Emma Chapter 41
June came without any great change--no new arrivals, no departures, no startling news. Mr. Knightley seemed to dislike Frank Churchill more and more. He suspected Mr. Churchill to be courting Emma, while his affections were really engaged with Jane Fairfax. He had seen them exchange looks, which he thought inappropriate; but he feared he might be creating a problem where there was none. So he continued observing.
His best evidence came one day at the end of a walk. Nearly everyone was there, and at the end of the walk Emma pressed them to have a drink at Hartfield. While on their way, Mr. Perry rode by on horseback. Frank Churchill asked Mrs. Weston about Mr. Perry's plan to buy a carriage, but she knew of no such plan. The young man insisted she had written it in a letter, but Mrs. Weston denied the charge. Mr. Weston himself knew nothing of Mr. Perry's plan, and Mr. Churchill suggested he might have dreamed the information. Emma was not present for this conversation, and so did not hear Miss Bates tell the group that she and her family (including Jane) had knowledge of the plan last spring. The doctor's wife, a friend of theirs, wanted a carriage, but was as yet unable to convince her husband. Mr. Knightley, suspecting a secret correspondence between Miss Fairfax and Mr. Churchill, watched their faces. But he saw no clue in them.
After tea, Mr. Churchill suggested they play a game. A person forms a word out of tile letters, then scrambles them. Another player tries to guess the word from the puzzle. Mr. Churchill gave a word to Jane, and after she solved it she pushed it away. Unknowingly Harriet picked it up, and solved it--Mr. Knightley saw that the word was "blunder." Jane Fairfax blushed at the word, and Mr. Knightley became certain of the connection he had just imagined. Next Mr. Churchill made out a small word for Emma, which he then slyly gave to Miss Fairfax. Mr. Knightley endeavored to see the word. It was "Dixon", and Jane Fairfax looked distressed when she realized Mr. Knightley had seen it. The evening soon ended, and Mr. Knightley looked to the innocent Emma. "He could not see her in a situation of such danger without trying to preserve her. It was his duty." Chapter 41, pg. 320 He asked his friend what was so amusing about the word "Dixon" in the game? Emma was confused and quiet. Mr. Knightley feared she was warmly attached to the deceitful young man. Feeling her protector, he had to ask her if she knew of any affection between Mr. Churchill and Miss Fairfax. Amused, Emma answered with a no, indicating her knowledge of the young man's heart. In poor spirits, he returned home to Donwell Abbey.