Emma Chapter 18
Everyone is disappointed when Mr. Frank Churchill cancels his visit, Mrs. Weston most of all. Emma is too occupied with Harriet to care much, though she feels for her old friend. Emma tells the news to Mr. George Knightley, who is very harsh on Frank for not making the visit. Frank's long absence signaled to the gentleman a lack of respect towards Mr. Weston, and a weakness in character. Emma cautions him, as Mrs. Weston cautioned her, not to judge the young man without full knowledge of his family and situation. But Mr. Knightley, an independent man himself, cannot help but imagine this slight an indicator of a selfish and insensitive nature. They quarrel back and forth, but neither means to be swayed in their opinion of the young man. Emma is willing to give Frank the benefit of the doubt, expecting that it is hard for him to stand up to his family. But Mr. Knightley believes there comes a time when a young man must do just that, to prove he is a man. Emma is surprised that her usually fair old friend would so confidently dislike a man he had never met. His reaction is a great mystery to her.