Emma: Summary of the Events at Box Hill

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We first hear of Box Hill at the end of Chapter 42 when Emma and Frank Churchill are talking. Emma notices that Frank doesn't seem himself and he soon expresses his wish to leave the country and move to Switzerland. Although Emma does not know about Frank and Jane Fairfax's relationship, this suggests to us that perhaps something has happened between them. Emma suggests that maybe tomorrow's gathering at Box Hill would be as good as a change for Frank and invites him to come along. Tomorrow arrives and everyone gets to Box Hill on time; the Westons, Emma and Harriet, Miss Bates and Jane, the Eltons and Mr. Knightley. Mrs. Weston remained back at Hartfield with Mr. Woodhouse. Emma notices that everybody is in their own little groups; Mr. and Mrs. Elton stay together, Mr. Knightley stays with Jane and Miss Bates, and Emma, Harriet and Frank Churchill keep to themselves too with Mr. Weston attempting to bring the groups together. The way that the groups have split up perhaps suggests uneasiness or tension; we know that Mrs. Elton thinks herself higher in society than anyone else (save her husband) because she is married and we know that Emma is not particularly fond of her to say the least. This explains two of the groups. We could also take the fact that Frank Churchill and Jane are split up as further proof that something has happened in their relationship. Mr Westons eagerness to try and merge the groups and keep everyone happy suggests that he enjoys the attention that he gets when his son is around. As we have seen in previous chapters, he certainly likes talking about him. Emma notices that Franks mood as not changed overnight; he is still being dull and Frank's mood has instilled itself in Harriet too. Emma finds the two of them "insufferable." When the groups sit down to eat, the signs of division are still evident but fading. The rest of the table have something to discuss when they see Frank and Emma talking closely and acting playfully - indeed, indeed, the only word that they could use to describe it would be flirtation. Austen gives us an insight into Emma's mind when she describes how Emma is feeling; she is laughing because is disappointed because she knows that what she had once hoped would happen between her and Frank would never happen.

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