer Ender picks it’s the wrong one. Ender plays the guessing game several times and loses each time. Finally fed up, Ender directs his character, a mouse, to attack the giant. His character burrows into the Giant’s eye. The Giant dies and a bat flies down, congratulating Ender for his success and welcoming him to Faeryland. For a moment, Ender thinks he should continue forward, exploring the new part of the world. Instead, he shuts the game off and again feels ashamed for his propensity toward violence. “I’m a murderer even when I play.” He thinks. “Peter would be proud of me.”
Graff and Major Anderson are discussing Ender’s actions inside of the fantasy game. Anderson is disturbed, by the way, that Ender dispatched the Giant while Graff is simply impressed that Ender was able to get past the Giant at all; something that was supposed to be impossible by the game’s own design. The two decide to give Ender month or two with his launch group before they advance him further into the Battle School.
Ender and Alai are eating dinner together. Alai tells Ender that he figured out how Ender sent those messages mocking Bernard when they first arrived at the Battle School. He tells Ender that he tried to do the same with Ender’s name, and he discovered that Ender has set up a security system to prevent anyone from doing that. “I just got in and trashed somebody’s files.” Says Alai. “He’s right behind me in cracking the system. I need protection, Ender.”
Ender returns with Alai to the dormitory to set up the system for Alai. When he tries to log on to his desk, however, he finds that his access has been denied. Alai draws Ender’s attention to a small piece of paper that Ender had sat down on when they arrived at his bunk. The paper tells Ender that he’s been promoted out of his launch group and is going to join one of the armies run by the older children: Salamander Army.
Both Ender and Alai are shocked. The typical age for someone to move up into any army is eight. Ender isn’t even seven years old yet. They check the other boy’s beds. No one else has been moved up: just him. “You’re smart Ender.” Says Alai. “But you don’t do the battleroom any better than me.”
Ender begins to feel upset. He had just begun to settle into his launch group and make friends. For the first time, he was starting to feel like he belonged. To have it ripped away from seemingly so arbitrarily. He hugs Alai who tries to comfort him.
Always my friend,” He says. “Always the best of my friends. Go slice up some buggers.” Alai unexpectedly kisses Ender on the cheek and says, “Salaam.” He then quickly walks off to his bunk. Ender is taken aback by the show of affection but honored. He can sense that Alai just shared something meaningful, even sacred with him.
Ender leaves the launch dormitory but doesn’t go straightaway to his new dorm. Instead, he finds a public computer desk and logs on to play the fantasy game. He comes to the giant’s corpse and finds that it has decayed into the countryside. He moves past it and finds a playground filled with children who taunt and laugh at him. He leaves the playground and finds a well. “Drink, Traveler” says a sign. He drinks from the well and suddenly a pack of wolves appears and kills him.
Suspecting the playground Ender returns there and attacks the children. As he knocks them out, they turn into wolves. He knocks them out one by one and throws them into a nearby stream. Their bodies fizzle and disappear. After they’re all gone he climbs down the bucket rope into the well. Down there he finds a cavern lined with treasure and caged, exotic creatures. He walks past them and comes to a door that says, “The End of the World.” Stepping through the door he comes to a ledge overlooking further lands. He jumps from the ledge and is caught by a cloud that carries him up to a tower where he finds a talking snake. “I am your only escape.” It says. “Death is your only escape.” Before he can respond, the desk logs him and out orders him to go to his new army.
Ender heads to the Salamander army’s dormitory. It’s larger than the launch dorm, as are the other children, many of whom look like they could be twice Ender’s age. A boy stops him near the door. Ender tells him that he’s a new transfer to the army and is looking for its commander: Bonzo Madrid. Ender asks the boy if he’s Bonzo, which elicits laughter. The boy is, in fact, a girl. Her name is Petra, and she’s one of the few girls at the Battle School. “Just between you and me.” Petra tells Ender. “If they gave the Battle School an enema, they’d stick it in at green green brown.”
Ender starts to worry that he’s making friends with yet another outcast. Those concerns are soon set aside, however, when Bonzo arrives. He looks Ender over disapprovingly and asks Ender how old he is. Ender tells him that he’s six. Bonzo hears this and tells Ender that the administrators of the school like to play jokes on the students. He considers Ender to be such a joke; a wrench thrown into Bonzo’s plans to turn Salamander into a top-tier army. Bonzo begins addressing the rest of his soldiers. Ender can quickly see that he’s using Ender as a chance to give a pep talk to his men.
Ender tells Bonzo that he’ll work hard to improve and do his part. Bonzo quickly shoots down the very idea. “I intend to trade you away as quickly as I can. I’ll probably have to give up someone valuable along with you, but as small as you are you are worse than useless.” Petra mocks Bonzo. Bonzo, in turn, slaps her across the face, drawing blood. “Here are your instructions, Wiggin…. When we’re called to battle, you will dress quickly and present yourself at the gate with everyone else. But you will not pass through the gate until four full minutes after the beginning of the game, and then you will remain at the gate, with your weapons undrawn and unfired, until such time as the game ends.”
Ender is disappointed over Bonzo’s intention to outright ignore him, but there is one ray of hope. Petra approaches Ender and offers to train him. They meet later on in the Battle Room where she trains him about shooting. When Bonzo conducts his own practices, however, he sends Ender to wait off to the side while the rest of the army maneuvers. Watching Salamander Army, Ender comes to realize how far out of his depth he is just in terms of basic skill. The older boys seem to have a natural grasp on skills that Ender is still struggling with. Even so he also sees areas where Bonzo and Salamander can improve. The Salamander soldiers are disciplined, but Bonzo’s strategies are too rigid and leave little room for innovation by the soldiers themselves.
Ender is desperate for more training, but Petra’s time is limited. Ender again wishes that he was back with his launch group. Back with Shen and Alai. Thinking of them makes wonder. Why not train with his launch group? Though it’s unheard of for someone in an army to practice with Launchies, Ender can’t see any other options if he’s going to improve enough to become an actual soldier. He returns to the launch dorms where he proposes his idea to the other boys. Many of them jump at the idea and start immediately. Ender does his best to recreate Salamander Army’s practice while throwing in his own ideas for healthy measure. By the end of the practice, all of the boys walk away having learned at least something.
Bonzo isn’t pleased at this development. When Ender returns to the Salamander dorm Bonzo questions him about where he’d been. Ender tells him that he had been practicing in the Battle Room. “I hear you had some your old Launchy group with you.” Ender confirms this. “I won’t have any soldiers in Salamander Army hanging around with Launchies.” Ender acknowledges the command but asks to speak with Bonzo privately. Once they’re away from the rest of the troops, Ender tells Bonzo that he isn’t allowed to dictate what Ender does with his free time. Bonzo doesn’t take kindly to Ender’s disobedience. “While you’re in Salamander Army, you’ll obey me.”
Ender tells him that if Bonzo tries to step outside of his authority that Ender will report him to the administrators. “It isn’t my fault that you have that order in front of everybody.” Ender says. “But if you want I’ll pretend you won this argument. Then tomorrow you can tell me you changed your mind.” As much as Bonzo dislikes Ender for being disobedient, he hates him for offering any sort of kindness. Nonetheless, the next day Bonzo does as Ender suggested and rescinds the order. Ender continues his training with the Launchies.
Four days later Ender participates in his first battle alongside Salamander Army against Condor Army. Salamander loses the fight, but just barely. Ender, per Bonzo’s orders, doesn’t fire his gun. Bonzo’s order seems even more irrational considering the fact that Ender, with permission to fire on the few remaining Condor’s at the battle’s end, might have been able to turn the fight into a draw rather than a defeat. Nonetheless, Bonzo reiterates his command after the battle. “The order still stands.” He says. “And don’t you forget it.” Ironically, since Ender barely participated in the battle and suffered no damage nor missed any shots, he winds up being ranked number one on the soldier efficiency list.
Ender continues his trainings with Petra and then with the Launchies. More Launchies start coming to Ender’s practices and with Alai’s help he leads them through the maneuvers the older boys are practicing, while experimenting with ideas of his own. Meanwhile, Salamander fights and wins two more battles. Their next one, Ender’s fourth battle, winds up another disaster. The opposing army, Leopard, employs a fluid combat style that perfectly befuddles Bonzo and his rigid strategies. Leopard takes heavy losses, but Bonzo and Salamander are defeated. As the last remnants of Leopard start to enact the victory ceremony, however, Ender, having held his fire as per orders, starts shooting. He knocks out enough of Leopard’s troops to turn the defeat into a draw.
After the battle, Bonzo approaches Ender and tells him that he’s traded Ender to Rat Army. Ender thanks him and Bonzo hits him. “You disobeyed me.” Bonzo says. “No good soldier ever disobeys.” Ender takes pleasure when he hears the other Salamander soldiers muttering in disapproval. Ender saved them from defeat, and they know it. The next day Ender tells Petra they should end their training sessions to keep her safe from Bonzo. He then departs to join Rat Army.
In this chapter’s prologue, Graff is trying to convince Major Anderson to develop unfair game scenarios for the Battle Room. He wants Anderson to come up with every unfair situation he can come up with, so they can be ready to use them against Ender in the future. Anderson is reluctant. Up to this point the Battle Room conditions have been randomly generated. To manufacture intentionally unfair conditions would ruin the way that they measure the game. Graff tells him that there’s no choice. He says that humanity’s war fleets are nearing the Bugger homeworlds and will fail without a commander to lead them. Ender is to be that commander, and getting him ready for that is all that matters.
Ender enters the Rat Army dormitory and finds it be almost the exact opposite of Salamander Army. Where Salamander was built around strict discipline, Rat army seems disheveled and messy. Its commander “Rose the Nose” is far less strict than Bonzo. He tells him that he’ll be a part of Dink Meeker’s Toon, a unit of the army. Ender meets with Dink, who apparently asked Rose to acquire Ender for Rat Army personally. “I think you show some promise.” He says. “Bonzo is stupid, and I wanted to give you better training than Petra could give you.” Ender tells him that won’t quit his practice sessions with the Launchies. Dink replies that he doesn’t want Ender to stop them.
Ender has his first practice with Rat Army. Immediately he notices that Dink’s Toon seems almost to be a separate army from Rose’s. He trains his men separately and comes up with his own strategies and plans separate from Rose’s main force. Immediately he wants to incorporate some of Ender’s idea. Ender notices that the older boys, including Dink, still seem to have trouble with orienting themselves in zero gravity. Though not without resistance, he teaches them how to view the enemy gate as being “down” rather than across from them. Once they learn the advantages of his “feet first” method, they accept it wholesale. That night Ender repeats what he practiced with the Launchies. As he goes through the exercises he notices Dink and Petra watching him from the gate to the Battle Room.
Rose comes to talk to Ender. Now that he’s allowed to fight in battles, Ender’s ranking on the score board has begun to drop. Rose wants to know why. Ender explains that he was violating orders every time he fired his gun in Salamander army. Rose, realizing that Bonzo tricked him into accepting an unfair trade, is angry. At the next battle, he orders Ender on a direct attack on the enemy gate, a suicide mission. Ender makes the best of it, however. He attacks using his “feet first” strategy and causes enough damage before the enemy army knocks him out that he again winds up on the top of the score chart.
As time goes on, Ender notices that Dink is often late for dinner. Assuming Dink is in the Battle Room for extra practice, Ender heads there to see what he’s up to. He finds Dink simply floating alone in the Battle Room. Seeing Ender, Dink returns to the gate and the two return to the dorm. Ender asks Dink why he’s not commanding his own army. Dink admits that he was promoted twice, but refused to take the position. This perplexes Ender. Dink explains that while he loves the Battle Room, he has little interest in commanding the other children in mock wars that serve no purpose beyond giving the adults something to judge. He tells Ender that he doubts the Buggers are even a threat anymore. “If the buggers were coming back to get us, they’d be here. They aren’t invading again. We beat them, and they’re gone.”
Ender asks why the government would lie about. Dink explains succinctly that it’s all just about politics. Certain people want to stay in power and are using the Bugger menace to keep people scared. It’s a system that can’t be sustained forever, however, because eventually people will get sick of things. “There’ll be a civil war to end all wars.” He says. “And in that war, when it comes, you and I won’t be friends. Because you’re American, just like our dear teachers. And I am not.” Ender doubts some of what Dink has said, but leaves the conversation still more suspicious of the adults and their motives.
At the next practice with the Launchies, Ender is disturbed to see that there are few boys than there were before. He asks where everyone is. “Word’s out that the commanders don’t want any soldiers who’ve been damaged by your training.” Says one of the boys. About half an hour into their practice they see some older boys at the gate of the Battle Room, taking down names. When the next practice comes there are even fewer Launchies. The acts of the older disapproving boys has begun to move beyond threats. Launchies are being beaten up for training with Ender.
Ender tries to call off the practices for a few days, but the other boys object. “If you stop, even at night, they’ll figure it works to do this kind of thing.” Ender agrees to practice, but this time more of the older boys show up. They start calling out insults and taunts to the Launchies, who mock them in turn. Angered by the Launchies insult, several of the older boys launch themselves into the Battle Room to attack them. Ender orders the Launchies away while he holds off the older boys. The older boys try to hurt him, but Ender fights them off, injuring several in the process.
After he escapes he dismisses the Launchies. He checks the school’s logs to see if there’s anything about the fight and finds only a listing for an accident in one of the Battle Rooms. The adults intend to do nothing about the older boy’s attack on him. Arriving back at the Rat dorm earlier than usual he decides to log onto the fantasy game. Once playing he makes his back to the End of the World. Again, he finds the snake. As soon as it threatens him, he attacks and kills it. He picks up the snake and approaches a nearby mirror where he’s shocked to see the snake now has Peter’s face. He throws the snake at the mirror. It shatters and dozens of tiny snakes come rushing out to kill him.
The next day, several army commanders send messengers to tell Ender there won’t be anymore attacks on him. They say that most of them think his practices are a brilliant idea, and that they’ll send some of their own men to come and join for extra practice and protection. Ender’s mind is preoccupied with the fantasy game, however. He remembers killing the snake and in turn reflects on how he beat Stilson and broke Bernard’s arm. He again begins to worry that he’s not just like Peter, but worse.
Locke and Demosthenes
In the chapter’s prologue, Graff and Anderson are discussing Ender’s fantasy game. Neither can figure out how it brought a picture of Peter into the game and are nervous about the effect it could have on Ender if such disturbances continue.
It is Ender’s eighth birthday. Valentine is out in the woods, building a small pyre to celebrate it. Much has changed since Ender was taken to the Battle School. The family has moved to a new home in the country, and Peter has seemingly mellowed out. He no longer bullies other children and acts pleasantly toward most everyone. Even so, Valentine knows it’s all a façade and that whatever peace he’s found within himself comes at a cost. She routinely finds dead animals out in the woods; skinned and tortured by Peter. Everyone is happy about Peter’s progress, but she knows he’s the same. “It’s the old Peter, only smarter.”
Peter approaches her. He casually threatens to kill her, something Valentine shrugs off. She knows Peter is capable of killing her but doesn’t believe he’d ever do it, unless there was a tangible benefit to him. There isn’t so she believes herself safe. Peter begins to tell her that the Russians are preparing for war. He has spent the last three years studying their train movements and figuring out which ones belong to the military. He suspects they’re amassing troops for some soon to occur conflict. Valentine is skeptical, but also curious about his reasoning and where he intends to go with this.
He tells her that there must have been some change in the war with the Buggers and that with the status quo shifting, the alliances that have maintained peace between America and Russia over the past century are doomed to crumble. “Why do I get the idea that you see this as a golden opportunity for Peter Wiggin?” Peter tells her that he intends to save the world, with her help. “You’re twelve years old. I’m ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice.” Peter explains that his plan.
He wants her to convince their father to give them use of his adult access to the nets, where they can fashion identities and use their advanced intelligence to influence the present day politics. Valentine is skeptical, in no small part because the plan comes from Peter. “I know what you think of me.” He says. “I’ve been planning to come to you for a long time. But I kept being afraid.” He tells her that he regrets what how he treated her and Ender in the past, and understands now that it stems from a deep need to control things. He wants to turn that need toward something worthy and respectable. Val continues to push, and he eventually breaks down. She doesn’t believe for a second that he’d expose himself emotionally unintentionally, but also believes that the regret behind his tears is real. She agrees to help him.
Valentine gets their father to share his adult access and the two start about the business of establishing and refining their online personalities. At first they use throwaway names; using them to figure out the problems in their writing and fix them. Once they feel confident they set up what they intend to be their permanent identities: Peter is Locke, and Valentine dons the pen name Demosthenes.
Under Peter’s guidance, they start participating in debates. Valentine is initially unhappy because Peter fashions Demosthenes into something of a war monger while his own Locke is more peace minded. While their progress is initially slow, they start to gain a following. Peter searches the nets and discovers that their writing is being referenced and quoted more often. Valentine is eventually offered a column by a news publication. She reluctantly accepts it. Peter receives a similar invitation soon after. Though their accomplishments are small in the grand scheme of things their influence, as per Peter’s plan, is slowly growing.
Another year passes, and Ender finds himself in the most comfortable situation he’s known in a long time. He’s a toon leader in Pheonix Army, led by Petra and easily the most respected soldier at the Battle School. Even his evening practices, once attended only be Launchies and older rejects have become a prestigious group of students thanks to his tutelage.
Even with his achievements, however, he’s unhappy. His comfort has left him bored and unmotivated, while the respect of his peers seems to do little more than separate him further and further from them on a personal level. Even between Alai, he can sense a growing divide.
Every now and then he revisits the fantasy game. Always he finds himself back at the End of the World where he faces the snake, kills it and finds it to have Peter’s face. Outside of that place the world of the game is moving on. The Giant’s corpse has rotted away to a skeleton that in turn has been taken over by a society of dwarves using it as the framework of a village. Ender himself feels trapped, though, unable to progress in the game and his life.
Valentine arrives at school one day and finds there are IF soldiers at the doors. This makes her nervous. She and Peter have been growing more influential on the net; their opinions reaching so high as to influence the discussion of prominent politicians, many of whom have not been pleased with her writings as Demosthenes. She fears that her true identity has been discovered and that the soldiers are here for her.
This fear becomes worse when she’s almost immediately instructed to go to the principal’s office where an IF officer is waiting for her. He introduces himself as Graff and says they’ve met before. Confused, Valentine initially assumes that Graff is talking about Peter when says he starts talking about her broth. She soon realizes, however, who he is and that he’s referring to Ender.
Graff explains that Ender is doing well in the Battle School but that he’s beginning to grow lazy; coasting through the school instead of meeting his true potential. He’s come to her because Ender considers her the one person he can truly trust, and he hopes that she might have some insight into what they can do to help push him forward. Valentine initially feels guilty when she hears this. To Ender she’s still the most valuable thing in the world while she, to an extent, has moved on a begun bonding with Peter. Her guilt turns swiftly to anger, and she all but refuses to answer Graff’s questions. Graff tells her that if she doesn’t cooperate he’ll be forced to bring the rest of her family into this, something she doesn’t want.
Graff asks her about Peter. She tells Graff that Ender hates Peter. “And yet you and Ender are his brother and sister.” Graff says. “You have the same genes, the same parents.” This angers Valentine who insists that Ender is nothing like Peter and that one of Ender’s greatest fears is to be like Peter. Graff hears this and asks Valentine if she’ll help Ender. He wants her to write him a letter. Valentine asks what good it will do; Ender never replied to any of the letters she’s sent him in the past. “He answered every letter he got.” Replies Graff. Valentine realizes that Ender never received any of the letters that she or their parents sent him.
Graff becomes defensive and tells her that they’ve been isolating him to help him harvest his creativity and build his personal strength. Valentine is reluctant to write the letter. Graff tells her that if won’t do it herself, that he’ll just use her previous letters to write a fake one using her style and mannerisms. Begrudgingly, Valentine agrees to write to Ender.
Ender is in his dorm reading his mail. He’s reading through a message when he realizes that it’s from Valentine. Shocked by the sudden correspondence, he curls up on his bed and reads through it several times. The letter repeats, over and over again that he isn’t like Peter. That he’s a trustworthy person and the opposite of his brother, even if military life has hardened him. He quickly realizes that even if the letter is genuine, the only reason he received it, the only reason it was even written is because the adults who run the Battle School requested it.
He remembers what Dink said about the adults; how they spend their time playing games with the students, molding and manipulating them to serve their own devices. The letter makes Ender realize the truth of this and in turn how little control he has over his life. Enraged that they would use Valentine against him, he deletes the letter and begins to cry, much to the shock of the other children in his dorm. The very thought of Ender, the great soldier, crying is disturbing to them.
Ender starts to play the fantasy game again. He journeys to the Ends of the World and this time, when confronted by the snake directs his character to kiss it. It accepts the kiss and transforms into Valentine. Ender is stunned. He cannot believe that the snake he’s killed so many times before could have been Valentine all along. Valentine takes his hand in the game, and leads him away from the End of the World. Ender sees this and realizes that no matter what the adults try to do to him, he will always have her love and support.
In Chapter 10’s prologue, Graff and Anderson are discussing Ender. Anderson admits, despite his doubts, that Graff’s plans have worked and that Ender is doing better in his studies than he’s ever done before. They decide it’s time for Ender to take command of an army.
Major Anderson comes to Ender. Ender knows what is happening immediately. He’s being given an army. Ender asks him what army he’ll be taking over. Anderson tells him that it will be Dragon army. Ender’s confused, there isn’t a Dragon army. Anderson tells him that there used to be one, but it was retired on account of it never winning more than a fraction of its games. They’re rebuilding it especially for Ender. They’ve done this by promoting an entire launch group early and transferring several older students into Ender’s army. Anderson tells him that he’s also banned from trading for other students.
Ender heads to his army’s dorm, where he finds them waiting for them. He recognizes none of the older boys while many of the younger children are pathetically small. He immediately rounds them up to head to practice. They enter the Battle Room where Ender takes some time to watch them practice. Most of the younger boys are utterly inexperienced, possessing little even in the way of basic skills.
As he drills them, one boy stands out, however. One boy named Bean, despite being the smallest boy in the army, demonstrates exceptional intelligence. Where the other boys struggle to grasp the concepts of the Battle Room, Bean seems to pick them up naturally. Ender, seeing his potential, in turn finds himself calling on Bean and setting him against the other boys just as Graff did to him when he first came to the Battle School.
Ender spends the bulk of the practice simply teaching the younger boys the basics. Afterward Bean confronts him about the way Ender treated him in the practice. “I can be the best man you’ve got, but don’t play games with me.” Says Bean. He tells Ender that he wants a toon. Ender tells him that if Bean wants a toon, he’ll need to earn respect first. Bean leaves and Ender contemplates his actions. On one hand, he’s disgusted with himself for treating Bean the same way that others treated him. On the other hand, he recognizes that for all their manipulation and how much he hates them that they did make him stronger.
Later on that day Ender goes to attend his usual extra practice. He finds Major Anderson waiting for him. Anderson tells him that his extra practices are no longer allowed. “From now on, only members of the same army may work together in a battleroom during freetime.” Ender complains about the inexperience of the soldiers they gave him, but Anderson is unsympathetic.
Ender leaves the Battle Room and runs into Alai. The two chat for a few minutes but Ender can sense that Ender’s new position as a commander will serve as yet another barrier between them. “Salaam” Ender says to Alai as he leaves. “Alas, it is not to be.” Replies Alai. Ender asks him what he means. Alai tells him that “Salaam” means “Peace be unto you.” Alai leaves and Ender heads back to his room. Though they’re still friends, there’s a distance between them and their friendship is based mainly in the past. The shift in their relationship saddens Ender, but he doesn’t let it bother him. After the use of Valentine to manipulate him, there is little left that bothers him.
Veni Vidi Vici
It has only been a short while since Ender became a commander, but Graff and Anderson already plan on sending him and Dragon army into battle. In the mean time, the political situation on Earth seems to be deteriorating as discussion turns to renewed war between the Russians and Americans.
Ender is lying in his bunk contemplating the progress made by his army. With less than a month with them, he’s managed to fashion them, not just into a competent army, but a brilliant one. Though the older boys given to him were initially obscure to Ender, he soon discovered that many of them, in fact, possessed a brilliance that just needed to be uncovered. The younger boys, in turn, have adapted well, despite their inexperience. “We’re ready now.” Ender thinks. “Get us into battle.” The door to his room opens and closes. He gets up and finds a small slip of paper on the floor near the door. On it are instructions to fight Rabbit Army the next day. “I wish, and they deliver.”
The next day Ender informs his army of the battle. Ender takes them to the gym to warm up. After that they head to the Battle Room and suit up. The battle begins, and Ender delivers his orders. His army splits up and attacks Rabbit army. Rabbit is almost immediately overwhelmed by Ender’s tactics. The battle is over quickly. Dragon Army is almost untouched by the combat and leaves with an unprecedented victory.
Ender sends his soldiers off to eat and rest and then meets them back in the Battle Room for practice. They review the day’s battle, going over their mistakes and working to correct them. When practice is finished, Ender heads to the commander’s mess hall to eat dinner. New commanders are usually met with cheers and applause. The other commanders, however, are silent as he enters; their usual encouragement is silence by a mixture of awe and resentment. Ender sits by himself, ignoring the open stares of his peers. Dink comes and sits down with him. He warns Ender that he needs to be careful. The other commanders see him as a threat. That night as Ender goes to bed; another slip of paper is slid underneath his door in the morning. A second battle.
Two battles in two days is unprecedented, and Ender already knows that many of his soldiers will be off eating breakfast. He rushes to pull his army together and then makes for the Battle Room, barely making it in time. The battle is against Petra’s army, Phoenix. Thanks to Ender’s influence during his time as a toon leader, Phoenix puts up a stiffer fight than Rabbit did. Even so, Dragon army beats them handily. Petra is enraged by what she sees as Ender embarrassing her. Ender doesn’t worry about it terribly much. “After a few more battles, she’d realize that in fact she had scored more hits against him than he expected anyone ever would again.”
A week goes by and Dragon army fights a battle every day. Under Ender’s command they never lose, though the constant battles exhaust them. Many commanders continue to hate him as Petra did after losing to him, while others seek him out for advice on how to raise their armies to similar heights of skill. Ender gives the advice freely. Those who resent him, however, retaliate with petty acts of violence.
Ender, looking for new ideas to implement into his strategies, begins watching videos from the Bugger wars. This prompts Graff to call him into meet with him and Major Anderson. Graff asks him why he’s watching videos from the Bugger wars. Ender tells him, and Graff inquires as to how Dragon army is doing. Ender tells him that they’re all tired, but they’re continuing to do well in all of their battles. They ask him why he hasn’t been playing the fantasy game anymore. “I won.” He tells them. Graff replies that you can never win everything in the fantasy game, but Ender is persistent. Graff insists they just want to make his as happy as possible, to which Ender scoffs. “You want to make me the best soldier possible.” Says Ender. “Now when are you going to put me up against a good army?” Graff hands him a slip of paper. “Now.”
Ender takes the paper and sees that Dragon army is set to fight Salamander in ten minutes. It will be Dragon army’s second battle in two days; unprecedented. He rushes out of Graff’s office and gathers his men. Despite their best efforts, they reach the Battle Room almost fifteen minutes after the battle was supposed to start. Salamander, still led by Bonzo, has had ample time to set up his army in the Battle Room. Despite this Ender deploys against them and thanks to Bonzo’s strategic ineptitude wins an easy victory. Major Anderson enters the room to perform the victory ceremony. Losing his temper Ender insults Bonzo’s skill. “I thought you were going to put us up against an army that could match us in a fair fight.” Anderson dismisses Ender and his army.
As Dragon army returns to its dorm, Ender realizes that Bonzo would likely be enraged by Ender’s insult and would likely be out to get him. “They were hungry for blood then; Bonzo will be thirsting for it now.” Ender calls Bean into his and tells him that he’s going to give him a special squad of soldiers to train for specific tactics and maneuvers. “There’s a limit to how many clever ideas I can come up with ever day.” Ender tells him. “Somebody’s going to come up with something to throw at me that I haven’t thought of before, and I won’t be ready.” He wants Bean to think of those unthinkable situations and prepare counters for them. Bean agrees and heads back to the dorm to sleep.
Graff is meeting with General Pace of the I.F. Marines. Pace is concerned about rumors that another boy in the Battle School, Bonzo, intends to murder Ender Wiggin. He wants to know what Graff intends to do about the situation. Graff tells him that he intends to do nothing, much to Pace’s confusion. Graff explains that if Ender thinks that anyone will ever help him out of a bind, it will wreck the self-sufficiency they’ve worked so hard to foster. Pace is still concerned but concedes to Graff. “God help you if you’re wrong.”
Dragon army is in practice. Ender watches as the toon leaders drill their soldiers and as Bean trains with his special squad. Bean has brought a deadline, a long clear piece of twine, into the Battle Room with him and is experimenting with it as a means to move quickly and maneuver through the Battle Room unconventionally. The results are impressive and excite the members of Dragon army. As they return to their dorm after the practice Ender notices several older boys, many of them from Salamander army, lining the hallways. They intentionally avoid Ender’s glance as he passes, tipping him off that something’s wrong.
Petra comes up the hall and tries to stop him. She says she wants to speak with. Ender insists she walk with him and his army if she wants to talk. Petra tells him that some of the boys from other armies want to kill him. Ender tells her that he knows. “Petra if you had actually taken me aside just now, there are about a dozen boys following along who would have taken me in the corridor. Can you tell me you didn’t notice them?” She’s hurt by the accusation and leaves. Ender’s toon leaders confront him about the conversation and despite his protests insist on escorting him back to his room. Ender finds a message waiting for him from Dink. “Don’t be alone. Ever.”
The next day Dragon army fights another battle against Badger army. The game is again rigged for Dragon to lose, but they win any ways. After it’s over, Ender sends his army back to the dorm to rest and heads to the showers to clean up. As he showers, he hears a group of people enter the room. It’s Bonzo with a group of boys in tow. They threaten to hurt Ender if he doesn’t start losing some games. Ender ignores the catcalls of the other boys and focuses on Bonzo. “Your father would be proud of you.” Says Ender. “He would love to see you now, come to fight a naked boy in a shower, smaller than you, and you brought six friends. He would say, oh what honor.”
Ender’s goading works. Bonzo tells the other boys to back off and steps forward to fight Ender by himself. Dink arrives and tries to reason with Bonzo, telling him that they need Ender to fight the Buggers. This just makes Bonzo more angry, however, and he moves in to attack. Ender dodges him though and gets in a blow that stuns Bonzo. A part of him wants to leave the fight now, but he knows that it won’t be the end of it. “The battle would only be fought again.” He thinks. “The only way to end things completely was to hurt Bonzo enough that his fear was stronger than his hate.”
Ender continues to attack Bonzo, beating on him until he finally topples over from his injuries. The fight finished, Bonzo’s friends rush in to help him, while Dink ushers Ender away. Ender realizes that no matter how much danger he’s in that the adults will never help him. He’s on his own. Dink takes Ender back to his room where Ender breaks down. “I didn’t want to hurt him!” He cries. “Why didn’t he just leave me alone!”
The next day Dragon army is given another battle to fight, this time against two armies at once. Ender’s soldiers are confident they can win, but as they arrive, Ender can’t think of anything to do. He sends Bean out on his deadline to scout which only confirms how dire their situation is. The two armies are arranged at their gate with strong cover. Seeing no other way to victory, Ender launches a suicide assault on the enemy gate. Using the bulk if his soldiers to distract the enemy armies he sneaks a few of his men past them to perform the victory ritual, ending the game.
After the battle, Ender is furious and vows to never play the game again. Bean comes to see him in his room where he reveals that he, along with all of the other toon leaders have been promoted to take command of armies. Ender isn’t surprised and tells Bean that it’s all just a part of the adult’s game to break him. Bean tells Ender that Bonzo has been sent home to Earth after the fight. Graff enters the room and informs Ender that he too is leaving the Battle School. He’s graduated.
Bean asks where he’s going. Ender tells him that he’s being sent to Command School. Bean is shocked, “Nobody goes to Command School until they’re sixteen!” Graff ignores Bean and tells Ender that they need to leave immediately. Bean watches them leave and suspects that he’ll never see Ender again. Ender meanwhile boards a ship returning to Earth.
This chapter has an epilogue, as well. In it’s revealed the Bonzo died from injuries. Stilson as well was killed by Ender when they fought years ago.
In the prologue to this chapter, two people with the I.F. are discussing the fact that they’ve just discovered Demosthenes and Locke, now both prominent political figures, are Valentine and Peter Wiggin.
Valentine has come to enjoy writing as Demosthenes, though with mixed feelings. Though she’s come to be exceptionally adept at writing and has even adopted some of the character’s beliefs, she dislikes lying to her parents and still fears that the things she’s writing could someday lead to a war. Despite her misgivings, she has attained a support base so vast it’s even begun to bother the usually collected Peter. “It wasn’t supposed to work this way.” He complains. “Locke was supposed to be the respected one.” Valentine tells him that real respect takes time, but Peter is still frustrated.
Graff is there again to meet her at school one day. She isn’t happy to see him. He tells her that Ender is on Earth and that the I.F. would like her to go and speak with him. After his experience at Battle School, Ender is proving less than motivated to return to space and continue his studies at Command School. Graff is hopeful that talking to Valentine might spur him forward. Valentine, now older and more understanding of the greater need for which Ender is being trained, agrees without argument.
She meets Ender at a lake house that he’s been staying at for several months. He greets her coldly and begin to talk. Ender tells her that he’s tired of being a puppet for others to manipulate and control. Valentine confesses that she was sent to encourage him forward in his studies. Ender, in turn, confesses that he still loves her. Ender tells her that he hates himself. “It took me a long time to realize I did. It came down to this: in the moment when I understand my enemy, understand my enemy well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. “Ender continues. “And then, in that very moment when I love them…I destroy them.” Valentine is sickened to realized that though the years have mellowed Peter, Ender has grown darker and more violent. “I’ve really hurt some people, Val. I’m not making this up.”
He asks Valentine if she’s scared of him. She tells him that she’s not. She changes the subject, telling him how Peter’s plan to take over the world is working and how Peter has made some changes for the better. As they talk Valentine comes to the conclusion that though Battle School has exhausted him, Ender only thinks he doesn’t want to continue. He tells her how he wants nothing more to do with the war. She, in turn, tells him that if he is the only hope for human victory, then he’s condemning them and her to die. “I can’t beat them.” Ender says. “I’ll be out there like Mazer Rackham one day, and everybody will be counting on me, and I won’t be able to do it.” Valentine doesn’t relent. “If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.”
Ender asks how he can be expected to beat the Bugger when he could never even beat Peter. “He was years older than you. And stonger.” Ender retorts that so are the Buggers. She asks him if he wants to beat Peter. Ender replies that he just wants Peter to love him. Ender doesn’t know what to say to this, but she can sense that she’s already won and that Ender will return to the military. She tells Ender that she loves him and leaves him, ashamed of what her meddling will undoubtedly put him through.
After Valentine leaves, Ender finds Graff and tells him that he’s ready to go. The leave immediately. Graff tells him that he’ll be accompanying Ender to Command School. Ender asks if he’s going to be made head of the Command School as he was at the Battle School. Graff tells him no; he’s going for Ender alone. Graff talks to Ender about Valentine. “I may have used Valentine,” says Graff. “But keep this in mind- it only works because what’s between you, that’s real, that’s what matters.” He tells Ender that it’s easy to forget, locked away in the Battle School, exactly they’re training and fighting for. He brought Ender back to Earth to remind him.
They’re taken to a ship which launches into space and connects with another long range ship. Graff tells the captain that they’re going to I.F. Command, which serves as the home of the Command School. Initially, Ender keeps to himself aboard the ship. The trip is three months long, however, and after awhile he starts talking with Graff about the Buggers. Graff tells him the Buggers are life that could have conceivably evolved on Earth. Their name comes from the fact they probably did evolve from insects. They don’t speak the way humans do, communicating rather through telepathy and can likely communicate across entire galaxies instantaneously. This is something humans have been able to replicate through the “Ansible,” a device which allows instant communication across the reaches of space.
Ender asks about the war that they’ve been training him for: the third invasion. Graff reveals that it isn’t the Buggers attacking Earth this time; it’s the I.F. attacking the Buggers. After humanity’s victory during the second invasion, they started launching fleets to attack the Buggers at their own home worlds. He tells Ender that the fleets should arrive around when Ender turns fifteen and that he’ll be commanding them via the Ansible.
Ender asks Graff why they’re fighting the Buggers. Graff says that the most likely reason is simply the inability of the Buggers and humanity to communicate with one another. “If the other fellow can’t tell you his story, you can never be sure he isn’t trying to kill you.” He tells Ender questions the validity of this reasoning. Graff in turn reminds him that the Buggers attacked first, and that humanity has a right to defend itself.
In the prologue to this chapter, Graff is talking to Admiral Chamrajnagar of the I.F. Chamrajnagar scolds him for taking so long in bring Ender to Command School. Graff dismisses this and asks if everything is ready. Chamrajnagar confirms that is and tells Graff that an entire section of the school will be devoted to Ender’s studies.
Ender and Graff arrive at Command School, located on a small planetoid named Eros. Ender is uncomfortable there from the get-go. The architecture of the place coupled with the vast numbers of people that inhabit it are just too foreign to him. Despite there being thousands of residents, though, Ender soon finds that he is being made to be isolated again. This time, instead of setting others against him, the adults cut him off from contacting the other students entirely.
Ender goes to classes, attends lectures and practices on the simulator, a holographic game where he’s given fleets of ships that he has to command against a virtual opponent. The difficulty of the simulator grows with time and Ender quickly comes to master it on its hardest settings. When he ceases to find it difficult he brings it up to Graff. The next day Ender is given a teacher to help with that.
Ender awakes in his room to find an old man sitting on the floor. The old man ignores him, so Ender does the same. He tries to open the door but finds it locked. His attempts to speak to the old man prove futile, so Ender decides to simply wait him out. After a time Ender starts practicing some defense exercises to stave off boredom. They bring him near the old man who reaches out and strikes Ender as he passes. Ender’s first instinct is to strike back, but he ignores it, fearing that Graff might be angry if he hurts the old man. Ender goes back to his business and once again the old man attacks him. He subdues Ender and, finally speaking, scolds him. “I surprised you once, Ender Wiggin. Why didn’t you destroy me immediately afterward? Just because I looked peaceful? You turned your back on me. Stupid.”
Ender replies that he didn’t think the old man was an enemy. The old man tells Ender that he’s to be Ender’s new teacher. “There is no teacher but the enemy.” He lets Ender go and Ender quickly retaliates and defeats the old man. “Lesson learned?” Ender nods. The old man tells him that from now Ender will be facing him on the simulator and that he will be even more merciless than the Buggers. Ender asks him what his name is. The old man says that he’s Mazer Rackham, the hero of the Second Invasion.
Ender begins training with Mazer. They practice on the simulator and watch videos of the first Bugger wars to study strategy. Ender asks Mazer how he’s still alive. “You fought your battle seventy years ago. I don’t think you’re even sixty years old.” Mazer explains that long range space travel works via relativity. This means that the though the ships can travel quickly across space the time around them moves more quickly. A trip lasting a few years for a passenger could be decades long for the rest of the world. To keep Mazer alive for the Third Invasion, they put him on a ship and flew him around for fifty real world years so he could help train the commander of the I.F. fleets.
Ender asks Mazer to show him how he defeated the Buggers. Mazer tells him that the information is classified. Ender tells him that he’s seen some of the final battle by piecing together videos at the Battle School: Mazer’s ship flying in and destroying a single Bugger ship and then images of marines boarding Bugger vessels. Mazer is amused and takes Ender to see the full video. It’s almost identical to what Ender’s already seen; just Mazer and his reserve force swooping into the Bugger fleet and destroying a single ship. After it’s destroyed the other Bugger ships stop working and the marines find nothing but dead Buggers aboard their ships.
Ender asks why it happened. Mazer says that no one knows for sure, but he suspects that the Buggers aren’t just descended by insects, but are bugs themselves. He tells Ender that he thinks the Second Invasion was the Buggers trying to colonize Earth and that the ship he destroyed contained one of their queens. Without the queen, the other Buggers just stopped working. He tells Ender that Eros itself is more evidence. Eros was originally a Bugger hive and the point of original contact between humanity and the Buggers.
Ender asks if they would have lost the war had Mazer not killed the queen. Mazer suspects they would have but tells Ender the Third Invasion has a fair chance of being different thanks in no small part to the I.F. preparing so heavily and because of humanity’s newest weapon: the Dr. Device. The Dr. Device beam weapon that destroys and matter it touches and can spread from ship to ship if they’re too close.
Ender arrives at practice one day to discover that the simulator has been changed. He’s no longer able to control the simulator manually. Mazer tells him that he needs to practice giving orders to subordinates rather than just fighting the battle by himself, and as such has been assigned a group of squadron leaders to serve as his lieutenants. Curious as to who they are he puts on his headphones and discovers that they’re his friends from Battle School: Alai, Shen, Bean, Petra, Dink, his toon leaders and all the other reputable commanders that he fought against.
They start to practice with one another and Ender quickly learns the strengths and weaknesses of each commander. In time, they come to master working together. Mazer calls him over to view a recording of one of their recent practices. “We look like a Bugger fleet.” Ender says. Mazer tells him that they look better than a Bugger fleet, matching their reflexes but also exhibiting a strategic flexibility that the Buggers never did in the previous wars. “The bugger hive-mind is very good, but it can only concentrate on a few things at once.” Mazer tells him. “All your squadron leaders can concentrate a keen intelligence on what they’re doing, and what they’ve been assigned to do is also guided by a clever mind.”
He tells Ender that he will be entering the next stage of his education. Together with his commanders they’ll be fighting in an increasingly difficult series of battles against a computer enemy programmed personally by Mazer. The simulations will be designed to show Ender what fighting a real war against an adaptive enemy will be. “I will have no mercy, because when you face the buggers they will think of things I can’t imagine, and compassions for human beings is impossible for them.”
Mazer wakes Ender early the next day for their first battle. Ender heads to the simulator room where he practices briefly with his squadron commanders. When the true battle begins, they find that the Buggers have them outnumbered more than two to one but that they’ve also employed a formation that will be easy for the Dr. Device to wipe out. This first victory is quick and painless; Ender’s fleet doesn’t lose a single ship.
This is soon not the case, however. As Mazer said, the battles become increasingly hard. The odds are always against them, with the Buggers outnumbering them ever increasing margins. Ender wins every battle, but some of them are just barely victories. With the pressure mounting, Ender begins to feel strained. He starts having trouble sleeping and has a recurring dream where Buggers are vivisecting his dreams and memories. He is constantly reminded of the Giant in the fantasy world. As the battles continue his squadrons leaders begin to falter. Petra cracks and in turn almost loses an entire battle. Ender tries to make more of the pressure onto himself, but it’s not enough. Several more of his commanders break under the stress of the constant and impossible battles.
Ender himself begins to suffer, passing out one day during a practice. He is sick for days afterward and thinks he can hear Mazer and Graff talking about him as he sleeps. “How long can he go on? He’s breaking down.” Says one of them. “It’s nearly finished.” Replies the other voice. After he recovers, the battles continue. One day he arrives at the simulator, however, and finds a crowd waiting for him. Mazer tells him that today will be his final examination. He tells Ender that there will be several new elements in this battle, the biggest being that it will be based around a planet representing the Bugger homeworld. “Does the [Dr. Device] work against the planet?” Ender asks. Mazer tells him that it does but warns against using it that way. “The Buggers never intentionally attacked a civilian population in either invasion. You decide whether it would be wise to adopt a strategy that would invite reprisals.”
The battle has begun, and Ender is stunned. The Bugger fleet outnumbers his own a thousand to one. They have no chance at all in a stand up fight. For a moment, he doesn’t know what to do. “Remember,” Chimes in Bean. “The enemy’s gate is down.” The squadron leaders laugh, but the comment starts Ender’s mind turning. He issues orders and starts his fleet forward. The Bugger forces immediately try to push him back, but Ender’s ships keep pushing forward despite their casualties. It soon becomes apparent what Ender is intending: a suicide attack on the Bugger planet. The last of Ender’s ships just barely make it close enough to the planet’s surface and fire their Dr. Devices. The guns destroy the planet just the same as the Bugger ships, wiping out most of Ender’s own fighters in the process.
The battle having ended in victory for Ender he steps down from the simulation expecting Mazer to scold him for attacking the planet. Instead, he finds the crowd of people celebrating. Graff is crying from happiness. Mazer congratulates Ender and tells him that it’s all over. The war is over. Ender is confused. “I beat you.” Mazer shakes his head and explains that Ender had been commanding the I.F fleets in the third invasion this whole time. Ender is shocked speechless. Unable to truly absorb what he’s been told he ignores the celebratory crowd and returns to his room to sleep.
Graff and Mazer wake him up again shortly. He asks them if all the Buggers are dead. “That was the idea.” Replies Graff. Ender starts to cry, insisting he never wanted to be a killer and asking him how they could let him lead men to their deaths without even telling him. Graff acknowledges that they tricked him. “We had to have a commander with so much empathy that he would think like the buggers, understand and anticipate them.” Graff explains. “But somebody wit that much compassion could never be the killer we needed.” They tricked him because it was the only way they could think to get harness his abilities for the war.
They tell him that no sooner had the Bugger war ended that another one was beginning on Earth between America and Russia. The Russian government has given orders for Ender to be killed. Ender couldn’t care less about his own fate, however, and ignores their warnings. They post a guard outside of his door and leave him. Days pass with Ender drifting in and out of sleep and nightmares. He sees the Giant’s corpse again, and the wolf children he had to kill to reach the End of the World.
He awakes permanently a few days later to the sound of distant fighting on Eros and footsteps in his room. When the footsteps draw near he lunges out at them just to find that it’s Alai. Shortly after the sound of fighting stops and Bean enters followed by Petra and Dink. “It’s over.” He tells them. Petra tells them that a truce, called the Locke Proposal, has been signed on Earth that will end the fighting. Ender is happy to see his friends but still distraught over his actions. They hug him and wonder about what will happen to them now that the war is over.
Speaker for the Dead
At the Lake House where Ender stayed at during his return visit to Earth Graff and Anderson are meeting one another. They discuss the aftermath of the Third Invasion. Graff was put on trial for what many considered to be overly brutal training tactics for Ender, most notably the deaths of Stilson and Bonzo.
Anderson tells him that, despite his previous misgivings, he’s happy that Graff was able to avoid any charges. Anderson asks if Ender will ever return to Earth. Graff doesn’t think so. There would be too many people that would try to use his abilities to further their military goals, when Ender would prefer to live in peace. He tells Anderson that he’s being made the new Minister of Colonization and that the laws governing family size are being repealed. Humanity is going to spread amongst the stars, starting off by colonizing the empty worlds the Buggers left behind.
Meanwhile, Ender remains on Eros. Though revered and loved by all for his deeds during the Third Invasions he spends most of his time avoiding people. Eros is now teeming with colonists preparing to launch into space and build new lives on the former Bugger worlds. One day, however, he’s informed that a colonist wants to speak with him: Valentine.
Ender meets with Valentine who is planning on joining the ship leaving with the first group of colonists. Ender is reluctant to go live on the Bugger worlds. Valentine tells him that he’ll never return to Earth, and if he ever did, he’d just become a pawn for Peter, who is on a fast track now to taking over the world as he always wanted. She tells him that his best choice is to join and help govern the new colony they’d be going to. That piques his curiosity. She tells him that Mazer is going to be piloting the ship, and that if he wants to, it can be announced that he’s to be the governor of the new colony they’re going to build. After a bit more deliberation, Ender finally concedes, to Valentine’s delight.
They leave on the colony ship where Ender comes to know and earn the respect of the colonists on a personal level. When they arrive at the new world, they spend several years working hard to set up the colony, using what the Bugger’s left behind to deduce the conditions of their new world. In time, new colonies are established on other worlds and new groups arrive on their planet.
One day Ender is out scouting a site for a new colony when he comes across something odd. He can’t tell what it is from a distance, when he gets up close to it, however, he’s shocked to find what looks like the Giant’s corpse. He approaches and finds nearby the playground where the wolf children used to play in the fantasy game and near that the castle tower, just like in the game. As he approaches the tower, he finds that the wall is notched. It’s made for him to get in.
He remembers during the days when he was commanding the Third Invasion, having dreams of Buggers examining and exploring his dreams and memories. He realizes now that those weren’t just dreams and that somehow the Buggers, using their telepathy, reached and found him. Not knowing how to speak to him directly, they built this replica knowing it to be something only he would recognize. Though it crosses his mind that they might have left it as a trap to gain vengeance for their extinction, he climbs into the castle tower anyways. Inside he finds a rug with a snake on it and across from it a mirror. He pulls the mirror open and finds behind it what looks like an egg. He sees in his mind a sudden vision of a new Bugger queen being born and giving new life to their ruined species.
Ender realizes that the Buggers left this so that he could reseed their species. At first he’s reluctant, believing that if the Buggers re-emerge that humanity will just destroy them again. He hears a voice in his head, seemingly coming from the egg. “We did not mean to murder, and when we understood, we never came again.” The Buggers believed themselves the only intelligent species in the universe and attacked Earth only out of ignorance. They want one more chance to live peacefully with humanity.
Ender scoops up the egg. “I’ll carry you.” He says. “I’ll go from world to world until I find a time and a place where you can come awake in safety. And I’ll tell your story to my people, so that perhaps in time they can forgive you, too. The way that you’ve forgiven me.” With the egg in tow, he leaves. A few weeks later he shows Valentine a book he has written. It’s written from the perspective of the Buggers, detailing their rise, mistakes and eventual fall at the hands of Humanity. He signs it “Speaker for the Dead” and with Valentine’s help publishes it. It is received quietly at first, but soon establishing a following that treats it as a holy document. Speakers for the Dead become common, telling the story of the dead as they would have wanted it told.
One day Ender receives a message from Peter, now an old man Earth. “I know who wrote it.” He says, referencing Ender’s book. “If he can speak for the buggers, surely he can speak for me.” Ender writes a second book based on Peter’s life and publishes it alongside his first in a single volume entitled “The Hive-Queen and the Hegemon.” As time passes, Valentine wants to leave for another world. Ender joins her, bringing the Bugger egg with him so that some day they might find a suitable world to start again.
Now alone in her room, Emma sat down to think. She was upset that Mr. Elton had been such a disappointment to her, and that Harriet would be so upset. She was humiliated and ashamed that she had persuaded Harriet that he liked her. She did not know how she could have been so confused, and so looked back at their past interactions. He had seemed eager about the painting, and had written the riddle which pointed to Harriet. She had thought Mr. Elton’s behaviour towards her had changed lately, but she had only explained it as respect for Harriet’s friend. She was grateful that Mr. John Knightley had first suggested it—both Knightley brothers seemed to have an ability to know exactly what was going on. Mr. Knightley had known who Mr. Elton really was, and Emma was ashamed to remember how wrong she had been.
Emma liked Mr. Elton less because of his attraction to her and was insulted that he had hopes they would marry. She thought he was only pretending to be in love with her to make a good match in marriage and did not think he would be that disappointed by her refusal. She believed he would try for someone else with a fortune in enough time. Emma was upset, however, by Mr. Elton’s belief she had encouraged him and knew how he felt. She thought he might not know how inferior he was to her in terms of family and fortune. The Eltons were nobodies compared to the Woodhouses. Emma admitted to herself that her own attention to him would have made a man like Mr. Elton think he was favoured by her. She should not have talked Harriet into being attached to Mr. Elton and given her hope. She was sorry that she was so excited to have persuaded Harriet out of marrying Mr. Martin because it led her to more ambitious tasks. She should have stopped there and done no more.
Emma thought about what she would have to do: she would have to explain to Harriet, and help her thorough all the suffering—that is, if Harriet did not break off their friendship because of the awkwardness of their situation. Emma woke up the next morning even more aware of her mistakes, but ready to start fixing them. She was pleased, however, that only the three of them would ever know what was going on. She did not have to go to Church that day because of the snow on the ground, which meant she did not have to talk to anyone outside of her immediate family. The rest of Isabella’s visit was wonderful and peaceful, but Emma still felt uncomfortable over her upcoming explanations to Harriet.
Isabella and Mr. John Knightley were able to leave Hartfield soon enough despite the weather, and despite Mr. Woodhouse’s attempts to persuade Isabella to stay behind. The family left, and Mr. Woodhouse was left to complain about his poor Isabella who was in reality quite a happy woman.
They received a letter from Mr. Elton that night that told Mr. Woodhouse he was leaving for Bath for a few weeks. He was sorry that he could not personally say goodbye to the family. Emma was delighted—this was exactly what she wanted and admired him for leaving. She did not, however, appreciate the tone in which it was announced. Mr. Elton sounded resentful, and her name was not mentioned one time in the letter. Emma hoped the letter did not arouse suspicion in her father. Mr. Woodhouse did not see anything wrong in the language of the letter but was upset that Mr. Elton was leaving so suddenly and hoped he would get safely to Bath. Emma spent the night persuading him that everything was fine.
Emma now had to give her explanations to Harriet. She went to Mrs. Goddard’s the next day to destroy all of the hope she had built up over the last six weeks. Harriet’s tears made Emma feel she might not ever like herself again, but Harriet did not blame her or anyone. She had poor self esteem and thought that she would never have deserved him. Only someone as kind as Emma could have thought it was possible. Emma thought Harriet’s grief was hugely dignified and thought that Harriet was the better of the two of them. If she acted more like Harriet, she might be happier. Emma left Mrs. Goddard’s with the resolutions to be humble and repress her imagination still strong in her mind. She would see to her father and Harriet’s comfort, and she would show her affection in different ways than match-making. She would also attempt to drive Mr. Elton from her mind. She considered that Harriet, being as young as she was, might be over it by the time Mr. Elton returned so that they could all go back to being friends. They had to bear the awkwardness of future meetings as none of them had the ability to leave Highbury. Harriet was affected the most by her friends at Mrs. Goddard’s who all spoke about Mr. Elton with adoration.
Frank Churchill did not come—a letter arrived close to the time when he was to appear excusing himself from a visit to Randalls for the foreseeable future. Mrs. Weston was disappointed, even more so than her husband. While Mr. Weston believed him coming at a future time would be better for everyone, and for the weather, Mrs. Weston could only imagine more delays and excuses in their future. She was concerned for what her husband would have to suffer in the future. Emma did not genuinely care that much about Frank Churchill aside from it being a disappointment to the Westons. She wanted to keep out of temptation and be quiet. To make sure she did not upset the Westons, she made sure she paid enough interest in it as her old self might have. She announced the news to Mr. Knightley and made sure to blame the Churchills for keeping him away from Highbury. Mr. Knightley believes he could have come if he wanted to. Emma does not know why he said that as the Churchills will not let him. Mr. Knightley will not believe this without proof. Mr. Knightley believes he might think himself superior to his other friends and family and care for nothing else but pleasure. It would be possible for a man his age to visit his father whenever he wanted to. Emma accuses Mr. Knightley of only seeing it from his perspective—he has been in control of his life for a long time and has not had to deal with bad tempers. Mr. Knightley argues that Frank has no reason for doting on his Aunt and Uncle’s bad tempers as he does not need anymore fortune or pleasure—he already has both. He was at Weymouth a while ago, which is proof enough that he can leave the Churchills. Emma believes it is unfair to judge someone without specific details of their situation. Mr. Knightley suggests that if he announced his decision to see his father in a direct and manly way, then there would be no opposition to the visit. Emma agrees, but points out he might not be able to return again afterwards. Frank is a dependent man! Mr. Knightley thinks this statement would raise other people’s expectations and opinions of Frank. They would respect him more. If he acted like this more often, then they would be far more willing to be persuaded by him. Emma believes Mr. Knightley has this attitude because he is used to persuading people to do what he wants them to. If he had lived with the Churchills, he may not have been able to do the same as he had in life. They continue to argue back and forth—Mr. Knightley believes he is a weak young man if he cannot keep his promises because of the needs and will of other people. He is now a man and needs to act like it. Emma does not think they will ever agree about Frank—she is sure that he is not a weak man. Even if he has a milder personality than Mr. Knightley, he will secure friendships with many people. Mr. Knightley accuses him of living a life of pleasure and creating excuses for it when it suits him—his letters disgust Mr. Knightley. Emma tells him he is the only one who feels this way, but Mr. Knightley does not think Mrs. Weston is satisfied by them. If Mrs. Weston had been someone of a higher status, Frank would have visited as soon as the marriage had taken place. Emma accuse him of being determined to think badly of Frank, but Mr. Knightley seems insulted by this. He would be willing to acknowledge him if he had merits, but he hears of none worth a man. Emma thinks he will be a fine addition to the company at Highbury—they do not always have the opportunity to spend time with fine young men. Emma believes he will be able to talk to everyone about everything. Mr. Knightley would not like this in a man of 23—he would be insufferable to talk to and be around. Emma admits she is prejudiced in her attitude towards Frank because of her love of the Westons. Mr. Knightley does not think about him often. Emma was angry with this statement, although she was not sure why, and changed the subject. Emma thought Mr. Knightley was usually quite reasonable in his thoughts of others, but had not considered that he could dislike someone so different to him.
Emma and Harriet were walking together one morning. Emma had had enough of talking about Mr. Elton and was growing tired of the subject. She did not want to keep thinking about her mistakes. When Emma thought she had successfully changed the subject to that of the poor, Harriet interjected by reminding them that Mr. Elton was so good for the poor. Emma knew she needed to do something else to stop her. When they reached the house where Mrs. and Miss Bates lived she decided to visit them and seek help from the group to distract Harriet. Mr. Knightley had often reminded Emma of her faults in failing to pay proper attention to the Bates, but because they were tiresome women below her in society, she rarely went near them. Emma also felt safe going in because there could not be a letter from Jane at this time. They were welcomed with kindness and cake. A Mrs. Cole had recently visited and liked the cake a lot. With mention of the Coles, Emma knew that Mr. Elton could not be far behind in the conversation as they were friends. Emma knew that they would have to talk about the letter announcing his trip to Bath once more, and discuss what he might be doing. She had been ready for this conversation, but knew after this they could move onto other conversations. However, the conversation actually leaped into a consideration of Jane, who had written that morning. Emma politely asked after Jane. Miss Bates rambled on for a while about Jane’s writing ability, the length of the letter, her mother’s poor eyes and so on, until she had to stop talking to breathe. Emma took that moment to compliment Jane’s handwriting, which Miss Bates was delighted with. She repeated Emma’s comment twice to Mrs. Bates, who could not hear her properly. Emma considered making an excuse and leaving, but Miss Bates continued on with the conversation. It is revealed that Jane is due in Highbury the following week, which is why they received the unusual letter. She will be with them for three months while the Campbells, who she lives with, go to Ireland. Jane has heard about Ireland’s beauty from Mr. Dixon when they used to walk together, but Colonel Campbell and Mrs. Campbell refused to let them walk by themselves anymore. The Bates thought Jane had wanted to go to Ireland with them. Emma realized something about Jane and Mr. Dixon, then, and pushed for more information with an innocently worded question. Miss Bates is all compliments for Mr. Dixon, who is considered a charming young man, especially after he helped save her from falling into the sea. Emma wonders if Jane prefers to spend time with the Bates family after all of this. Miss Bates believes that Jane has made this choice for herself, but Emma believes that Mrs. Dixon must be disappointed by not having Jane come with them. Miss Bates then changes the subject slightly again. The news that Jane has been unwell upset Miss Bates when she read the letter, and gives them a summary of everything Jane wrote about. Just as Miss Bates is about to read the entire letter to them, Emma stands and announces her father will be waiting for them. Walking away, Emma was pleased she had managed to escape the actual letter even though she heard everything Jane had to say anyway.
Jane Fairfax’s history is revealed. She was an orphan and the only child of Mrs. Bates’ youngest daughter. Lieutenant Fairfax and Jane Bates had married and had a child. Lieutenant Fairfax had died in battle, and then Jane Bates had died from consumption. At this moment, she was taken care of by her grandmother and aunt, and it had seemed likely that she would live there all of her life without the advantage of connections to higher society. A friend of her father’s, Colonel Campbell, took control of her life as he owed Lieutenant Fairfax his life. Years passed before he returned to the country, but searched for Jane when he did. He had one daughter about Jane’s age, and so Jane became their guest and spent a lot of time with them. At nine years old, Colonel Campbell took charge of her education, and from then on she had lived with the Campbells entirely and only visited her Grandmother every now and then. She would be brought up so that she could teach others because Colonel Campbell could not provide her fortune enough to be independent. He hoped that giving her an education would assist in providing for her in the future.
While Jane was educated enough now to start working, none of the family could do without her, and so her leaving the Campbells was delayed. Miss Campbell and Mr. Dixon had grown close to one another and had been married. Jane, in the meantime, could have stayed with the Campbells for forever because of their love for her, but they knew that this would be selfish. Jane fixed on the age of 21 as the age when she would retreat from pleasure and enter into her life as a governess. The Campbells had agreed with Jane that going to Highbury for her last few months of freedom would be a good idea, no matter what their own motives for not having her come to Ireland might have been.
And so, instead of receiving Frank Churchill at Highbury as expected, Jane Fairfax came instead after a two year absence. Emma was upset that she would have to be polite to a person she disliked for three months. She did not know why she did not like Jane. Mr. Knightley suggested it was because she saw the accomplished young woman in her that she wished she could see in herself. Emma’s reasons were that so much fuss was made over Jane, and everyone assumed that because they were the same age, they should be friends. Emma was struck with how wrong she had been about Jane’s manners and appearance. She was elegant, graceful and had beautiful features—much more than Emma could remember. Emma sat looking at Jane thinking she might like her after all. When she remembered that Jane would sink low in society by becoming a governess, she only thought of her in terms of compassion. She also considered the sacrifice that Jane had made on account of Mr. Dixon, who appeared to have been distracted from his wife. Emma felt respect for her by dividing herself from the family while they left for Ireland. When Emma left, she was upset that there was no one in Highbury who could marry Jane and give her her independence. While these were good feelings, they did not last long, and everything started to appear as it usually did when Jane visited. They had to listen to how sickly her Aunt was, and Jane’s little offences started again. Emma played music and Jane played a superior performance. She was also cold and cautious and did not provide her real opinion. Emma was suspicious of this reserved behaviour. Jane refused on giving opinions on Mr. Dixon, their friendship or the match between him and Miss Campbell. Emma saw through this artificial behaviour and decided that there was probably something she was hiding—either Mr. Dixon had been close to announcing his love for Jane, or he was only marrying Miss Campbell for her fortune. Jane and Frank Churchill had been at Weymouth at the same time, and Emma was no more successful in finding out real information about him. Jane only reiterated what other people had already said about him, and Emma could not forgive her for it.
Mr. Knightley was pleased with Emma’s improved treatment of Jane, and so is Mr. Woodhouse. Emma, however, reveals she did not enjoy the evening, particularly because Jane avoided answering so many of her questions and giving her the information she wanted. Mr. Knightley was disappointed by that. Mr. Woodhouse had a good night, even if Miss Bates talked too much, and thought Jane must have enjoyed herself because she had Emma’s company. Mr. Knightley added that Emma had Jane, too. To save Mr. Knightley’s nerves, Emma complimented Jane on her elegance and how much she pitied her. Mr. Knightley was visibly grateful for this. Before he could say so, however, Mr. Woodhouse expressed how sorry he was for their situation and asked Emma whether or not they should send them some pork. Emma reveals she has already sent the whole hind-quarter. Mr. Woodhouse agrees with her decision.
Mr. Knightley starts to tell her some news that will interest her, but is interrupted by Miss Bates and Jane arriving to thank them for the pork. They reveal that Mr. Elton is to be married. This was Mr. Knightley’s news, too. Mr. Elton will be married to a Miss Hawkins from Bath. Miss Bates is surprised to find Mr. Knightley already knows the news, but he reveals he was with Mr. Cole when he received the letter. Emma is pleased by the news. Mr. Woodhouse thinks he is too young to marry. Miss Bates is excited to have a new neighbour to visit. Jane asks if Mr. Elton is a tall man. Emma answers that most at Highbury believe him to be perfect both in body and mind. Miss Bates continues to ramble on about various subjects—the pork, their new neighbours and the health of the Campbells. Emma comments that Mr. Elton and Miss Hawkins can not have known each other for long for they have never heard of her before. Emma tries to push Jane to give her opinion, but she refuses to give it considering she has never even seen Mr. Elton before. Miss Bates wonders if Mr. Dixon looks like Mr. John Knightley. To Jane, they are the opposites. She thinks Mr. Dixon was quite plain, but then reveals she is only giving the general opinion of him, not her own. Miss Bates wishes them a good morning and leaves with Jane.
Emma was pleased with the news of Mr. Elton’s upcoming marriage as it proved he did not suffer from Emma’s refusal. She was sorry, however, for Harriet’s feelings. She decided the news should come from her, and not from others who would not be as sympathetic. However, it was nearing the time when Harriet should be visiting Hartfield, and Emma worried she might meet Miss Bates on her way up. Harriet came in extremely agitated and told her what had just happened. She had left Mrs. Goddard’s, afraid it might rain, and hurried to Hartfield as fast as she could. It began to rain, so she took shelter from it in Ford’s, a shop. Elizabeth Martin and her brother, Mr. Martin, stepped into the shop. Elizabeth saw her, but then looked away. Mr. Martin did not see her and went to the other end of the shop. He looked around, saw Harriet, and then started to whisper with his sister. Harriet was convinced they were talking about her. Elizabeth then came up and asked Harriet how she was. Their meeting was not as friendly as it had been before, but Elizabeth was kind to her. Harriet was terribly sad she was treated so well after the refusal of her brother. Mr. Martin then came up to her and advised her to go by Mr. Cole’s stables to avoid getting wet, and then returned to Elizabeth. Harriet does not know what to do—she has been made uncomfortable by the encounter.
Emma sat quietly for a moment and thought. She pitied the Martin’s. He was obviously sorry to lose her. Emma told Harriet she had behaved well in the meeting and that she shouldn’t think much about it as the first meeting was over and done with. Harriet agreed, but then talked of nothing else. Emma, determined to stop her, gave her the news of Mr. Elton’s engagement. Harriet found herself interested in the fortunate Miss Hawkins which Emma hoped pushed Mr. Martin out of her head again. Emma was glad that the meeting had taken place, and considering that the Martin sisters had never visited Mrs. Goddard’s, they would probably never meet again for a year.
It had been almost a week since Miss Hawkin’s name was first spoken in Highbury, but everyone had already heard of her beauty and accomplishments. When Mr. Elton himself arrived in Highbury all that was left to reveal was her first name and the kind of music she liked to play. He was a supremely happy man—a definite change from the offended one who had fled Highbury. He was now pleased with himself, cared nothing for Emma, and defied Harriet. Augusta Hawkins had a fortune of at least ten thousand pounds. Augusta had been so pleased and impressed with Mr. Elton that their friendship led quickly to an engagement. The wedding itself would be organized quickly and when Mr. Elton left for Bath again it was generally understood he would return to Highbury with his bride.
Emma had barely seen Mr. Elton during his short stay, but what she had seen made her doubt the good qualities she had initially seen in him. She hoped she would never see him again because he and his memory caused her pain. Even though he would still live in Highbury, his marriage would smooth over their past and civility might return.
Emma did not think much of Miss Hawkins. She was good enough for Mr. Elton, was probably plain beside Harriet, and had no real status in society aside from her fortune. She was the youngest of two daughters of a Bristol merchant who had died, and now lived with her lawyer Uncle. The Uncle did not appear to have raised himself in society very far, and Emma assumed he was too stupid to do so. The connection appeared grand because of Miss Hawkins’ older sister, who had married a rich gentleman near Bristol who had two carriages. She wished that she could have given her feelings to Harriet who seemed still in love with Mr. Elton. Emma guessed that Harriet was one of those girls who would always be in love if she had felt it before. The reappearance of Mr. Elton made things worse for her, and she was always with people who found no faults in him. This made her fall in love with him even more, and regretted that she was not Miss Hawkins. If Emma had not felt responsible, she might have been amused by what was happening—sometimes Mr. Elton was favoured by Harriet, and sometimes it was Mr. Martin.
Elizabeth Martin had visited Mrs. Goddard’s a few days after their meeting at Ford’s, but Harriet had not been in. She left a kind note for Harriet. Until Mr. Elton had arrived, Harriet had been obsessed with it, and wondering what she would do. Emma decided that, to offset some of the suffering Mr. Elton was causing her, Harriet should return Elizabeth Martin’s visit. Emma would be careful about it, however. She wanted to make sure that the friendship was not renewed—she would drop Harriet off at the Abbey Mill and return for her before steps toward an intimate friendship could be made.
Harriet was not overjoyed by the prospect of her visit to the Martins. Half an hour before Emma collected her from Mrs. Goddard’s, she saw a trunk for Mr. Elton being lifted into a butcher’s cart. Her attention was solely focused on him and the trunk from then on. Emma dropped her off at the Abbey Mill, where Harriet was at once agitated by being back, and Emma went on to visit an old servant in Donwell for fifteen minutes. Emma returned to Abbey Mill and Harriet came out of the house promptly by herself. Although Harriet found it hard at first to tell her what had happened, Emma discovered that the meeting had been reserved to begin with, that only Mrs. Martin and her two daughters had been there, and they kept to general conversation. That is, until Mrs. Martin declared that Harriet seemed to have grown taller and they looked to pencilled marks on the wall by the window which Mr. Martin had made the previous summer. As soon as they started to settle into their old way of friendship, Emma had returned. Although Emma was sad that this caused so much pain for Harriet, she knew it was necessary. She decided to visit Randalls on the way home to keep Harriet from thinking too much about Mr. Martin and Mr. Elton, but on arrival discovered that the Westons were actually visiting Hartfield that moment. Emma did not know when she was last so disappointed.
The carriage stopped, and both Westons stood waiting to talk to her. They revealed that they had received a letter from Frank who would be arriving the following day and staying for two weeks. If had come at Christmas, he would have only been able to stay three days, so Mr. Weston was immensely pleased he had not. Emma looked to Mrs. Weston, who was happy, and decided if Mrs. Weston thought Frank was coming, then he must. Emma hoped Mr. Elton would not be talked about anymore. Mr. Weston promised to bring Frank to Hartfield, and then the two left. Harriet’s only question for Emma was as to whether Frank would travel through Bath on his way to Highbury.
The next day, Emma kept Mrs. Weston in her thoughts. At noon, she imagined Mrs. Weston going from room to room making sure everything was perfect. Emma hoped that Frank would be brought for a visit the following day. She opened the parlour door to find Mr. Weston and Frank sitting with Mr. Woodhouse. Mr. Weston explained that Frank had arrived a day before he was meant to, and finally Emma was face to face with him. He was a good looking man and appeared intelligent and sensible. Emma decided she would like him. He was at ease in talking to her, which suggested that he wanted to be friends with her as much as she wanted to be with him. Emma was impressed by the eagerness Frank had shown in arriving so early, and his compliments for Randalls, Highbury and Hartfield. He was terribly indulgent in their conversation, and even though Emma suspected it might be Frank’s way of getting on their side, she still admired the way he handled himself. It did not appear that he was lying or exaggerating when he spoke.
When Mr. Weston and Mr. Woodhouse were engaged in a conversation, Frank took an opportunity to compliment Mrs. Weston to Emma. He nearly complimented Emma for Mrs. Weston’s merits, even though in normal circumstances it was supposed to be the governess who formed her charge’s character, not the other way around. Frank admitted he was not expecting to find Mrs. Weston a pretty young woman. Emma suggested he should not say such things around Mrs. Weston, but Emma could not hear enough compliments for Mrs. Weston herself. Emma wondered to herself whether or not Frank had considered their possible future marriage as she had done. She had no doubt that Mr. Weston had thought of it as he continued to glance toward them with a happy face and was often listening in on their conversation. Mr. Woodhouse did not consider this for an instant, which Emma was happy about—he usually objected to every marriage he heard about, and so Emma was pleased he was not struck with any anxiety about one being arranged between them.
Mr. Weston had to leave, then, on business and suggested that Frank should stay. However, Frank gave his apologies and told them he was going to visit Jane, who he had met at Weymouth. He doubted whether or not he should visit her today, but all encouraged him to do so considering Jane was used to attention at the Campbells and barely received any while living with her Grandmother and Aunt. Frank and Mr. Weston left, then, and Emma was pleased that she could think about them being at Randalls at every hour of the day.
Frank returned to Hartfield the following morning with Mrs. Weston. Emma had not expected them, but was pleased to see them. They went for a walk for two hours around Highbury, during which Emma was satisfied with Frank’s treatment of Mrs. Weston. Frank found everything he saw of Highbury in a complimentary way. His interest in his father’s past, in particularly, proved to Emma that Mr. Knightley had not done him justice, and that it had not been his choice to put off the visit.
They stopped at the Crown Inn, which had, many years ago, had a large room built for a ballroom. It had been used for some dances, but now it was only used for a whist club. Frank wanted to have balls there once every fortnight during the winter. He wondered why Emma had not brought the room back to its former glory and organized balls—she could do anything in Highbury that she wanted to do. Emma suggested there were not enough families of consequence in the area to attend. Frank continued to argue cheerfully in defence of having dances in the future, and Emma could see none of the proud nature of Enscombe in him.
When they reached the area the Bates family lived in, Emma asked if he managed to visit them the previous day. Frank admitted that he had only intended on staying for ten minutes, but could not get away. When Mr. Weston, finding his son still there, joined him, Frank had been sitting there for 45 minutes! Frank thought Jane looked ill because she was so pale, and Emma found herself defending her. They came to Ford’s and Frank demanded to go in so he could buy something. Emma asked him if he and Jane spent much time together at Weymouth, but Frank would not tell her—it is a lady’s right to decide how well they were or weren’t acquainted. Emma is surprised he has given an answer as vague as the one Jane gave. Emma insists that Jane is so reserved that Frank could really say anything. He admits that he met her frequently that the Campbells were well liked, and they were generally all within the same circle. Emma wonders if he knows what Jane is about to become. Mrs. Weston reminds them not to talk in this way and moves away from them. After they were done with the shop, Frank asked them if they had ever heard Jane play music. Emma has often heard her play. Frank wondered what other people thought about her playing—a man who was in love with another woman would never ask anyone, but Jane to sit down and play the piano if she was nearby. Emma guesses that this man was Mr. Dixon. Emma wondered how Miss Campbell felt. Frank reminded her that Jane was her friend. Emma still felt sorry for Miss Campbell, but Frank did not think she felt it. Emma did not know if that was a good or bad thing—either she is stupid or too sweet. Emma suggested that Jane should have refused to play if Miss Campbell had not been asked, and suggests that something more was at work between them. Frank did not know what to say about their relationship—he could only comment on what he had seen. They talk about Jane’s reserved behaviour and how much it annoys both Emma and Frank—he could never love a reserved person. Emma would never be able to be close friends with Jane—she does not think poorly of her, but is suspicious of people who seem to have things to hide. Frank agreed with her, and Emma felt they were close friends despite it only being their second time together.
Emma thought he was a better man than she expected—kinder and less spoilt by his fortune. Frank would not find anything wrong with Mr. Elton’s house—if a man shared a house with the woman he loved, there would be nothing wrong with it. Mrs. Weston laughed at him and accused him of looking at it from his own spoiled past, but Emma decided this meant he was looking to settle down and marry early in life for love. It seemed to suggest he would give up Enscombe if he found someone to love.
Emma’s opinion of Frank was shaken a little the following day when she heard he had gone to London to have a hair cut. It seemed like nonsense to her, and she did not approve. It didn’t fall into her impression of him as a moderate, rational, unselfish man. This was proof of restlessness and vanity. Mrs. Weston did not like it, either, but Mr. Weston thought it was a good story. Despite this, Emma found that all of her friends thought well of Frank. Mr. Weston suggested that Frank admired Emma a great deal, which led Emma to believe she had been marked out as a possible match for Frank. Mr. Knightley was the only one who did not like Frank and thought his hair cut in London only proved how silly Frank was.
Mr. and Mrs. Weston’s visit to Hartfield brought bad news—something had happened which they wanted Emma’s advice on. The Coles, who had been in Highbury for many years, were low in society. They had kept to their means, at first, but when their wealth increased, they bought a larger house and had become second to the Hartfield house. They had thrown a few parties, but Emma did not think they would invite families above their status. Donwell and Randalls had received their invitations, but Hartfield had not. Mrs. Weston explained it away—they would not be brave enough to invite them, and they knew Mr. Woodhouse did not go out often. Emma still wanted to have the power to refuse, and felt sorry that the friends she liked so much would be attending. Even Harriet would be there!
When an invitation arrives for her, Emma accepts it purely because of their attention to her father. They had wanted to send an invitation earlier, but were waiting on a folding screen to arrive from London so that they could keep drafts away from him. Mr. Woodhouse would not go, but the Coles could come and take tea with them one day. He asks the Westons to take care of Emma while she is out and wishes that Mrs. Weston could have stayed at home with him if she had not married. This only agitated Mr. Woodhouse and Mr. Weston remained quiet until the two ladies could figure out what should be done. Mrs. Goddard would be written to and invited to the house. Mr. Woodhouse would like Emma to come home from the dinner early. Mr. Weston argues against it as it would break up the party and be offensive to their neighbours of ten years. Mr. Woodhouse agrees—she will be safe among friends and will not hurt the Coles by leaving early. Emma only fears Mr. Woodhouse staying up too late for her—he agrees to go to bed only if she eats and gets warm as soon as she arrives home.
Frank had returned with his hair cut and no shame at having gone all the way to London to have it done. Emma decides that not all silly actions mean the person carrying them out is silly. If he was, he would have been ashamed or celebrated the act. She looked forward to seeing Frank again at the Coles’ dinner, and Emma decided she would be happy, despite going to the Coles’ home.
Emma’s carriage followed Mr. Knightley’s, which she was pleased for because Mr. Knightley often refused to use his carriage. Emma complimented him on an entrance befitting a gentleman. Mr. Knightley thanked her, but commented that he wondered if she would know if he was more of a gentleman or not had she not seen him arrive. Emma suggested that Mr. Knightley usually had to pretend to be more important than he felt when he arrived without a carriage because he was ashamed, and now he had nothing to fear. Emma would be more than happy to walk into the house with him. Emma was pleased with the party—she was sat beside Frank and believed it was because he made it so. A conversation at the dinner table catches Emma’s ear—she hears that a pianoforte had arrived at the Bates’ house. They did not know who had ordered it but assumed it couldn’t have come from anyone else but Colonel Campbell. However, Jane had received a letter from the Campbells recently, and nothing had been said about it. They assumed that it was meant as a surprise. The Coles were pleased that Jane had been given an instrument to play as they always felt it was a shame that an accomplished pianist had no piano of her own to play at home. They hoped that their own pianoforte would be played by their neighbours that evening and in particular by Emma. Emma then turned to Frank and suggested that they had the same thoughts—that they believed the pianoforte to have come from Mr. Dixon, and not from Colonel Campbell. While Frank does not know if he feels the same way, he admits that Emma’s theory that they were in love has some merit to it.
When the ladies went to the drawing room, the ladies of a lower status arrived, including Harriet. Jane Fairfax did look superior to Harriet, but Emma was sure that Jane would want to change feelings with Harriet who was glad, despite her shame, to have loved Mr. Elton. Emma did not need to approach Jane in a party this large, and kept at a distance. The subject of the pianoforte was raised, and Jane blushed with guilt when she admitted it was from Colonel Campbell. They were then joined by the gentlemen. Frank stood by Emma when he found there was no seat beside her, and Emma knew then that everyone would think she was his devoted subject, and no one else. After introducing him to Harriet, Harriet felt there was something in Frank that was like Mr. Elton, and Emma had to turn away from her in silence. After a conversation about Highbury and Enscombe, Emma is certain that Highbury is more suited to Frank. He had wished to go away and travel, but now that wish was fading. Emma was sure this was because of his visit to Highbury.
Frank regretted that his time at Highbury was almost half over. Emma wondered if he regretted spending a day having his haircut, but he did not. After Emma spends time talking to Mr. Cole, she turns to find Frank staring at Jane. She asks him what the matter is, and Frank admits he is transfixed with the way Jane has done her hair—he has never seen anything like it and must ask her immediately whether it is an Irish fashion. Emma could not watch Jane to see if she blushed because Frank stood in front of her. Mrs. Weston took his seat before Frank could return. She was longing to talk to Emma—she wonders if she has heard how Miss Bates and Jane arrived at the party. Emma assumed they walked. Mrs. Weston tells her after feeling sorry for them having to walk home on such a cold night and offering a seat in their carriage, she discovered that Mr. Knightley’s carriage had brought and would take them home again. Mrs. Weston thinks it was kind of him to do so, and that this is the only reason why he arrived in the carriage. Emma agrees. Mrs. Weston admits that another thought has entered her head—she has made a match between Mr. Knightley and Jane. Emma disagrees—Mr. Knightley cannot marry because then Isabella’s children would not be able to inherit Donwell. Mrs. Weston does not want the match either, but points out that she has always been a favourite of Mr. Knightley’s. Emma tells Mrs. Weston to avoid match-making as she is not good at it. Mrs. Weston cannot see anything wrong with the match aside from the difference in age and fortune. Mrs. Weston suggests that he might be in love and want to give her a respectable home. Mrs. Weston suggests that the pianoforte has arrived from Mr. Knightley, and not Colonel Campbell. Emma does not think it would be him as he does nothing mysteriously. Mrs. Weston points out that Jane had complained to him on more than one occasion about her lack of an instrument. Mr. Knightley was also silent when Mrs. Cole told them about it at dinner. Emma will not believe any proof of the possibility.
They argued over it until Mrs. Cole approached them and asked Emma to try the pianoforte. Frank had found a seat next to Jane and asked Emma to play. She agreed to—she knew that her talents were limited but could sing fairly well. Frank joined her during one song to sing and was accused of having a talent for music. Frank denied this but sang once more with Emma. Emma then swapped with Jane, whose performance was most definitely superior. Frank and Jane had clearly sung together at Weymouth, but Emma was more interested in Mr. Knightley, who listened with the most attention. She did not want him to marry—little Henry must inherit Donwell. Mr. Knightley came and sat beside her, then, and they talked only of the performance. She complimented him on his kindness toward Jane and Miss Bates—he did not want to talk of his own kindness. Emma would have liked to do the same, but did not think her father would agree. Mr. Knightley is sure she would want to assist others. Emma mentions the gift of the pianoforte was a lovely one, but Mr. Knightley believes it would have been better had they told her it was coming as it would have been an inconvenience. Emma could have sworn at that moment that Mr. Knightley had not given Jane the instrument, but thought he was still attached in an odd way. When Jane’s voice grew hoarse, Mr. Knightley told her not to sing anymore. While Frank tried to persuade her otherwise, Mr. Knightley grew angry and accused him of wanting to hear his own voice. He asked Miss Bates to assist and stop her niece from singing anymore. Miss Bates put an end to all of the singing.
Everything was cleared away when the Coles suggested dancing. Mrs. Weston played for them, and Frank asked Emma to dance with him. While Frank complimented her on her talents, Emma looked around for Mr. Knightley. She knew he hated dances—if he asked Jane to dance, it would suggest something. Jane was asked by someone else, and Mr. Knightley was in conversation with Mrs. Cole. Emma did not worry anymore about little Henry—she felt his inheritance would be safe—and started to really enjoy herself. They danced two dances before they decided it was too late to go on. Frank admitted, while he helped Emma into her carriage, that he was glad for it otherwise he would have had to ask Jane to dance with him.
Emma was pleased that she had gone to the Coles’ dinner party. It gave her many pleasant memories the next day, especially considering she must have delighted the Coles themselves. However, she was uneasy when she remembered what she had said to Frank about Jane’s feelings. She should not have said anything, but was unable to stop herself. She also regretted the inferior quality of her performance compared to Jane’s. She sat down and practised for an hour and a half. Harriet interrupted her, then, and complimented her but Emma did not find comfort in it. Harriet told her what compliments people had made about Emma the previous night, but Emma finds fault in all of them—Jane is much better.
Harriet adds that she heard something from another family there, the Coxes. Emma was afraid to ask, thinking that the subject of Mr. Elton might be brought up again, but she reveals that Mr. Martin had dinner with them a week before. Miss Nash thought that either of the Coxes daughters would be glad to marry him. Emma suggests the Coxes daughters are vulgar. Harriet had business to attend to at Ford’s, so Emma went with her, fearing another meeting with the Martins. While Harriet took a long time to figure out what she wanted to buy, Emma went to the door to watch people pass. She looked down the Randalls road to see Mrs. Weston and Frank walking towards Hartfield. They stopped at the Bates’ house first and, before they could knock, saw Emma and walked toward her. They were going to the Bates’ to see and hear the new pianoforte. Frank suggested he might join Emma and Harriet and go onto Hartfield while Mrs. Weston pays her visit. Mrs. Weston was visibly disappointed. Emma suggests he should go with Mrs. Weston. Frank agrees to, but wonders what will happen if he has to lie about the quality of the instrument—he cannot tell convincing lies. Emma does not believe this—he can tell lies when he needs to, but she is certain he will not have to. Mrs. Weston and Frank return to the Bates house.
Harriet continued her indecision until Mrs. Weston and Miss Bates arrived at the shop door and asked them to come across to hear the new pianoforte. After Miss Bates rambles on, including mentioning Frank’s suggestion that Emma should come and hear the instrument, Emma tells them she would be happy to come and visit. They step out into the street. Miss Bates reveals that Mr. Knightley had visited them the other day and promised to send them more of the apples from his orchard because Jane enjoyed them.
They find Frank fixing Mrs. Bates’ spectacles, and he was happy to see Emma—even ten minutes before he had calculated she might return. Mrs. Weston is surprised he is still fixing the spectacles, but Frank insists he had other tasks to accomplish, too: he was helping Jane make the pianoforte steady on the uneven floor. Frank made Emma sit beside her and looked for the best baked apple for her to eat. Jane was not ready to play just yet, and Emma believed it was because the instrument was so new to her and made her emotional. Jane began, and the pianoforte was complimented. Frank, while smiling at Emma, agreed that Colonel Campbell or the friend he had asked to help had exceptionally good taste. Frank asked Jane if Colonel Campbell had a direct hand in finding the pianoforte, but Jane could not answer—she would only be guessing until she received a letter from Colonel Campbell. Emma whispers to Frank to stop teasing Jane—she had not meant to say anything.
Frank asks her to play something from the previous night, but Jane plays something from Weymouth. Frank remembers the tune and Jane blushes, and then plays something else. Frank points out that Colonel Campbell sent sheet music with the pianoforte because he knew she would have none with her, which Frank believes shows how much affection went into the present. Emma caught Jane smiling to herself and blushing. Jane was apparently remembering something from her past. While Jane played, Emma admitted again that she wished she had not said anything. Frank is pleased she did as he now has the ability to open her up a bit more. Frank does not think she feels bad about her past, or wrongly because she is currently playing Mr. Dixon’s favourite song.
Miss Bates saw Mr. Knightley on horseback. She decides to go into her mother’s room and call from the window to invite him in. Mr. Knightley asks after Jane and wonders if she is well. Mrs. Weston gave Emma a particular look, but Emma shook her head. Mr. Knightley then asks if he could fetch anything from Kingston while he is there. Miss Bates has nothing for him to do, but asks him to come inside. He agrees to do so for five minutes, but when he hears that Mrs. Weston and Frank are there, decides he cannot stay for even two minutes. He will call in on another day to see the pianoforte. Miss Bates compliments Frank and Emma for their dancing the previous night, and Mr. Knightley knows they are listening and agrees, but adds that Jane and Mrs. Weston should be complimented to. Miss Bates thanks him for the apples, but tells him off for sending his entire store of them. Before she can say another word, Mr. Knightley leaves.
Emma decided it must be time for her to go home. Frank and Mrs. Weston walked them to the Hartfield gates and then left for Randalls.
Frank wanted another dance. He spent the last moments of an evening at Randalls trying to persuade them all into giving another ball. Frank walked the length of the room to see how large it was—he wanted the same visitors and the same musicians to attend. Mr. Weston decided it was a great idea, Mrs. Weston would play for as long as they wanted to dance, and the rest of the people there tried to figure out how many couples could dance in the room. Five couples listed turned into ten, and they wondered if they couldn’t open the doors to two rooms and dance across the hall. Some of them thought it would be a bad idea, and Mr. Woodhouse thought it would be unhealthy. He was worried about the ladies, particularly Emma, getting a cold because of the air. The passage plan was given up, and the room they had decided was not big enough for ten, suddenly was. Emma disagreed—there would not be room enough for ten couples. Frank did not want to give the plan up—he did not want his father to be disappointed.
The next day, Frank arrived at Hartfield with an announcement. He suggests the dance be given at the Crown Inn, instead, and asks for Emma’s hand in the first two dances. Emma agrees with the plan as long as the Westons and her father agreed. Mr. Woodhouse did not understand how the Crown Inn could be safer for their health than the Randalls, and opposed the plan. Frank tells them they will not have any windows opened, which sometimes happens at parties. Mr. Woodhouse sees the plan as a better one, but still wants to discuss it in detail. Emma suggests that the Crown would be better for the horses as the stable was nearby, and Frank points out that Mrs. Weston is in charge of directing the Crown and getting it ready. Mr. Woodhouse is pleased with this because Mr. Perry approves of Mrs. Weston—she was always so careful when helping Emma with sicknesses.
Frank had left the Westons looking over the Crown space to see what might be done, and had rushed over to Hartfield to see if they would join them and offer their own advice. Emma was happy to do so. Mrs. Weston thought the wallpaper was dirty, but her husband assured her they wouldn’t see any of that by candlelight—they never saw it during their games nights. Emma and Mrs. Weston exchanged a look that seemed to say no man can see if something is dirty or not. One problem was where they would have their supper. Mrs. Weston suggested not have supper and just having sandwiches set out, but this was rejected. She wished that they could have their guests’ opinions as to what to do so they could do what was generally pleasing for all. Frank suggests calling on the Coles or for Miss Bates. Emma suggests not consulting Miss Bates as she will tell them nothing—she will only agree with whatever they have to say. Frank will not bring the entire family, and he is fond of hearing Miss Bates talk. Mrs. Weston agreed with the plan, and Frank is told to bring Jane with him.
Mrs. Weston, in the meantime, had looked into the passage and found it was not as bad a spot to have supper after all, and so all of the decisions had been made before Jane and Miss Bates returned. Frank had already written to Enscombe asking to stay beyond his original fortnight, and the rest of the elements of the party would be decided on by Mrs. Weston. When Miss Bates arrived she assumed her role as approver and agreed with everything that had been decided. Emma was secured by Frank for the first two dances, and Emma overheard Mr. Weston whisper to Mrs. Weston that he knew Frank would ask her.
Emma wanted the date for the ball to be within Frank’s original fortnight so that the Churchills did not call him back. However, this was not feasible, and they would not be able to get everything ready until the third week. Enscombe did not approve but could not say anything against Frank staying. Emma was less anxious about this element, and started to worry about Mr. Knightley’s indifference to it. He did not seem interested in it, whether because he hated dances or because everything had been decided without his help, and was not excited by it. He will not refuse the invitation, but he would rather be at home doing work. Jane Fairfax, on the other hand, was excited by the prospect of the dance. Emma was further convinced that Mr. Knightley did not care much for Jane if he did not share her feelings for the dance.
However, a letter arrived from Mrs. Churchill, demanding his presence at Enscombe immediately. She was unwell and could not do without him. She had not mentioned it before, wanting to save Frank from having to rush back, but now she needed him. Mrs. Weston wrote to Emma immediately to tell her of the letter—he had to leave in a few hours but was not worried about his Aunt. Her illnesses arose only at her own convenience. He would be stopping in at Hartfield before he went. Emma was sorry to lose Frank and the dance. That Emma had been correct in her prediction was her only consolation. Mr. Woodhouse felt strongly about Mrs. Churchill’s illness and he was happy that they would be staying safely at home. When Frank arrived at Hartfield, his sorrow was clear. Emma suggested he would be back again, but Frank did not know when he would be back. He was sorry he did not listen to Emma and have the dance immediately. Emma would have rather been wrong. She wondered if Frank had delayed in coming to Hartfield because he did not have a positive view of Highbury. Frank laughed and denied it, but Emma knew this was the reason. Frank admitted he already been in to say goodbye to the Bates house. He started to announce his love for Hartfield, and then suddenly stopped, unable to say anything else. Emma saw that he was more in love with her than she had known, and did not know what would have happened had Mr. Woodhouse not stepped into the room then. Frank would hear all about Highbury from Mrs. Weston’s letters. He then said goodbye and Emma was sorry to feel his absence.
It had been a happy fortnight for her, and she considered that she must be in love with him a little, despite her determination not to. She feels the restlessness is due to his disappearance from Highbury, and she knows others will also mourn the loss of the dance—all, that is, except for Mr. Knightley. He did not, however, appear to be happy. He was not sorry for the loss, but he was sorry for Emma’s disappointment. It was a few days before Emma saw Jane and discovered that she had been unwell, and probably wouldn’t have been able to attend the ball anyway.
Emma continued to think about her love for Frank—she wondered by how much she was in love with him. It was lovely to hear about Frank, to wait for a letter and to wonder when he might return to Highbury, but she was not unhappy. She could imagine his faults, and as she sat she thought of the way their friendship might have evolved, imagining conversations and elegant letters. The conclusion to every imaginary scenario led to her refusing him and them staying friends. She did not think she could be completely in love if she could not even imagine marrying him. Emma suspects she does not need him to be happy, and will not persuade herself to be more in love than she appears to be. Emma has no doubts that Frank is in love with her, and she must not encourage him when he returns to Hartfield. She thinks she has been let off easily—everyone is meant to be in love once in their lives, and she is happy to have it over and to have ended happily.
When Frank’s letter to Mrs. Weston arrived, Emma read it. It was a long letter detailing his journey and his feelings about it. Emma was pleased to see that her name was mentioned more than once in compliments. Frank sent his apologies to Emma’s “friend” Harriet, who is not mentioned by name. Emma is sure that this remark was meant for her more than for Harriet. Mrs. Churchill was still recovering from her illness, and Frank was unable to suggest a time when he would be back in Highbury again. Although Emma was pleased by the letter, she found it did not leave any lasting happiness with her, and she was decided that they must do without one another. She considered matching Harriet and Frank together as Frank had been struck by her beauty, but then decided against it—it would be in Harriet’s advantage, but Emma knew the dangers of speculating marriage matches.
Where Frank’s visit had meant less conversations about Mr. Elton, the reverse was now true. His wedding date to Miss Hawkins was named, and he would soon be back at Highbury with his bride. Frank was not discussed. Emma was tired of it—she had had three weeks without hearing Mr. Elton, which she hoped had helped Harriet to get over him. She had not. Harriet required comfort from Emma, but it was hard work when Harriet never seemed to get any better or change her opinions. Emma tried a different angle—she accuses Harriet of dwelling on her unhappiness and insulting Emma in the process because of her mistake. She has not forgotten it was her own doing, and she will never forget it, and Harriet must stop trying to remind her of it. Emma wants Harriet to forget for her own sake, not for Emma’s, because Emma will never forget. Emma’s appeal to Harriet’s affection for her helped considerably. Harriet felt she was ungrateful to Emma, and Emma had never loved her more. She thought Harriet’s tenderness of the heart was like her own father’s or Isabella’s. Emma does not have it herself, but she respects it in others. She thinks of Harriet as her superior in this sense, and the superior to the cold Jane Fairfax. Emma even longs for a man who might transform her from an Emma into a Harriet, knowing the value of affection and kindness, but having none herself.
Mrs. Elton was first seen at Church, but the pews were not a good viewing location, and so it was left to the formal visits to see if she was pretty or not. Emma did not want to be the last to pay her respects to the family and made sure Harriet went with her to avoid too many unpleasant moments. Emma was struck by her memories of three months before, when she entered the house to lace up her boot. She believed Harriet was remembering the same, but she behaved herself and kept quiet. They kept the visit short, and Emma found that she was so occupied by her past memories that she could not form an opinion of Mrs. Elton. She did not really like her, however, as Mrs. Elton was not elegant. Mr. Elton’s manners were awkward, but Emma forgave him for that—it must have been hard to be in the same room as his new wife, the woman he wanted to marry, and the woman he had been expected to marry.
After the visit, Harriet and Emma discuss Mrs. Elton. They both admit that she is charming and well dressed. Neither is surprised that Mr. Elton fell in love with her, but they disagree about Mrs. Elton being in love with him. Emma suggests that not all women can marry the men they love—they have to marry for a home, and take the best offer they will likely receive. Harriet admits that she will not be afraid of seeing them again as Mr. Elton being married makes everything different. She is comforted to know that he did not throw himself away and that he married someone he deserves.
When a return visit was made at Hartfield, Emma managed to talk to Mrs. Elton by herself for fifteen minutes. She decided that Mrs. Elton was a vain woman who was interested in her own importance. She wanted to be superior, but her manners were not excellent ones. Emma was convinced that Harriet would have been a better match for Mr. Elton, and that it was only the rich brother in Bristol which had enticed him into the alliance. The brother’s home in Maple Grove was compared to Hartfield—Mrs. Elton thought they were quite similar and compared the gardens and the house to the point where she could imagine she was back home. She is sure that her brother and sister will love Hartfield particularly for the extensive grounds, but Emma doubts this statement—no one with extensive grounds cares about any other household with them. Emma tells Mrs. Elton that after she has seen more of Surrey, she will have found she has overrated Hartfield. Mrs. Elton is well aware—she knows that Surrey is the garden of England. Emma reminds her that many counties claim to be the garden of England, but Mrs. Elton disagrees—she has never heard of anywhere but Surrey called this name. Emma keeps quiet.
Mrs. Elton goes on to describe the future visit her brother and sister will make, and the exploring they will do. Mrs. Elton is sure that Emma and her friends do the same thing, but Emma does not go far and insists that they are more inclined to stay at home. Mrs. Elton claims she is the same way, but does not believe people who shut themselves off from society do themselves any favours—it is better to live in moderation. Mrs. Elton suggests that taking Mr. Woodhouse to Bath might help his health and let Emma go out more often. Emma tells her Mr. Woodhouse has attempted it before with no benefit to his health and that his doctor, Mr. Perry disagrees with the place. Mrs. Elton offers to introduce Emma to the best society in Bath as she has led a secluded life. Emma could not stomach this suggestion—to be in debt to Mrs. Elton for the introduction would be undignified. Emma remained polite and thanked her, but reminded her that going to Bath was out of the question. She changed the subject quickly.
Emma and Mrs. Elton talked about music. Emma had heard Mrs. Elton was an excellent performer, but Mrs. Elton insists that she is mediocre in talent. She loves to perform, and this was the only condition that Mrs. Elton made clear to Mr. Elton before they were married—she could do without all of the pleasures and luxuries she was used to at Maple Grove except for being part of a musical society. Emma assured her they were quite musical at Highbury. Mrs. Elton is pleased and suggests that they hold small concerts and attend weekly meetings. She thinks this will help her to continue with her music, especially as married women tend to give up their musical hobbies. Emma does not think she will give it up if she loves it that much, but Mrs. Elton doubts this.
Mrs. Elton changes the subject. She has visited Randalls and thinks that Mrs. Weston is a lovely person. She is surprised, however, that she is also quite lady-like, but Emma insists that her manners have always been very good. Mrs. Elton asks her to guess who was there when they visited, but Emma had no idea. Mrs. Elton tells her they met Mr. Knightley there, whom she had been looking forward to meeting after Mr. Elton had mentioned him so often. She likes him very much. At this point, the Eltons had to leave, and Emma could finally breathe.
She could not believe Mrs. Elton had the audacity to call Mr. Knightley, “Knightley”, and this to only be their first visit. She is also insulted that Mrs. Elton was surprised to find Mr. Knightley was a gentleman and that Mrs. Weston was a gentlewoman, and that she suggested the musical club. She imagines how angry Frank would be if he was there.
Mr. Woodhouse thought she was quite a charming young lady and would make for a fine wife. He still did not think Mr. Elton should have married. He made his excuses to them for not visiting, and hoped that he would be able to in the summer. He worries that he has insulted them by not visiting the new bride before now, but Emma assures him that his apologies would be well accepted. If he does not like marriage so much, he should not pay his respects to a bride or he would be seen encouraging more people to marry. Mr. Woodhouse still believes that a bride should have attention paid to her. It is polite and has nothing to do with encouraging marriage. Emma continued to be occupied by Mrs. Elton’s insults.
On the second visit with Mrs. Elton, Emma felt secure in her opinions—she was still self important despite her little beauty and accomplishments. She thought that she had come to this country neighbourhood to improve it. Mr. Elton was proud of his wife and appeared to believe not even Emma was her equal. Emma continued to stick to her original polite compliments. Mrs. Elton’s feelings toward Emma, however, changed. She was probably offended by Emma’s reserved nature and started to draw away from her, as well. This only added to Emma’s dislike of her. Both Mrs. Elton and Mr. Elton were cruel to Harriet, and Emma only hoped that it would cure Harriet of her love. It was likely that Mr. Elton had told his wife what had happened, making sure to show himself in a better light.
Mrs. Elton did like Jane Fairfax; before Mrs. Elton stopped confiding in Emma, she admitted that she wanted to do something for Jane to bring her forward in life. Mrs. Elton did not want her talents and charm to go to waste when she becomes a governess. Emma does not understand how Mrs. Elton’s attention could be any different than that of the rest of Highbury. Mrs. Elton insists that she lives in a style which could support Jane—she will have her at her house whenever she can, introduce her to those she can, have musical parties to show off her talent and be on the look out for an eligible husband for her. Mrs. Elton has many friends, and she does not doubt hearing of someone suitable soon. Emma thought Jane did not deserve this, even if she had acted improperly around Mr. Dixon. Thankfully, Mrs. Elton’s change came soon after, and Emma did not have to listen to her talk about this again. Emma was surprised that Jane accepted Mrs. Elton’s help and attention and Emma heard of Jane spending time with them most days. Emma did not understand why Jane was still at Highbury and had not returned to the Campbells. They had decided to stay on for longer during the summer, and a new invitation had arrived for Jane, but she had declined to go. Emma feels there must be a hidden motive for refusing the invitation. Mrs. Weston explains to Emma that Jane must have accepted the Eltons as friends because it is better than her Aunt for company. Mr. Knightley agreed with this theory and added that she was capable of deciding for herself who she spent time with. Had Emma taken the time and effort to pay attention to her, Jane may not have chosen Mrs. Elton for her friend. Mr. Knightley added that Jane probably impressed Mrs. Elton by her superior mind and talent, and that she deserves the respect that Mrs. Elton gives her. Emma—suddenly afraid for Henry’s inheritance again—tells Mr. Knightley she knows how highly he thinks of her and that his admiration for her might take him by surprise one day. Mr. Knightley tells Emma she is far behind in her theories—Mr. Cole suggested it over a month ago. Even if Mr. Knightley asked Miss Fairfax, she would not have him, and he will not ask her. He realizes that Emma has been matching him with Jane, but Emma denies it. She would never take that kind of liberty with him and did not want him to marry anyone. Mr. Knightley assures her he has never thought of Jane in that way—she does not have the open temper which he wished for in a wife. Jane has feelings, but she is too reserved and cold. When Mr. Knightley left them, Emma asked what Mrs. Weston had to say about her theory about them being in love. Mrs. Weston does not think she has been beaten yet as he might be opposing the idea so much that he might actually be in love with her after all.
Everyone who had ever visited Mr. Elton before had to give him attention for his marriage. There were dinners and parties given for him and his new wife, and Mrs. Elton thought she would never have a day without something to do. She was used to going to dinners and parties because of her past at Bath and Maple Grove, and she corrected all the little mistakes some of the neighbours in Highbury made in their arrangements. Emma would not be satisfied until she gave a dinner at Hartfield for the Eltons because she did not want to be insulting them. Mr. Woodhouse agreed to it. Emma invited Harriet, but she begged not to attend. She did not want to see Mr. Elton happy with his wife and would rather stay at home. Emma was secretly pleased because she actually wanted to have Jane as her last dinner party guest, especially considering the last conversation she had had with Mr. Knightley about her. She wanted to show her the attention Mr. Knightley thought Emma should give her. Emma was sad that she did not try and be friends with Jane because it was expected of her. She did not think that Jane would accept her as a friend now, but Emma would still show her attention.
However, they received word that Mr. John Knightley would be visiting the day of the party. Although Mr. Woodhouse was anxious about a ninth person being at the dinner, Emma comforted him. As it happened, Mr. Weston was called out of town on business and would not be able to attend the dinner. Mr. John Knightley talked with Jane for a while and did not pay much attention to Mrs. Elton, except to take in enough detail to relay to Isabella when he returned home. He criticizes Jane for walking in the rain to collect letters. Jane expresses the value of friendship, especially those who were not near her and probably never would be, and so she must walk to the post-office no matter what the weather is doing. Mr. John Knightley suggests that, in ten years, she will have people she cares about in her more immediate circle and will not have to keep walking to collect her letters. Jane is a little tearful and grateful to him for saying so. Mr. Woodhouse interjected then and insisted young ladies should take better care of themselves. Mrs. Elton was then interested in this conversation about Jane walking in the rain, and was upset that she was not there to take care of her. Jane insisted she had not caught a cold, but Mrs. Elton told her off for not being able to take care of herself. Mrs. Weston agreed: Jane must not take risks or she might bring her cough on again. Mrs. Elton suggests that they will get one of their servants to collect her letters to stop Jane from having to fetch them, but Jane has been told to walk outside every day. She refuses to accept Mrs. Elton’s help because she likes walking to the post-office.
Jane changes the subject slightly and talks to Mr. John Knightley about the advantages of the post-office. She is fascinated that they rarely lose a letter. The conversation then moved onto the observations of handwriting. Mr. John Knightley believed that the handwriting of a family or close relations were often the same. Isabella and Emma’s handwriting are similar, for example. Everyone, including Mr. Knightley, agreed that Emma’s handwriting was lovely. Emma praised Frank’s handwriting, then, which Mr. Knightley disagreed with—he thought Frank wrote like a woman. Emma and Mrs. Weston disagree and wish they had a sample of writing to prove it to Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley jokes that a man like Frank would always use his best handwriting when writing to someone like Emma.
Emma was curious that Jane had refused help fetching her letters. She suspected that Jane had received a letter that had cheered or excited her because she seemed happier. She could have asked Jane a question about the speed of the Irish post, but she decided not to in case she would hurt Jane’s feelings.
When the ladies returned to the drawing room, two parties formed. She and Mrs. Weston talked together and Mrs. Elton drew Jane away. Emma did not want to talk to Mrs. Elton and Jane was engrossed by her attention. The post office situation was talked over again, and then Mrs. Elton asked if she had heard of a governesses position yet. Jane has not made any enquiries yet because she has not fixed on a month for her to be employed. Mrs. Elton suggested that it would be more difficult if she left it so late, but Jane is well aware. Mrs. Elton does not think she is—she has seen more of the world than Jane has done. Jane wants to spend more time with Colonel and Mrs. Campbell when they return to town mid-summer, and then she will make her own enquiries. She does not want Mrs. Elton to do anything on her behalf. Mrs. Elton insists that she write to her friends, and Jane continues to refuse. She will find something when she wants to. Mrs. Elton is worried she will not find a position worthy of her talents and accuses Jane of being modest.
Later on, when the men stepped into the drawing room, Emma overheard Mrs. Elton speak to Jane about Mr. Woodhouse. She admires his old fashioned manners and politeness and wishes Jane could have heard all of the compliments she received from him during the dinner. Just then, Mr. Weston returned from his business trip out of town, and everyone was generally pleased to see him. Mr. John Knightley was amazed that he would come to Hartfield when he could be at home out of the cold and in bed. His arrival at the party would lengthen it considerably. He was happy, and after making his compliments to everyone, he gave Mrs. Weston a letter, which they had just received. He asks her to read it to Emma. It is from Frank. He will be travelling close to Highbury the following week with the rest of the family and will split his time between the two places. Mrs. Weston was happy as she should be. Emma did not know how she felt about this. Mr. Weston went around the room to tell other people the news, and finding that Mrs. Elton was not currently talking to anyone, started with her first.
Mr. Weston expressed his hope that he would be able to introduce Frank to Mrs. Elton soon. They begin a rambling conversation wherein Mrs. Elton chastises Mr. Weston for opening his wife’s letters. They discuss the distance of Enscombe to London, and although Mrs. Elton thinks it is extraordinarily far, she does not think travelling distances truly matters to people of large fortunes. Mr. Weston tells her that Mrs. Churchill had been so weak that she had been unable to move for a week. She will only stop for two days on the road. Mrs. Elton agreed with this decision—sleeping in an inn is quite horrific for many ladies. Mr. Weston does not believe Mrs. Churchill is actually ill and that she has actually grown tired of being at Enscombe instead. Mrs. Elton hopes that when Frank returns he will be pleased to find an addition to Highbury, and she suggests that he would have never heard of her. Mr. Weston indulges this call for a compliment: Mrs. Weston has often written about Mrs. Elton to Frank. While Mrs. Elton continues to fish for compliments, Mr. Weston tries to tell her about Frank’s journey and Mrs. Churchill. He is looking forward to Frank being there for the nicer weather. He adds that he hopes Mrs. Elton is aware of his past history with Mrs. Churchill and that this informs his general attitude about her. He hopes he has not treated her too poorly. Instead of commenting on Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. Elton once again brings up Maple Grove and the people she disliked there.
Thankfully, they were interrupted by tea and Mr. Weston escaped her. While some of them played cards, Mr. John Knightley went over the plans for his two oldest sons while they stayed at Hartfield. Emma promises to do everything she can to make them happy. Mr. John Knightley wonders if they will get in her way, especially considering that her social life seemed to have picked up. Emma denies that there has been a difference, but Mr. John Knightley thinks she is much more involved in Highbury society than she has ever been. Although he suggests that the boys should be sent back home if they get in the way, Mr. Knightley opposes this—he would rather the boys be sent to him. Emma denies her social life has increased—it might seem that way because of discussions of dances that never happened, but it is not true. She always has time for her nephews—much more than Mr. Knightley had because of his business.
Emma figured out why she was agitated by the news of Frank returning. It was out of embarrassment for him because her attachment to him had disappeared. If Frank’s attachment had not cooled either, there would be some awkward times ahead for her. She would need to be cautious. She wanted to keep him from declaring his feelings for her outright, but she felt like the Spring would not pass before something substantial would happen to alter her peaceful state.
When Frank finally arrived at Hartfield, Emma immediately noticed that his treatment of her had altered considerably, and he was not as in love with her has he had been before he left. He was friendly and happy as he always was. They talked about old stories from his previous visit. He was restless and could only stay for a moment to visit other friends in Highbury. Emma considered that his restlessness might be due to his disinclination to trust himself around her. This had been the only visit he made to Hartfield in ten days. He had continued to hope to come, but he was always prevented from doing so—Mrs Churchill could not spare him. Frank admitted that she was weak and sicker than she had been half a year before and needed his attention. London was not for Mrs. Churchill, and they soon heard that they would move on to Richmond.
Frank wrote to the Westons and expressed his happiness. He would be much closer to Highbury and could visit more often. Emma thought Mr. Weston expected an engagement to bring him happiness before too long. She hoped she was wrong. Another good thing about this new arrangement was the ball at the Crown. Preparation for it began again. Frank wrote from Richmond to tell them his Aunt was improved, and he would be able to join them for the ball. Mr. Woodhouse felt it was a better idea to hold the ball in May than in February and could not complain as much about it. Mrs. Bates would spend the night with Mr. Woodhouse, and he hoped that neither of the Knightley boys would need anything while Emma was out for the evening.
Nothing prevented the ball from happening this time. Frank arrived at Randalls in time for the ball, and everything was set. Emma and Frank had not had a second meeting before the ball, but Emma thought it would be best to have this meeting without a crowd around them. Mr. Weston had asked her to arrive at the Crown before anyone else to make sure everything was set, and so she had some quiet time with Frank before the ball. When she arrived other carriages of close family friends and cousins had arrived to also give their opinion on the Crown’s Inn space. Emma thought half the party might have been invited to do the same task.
Frank was curious to meet Mrs. Elton. Emma wanted to know what his first opinion of her might be. The Eltons carriage had returned to fetch Miss Bates and Jane, and at the first sign of rain, Frank went outside to help them inside. Mrs. Elton took the time to compliment Mr. Weston on his son. She did not wait long enough for Frank to be out of earshot, however. When Mrs. Elton changed the subject to that of Maple Grove, Mr. Weston suddenly remembered that there were women who needed help and hurried away. Mrs. Elton expressed her pleasure to Mrs. Weston at being able to help friends with her own carriage, and insisted that the Westons would not need to offer their own carriage again. She will always take care of them. Miss Bates arrived in the room and started to, almost without taking a breath, speak incessantly. She was pleased with everything she saw in the Crown and delighted to see everyone. She reveals that she forced Jane to wear a shawl that Mr. Dixon had chosen for her. She expressed her gratitude for Frank’s kindness in not only helping with her mother’s spectacles, but also for helping them inside the inn.
Emma and Frank stood together then and overheard Mrs. Elton and Jane talk. After Mrs. Elton gave Jane many compliments, Mrs. Elton then pushed for compliments of her own. She mentions that she had heard Frank is a fabulous dancer and intends to find out for himself. Frank started to talk loudly, then, and Emma imagined it was because he did not want to hear any more. Emma whispered to him and asked if he liked Mrs. Elton. He did not. Still in an odd mood, Frank ran off to find his father to find out when the dancing was to begin. The Westons returned to Emma—they had realized that they would have to ask Mrs. Elton to start the dancing despite them wanting to give Emma that honour. Mr. Weston wondered what they would do for a partner—she is likely to want Frank for a partner. Frank turned to Emma then and boasted that he was already taken, which Mr. Weston was pleased for. Mrs. Weston talked her husband into dancing with Mrs. Elton, which he agreed to. They started the ball and Emma and Frank danced second. Emma was sad that she had to stand second to Mrs. Elton as she had always thought of the ball as hers.
Emma was not happy with Mr. Knightley, who was not dancing and standing at the side talking. He stood out among the other men as a striking gentleman, and she guessed that he would be a graceful dancer. During the last two dances, Harriet had no partner. Neither had Mr. Elton, but Emma was sure he would not ask her to dance. He walked close to her and asked Mrs. Weston to dance. She declined on account of there being others who would make a better partner for him. She points out that Harriet has no partner and Mr. Elton changes his mind about dancing altogether. He announces he is a married man and cannot dance anymore. Mrs. Weston and Emma were shocked. Mr. Elton returned to his seat near Mr. Knightley, and he exchanged a smile with his wife. Emma looked away, and then looked back again to find Mr. Knightley leading Harriet onto the dance floor. She was grateful to him. Mr. Elton had retreated into the card room, probably because he felt foolish.
Emma had no chance to talk to Mr. Knightley until after supper, where she thanked him for his kindness to Harriet. He asked Emma why the Eltons were her enemies as he could see that they aimed to hurt more than Harriet. Emma confesses that she wanted Mr. Elton to marry Harriet, and that neither of them can forgive her for it. Emma admits she was completely wrong about Mr. Elton. Mr. Knightley had described him fairly perfectly. Mr. Knightley admits she had chosen better for him than he has chosen for himself as Harriet has more good qualities than Mrs. Elton does. Emma was grateful for his admission. Mr. Knightley wondered who Emma would dance with next. She asks him to dance, and he agrees.
Emma was glad she and Mr. Knightley had come to an understanding of the Eltons. His praise of Harriet was also welcomed. The rudeness of the Eltons had actually invited in a moment that gave Emma utter satisfaction. Harriet was suddenly able to see that Mr. Elton was not the man she thought he was. Her infatuation was over, and Emma was not afraid of it returning. She did not expect to see Frank that day, and she was not sorry for it. However, he turns up with Harriet on his arm. She is pale and faints in the hall. After a few moments, Emma discovered why she had fainted. Harriet and Miss Bickerton, who worked alongside Mrs. Goddard, had walked together and come across gypsies. A child came towards them to beg for money and Miss Bickerton screamed and ran up a steep hill to take a short cut back to Highbury. Harriet could not follow because she was still sore from dancing. Harriet was approached by half a dozen children. She gave them a shilling and asked them not to beg for anything else. She was then able to walk, but was still surrounded by the children who demanded more from her.
Frank had found her in this way and assisted her. The group were frightened by Frank and Harriet clung to him, unable to speak, and weak. He did not know where else to take her but Hartfield. Emma assured him she would take good care of him, and then he left to carry out the errands he had been meaning to complete. She would also write to Mr. Knightley about the gypsies being in the neighbourhood. Emma wondered who could have failed to see what she saw in this adventure—her imagination was on fire concerning the possible match between Harriet and Frank.
Emma wanted to keep this news from her father but within half hour the entirety of Highbury knew the story. Mr. Woodhouse discovered the news and made them promise not to go beyond the grounds again. The gypsies took off and left Highbury, and the importance of the event dwindled in people’s minds. All, that is, except for little Henry and John who continued to ask Emma to tell the story of Harriet and the gypsies.
A few days passed. Harriet visited Emma one morning with a small parcel in her hand. She admitted she had something to confess. Harriet admits that she sees nothing extraordinary in Mr. Elton now and does not care if she meets him or not. She would rather not see him, but she does not envy his wife anymore. She has brought items she wishes she had destroyed before so that she can do so in front of Emma. They are not gifts from him, but they are things she has treasured.
She shows Emma a piece of court-plaster (bandages) which she given to Mr. Elton when he cut himself on Emma’s new penknife. Emma had denied she had had any on her when it had happened, but she admits to Harriet that it was another one of her tricks. She wanted Harriet to be the one to help Mr. Elton. Emma is ashamed by the memory. She then shows him a blunted pencil which he had left on the table when he discovered there was no more lead in it. Harriet took it for herself. Harriet has nothing more to show Emma and resolves to throw the items in the fire, even if the plaster could be useful in the future. She does not want to look at them anymore. Harriet resolves that this is the end of Mr. Elton. Emma wondered when the beginning of Frank would come.
One day, when advising Harriet of what she should do when she gets married, Harriet announces that she will never marry. Emma is surprised by this change of heart and hopes it is not because of Mr. Elton. Harriet denies that it is. Emma wondered if she should push for more information because it might have hurt her, but decides it would be safer to know what is happening. She asks Harriet directly if her decision not to marry stems from her love for someone who is far superior to her and would probably never think of her. Harriet admits it is. Emma is not surprised considering the aid he gave her. Harriet admits when she saw him coming she changed from misery to happiness. Emma thinks it is natural and honourable to feel so well. She does not encourage Harriet to think she will be asked, but does not think she should throw her feelings away. She should watch him and let his behaviour to her be her guide. Emma will not speak to her again about this because she is determined to not influence her. She does not even want to know the name of the person, but knows it is Frank. Harriet kisses her hand in gratitude and Emma thinks that the attachment would be a good thing for Harriet and raise her in society.
June came to Highbury, but not much change occurred. Jane delayed her return to the Campbells by a couple of more months. That is, if she managed to avoid Mrs. Elton finding a job for her by then. Mr. Knightley, who had taken a dislike to Frank from the outset, had started to dislike him even more. He thought there was something going on. While he seemed to be doting on Emma and fixing on her as his possible partner, Mr. Knightley suspected that he had an understanding with Jane. He thought that they both admired one another. He had seen them give looks to one another which seemed out of place and suggested a secret understanding.
Mr. Knightley walked with Emma and Harriet one day and joined with Mr. and Mrs. Weston, Frank, Miss Bates and Jane who all then decided to go back to Hartfield to take tea. Everyone agreed to it. As they approached the house, Mr. Perry passed them, and Frank asked Mrs. Weston about Mr. Perry’s carriage. Mrs. Weston does not know what he is talking about, and Frank insists that she wrote to him about it. Mrs. Weston denies talking to him about Mr. Perry buying a carriage. Frank concludes he must have been dreaming about Highbury, as he often does. Mr. Weston turned to ask Emma if she was as a great a dreamer as Frank, but she had gone ahead and was already out of hearing. Miss Bates does remember, however, that there was talk of Mr. Perry buying a carriage but that the conversation was a secret one and had gone on at the Bates house. Jane was present. Mr. Knightley suspected that Frank was trying to catch Jane’s eye and watched them closely as they entered the hall.
Frank asked Emma if her nephews had put away their box of letters. He would like to play with puzzles. They started to form words for one another. Frank placed a word down for Jane and she looked at it to figure out what it was. Mr. Knightley tried to see what the word was, but could not before Jane figured it out and pushed it away. It was not mixed in with the rest of the words and Harriet looked at it to try and figure out what it was. The word was “blunder”, and Jane blushed when it was figured out. Mr. Knightley decided that there was a definite connection between Jane and Frank and continued to observe them. Frank placed a word down for Emma and on figuring out chastises him and sends it over to Jane. The word is “Dixon”. Jane looks away in disgust and blushed. She pushed away the words angrily and turned to her Aunt who immediately decided they should leave. As Jane stood, others stood with her and Mr. Knightley saw that Frank had pushed another collection of letters toward Jane.
Mr. Knightley remained at Hartfield after the rest had left and decided he would ask Emma what the last word meant. Emma brushed it away, but Mr. Knightley hoped she would tell him. However, he owed it to Emma to step in. He asked her if she understood the nature of the relationship between Frank and Jane. Mr. Knightley admits he has frequently seen looks that suggested an attachment between them. Emma was pleased that Mr. Knightley’s imagination was wandering, but Emma did not believe there was any attachment between them. She explains that there is a different set of circumstances that have led to these looks, but not for admiration. She knows that Frank is not attracted to her. This confidence in her answer silenced Mr. Knightley. Although Emma wanted to continue talking about what Mr. Knightley had seen, he was too agitated to continue and left.
Mrs. Elton was disappointed to hear that her brother-in-law and sister, Mr and Mrs. Suckling, would not be able to visit until the Autumn. It meant the delay of pleasure and of parading them around to feel her own self importance, but she was convinced with a little persuasion to explore the area around Highbury herself and not to wait for the Sucklings. She decided to go to Box Hill. Emma had never been to Box Hill before, and the Westons decided that they would go with her. She was upset to hear that Mr. Weston had proposed to Mrs. Elton that they go as one company of people. To save Mr. Weston’s feelings, Emma agreed to it even if it meant feeling the degradation of being part of Mrs. Elton’s party. While they were looking to fix the date, a horse was suddenly lame, and they did not know when the horse would be useful to them again. Mr. Knightley suggested that they should come to Donwell and eat the strawberries in his field. They would not need horses to explore Donwell. While Mrs. Elton wants to plan the party herself and invite those she would like to be there, Mr. Knightley is firm with her. Only one person could dictate to him who would be invited to Donwell and that it is the non-existent Mrs. Knightley. Mrs. Elton thought he had great humour and complimented him on it. She suggested the way that the party should be arranged, and Mr. Knightley refused to let her dictate to him, especially because he wanted to make sure Mr. Woodhouse would attend. Mr. Woodhouse would attend, as would Harriet and Emma, the Westons, the Eltons and Frank. The lame horse recovered quite quickly, so Donwell was decided for one day, and Box Hill for the following.
As soon as Emma made sure her father was sat in comfort, Emma decided to explore Donwell as it had been some time since she had been there. She enjoys the grounds and the house and respected everything she saw. Frank had yet to arrive. Mrs. Elton led them through the garden, talking loudly about the fruit. Mrs. Weston was worried about Frank. After the tour around the garden, Emma sat down in the shade and overheard Mrs. Elton and Jane talking about a governess position Mrs. Elton has managed to hear about. While Mrs. Elton wanted to establish Jane there immediately, Jane continued to protest and would not take a position until she wanted to take one. Emma felt sorry for Jane, who had to repeat herself over and over, until Jane asked Mr. Knightley to show them the entire garden.
As they walked around the garden, Mr. Knightley and Harriet walked together talking. Emma was pleased to see them together, even if it was an unusual sight. With the tour around the gardens over, they went inside the house to eat. Frank had still not arrived. Mr. Weston would not admit to his anxiety, but Mrs. Weston continued to look, worried about his horse. Mr. Weston suggested that Mrs. Churchill might have taken ill. After they had eaten, Emma opted to stay behind with her father while the rest continued to walk. It gave Mrs. Weston a break. Mr. Knightley had been kind to her father and made sure that he had endless things to distract him with. After Emma and Mr. Woodhouse looked them over together, she stepped into the hall for a moment of peace. Jane came up to her from the garden and asked her to give her apologies. She was determined to leave immediately but did not want to say anything to anyone. Emma agreed to give her goodbyes, but was not at ease with Jane walking back to Highbury by herself. Jane begs her to let her go—she wants her own way. Emma could not oppose that. Before she left, Jane exclaimed that she was comforted by solitude sometimes, and Emma felt sorry that she had to deal with so many tiresome people.
Jane had not been gone fifteen minutes when Frank stepped into the room. Mrs. Churchill had delayed him with a seizure which had lasted hours. He had come in the heat and looked worse for wear. He had an angry temper which Emma guessed was brought on by the heat. Once he had cooled down, his manners returned and was able to engage them in conversation. They were looking at pictures of Switzerland. Frank announces that he will go abroad as soon as his Aunt is well. Emma does not believe his Aunt and Uncle will ever let him leave England. Frank thinks that they will come with him as his Aunt is meant to stick to a warmer climate. He is tired of doing nothing and is sick of England. Emma asks him to come with them to Box Hill the next day—it might not be Switzerland, but it will be a change from the regular pace of life. Frank does not want to—he will leave Donwell that evening and not return. He worries about being angry and spoiling the mood, but he will be angry if they are all at Box Hill without him. Emma tells him to decide for himself.
As everyone parted, Frank expressed his decision to stay and go with them to Box Hill the following day.
The weather was good for their visit to Box Hill, and it was generally agreed and expected that they would have a nice party. However, the party split up—the Eltons walked together, Mr. Knightley with Miss Bates and Jane, and Emma and Harriet with Frank. Mr. Weston tried to bring them all together, but it never quite happened. The Eltons did not want to be friendly. Emma was bored. Frank was silent, and when he did speak said nothing worth hearing. Harriet was the same, and Emma was tired of them both. When they sat down, Frank became more talkative and made sure to amuse Emma. Although they flirted, Emma only did this because she was disappointed by the party and only thought of him as her friend. Frank thanks her for persuading him to come to Box Hill. Emma mentions his temper the previous day, which Frank does not really understand. He was hot, not angry. Emma suggests that he was not himself, and now he is back under control. Frank suggests that she means her control, but Emma insists that they are not together all the time. It can only be his control. Frank questions this logic—they’ve been together since February. Emma suggests that he stop talking in this way as the rest of the party can hear them. Frank is not ashamed by what he has to say. He decides they should get the rest of the people to talk and pretends that Emma has asked him to order them to tell her what she is thinking about. Mr. Knightley asks if Emma seriously wants to know, and she denies it. She really does not want to know what they have to think. Mrs. Elton takes Frank’s interest in Emma as an insult—she thinks of herself as the Chaperone and organizer of the party, not Emma.
Frank decides to push for further conversation by asking for one clever thing, two moderately clever or three dull things from each person. Miss Bates decides to aim for three dull things, and Emma teases her by telling her she has to keep to the certain number. Miss Bates blushed when she understood the insult and confided in Mr. Knightley that she did not know what she had done to be treated so poorly. Mr. Weston asks Emma what two letters of the alphabet express perfection. He tells them that these are M and A—Em and Ma. While Emma and a few others are entertained by this, Mr. Knightley looked quite sad—no one would be able to combat Mr. Weston’s entertainment. Mrs. Elton does not even approve of the game itself—she believes it is more suited to Christmas around the fire. She tells Frank to pass herself, Mr. Elton, Knightley and Jane as they have nothing to say. Mr. Elton agrees—there is nothing that can entertain a young lady when it comes from an old married man. The Eltons leave for a walk. Frank comments that having known each other for only a few weeks in Bath, they are particularly suited. He goes on to say that it is difficult to know a woman until they are seen within their own homes and neighbourhoods. It is often that a man has committed to a woman after a short friendship and done poorly. Jane admits that it happens, but not as often as Frank suggests. There would be time to recover from it afterwards. Frank does not think he has good judgement and suggests he will have to have his future bride chosen for him. He asks if Emma would choose a wife for him, take her under her wing and make her like herself. Frank will go abroad for a few years and then return for his wife. She secretly thought that it was Harriet whom Frank suggested she should make more like herself.
After another walk, the party waited for their carriages. Mr. Knightley found a moment to speak to Emma quietly and asked why she was so unkind to Miss Bates. Emma laughed it off and suggested Miss Bates did not understand her. Mr. Knightley assured her she understood and has talked of nothing since. She was generous to Emma in her discussions. Emma thought she was a good person, but a ridiculous one. Mr. Knightley does not disagree with this, but implores Emma to think. Miss Bates is poor, and her situation in life should secure Emma’s compassion. To laugh at her and humble her in front of her niece and others who might be guided by Emma’s treatment of her was in poor show. Emma has never felt so ashamed and upset in her entire life. She could not disagree with anything Mr. Knightley had said, and did not know how she could have been so cruel to Miss Bates. Emma cried all the way home.
Emma looked back on Box Hill as a morning not well spent. She imagined that the others would be having their own particular opinions about the morning themselves. She spent the evening playing games with her father, which was time well spent and a pleasure to her. She was giving up her hours to the comfort of her father, and hoped that she was not without heart in their relationship. Emma hoped that Miss Bates would forgive her. She would visit her the next morning and attempt to start up a more equal and kinder friendship.
The following morning she went early to stop anything from preventing her. She would not be ashamed by going. When she arrived there was a rush to move Jane, who Emma caught a glimpse of and thought she looked quite sick. Mrs. Bates admitted that Jane was quite unwell, but they would only tell her otherwise. Miss Bates stepped into the room, and although she greeted Emma with her usual cheerfulness, Emma could tell there was a lack of feeling in it. She asked after Jane, which Emma hoped would lead them to their old ways. Miss Bates reveals that a position has been found for Jane which she has accepted. Jane is depressed by it, and Miss Bates sent her to bed. Jane did not want to see anyone, but she was sorry to miss Emma. Emma was terribly sorry for Jane—she had grown interested in her lately because of her increasing kindness to Jane, and she understood Jane’s wish to not see anyone. Miss Bates said, then, that Emma was always too kind, and Emma could not stand it. She asked where Jane would be going. She is off to Mrs. Smallridge’s, which is only four miles away from Maple Grove. Emma understood that Mrs. Elton had been the one to arrange it all. Miss Bates revealed that Mrs. Elton would not take a single one of Jane’s objections and did not write her denial to Mrs. Smallridge. The previous evening, Jane had taken Mrs. Elton aside and announced that she had decided to accept. Emma asked if she spent the entire evening with the Eltons—Miss Bates admitted she had been invited back with everyone else at Box Hill. Mr. Knightley refused to go, but Miss Bates, Jane and Mrs. Bates all attended. Emma suggested that Jane had been trying to make up her mind the entire day. Miss Bates agreed. Emma asked when Jane was set to leave. She would leave within two weeks as Mrs. Smallridge is in a hurry for a governess. Miss Bates reveals that Mr. Elton had heard a carriage was sent to Randalls to take Frank to Richmond. Emma did not have a chance to say that she had not heard this news, but as Miss Bates did not know anything else, it wasn’t important to say so. Frank had received a letter from Mr. Churchill telling his nephew not to rush back as Mrs. Churchill was doing fairly well, but Frank decided to go home immediately. Emma did not know what to think about this sudden change in behaviour and kept quiet until Miss Bates thought she was thinking of the pianoforte. Jane will leave it behind until Colonel Campbell comes back and deals with it himself. The discussion of the pianoforte only reminded Emma of her past tricks and amusements until she decided she had to leave. Emma gave her good wishes and then left.
On returning to Hartfield, Emma found Mr. Knightley and Harriet had arrived and were sitting with Mr. Woodhouse. Mr. Knightley immediately stood and said goodbye. He was going to London to spend time with John and Isabella. Emma did not think Mr. Knightley had forgiven her as he was not acting like himself. She thought with time they would return to normal. Mr. Woodhouse asked after Emma’s visit to the Bates’ and thinks that she was kind to them. Emma blushed and shook her head. Mr. Knightley looked at her then with respect, and Emma was grateful for it. Mr. Knightley took her hand and was about to carry it to his lips when he suddenly dropped it. Emma did not know what made him change his mind. He then left.
Emma wished she had left the Bates house ten minutes earlier so that she could have discussed Jane’s news and situation with Mr. Knightley. She also would have preferred having more notice of Mr. Knightley’s journey. She distracted her father from worrying about Mr. Knightley on horseback with news of Jane’s position. Mr. Woodhouse was darned glad she had a job.
The following day, they received news that Mrs. Churchill had died. Although Frank had not had need to hurry back, she had not lasted more than 36 hours after he returned. Of course, everyone felt sorry that she had died despite being disliked for 25 years. Now that she had died, everyone admitted that she must have been quite ill after all. Emma wondered how this might affect Frank—how it would free him. He could now marry Harriet without any issues, but Emma was not certain that the attachment would be formed. Harriet behaved herself—if she had any brighter hopes, she did not reveal them. Emma was pleased that she was much stronger in character now than she had been. Randalls received short letters from Frank detailing the plans they had. After the funeral, Mr. Churchill and Frank would go to a friend’s house in Windsor.
Emma found her concerns moving from Harriet to Jane, who Emma wanted to show kindness to. She regretted her coldness to Jane in the past and wanted to be useful to her. She wrote a letter inviting Jane to Hartfield for a day, but Jane did not reply. Mr. Perry relayed a verbal message to them that Jane was too unwell to write. He doubted that she would be able to leave for Mrs. Smallridge’s when she was meant to do so as her health was bad. Mr. Perry was worried about Jane’s current living conditions with her tiresome family and the single room. Emma sent her another note to offer to call on Jane whenever she wanted to take some exercise. Emma received a note telling her that Jane was not able to exercise. Emma felt she deserved a little more than this short statement, but could not feel that bad about it. She ordered the carriage and went down to the Bates house to see if Jane could be enticed outside, but Miss Bates came to the door and admitted she had tried, but Jane would not come out, and would not accept any visitors. Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Cole and Mr. Perry had all forced their way in and had visited, but Emma did not want to be compared with them. She only asked Miss Bates if she might be able to help with Jane’s appetite.
Emma returned to Hartfield and asked for some arrow-root to be sent to Miss Bates for Jane. It was returned half hour later with a note explaining that Jane did not want anything. Emma heard that that afternoon Jane had been walking in the meadows. This was more than enough evidence that Jane did not want Emma’s help at all. She was sorry for this and felt powerless. The only consoling feeling was that she knew her intentions were good ones, and at least Mr. Knightley would have been proud of her.
One morning Emma was called downstairs by Mr. Weston who needed to talk to her immediately. Mrs. Weston needed to see her and wanted her to come to Randalls alone. Emma pushed for more information as to what was wrong, but Mr. Weston assured her she would know in time. After checking in with Mr. Woodhouse, she left with Mr. Weston. Emma demanded to know what was happening and was terrified that something bad had happened to someone they know. Mr. Weston will not tell her, but assures her it is nothing connected with anyone named Knightley. He reveals that Frank had visited that morning and was on his way to Windsor—Emma would not be able to see him.
Once she arrived, Mr. Weston left the two women by themselves. Emma was anxious as Mrs. Weston looked ill. Mrs. Weston wondered if Emma had any idea who the news concerned. Emma guessed it had to do with Frank, and she is correct. He came to Randalls that morning to announce his engagement to Jane Fairfax and to reveal he had been engaged to her for a long time. Emma was surprised by the news, but Mrs. Weston assured her it was the truth. They had been engaged since they spent time together at Weymouth and had kept it a secret from everyone. Mrs. Weston thought she knew him. Emma thought about her previous conversations with Jane, and also about poor Harriet. Mrs. Weston admits it has hurt them both. Emma thought for a moment and then told her that he had not revealed his intentions toward Emma, if that was what they were afraid of. There was, she admitted, a small amount of time where she was interested in him, but this left her after a moment. She cares nothing for him. Mrs. Weston is struck with joy immediately—she is relieved. They had hoped that Emma and Frank would be engaged and were upset to think what Emma would feel when she heard the news. However, Emma agrees that Frank’s behaviour could not be excused. He came to Highbury and endeavoured to please Emma—how would he know if Emma had fallen in love with him or not. She did not know how Jane stomached Frank’s behaviour either. She could not respect him for that. Mrs. Weston admitted that there had been some misunderstandings between them because of Frank’s behaviour. Emma suddenly remembers that Jane is meant to go to Mrs. Smallridge’s. Mrs. Weston assures her Frank had no idea that Jane had agreed to go. The discovery of this decision is what forced him to come forward and announce the engagement. He promised before he left, to write to Mrs. Weston and to detail everything that had happened, which may excuse some of his past behaviour. She asks for Emma’s patience.
Emma wondered if the Dixons or Campbells knew of the engagement. Frank told her that only they knew about their agreement. Although Emma hopes they will be happy, she will not be able to forgive Frank for his deceit. Mr. Weston appeared, then, and Emma congratulated him on the news. He realized that everything was fine with Emma. He was happy immediately. When he walked her back to Hartfield, he even admitted that it was probably one of the best things Frank could have done.
Emma was sorry to think of poor Harriet, and could not stop thinking about her. She could not forgive Frank for his behaviour, and she could also not forgive herself. To find Harriet deceived a second time because of her own misconceptions was a horrid business. She believed in what Mr. Knightley had said when he told her she was no friend to Harriet. Although she had not constructed and built up Harriet’s love as she did in the first instance, she should have repressed Harriet’s interest in Frank when she first admitted to it.
When Emma heard Harriet’s footsteps coming she was as anxious about them as she imagined Mrs. Weston had been when Emma was approaching Randalls. Harriet had already heard the news from Mr. Weston and thought it was odd news. Harriet was not upset or disappointed. Emma did not know what to say to her. Harriet wondered if Emma knew about the engagement, or their being in love, and decides that she must have as she usually knows what is going on. Emma cannot imagine why she would encourage Harriet in her feelings if she knew Frank was in love with Jane. Harriet did not understand—she was not in love with Frank. Emma did not understand. Harriet was upset that she had been misunderstood—how could Emma have thought she meant Frank when there were more superior people to look at. Emma then wondered if it was Mr. Knightley who she was in love with. Harriet is—she thought she had been as clear as possible. Emma admitted that everything Harriet had said seemed to point to Frank after she had been rescued from the gypsies. Harriet suddenly realizes that what she said could have been interpreted in two ways—she had meant that Mr. Knightley had done her a great service and made her happy. Although Emma cannot speak, Harriet asserts that crazier engagements had taken place, and that if Mr. Knightley certainly did want to marry her Emma should not get in her way. Emma wondered if she had received any hint as to Mr. Knightley’s affection and Harriet asserted she had. Emma wondered to herself why it was worse for Harriet to be in love with Mr. Knightley than with Frank. She suddenly realized that she did not want anyone else to marry Mr. Knightley but herself.
She also saw how inconsiderately she had treated Harriet and then asked her for proof of Mr. Knightley’s affection for her. From the time they had danced together, Mr. Knightley had spoken more to her in kindness, and wanted to be acquainted with her. Emma had observed this. He praised Harriet for having gentle and honest feelings, which Emma had heard herself. Some others Emma did not believe were exact pieces of evidence for Mr. Knightley’s feelings. When they were at Donwell, Mr. Knightley had drawn her away from the crowd and appeared to be asking her if her affections were engaged. When Emma had joined them, he had changed the subject. When Mr. Knightley had decided to leave for London, he had confided in Harriet that he would rather not have gone, which was much more than he had said to Emma. Emma wondered if he was actually trying to figure out if Harriet was still in love with Mr. Martin. Harriet denies it—she knows not to care for Mr. Martin now, or to be suspected of loving him. Harriet thanked Emma for her good advice—she was told to observe his behaviour for evidence of his feelings for her, which she had done. Harriet feels that she deserves him. On hearing Mr. Woodhouse’s footsteps, Harriet excused herself. She was much too agitated to be near him. Emma wished she had never set eyes on her before.
Emma tried to sort through her feelings and everything that had happened in the last day. Her first aim was to understand her own heart. She wondered when she had considered him so dear to her. There had not been any time when she had not loved Mr. Knightley, and figured out that she had never truly loved Frank at all. It did not take her long to figure this out, and she was ashamed of all of her feelings except for her love for Mr. Knightley. She had been mistaken at every turn where other people’s feelings were concerned. She wished that she had never pushed Harriet forward and hoped that Mr. Knightley would not debase himself by marrying someone as common as her. She wished she had not persuaded her against marrying Mr. Martin and taken up company with the people she belonged to. If she had not done this, Harriet would not presume to think of Mr. Knightley as being in love with her. Emma had taught her this. Harriet had lost her sense of humility because of Emma.
Only now that she was threatened by the loss of it was Emma aware how much of her happiness depended on being considered first by Mr. Knightley. She had been first in his estimation for a long time and had taken it for granted. She had not deserved it, either, but he had loved her since she was a child. While Harriet was convinced of Mr. Knightley’s affection for her, Emma doubted that Mr. Knightley felt love for Emma. He had been so shocked by her treatment of Miss Bates. She could not deceive herself as she hoped Harriet was doing. If Mr. Knightley never married at all, Emma would be satisfied. She wanted him to continue on in the same way that they had been if Mr. Knightley would not marry her. She did not believe she would marry even if Mr. Knightley asked her. It would remove her from her father and she owed him her care.
Emma hoped that the next time she saw Harriet and Mr. Knightley together that she would be able to figure out what the chances of Harriet being disappointed were. She decided not to see Harriet as it would do neither of them any good. She wrote to her and asked her not to come to Hartfield so that they could avoid conversation of the topic they should avoid. They could meet if there were a group of people around, but only if they acted as if they had not talked about Mr. Knightley. Harriet approved.
Mrs. Weston stopped by Hartfield after visiting the Bates house even though she had not wanted to until everything was settled with Frank. Mr. Weston persuaded her into going. Jane had hardly spoken a word, and she was visibly suffering. Mrs. Weston asked Jane to come with her for a drive in the carriage, during which Mrs. Weston was able to break through some of Jane’s embarrassment and ask her about Frank. They talked a lot about the past and future possibility of the engagement, and Mrs. Weston was sure this was helpful to Jane. Jane blames herself for the engagement and dreads Colonel Campbell hearing about it. It was her love for Frank that overthrew her reason and logic as she had not been brought up to act as she had done so. Emma was afraid that she had caused Jane suffering, but Mrs. Weston knew she did not do it on purpose. Jane sends her many thanks for her continued interest and affection when she was sick. Emma wishes she could do more for her and wishes that she will be happy in marriage. Mrs. Weston reveals that she has not yet received the letter Frank promised he would send.
Emma keenly felt the shame associated with her past treatment of Jane. Had she sought a friend in Jane rather than in Harriet she might have been spared the pain she felt now. That night she thought of the end of Mr. Knightley’s visits to Hartfield which usually brought them happiness, especially on nights of bad weather. She looked ahead to the coming winter with regret—if everything happened as it might, she would lose most of her friends. Hartfield would be empty. When the Westons had a child, they would not see them often. Frank and Jane would cease to belong to Highbury. Mr. Knightley would no longer visit Hartfield at nights. If Mr. Knightley was to marry Harriet, it would double Emma’s pain for she would be well aware that it was her own doing. The only peaceful thought Emma had was that she might act better in the future and find a more rational self. Hopefully she would regret her actions far less in this instance.
With the change in the weather for the better, Emma decides to go outside as much as possible. She goes for a walk around the gardens. Mr. Knightley comes out into the garden to join her, which surprises her for she thought he was still in London. They exchanged general comments, and Emma asked after John and Isabella. She thought he seemed quite serious, and considered he might have told his brother about his plan to marry Harriet and had not received a good response. She also considered he might be trying to build his courage—he might be about to tell her about his engagement to Harriet. Emma could not encourage the subject—he had to do this by himself. Emma starts to tell him about Jane and Frank’s engagement, but Mr. Knightley has already heard of it. Mr. Weston told him. Emma was relieved the news had not come from Mrs Goddard or Harriet. Emma remembered that Mr. Knightley had once tried to warn her, but admits she is probably doomed to be blind. Mr. Knightley tells her that time will heal her wound, but Emma insists he is mistaken. Although she said things that made her ashamed, she has no other reason to regret Frank and Jane’s engagement. Mr. Knightley is overjoyed. She had been tempted by his attentions and allowed herself to seem pleased, but she has never been attached to him. She does not understand his behaviour as he never intended to be attached to her. Mr. Knightley had never had a high opinion of Frank but for Jane’s sake he wished them both well. Emma thinks they are mutually attracted and should be happy. Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank’s engagement to Jane and that despite his behaviour everyone has forgiven him.
Emma refuses to ask why Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank, and as he starts to explain, Emma tells him not to say anything. She changes her mind and tells him that if he has anything to say, he should say it. She is his friend and will tell him exactly what she thinks of what he has to say. Mr. Knightley wondered if he would ever succeed with her. Mr. Knightley admits that he could not love her more. Emma could not think—she saw that Harriet’s hopes had been mistaken and that she was pleased she had not revealed Harriet’s secret. He admits he had not aimed at asking her to marry him, but was so delighted in her indifference toward Frank that he could not help but hope. Both of them had changed in mood to a state of happiness. It had been Mr. Knightley’s jealousy that had sent him away from Box Hill and to London. However, the domestic bliss of his brother and Isabella had not given him peace but had reminded him of Emma. The news of Jane and Frank’s engagement gave him hope, then, and he had ridden home in the rain to find out how Emma felt about the news. By the time they went into the house, they were engaged to be married.
Emma was surprised by the change in her feelings in such a short space of time. Mr. Woodhouse did not suspect what was going on between them. Emma decided that night that while her father still lived, her engagement to Mr. Knightley would remain just that. She could not leave him. She would also try to spare Harriet as much pain as she could, but did not know how. She would avoid a meeting with her and then send her a letter to explain everything that had happened. It would be desirable for Harriet to leave Highbury for a while and Emma decided that she should go to Brunswick Square.
The next morning Emma wrote her letter to Harriet but was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Knightley who sent her into happiness again. When he left, and before Emma could get back to her letter, she received a letter from Randalls which contained Frank’s letter to Mrs. Weston. It details his need to keep the engagement a secret because of the situation at Enscombe. If he had not been engaged to Jane, he would have gone mad. Frank then discusses his treatment of Emma. He pretended to feel more for Emma than he did, but would not have done so had he not been convinced that she did not feel anything for him. It appeared as if they understood one another, and that suited Frank. When he came to Hartfield and was about to tell her the truth, he felt Emma had figured out a part or the whole of his secret. Emma frequently hinted at her knowledge, such as when she insisted he owed Mrs. Elton gratitude for the way Jane was treated. The pianoforte had come from Frank and had Jane known about it she would not have allowed it to be sent to her. He explains that he and Jane argued the morning of the Donwell party and that it chiefly concerned Frank’s behaviour towards Emma. Frank regretted how much pain he had caused Jane, and left for Richmond, convinced that she had grown cold towards him. Jane sent him a letter to break off the engagement, but he received it the morning his Aunt had died and had not had time to send a reply. He received a parcel at Windsor, which contained all of his letters to her and a small note from Jane to express her surprise that she had not received a reply. She encouraged him to send her letters to him to Mrs. Smallridge’s where she would be governess. Frank was angry with himself for his mistakes and regretted how ill he had made her. They managed to reconcile their feelings and save the engagement, and Frank is sure nothing will ever come between them again. He thanks Mrs. Weston for her kindness and hopes that she will be able to forgive him.
Although Emma felt Frank had been wrong on several accounts, he had done it because he was so in love with Jane. She forgave him for his conduct. She thought the letter was so good that when Mr. Knightley returned, she asked him to read it. Although Mr. Knightley thought the letter was long, he had to read it then and there as Emma had to return it to Mr. Weston that evening. Mr. Knightley gives his opinion as he reads the letter. At first he does not seem to care much for Frank’s words, but when he reaches the point where Frank regrets his behaviour, Mr. Knightley agrees and is impressed with his admission. Emma does not think he is as satisfied with the letter as she is, but Mr. Knightley thinks a little better of him, especially as he is very much in love with Jane.
Mr. Knightley changes the subject, then. He has been thinking of how to ask her to marry him without harming her father. Emma announced that she could never leave her father while he was still alive. He had hoped to entice Mr. Woodhouse to move to Donwell with her, but he suggested instead that he should move to Hartfield so that neither of them would have to leave. This theory had not occurred to Emma, who felt Mr. Knightley would be sacrificing a great deal by leaving Donwell and his own habits. The more Emma thought of the plan, however, the more she liked it. She would have been even happier had it not been for her thoughts about Harriet. Mr. Knightley would be forgotten by her eventually, but he would not be able to help her along with his considerate nature.
Emma was pleased to discover Harriet wanted to avoid a meeting, as well. There was a resentment to her letter despite her good natured response, and this only increased Emma’s desire for them to be separated. She managed to acquire an invitation to Brunswick for Harriet. Harriet had wanted to see a dentist for a while, so it was fortunate that she would be off to London. Isabella was keen to help anyone with their health, and was eager to have Harriet in her care. Harriet was to go for at least a fortnight. Now Emma could enjoy Mr. Knightley’s visits and be truly happy without feeling guilty. She still had to admit to her engagement to her father, but she did not want to do this until Mrs. Weston had given birth and was well.
Emma decided to call on Jane and see how she was doing. That she was also secretly interested in what was happening, was an additional benefit to the visit. She had not been in the house since the morning after Box Hill, and the fear of still being unwelcomed by Jane was in Emma’s thoughts as she was driven down there. Jane met her on the stairs, and Emma had never seen her look so lovely. Jane offered her hand and expressed her thanks for Emma’s kindness. Whereas Miss Bates was out, Mrs. Elton was in. Emma wished Mrs. Elton had not been present either, but decided she would have to have patience. Mrs. Elton folded up a letter and smiled with the knowledge of a secret she was keeping between herself and Jane. That everyone else knew the secret was not apparent to Mrs. Elton. She told Jane that Mrs. S. had accepted their apology and was not offended by Jane’s inability to become the governess at her house. Although Mrs. Elton had not named names, Emma knew exactly what she was talking about. After praising Mr. Perry’s efforts in returning Jane to her former healthier state, Mrs. Elton whispered that she would not mention the Doctor from Windsor who had helped.
Jane asked Emma if she would be willing to attend Box Hill again with the same visitors to try and recreate a happier memory there. Miss Bates stepped in then and did not know what to say—she was trying to keep the engagement a secret, and failing miserably. Mrs. Elton is waiting for her husband to finish a meeting at the Crown with Mr. Knightley, but Emma is sure the meeting was not supposed to be until the next day. Mrs. Elton denies mistaking the day—she believes that the parish at Highbury is troublesome and that they never had these problems at Maple Grove. Jane suggests this is because it was small. Mrs. Elton had never heard such a thing. Jane suggests that it should be small considering the size of the school which Mrs. Elton had previously mentioned. Mrs. Elton compliments her on her intelligence.
Mr. Elton arrived then and was sorry to have missed Mr. Knightley at Donwell for their meeting. He could not find him even though he had sent him a letter asking him if he would be home that day. Mrs. Elton corrects him—surely he means at the Crown. Mr. Elton tells her this is a different meeting, and that no one at Donwell had expected him. Emma had no explanations to give. Mrs. Elton could not believe that Mr. Knightley would do this to him—a man who should have been the last person to have been forgotten. Mrs. Elton blames Mr. Knightley’s servants for forgetting. Emma decided to leave then, as she assumed Mr. Knightley would be waiting for her at Hartfield. Jane took his moment to walk with her down the stairs. Emma tells her she would have talked about the engagement but did not want to be impolite. Jane is grateful for her interest and starts to give her apologies for being ungrateful. Emma refuses to hear them—Jane owes her nothing. Both of them apologize for their reserved and cold nature toward one another. Jane reveals she will be living with Mr. Churchill at Enscombe in three months time after the mourning period is over. Emma wishes her well and expresses her love for things that are out in the open.
Mrs. Weston safely gives birth to a little girl. Emma refused her initial desire to make a match between the girl and one of Isabella’s sons, but was glad the Westons had a girl. It seemed to suit them. Mr. Knightley is sure that Mrs. Weston will dote on and spoil the girl as much as she did for Emma. Emma jokingly wonders what will become of her. Mr. Knightley assures her she will correct herself as she grows older. Emma believes it was because of Mr. Knightley’s help that she corrected herself, but he believes he did her more harm than good. They remember their past—how challenging Emma had been, and how she had always called him Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley wondered if she would not call him George, instead. Emma cannot. She will call him George, but she cannot say when out loud—only when “N. takes M.”, i.e. when they marry. Emma wishes that she could talk to Mr. Knightley about Harriet and wondered why he did not comment on their waning friendship. Isabella had sent letters to Emma to keep her informed about Harriet. She had been quite depressed when she had arrived, but Isabella explained this away because of her impending visit to the dentist. After that, she had become her old self again. Emma was pleased to hear that Harriet would be staying for a month instead of just two weeks. Isabella and John would return with her in August.
John had sent Mr. Knightley a letter congratulating him and Emma on the engagement. Emma believes he has suggested that she will, in time, grow worthy of Mr. Knightley’s love. They both consider that they had hoped their family would see the engagement as equal on both sides. John admits he had an idea that his brother was in love with Emma and was not surprised to hear about the engagement. Emma thinks he was not so aware of who his feelings were for. Now that Mrs. Weston was able to receive visitors, Emma had to announce her engagement to Mr. Woodhouse. She did not know how she would do it, but she had to. She made sure to speak cheerfully so that Mr. Woodhouse would not be upset. It was a shock to him, at first, especially as Emma had always said she would never marry. She insisted that it would not be like Mrs. Weston and Isabella because Emma would not leave Hartfield. She knew he loved Mr. Knightley a lot—he was useful and cheerful. The worst of it was done, and their acquaintances and friends helped persuade Mr. Woodhouse that the engagement was a good thing. Eventually, he believed it would be a happy occasion, and that it might not be bad if they had the wedding in the next year or two. Mrs. Weston had been surprised, but was very happy for the announcement.
From here, the news spread. It was a generally approved match. Some disagreed as to where the couple should live, or who was the more fortunate of the couple, but on the whole there were no serious objections made aside from in the Vicarage. Mr. Elton did not care for it. Mrs. Elton felt sorry for Mr. Knightley and did not think he was in love with Emma at all.
The party from London was soon to arrive, and the news agitated Emma. Mr. Knightley came into the room and told her that Harriet Smith was engaged to Mr. Martin. Emma was surprised, but Mr. Knightley had heard the news from Mr. Martin himself. He is afraid that Emma does not like the news at all, as he feared, but suggests that time will bring her around. Emma exclaims that Mr. Knightley has mistaken her silence—she is just surprised he asked her again. It does not make her unhappy. Mr. Knightley reveals how it happened: Mr. Knightley asked Mr. Martin to deliver some papers to John and was asked to join a party which Harriet had attended. He then dined with them the following day and during this visit found an opportunity to ask Harriet. Mr. Knightley thought Mr. Martin was very happy. He knows that this engagement cannot bring Emma happiness, but in reality she is only trying to hide how happy she was. Emma admits that Harriet has done well, but is surprised as she had reason to believe Harriet was quite against him. Mr. Knightley did not think that Harriet could refuse a man who dearly loved her, and Emma had to laugh at this.
Mr. Knightley is surprised at how much Emma’s opinion has changed on this matter. Emma admits that she was a bit of a fool where it was concerned. Mr. Knightley admitted he has changed where his opinion of Harriet was concerned, too. He had made great efforts to talk to her and get to know her a bit better. He considered that Emma probably thought he was pleading Mr. Martin’s case, but he only wishes Harriet the best. She has excellent principles and good notions, which have secured her happiness. Mr. Knightley believes that Emma is to thank for this, and Emma cannot feel she deserves this praise.
There would now be pleasure and happiness in Harriet’s return, especially as it meant not having to hide anything from Mr. Knightley anymore. On visiting Randalls, they find that Frank and Jane are visiting. Emma and Frank meet for the first time in a long time. He thanks her for forgiving him, and Emma expresses her pleasure at being able to share in his joy for his engagement. They joke about their past tricks with the name Dixon, and Frank shares his surprise that Emma never suspected he and Jane were engaged. He wonders if Emma has pity for them not having met since the day they reestablished their engagement, and Emma does. Frank had endless compliments for the health Jane now had. Emma reminds him of the day he commented that he did not like her complexion. They laugh at this. Emma accuses him of being very amused by his trickery. Frank denies this—he was very depressed by it. Emma compares their behaviour—they are both prone to finding amusement in odd places. They are also to marry two people superior to them. Frank does not think Emma has a superior, but agrees on account of Jane. They are very pleased to have seen each other again. As Emma left Randalls, she was very pleased to have seen Frank again—not only because it meant their friendship was reestablished, but because she was now sure Mr. Knightley was the more superior of the two.
In a few days, Isabella, John and Harriet arrived from London. After an hour alone with Harriet, Emma was satisfied that he feelings for Mr. Knightley were gone and replaced for those for Mr. Martin. Harriet was a little ashamed for the past, but Emma had immediately soothed these feelings by congratulating her on her engagement. Harriet was then very pleased to give her all of the details of the engagement itself. It suggested to Emma that Harriet had always loved Mr. Martin.
They discovered Harriet’s origins: she was the daughter of a tradesman, not of a gentleman as Emma had sworn. Her low rank would have been a blight on a marriage to the Knightly, Churchill or Elton family. Emma accepted Mr. Martin at Hartfield and approved him as a good match for Harriet. Although Harriet would be among people she belonged with and who loved her, it would mean less visits to Hartfield. It was, Emma thought, for the best. Harriet was married to Mr. Martin before the end of September and were the first of the three couples to be so. Jane Fairfax had already left Highbury and had returned to live the Campbells. Frank and Mr. Churchill were in town, and the couple were waiting until November. Emma and Mr. Knightley had decided to have their marriage while John and Isabella were still at Hartfield so they could go away for two weeks to tour the seaside. Mr. Woodhouse was miserable when he heard of the plan, and Emma could not bear to see him suffering.
When Mrs. Weston’s turkeys were stolen one night, Mr. Woodhouse grew scared of Hartfield being broken into and wanted either John or Mr. Knightley to be at Hartfield to protect him. John had to be back in London by November, and so Emma was allowed to decide on the date for her wedding. The wedding itself is far too modest for Mrs. Elton, but all those present wished them well.
David takes charge of transporting Steerforth’s body back to London—Steerforth’s body was carried to the same cottage that currently housed Ham’s body, but once they got him there, it seemed wrong to the carriers to have him under the same roof, so they brought him to the inn. The body didn’t remain there long. Knowing he was the only one who could break the news to Steerforth’s mother, David wasted no time getting an appropriate means of transport from Joram’s, and he set out for London that night at around midnight. Even at that hour, contrary to expectation, groups of townspeople waited to watch them leave.
David arrives at the Steerforth home, which looks shut down—David arrived in Highgate the next day. Leaving the carriage driver with orders to wait for further instructions, he walked the rest of the way to the Steerforth home. The parlor maid who answered the door could see immediately that something was wrong. She asked David whether he was ill, but he replied that he was just tired and distraught. As he sat in the drawing room waiting for the maid to return from announcing his arrival, David noticed that the house had a dismal, shut-down look. The harp hadn’t been played in a while, and he learned from the maid that Mrs. Steerforth never left her room anymore. She had taken to living in her son’s room, probably out of loneliness over his absence.
Miss Dartle quickly loses her composure—After the usual greeting and introductory conversation, David tried to break the news to Mrs. Steerforth as gently as possible, but Miss Dartle caught on quickly and lost her composure. She began to rail on Mrs. Steerforth and David, too, when he tried to calm her down or berate her for her lack of compassion. In Miss Dartle’s mind, no one loved Steerforth more than she had. She would have been his devoted, self-sacrificing wife if she had had the chance. Instead, she received a scar on her lip that marred her face for life. In her view, Mrs. Steerforth had ruined him, encouraging his faults and discouraging whatever was good in him. As far as she was concerned, the mother had gotten what she deserved.
Mrs. Steerforth becomes nonfunctional on hearing the news—Throughout this diatribe, Miss Dartle showed no compassion and a good deal of contempt and mockery of Steerforth’s mother. But it almost didn’t matter. Once the mother realized what had happened, she lapsed into a semi-catatonic state, with an occasional moan being the only sign that she was alive.
Miss Dartle finally expresses compassion for Mrs. Steerforth—David was concerned that Miss Dartle would remain in her relentlessly cruel mode, but just before he left, she drastically changed her manner and began showing affection and concern for Mrs. Steerforth. Still, all Mrs. Steerforth could do was stare into space with a fixed look and moan. As David left the room, he was followed by Miss Dartle’s curses.
Steerforth’s body is returned home; David says his last farewell to his friend—David returned later that day with Steerforth’s body. Mrs. Steerforth was still in catatonic mode, despite multiple attempts by the doctors to help her. She and Miss Dartle hadn’t left Steerforth’s room, so David and those who helped to carry the body laid it on Mrs. Steerforth’s own bed. Before leaving the house, David closed all the curtains and shades, leaving the room with Steerforth for last. In a final act of farewell to his friend, he took Steerforth’s motionless hand and placed it against his heart.
David takes steps to prevent Mr. Peggotty and Emily from learning about Ham and Steerforth–David was determined not to let word of Ham’s and Steerforth’s deaths get back to his emigrant friends, so he told no one, with the exception of Traddles and Mr. Micawber, whose help he enlisted. Mr. Micawber’s job, which he took on with great flourish and enthusiasm, was to prevent Mr. Peggotty from seeing a newspaper.
The Micawbers adjust their style for the great outdoors—As preparation for his new life in Australia, Mr. Micawber had outfitted himself with an oilskin jacket, a straw hat, and a telescope. Mrs. Micawber had wrapped herself in a shawl and put on a tight bonnet, as had Miss Micawber. Master Micawber wore a Guernsey shirt and sailor pants, and the younger children were all dressed in waterproof clothing. In short, they were ready for the great outdoors.
Everyone gathers to help with the preparations—David found the Micawbers in front of the Hungerford Steps as they watched some of their belongings leave by boat. They were staying in a room overlooking the river above a nearby pub, where David also found Agnes, his aunt, and Peggotty helping with last-minute clothing preparations before 7 a.m. the next day, when all emigrants had to be on board. Mr. Peggotty was there, too, and in the midst of all the commotion, David quietly told him the false but comforting message that Emily’s note had been delivered to Ham and that all was well. David’s goal was to see his friends off happy and untroubled, no matter how dark the reality was.
Mr. Micawber invites his friends for one last round of punch—Mr. Peggotty announced that all well-wishers could see their friends off the following day in the afternoon at Gravesend, where the ship would be docked before leaving. Until then, Mr. Micawber added, the men would be busy guarding their families and things, and, as Traddles just reminded him, there should be time for one more cup of punch—and all were invited!
More adjustments for life in the bush—David noticed that all the older Micawbers now carried bush knives, and it was his own foot-long version that Mr. Micawber now used to prepare the punch after first getting the ingredients from the bar downstairs. He even went so far as to wipe the knife on his sleeve. Moreover, the Micawbers no longer drank out of glasses but out of tin cups, apparently to get used to the rugged life that awaited them.
Another arrest and bail-out; Mrs. Micawber keeps hoping her family will appear—As Mr. Micawber was expounding upon this, he received a message asking him to come downstairs. Mrs. Micawber’s hunch was that it was someone from her family, finally come to make amends and say goodbye. In fact, it was an officer who had come to arrest Mr. Micawber on another charge by Uriah Heep. David was presently informed of this through another note, and promptly went downstairs to pay it and have Mr. Micawber released. Returning to the room upstairs, Mr. Micawber gave a vague excuse for his absence and then, apparently to ease his own mind, handed Traddles an elaborate calculation of his remaining debts, with compound interest. Unaware of the real reason for her husband’s momentary disappearance, and disappointed but undeterred in her hopes, Mrs. Micawber still believed that her family would show up at Gravesend at the last minute.
Mrs. Micawber’s faith in Mr. Micawber’s prospects in the brave new world of Australia—Aunt Betsey and David urged Mrs. Micawber to write when she got the chance. Both Mrs. and Mr. Micawber assured them they would, and Mr. Micawber added that it would be an easy thing, with all the ships going back and forth, and that the distance wasn’t worth mentioning—an exaggerated assessment in David’s view. Mrs. Micawber then launched into a speech about Mr. Micawber’s talents, his position in the new world, and her expectation that it would strengthen his ties with their home country, which had never given him the credit or opportunity he deserved. She felt he was an uncommon case and that he would rise to a high position in Australia, which would gain him recognition back in England. In her opinion, he should take charge of his destiny now and claim his due. Mr. Micawber, who was ready to put his experience in Britain behind him, had his doubts at first, but gradually saw the merit in her point of view and expressed his gratitude for her determined confidence. On that note, Aunt Betsey proposed a toast, and a beaming Mr. Peggotty shook hands with Mr. Micawber. In that moment, David felt that all would be well and that Mr. Peggotty, too, would do well wherever he went.
A final farewell on board the ship; one last arrest and bail-out—When David checked on them the following day, the Micawbers had already left by 5 a.m. in a boat for Gravesend, where he and Peggotty later met them to say their final goodbyes. The ship itself was mid-river, so that they had to take a smaller boat to get to it, which was apparent from the many boats that already surrounded it. Arriving on deck, David discovered from Mr. Peggotty that Mr. Micawber had been arrested one final time. But per David’s request, Mr. Peggotty had paid the bill, and now David paid him back.
A variety of emigrants and well-wishers crowd the boat; David spots Emily—In the dim lighting of the ship’s hull, David could see it was crowded with emigrants and their belongings. There were people of all different types, ages, and careers: smiths, farmers, children, parents, young adults, newborn infants, old people—all engaged in various activities as they said goodbye and prepared to leave on their long voyage. Off to the side by an open porthole, David noticed someone who resembled Emily. Another woman had just kissed her goodbye and moved off, but by the time David realized that her graceful manner reminded him of Agnes, he had already lost her in the crowd.
David and Mr. Peggotty say their final farewells; David finds Martha among the emigrants—The time had come for all visitors to leave, and Mr. Peggotty turned to David and asked him whether he had any last-minute messages or concerns. David answered that there was one—Martha. Just before that, David had noticed a young woman in black who was helping Mrs. Gummidge organize their belongings. Mr. Peggotty tapped her on the shoulder, and as she stood up, David saw that it was Martha. She was so overcome with emotion just then that she burst into tears. David blessed Mr. Peggotty for taking her with him, and in that moment he felt a deep love and respect for this kind and good man. David’s only other remaining mission was to give Mr. Peggotty Ham’s parting message, without revealing that Ham had died. That was hard, but even harder was not reacting when Mr. Peggotty gave him a loving message in return.
Last goodbyes as the ship moves off into the sunset—Peggotty had been sitting on a chest, crying, and David now said his final goodbyes to his emigrant friends before taking his dear old nurse with him into the little boat. It was sunset by then, and the beauty of the ship, with all the people crowded on deck in silence as they waited to wave their final farewells, left him with feelings of both sadness and hope. As the ship started to sail away, cheers arose from the small boats and were returned by the ship’s passengers. All of a sudden, David noticed Emily standing next to her uncle, who now pointed out David and Peggotty. Seeing Emily waving to them for the last time, David wished in his heart that she would be true to her uncle, who loved and cared for her. As the ship sailed off into the fading light and night fell on the English shore, David felt that night had fallen on his life.
David’s journey: an outline of his inner changes—Chapter 58 is about David’s journey abroad, though it’s more about his inner journey than about his external travels, which he barely mentions. Even then, the chapter is fairly simple as it explains how he went from a sense of overall numbness to grief and despair and, finally, to the remembrance of an old love that might once have become something more.
A three-year journey as a means of processing his emotions—David’s travels abroad lasted three years and encompassed many places and sights, but with little enthusiasm and with an ongoing sense of being removed from it all. As the shock of his recent losses gradually wore off, their reality began to hit home, and David’s suppressed grief rose to the surface. It encompassed not only his own losses, mistakes, and youthful dreams, but what might have been—lives that might have blossomed more fully had they not been cut short.
David’s heart begins to open in the purity of the Swiss countryside—After many months of aimless wandering, David finally arrived in the Swiss mountains. There, in the beauty of a Swiss valley at sunset, he began to feel a faint sense of peace and hope. Something of the purity and wonder of the place opened his heart, and for the first time since Dora’s death, he sobbed from the depths of his soul.
David receives a packet of letters—Immediately before that, David had picked up some letters at the village post office. He had barely kept in touch with his friends and relations, informing them of his latest destination but unable to write anything beyond that. This was the first packet he had received in a while, having missed a number of others.
David reads a comforting letter from Agnes—The letter he opened was from Agnes, who after one brief line about her own happiness and success in her latest endeavors, proceeded to write about her hope and confidence in David’s character and future development. She knew that, no matter what difficulties befell him, no matter how much pain he experienced, he would make the right choices and grow from his trials. He had done this before as a boy, and he would do it again. And she would always be there beside him, proud of his past and future accomplishments. That letter of comfort and hope was exactly what David needed. He read it many times and wrote Agnes, telling her that although he did not yet measure up to her view of him, he would work toward becoming that.
The dawning of a new life—This chapter contains some of the book’s most beautiful scenic descriptions, and like many scenic descriptions in Dickens, they depict a state of being. In this case, the pure beauty of the Swiss valley—the green trees and pasture, the sunlit snow-capped mountains, the singing shepherds’ voices, the fading colors of the sunset—all point to the dawn of a new life and hope, a new purity, like the clearing of the air after a violent storm. At the end of the last chapter, night fell as the ship sailed away, and now, having lived through the dark night of his own soul, David began to see a new light dawning in his heart through the words of one who had been a steady guide and comfort to him since his boyhood.
Agnes’s encouragement gives David new hope and resolve—Buoyed by Agnes’s sense of confidence in him, David resolved to try to become what she saw in him. One thing he appreciated about Agnes was that her vision for him was never accompanied by any sense of pressure. In that spirit, he allowed himself another three months to just be. By then, a year would have elapsed since the beginning of his journey, and he would decide what to do next.
David spends another two years in Switzerland, begins to write again, and regains a sense of self—David spent those three months in the valley, and when they were up, he decided to stay in Switzerland a while longer and write, wintering in Geneva and spending the rest of his time in the valley. He began to come out of his shell again and soon had many warm new friendships, and he took comfort and inspiration from nature. He also resumed his disciplined routine of writing and before long had sent Traddles a finished story for publication. After a break, he started his third novel, and before it was halfway through, he realized he was ready to go home. Aside from regaining a sense of self, he had accumulated much in the way of knowledge and experience, and he felt healthy again, which was not the case when he left England.
David becomes aware of his complex feelings for Agnes—There was one other thing David wanted to mention before leaving this chapter of his life. His complex feelings for Agnes, which remained suppressed for a long time, began to surface during his period of darkness and despair. It occurred to him that, through the impetuous choices of his younger years, he had undervalued her love and possibly thrown away the opportunity of its evolving into something more. Dora’s intuitions on the subject had also haunted him, and he had an inkling that Agnes might have felt something more for him at one point, but he wasn’t sure. Now as he returned to his native shores three years later, he knew he had feelings and thoughts of that nature, but he felt the opportunity to realize them was gone, and he didn’t want to disrupt what they had.
Returning to London in the fall—David returned to London on a cold, dreary, foggy evening in autumn, before the long summer vacation for the courts and universities had ended, Michaelmas term not beginning until October. After his travels through Europe, London’s houses, though familiar, seemed bleak to him, and some had even been pulled down to make way for changes in the neighborhood.
A lonely return by himself in the London fog—Change was, of course, to be expected not only in the physical surroundings but in the lives of those close to him. Traddles was slowly breaking into the legal field and was living in chambers at Gray’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court, and Aunt Betsey had returned to her house in Dover. David’s friends and relatives weren’t expecting him so soon, and because he wanted to surprise them, he hadn’t arranged for anyone to meet him and therefore felt a bit lonely. This was quickly eased, however, by the warmth from the familiar shop windows glowing through the fog.
David inquires about Traddles at the inn—On entering into the coffee shop at Gray’s Inn, where David would also be spending the night, he inquired about Traddles’s exact address. He next asked how Traddles was doing in his career as a lawyer. The first waiter David asked was not aware of any great reputation on his part, and the head waiter had never heard of him, nor did he seem interested. He was more intent on taking David’s dinner order.
After a discouraging response, David wonders if Traddles will succeed—David felt sorry for Traddles and wondered if he would ever make a go of it. It didn’t help that the heavy, traditional environment of Gray’s Inn, personified by the head waiter and the coffee room, seemed full of rules and regulations, unbending and unchanging. Everything was perfectly polished and maintained—sedate, old, and expensive. In such an environment, where little changed in a decade, someone like Traddles would come across as an unlikely upstart, and the thought that his friend stood no chance saddened David.
David hears girls laughing as he walks up to Traddles’s apartment—David quickly finished his dinner and headed off to see his old friend. Traddles lived on the top floor of No. 2 in the Court, and as David made his way up the dimly lighted staircase, he was surprised to hear the sound of girls laughing. When he stopped to listen, one of the old, decrepit planks gave way, and the noise he made upon stumbling interrupted the laughter.
A happy reunion—Arriving at Traddles’s door, he was greeted by a young boy attendant, who, after some hesitation, let David in and escorted him to the sitting room to see Traddles. Traddles was sitting at a table, apparently working, and both the boy and Traddles looked out of breath. But whatever hesitation was previously there disappeared when Traddles saw David. Instead, there was a happy reunion, with hugs, handshaking, and a mutual exchange of warm greetings and new information.
Traddles and Sophy are recently married; the laughing girls are her sisters—Traddles was impressed by David’s growing fame, and David learned that Traddles had finally married the “dearest girl in the world” just six weeks earlier. Apparently, David had not received Traddles’s latest letter. Sophy, who had been hiding behind the curtain, now came out, beaming. The laughing girls, it turned out, were her sisters, and just as David was coming up the stairs, Traddles had been playing with them. He had stopped when he heard a visitor arrive in the interest of looking professional.
Traddles makes the best of his situation—Traddles was delighted to have the laughter of young girls in his apartment. He felt it brought a sense of lightness and life to the heaviness of Gray’s Inn, even if it was deemed unprofessional. Living there with Sophy was also considered unprofessional, but they had no other options, and Sophy was extremely capable, which justified it in Traddles’s mind. And, as Traddles mentioned several times, they were ready to “rough it.” David asked which of the girls were there at the moment and learned that there were five, including the oldest (the “Beauty”), the invalid, and the two younger ones, whom Sophy had educated. Sophy had organized beds for all her sisters in their three-room apartment, while she and Traddles cheerfully made do with the floor the first week, afterwards graduating to a small attic room, which Sophy fixed up and which had an excellent view.
Traddles’s patience and determination—Traddles was also thrilled to point out the marble table and flowerpot he had been saving for so long. The other furniture was just functional, and they still didn’t have any silver, but all that would come in due time and would mean even more when they finally had it. After all, it had been a long wait for both Traddles and Sophy, so when Traddles began to make headway as a lawyer, he went down to Devonshire to convince Sophy’s father, the Reverend Crewler, that the time had come for him and Sophy to be married. Sophy, too, was willing, even though Traddles wasn’t completely settled. Her father agreed, on the condition that Traddles would earn £250 a year and provide a decent living space. Traddles also promised that if anything happened to the two parents, he would take care of the girls, assuming he was in a position to do so. The Reverend agreed to convince Sophy’s mother that it was time to let go of her daughter, even if she had been a great help to the whole family. That was easier said than done. Sophy had been so useful to the family that they resented having Traddles take her from them. But they did let go, and Traddles was happy and cheerful, even though he rose at five and worked constantly and hard.
David meets Sophy’s sisters—Suddenly, their attention shifted. The girls had come into the room, and Traddles now introduced them to David, who was impressed with their freshness, describing them as a “perfect nest of roses.” David found them all pretty, especially the oldest, but Sophy had a brightness and cheer that made her unique, and it was clear that she loved and believed in Traddles (“Tom,” to her) as much as he did her. She also emphasized that Traddles was David’s devoted friend and that when they visited with Aunt Betsey and Agnes in Kent, the main subject on everyone’s mind was David.
Traddles and Sophy’s cheerful generosity and competency leaves David with a feeling of hope—Another thing that delighted David about both Sophy and Traddles was their generosity and helpfulness toward Sophy’s sisters. Neither of them was troubled by the girls’ various whims and demands, which were ongoing. Instead, they were constantly and cheerfully at their service. They seemed to take great pleasure in being there for others and never appeared exhausted or upset. In the process of serving everyone, Sophy’s knowledge and capabilities in different areas—whether of singing songs, fixing hair, writing notes, or whatever else—had grown so much that no one thought of relying on anyone but her, out of all the sisters, to do anything. In return for all their love and good cheer, Sophy and Traddles received a tremendous amount of love and respect, and the whole experience left David in good spirits. It was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dry and staid environment, and it left him with a feeling of hope about Traddles’s future, regardless of his surroundings.
David recognizes Mr. Chillip in the coffee room—It was in this mood that David returned to the coffeehouse and sat down by the fire. Before long, his thoughts turned from Traddles’s happiness to the difficulties of his own life, and he thought of Agnes and what he had lost by preventing that relationship from ever growing into something more than a brother-sister interaction. As he sat musing on these things, he noticed meek, little Mr. Chillip, the delivery room doctor, sitting off in a corner by himself reading the newspaper. David therefore walked up to him and asked him how he was. After a bit of bantering, Mr. Chillip still couldn’t figure out who David was, so David finally told him. That elicited an emotional reaction, and they got to talking about many things—that David looked like his father, that his fame as a writer was spreading, and that Mr. Chillip and his family had moved from Blunderstone to Bury St. Edmunds about seven years earlier because his wife had inherited some property.
David buys Mr. Chillip a drink and hears about the Murdstones’ latest escapades—David noticed that Mr. Chillip had emptied his glass of negus,[i] so he offered to buy them both another drink. The topic turned to David’s loss of Dora. Mr. Chillip had heard about it through Miss Murdstone, whose distinctive character had made an impression on him. In fact, the Murdstones had moved to the same neighborhood as the doctor and his family. Mr. Murdstone had once again married a young, fresh, innocent woman, and he and his sister then proceeded to terrorize her into a state of misery, weakness, and imbecility. Throughout the conversation, the doctor kept quoting Mrs. Chillip, a “great observer,” who noticed, among other things, that Mr. Murdstone referred to himself as a Divine Nature and delivered dark, severe speeches in the name of religion. Mr. Chillip himself could see no support for the Murdstones’ doctrine in the New Testament, and it was no surprise that the entire neighborhood disliked them, which, in the Murdstones’ view, meant they were all consigned to hell.
Memories of David’s birth; opinions on Aunt Betsey—After a bit more chatting, David discovered that Mr. Chillip was at Gray’s Inn as a professional witness in a hospital patient insanity case. He confessed that such cases made him nervous, just as Aunt Betsey’s behavior at the time of David’s birth had had a detrimental effect on him that took a while to unravel. David noted that he was on his way to visit the same Aunt Betsey and that she was, in fact, a wonderful, kind woman. That was too much for Mr. Chillip to process, and he took it as his cue to go to bed.
A cheerful reunion in Dover—The next day, David arrived at his aunt’s old cottage in Dover, where he was warmly and joyfully received by Aunt Betsey, Mr. Dick, and Peggotty, who now kept house for them. Aunt Betsey got a good laugh from Mr. Chillip’s fearful memory of her, and both Peggotty and David’s aunt went on about Mr. Murdstone and his “murdering” sister.
[i] Similar to hot toddy, a heated mixture of liquor, water, sugar, and spices
Catching up on the news—David and Aunt Betsey spent the evening by the fire talking of things like the emigrants’ successful beginnings in the new world, Janet’s marriage to a prosperous Dover tavern owner, and Aunt Betsey’s approval as shown by her decision to attend the wedding. Mr. Dick, too, was doing well. He had found a new vocation in copying, through which he managed to keep Charles I at bay.
Aunt Betsey steers the conversation toward the subject of David and Agnes’s relationship—Changing the subject, Aunt Betsey wanted to know when David planned to go to Canterbury. His aunt had picked up on something going on between Agnes and him, even though they hadn’t yet admitted it to each other, and now she steered the conversation in that direction. But David wasn’t ready to talk about his love for Agnes, so while it was obvious Aunt Betsey understood, she refrained from being too direct.
More detail about the Wickfields; Aunt Betsey’s intuitive understanding of David’s feelings—Before David even mentioned Agnes, Aunt Betsey read his mind and warned him that Mr. Wickfield had aged but also grown in his understanding of human nature. Agnes, on the other hand, was as beautiful and good as always, and she was busy with her school. In Aunt Betsey’s opinion, if she educated the girls to be like her, she would do much for the world. David hesitated before asking whether Agnes was romantically involved. According to Aunt Betsey, she had many suitors and could have married any number of times. Were there any viable ones, though—any that deserved her? Aunt Betsey had her suspicions but wouldn’t say anything beyond that. David’s stated hope was that Agnes would confide in him as a brother, just as he had always confided in her. But it was clear from the way Aunt Betsey looked at David throughout the conversation that she understood there was more going on. Now she said nothing but quietly placed her hand on his shoulder as they both looked into the fire.
David visits Agnes the following day—David rode to Canterbury the next day. On arriving at the old house, he hesitated at first but finally got up the courage to go in. The maid led him up the stairs to the drawing room, and David was relieved to see that all vestiges of the Heeps’ presence were gone. He had only told the maid he was a friend from abroad, so it was a happy surprise for Agnes when she saw him, and he, too, was happy to be in her peaceful presence again as he hugged her closely. She embodied home for him, a feeling of goodness, welcome, peace, and understanding he had long yearned for. Now she sat beside him, and though he still couldn’t bring himself to express his feelings, her calming influence had already begun its soothing magic, even when she spoke of Emily and of Dora’s grave.
David asks Agnes about herself but backs off when she seems uncomfortable—David asked Agnes about her own personal life, claiming she never spoke about herself. Agnes didn’t know what to say. They had their home back, and her father was healthy and content again, and that, to her, was everything. David pressed for more, but she denied there was anything else. Even so, she seemed uncomfortable, and he noticed a paleness in her face and a sadness to her smile at that moment. He changed the subject, and they spoke of different things—how the school kept her busy, how long David planned to visit, and that the old house was restored to its former happy self.
An evening with the Wickfields brings up thoughts about the past—Agnes had to finish teaching school for the day, so David went out for a walk about the town. The conversation had left him unconvinced that he could ever be anything more to Agnes than a loving brother, so he resolved to do this as faithfully as possible, as she had done for him. When David returned for dinner, Agnes’s father was back from his gardening, his latest pastime, located a bit beyond Canterbury. They had dinner with Agnes and about six little schoolgirls, and after dinner, they all went up to the drawing room, where they had tea while the little girls studied, played, and sang. After the girls left, the three of them reminisced about the past, although Mr. Wickfield spoke of many regrets. Yet Agnes had made it all worthwhile for him, and he would not change anything. For the first time, too, Mr. Wickfield spoke of his wife, who died of a broken heart after her father, a severe man who disapproved of her marriage, renounced her. Agnes was only two weeks old at the time of her death, and in her, Mr. Wickfield saw much of his wife and feared his daughter had suffered in similar ways. David wondered what he meant by this last statement. Yet even without a full understanding on David’s part, Agnes’s devotion for her father was clear, and David now gained a deeper sense of it.
Restrained communication between Agnes and David—When her father finished, Agnes played some old tunes on the piano. While she played, she asked David whether he had any thoughts of going abroad again. He asked her how she felt about it, and when she said she hoped he didn’t, he made it clear that her wish was his wish. He was trying to broach the subject of their relationship, and he finally did, but in a hesitant way. The most he could do at this point was to profess his undying love and commitment to her as a brother, no matter whom she loved or married. He felt he didn’t deserve her after all the years of falling in love with other women, and he misinterpreted the restrained emotional play he saw on her face.
David’s silent hopes—David had promised to be back in Dover by nighttime, and as he thought of their conversation on the way back, it seemed to him that neither of them was happy. He had resigned himself to a restrained love on earth, but he hoped that someday the transcendent nature of their true love would unfold in a heavenly realm.
David visits Traddles to sort through his fan mail, delivered there since his stay abroad—David spent several months in Dover finishing his book, with periodic visits to London to soak up city life or visit Traddles. Traddles had been managing David’s business affairs since his journey abroad, and in the meantime, David’s fan mail had grown so large that he arranged to have it delivered to Traddles’s address. Every so often, David would stop by to discuss some business point with Traddles and to sift through the bushels of mostly irrelevant letters.
Sophy trains herself as a copyist to help out Traddles—By now, Sophy’s sisters had returned to Devonshire, and Sophy herself kept busy managing their domestic affairs and, when necessary, staying out of sight of the stuffy legal types who might disapprove of the presence of a woman in chambers. David also noticed on many visits that Sophy would quickly shove a copybook into a drawer, and he wondered why. Eventually he discovered from Traddles that she had been training herself as a copyist so she could take over that job when “Tom” became a judge someday. He was proud of the professional results she had achieved and had no qualms about saying so, but Sophy herself felt it was better to keep it secret because of current attitudes toward women in the professions.
Traddles praises Sophy’s many wonderful qualities—David commented on what a wonderful wife she was, which got Traddles praising her many good qualities. She was cheerful and adaptable, always on time, discreet in her movements while staying in chambers, an excellent housekeeper, attractive and energetic, a good cook and baker, creative within their means, and fun to be with. For them, taking walks together to go window shopping and dream of what they would buy each other was as good as actually buying the thing. Or they would buy half-price theater tickets and enjoy every minute, or just sit together in a warm apartment on a cold night. Traddles was thrilled to be so lucky.
Mr. Creakle, now a magistrate, invites David to inspect a “model” prison system—David wondered if Traddles ever drew skeletons anymore, and Traddles had to admit that he did occasionally indulge in it. That got them talking about Mr. Creakle, and David remembered he had a letter from their old schoolmaster, who had since been appointed a Middlesex Magistrate and had invited David to observe how well their prison system worked. They claimed that solitary confinement was the secret to creating model prisoners, and David wanted to know if Traddles would come along to verify this great achievement. David also found it interesting that Mr. Creakle, who had been a tyrant toward the schoolboys, was gentle and considerate toward the worst criminals. Traddles was not surprised, and they both agreed to say nothing of their former treatment, which had apparently been forgotten now that David was famous.
David and Traddles tour the prison; David finds the prisoners’ excellent conditions ironic—A day or two later, David and Traddles visited the huge prison, which David remembered cost a great deal to build. They were met by several magistrates and some other visiting gentlemen. Mr. Creakle looked more or less the same, though older, and judging from his manner toward Traddles and David, he had no recollection of his former tyrannical behavior as their school principal. David was struck by the extreme concern the group had for the prisoners’ comfort as well as by the gentlemen’s total focus on prison life. Their tour began in the kitchen, coincidentally at around dinnertime, where David couldn’t help noticing the high quality of the meals being delivered to the prisoners’ cells. It occurred to him that the mass of workers who earned an honest living, including soldiers and sailors, rarely enjoyed a meal of that quantity and quality.
A flawed “perfect” system—The system’s supposed efficacy was based on the “perfect” isolation of individual prisoners, but as the men toured the building, David noticed that the isolation was not as perfect as claimed and that it was likely (and eventually proved) that the prisoners communicated enough that they knew a lot about each other, which was the opposite of the goal. The other thing he noticed repeatedly as they visited the prisoners’ cells was that their professions of remorse and reform all sounded strangely similar. Nor did he get a feeling of trust from any of them. It was easy to profess reform where there was no chance of temptation, but he doubted they would be able to resist reverting to their old ways under real outside circumstances.
Model Prisoner No. 27, the cream of the prisoner crop—Throughout the tour, the group kept hearing about Model Prisoner No. 27, who supposedly far outshone the others in his degree of reformation and his belief in the system that had converted him. He had such a good reputation at the prison that the tour leaders were saving his cell for last, so by the time they got there, David’s curiosity had reached its peak. When they finally arrived at his cell, Mr. Creakle, after looking through the keyhole, reported that No. 27 was reading a hymn book. The excitement that followed that revelation created so much competition for the keyhole that they decided to allow No. 27 to come out and meet the visitors in person.
No. 27 is brought out to meet the visitors—To Traddles’s and David’s great surprise, they found themselves looking at Uriah Heep. Uriah recognized them immediately and inquired after their well-being, which impressed the gentlemen on the tour. When Mr. Creakle asked him how he was, Uriah gave his usual profession of humility. Every time someone asked about his comfort, he used it as a chance to confess how wrong he had been and how much he had changed. Most of the party believed him.
Model Prisoner No. 28; the model prisoners speak—The magistrates now brought out another model prisoner, No. 28, who turned out to be none other than Mr. Littimer. Mr. Littimer emerged reading a book, with his “highly respectable” veneer perfectly intact. Each model prisoner had a champion, Mr. Creakle being Uriah’s and another gentleman being in charge of Littimer, and these champions guided the conversation. When asked how he was, Littimer’s answers had the same hollow ring to them as Uriah’s, but other than David and Traddles, the gentlemen visitors seemed not to pick up on this. The other thing Uriah and Littimer had in common, once they had made a show of how reformed they were, was to point the finger at other people, either as being the cause of their own guilt or as being in need of reform, as though the whole of London shared their qualities and backgrounds. Both Uriah and Littimer specifically addressed David, and Littimer even asked him to relay his “forgiveness” of Emily, in spite of her bad behavior when he tried to “save” her. Uriah gave a similarly sanctimonious speech, mentioning that David had hit him (to the horror of the naïve gentlemen) but that he forgave him. David couldn’t help noticing at one point that Uriah’s expression was more evil than ever and that when Littimer excused himself to return to his cell, he and Uriah exchanged looks as though they knew each other.
David asks a warden about the two prisoners’ crimes—David noticed that the magistrates were not keen to talk about the prisoners’ crimes, so he quietly asked one of the wardens, who he guessed had a more honest, less deluded view of the prisoners. He learned that Uriah was in prison for forgery, fraud, and conspiracy against the Bank of England. He had almost gotten away with the crime, but the bank managed to lure him into revealing himself. He was sentenced to permanent transportation. Littimer had been arrested for stealing £250 worth of valuables and cash from a young gentleman. He was on his way to America when he was recognized, in spite of his disguise, by Miss Mowcher, who grabbed his legs and wouldn’t let go. Littimer tried to beat her off, but even the arresting officers couldn’t pry her away, and she ended up being a star witness in court. Littimer was also sentenced to transportation.
David and Traddles’s conclusions about the model prison—David and Traddles left the prison convinced that no real reform had taken place. Littimer and Heep were the same deceivers they had always been, and the system that was supposed to be so promising held no real promise at all.
David and Agnes still keep their real feelings to themselves—Two months passed, and it was now Christmastime. David had visited Agnes once a week or more during that time, and his deep love and respect for her remained as strong as ever. Still, he could not express his real feelings and had relegated his desires to a mental shelf, where they would take a backseat to whomever she chose as her husband. His only consolation, other than her company, was that he could be to her what she had been to him for so many years—a trusted confidant, counselor, and friend—and that was what he now committed himself to being.
Aunt Betsey’s intuitions; David decides to find out if there’s another man—The only person who had any inkling of their feelings was Aunt Betsey, who silently surmised it through her usual astute observation of her nephew’s face. However, they never spoke of it directly, although Aunt Betsey left broad hints now and then, and there seemed to be a deep understanding between them. Agnes herself showed no signs of change, except for the occasional thoughtful look and sad smile, and she did not seem to have any awareness of David’s real feelings. All this reticence increased whatever confusion already existed, and David convinced himself there had to be another man, but he could not understand why Agnes kept her secret from him. In his determination to repay her for her faithfulness, he resolved to clear things up.
David gets the wrong idea from Aunt Betsey—It was in this frame of mind that David bid his aunt goodbye on his way out into the cold winter’s night. But before leaving, he could not refrain from asking her whether she knew anything more about Agnes’s secret love. Aunt Betsey said she thought she did, and when he asked her whether she was sure, she offered that she thought Agnes was going to marry. Determined to stick to his resolve and face this cheerfully, David wished God’s blessing upon her. His aunt, agreeing, blessed her husband, too. Hearing this bit of news from his aunt, David mounted his horse and set out for Canterbury, more determined than ever to broach the subject with Agnes.
David asks Agnes to reveal her secret love to him—Arriving at the Wickfields’, David found Agnes reading by herself. She quickly realized he was in a serious mood and gave him all her attention. It didn’t take David long to tell her that he knew she had a secret and he wanted her to share it with him, to let him be there for her. He assured her that his motives weren’t selfish, that he could take a back seat to whomever else she chose.
Agnes refuses to tell David and fends him off—Apparently, he struck a painful chord in her. As though she couldn’t face it, she moved quickly to the window, and he saw that she was crying, but something about her tears gave him hope. At the same time, he didn’t want to cause her pain, so he begged her to tell him what was going on, but she was adamant—she couldn’t speak about it just now. As she fended him off, David searched for some clue, and he began to wonder if there wasn’t some hope, after all, for the feelings he had buried. At first, he brushed them off. He wanted her to know that his motives were pure and unselfish, that he would be there for her no matter how their relationship changed outwardly. Hearing this, Agnes quietly informed him that he had misunderstood. Her secret was nothing new. She had held it within her for many years, but it was not something she would share, and she could bear it alone.
In a burst of passion, David and Agnes finally tell each other the truth—David’s thoughts were racing now as he realized the implications of what she was saying. As she began to walk away, he took her by the waist and held her close to him. He hadn’t come to tell her his deeper feelings, but now all his love, passion, and hopes burst forth as he dared to believe she might love him as something more than a friend. It was the closest thing to a marriage proposal, and when he saw her shedding tears of joy, he knew he had understood correctly. All the struggles he had felt in the last few years, the incompleteness he had sensed in his earlier marriage, the feeling of guidance and home she had always provided—all of it came spilling out now, and Agnes, too, admitted that she had loved David her whole life. That night, they walked together in the wintry fields, looking up at the moon and the stars and feeling at last that they had found peace and happiness together.
David and Agnes make their new relationship known to Aunt Betsey—The next day, David and Agnes went to Dover together, arriving in time for dinner. At first, they revealed nothing, but Aunt Betsey sensed something was different because she kept looking at David for clues, which meant putting on her spectacles. When she saw no hint of anything, she would remove them and use them to rub her nose, a sign that something was bothering her. Following dinner, when David told Aunt Betsey he had mentioned their conversation to Agnes, his aunt was perturbed and scolded him for betraying her trust. But when David put his arm around Agnes and they both leaned over her chair together, she caught on and became hysterical with joy—the only time David ever saw her like that. She hugged Peggotty and then hugged Mr. Dick. It was a happy moment for everyone.
David and Agnes are married; Dora’s secret request—Two weeks later, David and Agnes were married. It was a small but joyous wedding, with only the Traddles and the Strongs as guests. Afterwards, as David and Agnes drove off together, David felt at last that this was the love he had waited for all his life. But Agnes had one more thing to confess. Could David guess what it was? The night Dora died, she made Agnes promise that no one else would take her place.
Ten years later, David is a wealthy, successful author who lives in London with his family—It has been ten years since David and Agnes’s wedding. In the meantime, David has grown wealthy and famous as an author, and he and Agnes have moved to London and now have at least three children. When Chapter 63 opens, the family is together in the sitting room on a spring evening. There is a fire in the fireplace, the children are playing, and the scene is one of contentment and peace.
Mr. Peggotty visits from Australia—A servant announces the arrival of a personal visitor, a simple, rugged man resembling a farmer. It is Mr. Peggotty, and there is a joyful reunion. He is older, but still healthy and strong, and the children are immediately drawn to him. Mr. Peggotty recounts how he decided to take the long trip from Australia to visit David and his family before he got too old to do so. He would be staying in England for a month.
Mr. Peggotty tells of the hard work and success of the whole group of emigrants—After insisting that he stay with them, David and Agnes sat on either side of Mr. Peggotty, eager to see him and hear everything he had to tell. The word was that with hard work and patience, all the emigrants had prospered, between sheep farming, cattle raising, and other things. Mr. Peggotty felt with certainty that their group had been blessed.
Emily lives with her uncle, avoiding other people except when helping those in need—David and Agnes both wanted to know how Emily was doing. She had settled in with her uncle and was happy when around him, but she shied away from other people, except when helping those in need. Between that and her chores, she stayed busy. She could have married many times but felt that possibility was over for her, and there was something sorrowful and shy in her manner. No one there knew her history or why she was the way she was, though many people liked her.
Mr. Peggotty thanks David for keeping secret the bad news about Ham and Steerforth—Mr. Peggotty also thanked David for keeping the bad news about Steerforth and Ham from them. Mr. Peggotty himself, when he finally found out, managed to keep it from Emily for a year, but eventually she found out through an old newspaper brought by a traveler. David and Agnes wanted to know if the news had changed Emily. Mr. Peggotty said it did for a long time, but being away from people, out in nature, and staying busy helped her get through it. He saw her too often to gauge it correctly, but he thought he had noticed a difference and wondered whether David would recognize her.
Martha marries and moves to the bush—Agnes and David asked next about Martha. Mr. Peggotty told them that Martha married a year or so after they arrived. Women were few there, and her husband was a farmhand who had traveled a considerable distance. He proposed to her, and they moved to their own solitary place in the bush country. Before doing so, she asked Mr. Peggotty to tell her suitor her real life story, which he did.
Mrs. Gummidge decks a marriage suitor but remains loyal and helpful to Mr. Peggotty—What about Mrs. Gummidge? Mr. Peggotty started roaring with laughter when he heard the question, and soon they were all laughing uncontrollably. Even Mrs. Gummidge received a marriage proposal, and she reacted by smashing a pail over the suitor’s head. That incident aside, she remained completely changed. She totally dispensed with her lost, forlorn attitude and was the most helpful, hardworking, faithful person you could imagine.
The emigrants move to Port Middlebay after thriving in the bush; Mr. Peggotty pulls out the town paper—Finally, there was Mr. Micawber. What happened to him and his family? David and Agnes knew he had paid all his debts, which spoke well for him, but they were curious to learn more. Mr. Peggotty smiled and pulled out a newspaper. He explained they had all gotten their start in the bush country, where Mr. Micawber had worked as hard as anyone. Eventually, though, they had prospered so much they all moved to a town called Port Middlebay Harbour. Mr. Peggotty presented the Port Middlebay Times to tell the rest of the story.
Mr. Micawber fulfills Mrs. Micawber’s prediction; all the Micawbers and Mr. Mell, now Dr. Mell, and his family are thriving—The paper told of a dinner given in honor of Mr. Micawber, who was now a District Magistrate and regular columnist for the paper. The large room was packed to overflowing, and the town’s elite had crowded in to pay their respects to Wilkins Micawber, Esquire. He was introduced and toasted by Dr. Mell, David’s former teacher at Salem House, who had founded his own grammar school in Port Middlebay and was now married with children of his own, one of whom, Helena, was applauded for her beautiful dancing. Mr. Micawber’s own speech was received with great enthusiasm and applause. Further toasts were extended to Mrs. Mell and all the Micawbers: Mrs. Micawber and her extended family in England; Master Micawber, who delighted the audience with his singing; and the former Miss Micawber, now Mrs. Ridger Begs. The dinner and toasts were followed by dancing.
Mr. Peggotty points out a letter in the paper addressed to David and written by Mr. Micawber—Mr. Peggotty now drew their attention to another article, this one written by Mr. Micawber himself and addressed in formal terms to David, with the subtitle “The eminent author.” It was a public expression of gratitude and admiration for David’s contribution and achievements as an author. Mr. Micawber especially wanted to express that the people of Port Middlebay, who were as civilized as anyone, were his avid readers and always interested in David’s latest venture.
Seeing Peggotty and Aunt Betsey; visiting Ham’s grave; saying goodbye for the last time—During Mr. Peggotty’s time with David and Agnes, Peggotty and Aunt Betsey also came to see him. Toward the end, he and David took a trip to Yarmouth to see Ham’s grave, and in keeping with a promise he made to Emily, Mr. Peggotty collected some of the earth. Finally, David and Agnes both saw him off, and David knew it would be for the last time.
What became of everyone?—In his short closing chapter, David recalls the faces of those still living who played a role in his journey, and now he traces the outcome of their lives.
Aunt Betsey—First, there is Aunt Betsey, now in her eighties. Her eyesight might be weaker, but she still stands as tall and strong and energetic as ever, even walking six miles in the cold. Aunt Betsey’s longstanding wish for a goddaughter named Betsey Trotwood has been fulfilled, and that child was followed by a younger sister named Dora.
Peggotty—Then there’s Peggotty, also wearing glasses but still with her wax candle and needlework, and shoved in her pocket is the crocodile book, a cherished remnant of David’s childhood.
Mr. Dick—Entertaining himself and a new generation of boyish Davids with his kites is Mr. Dick. He still holds Aunt Betsey in the highest regard, but he is no longer too concerned with the Memorial.
Mrs. Steerforth and Rosa Dartle—Mrs. Steerforth has grown old and hunched over, and her mind is weak. She is easily confused, until she remembers that her pride and joy, her son, is dead, and she is struck by the pain of that realization. Her companion, Rosa Dartle, is the same edgy, bitter, impatient person, but when needed, she still has some compassion left for Steerforth’s mother.
Julia Mills, Jack Maldon—Julia Mills, now married to an extremely wealthy Scotchman, has returned from India. She is surrounded by the trappings of money and “society,” which includes the likes of such shallow individuals as Jack Maldon—and she has forgotten love and romance. To David, such an existence is the opposite of the things that make life worth living.
Dr. Strong, Annie, and Mrs. Markleham—Dr. Strong, that kindly old gentleman, has gotten as far as the letter D in his dictionary. But his marriage with Annie is happy, and his mother-in-law has been tamed.
Traddles and Sophy—Of course, there’s also Traddles. Time has moved a bit further along at this point, and Traddles is balding now, though what remains is as unruly as ever. He is on his way to becoming a judge, though he is modest about it. And he’s thrilled that he’s achieved all his life goals, and more. He is earning almost twice as much money as he expected to, his boys are receiving excellent educations, and Sophy’s sisters are either happily married or living with either them or their father, the Reverend. Only the “Beauty,” now a widow, is unhappy, having been through an imperfect marriage. But Traddles feels they can and will restore things.
It is Sophy’s birthday, and the house is full of relatives. It is one of the houses Sophy and Traddles once dreamt of owning, long before they could afford it. Now that they actually live there, they still give away the best rooms to Sophy’s sisters, who always seem to be staying with them for one reason or another. But for all their wealth, there is still the same simple good cheer that has always been a part of their home.
Agnes—Such are the faces that people David’s life. Yet among them all, one stands out and shines more brightly than all the others. It is Agnes, the guiding light of his life, who is beside him now and will be there till the end.