Emma Chapter 34
Mrs. Elton was quite pleased with all the attention Highbury paid her. There were certain sophistications she missed, but she was determined to instruct her new neighbors on these points. Emma, anxious to appear cordial, decided she had better have a dinner at Hartfield for the Eltons. Everyone was to come, except Harriet, who could not handle seeing the couple. By chance Mr. John Knightley would be in town with his children on the day of the party. Mr. Woodhouse was anxious about the size of the party, and Emma did her best to comfort him. Her father was most comforted when he learned that Mr. Weston would be detained from dinner, making their party one less.
The night of the dinner everyone was pleasant. Mr. John Knightley was well behaved; he spoke with Miss Fairfax, whom he had seen walking in the rain. She was on her way to the post-office, but this was not seen as enough of a reason to risk a cold. Once the news of this walk reached Mrs. Elton, she became quite disturbed at her friend's reckless behavior. She became insistent that Mr. Elton pick up Jane's letters, but Miss Fairfax strongly objected. She changed the subject, and then Emma brought up Frank Churchill. Mr. Knightley made a few slight insults to the young man, whom the ladies defended strongly. The group moved to the dining room, giving Emma time to come to her own conclusions about Jane Fairfax's determination to collect her own letters. Emma suspected a letter from Mr. Dixon was the cause, but she kept these thoughts to herself.