Emma Chapter 42
The visit Mrs. Elton had long hoped for from the Sucklings was not to occur this summer. All her plans were dashed; but she comforted herself with still trying to plan an excursion to Box Hill. Emma and Mr. Weston had been planning their own small trip there, with a few of their close friends. So Emma was surprised and hurt when Mr. Weston invited Mrs. Elton and her husband along. But the trip was delayed when a horse got hurt. Mr. Knightley jokingly suggested an excursion to Donwell, and Mrs. Elton jumped at the phony offer. "Donwell was famous for its strawberry-beds, which seemed a plea for the invitation; but no plea was necessary; cabbage-beds would have been enough to tempt the lady, who only wanted to be going somewhere." Chapter 42, pg. 324 Excited, she urged Mr. Knightley to arrange everything.
All invited happily agreed to the party, seeing it as a compliment to themselves. Mr. Knightley arranged it so the Woodhouses could come, and much to Mr. Knightley's disappointment, Mr. Weston invited his son. They had a beautiful day for the party. Emma had not been to Donwell Abbey in a long time, and she was struck by its' beauty. The group walked around the grounds, picked strawberries until Mrs. Elton tired of it, and then settled down to conversation. Mrs. Elton had found Jane Fairfax a governess position with a respectable family near Maple Grove, and Miss Fairfax was having a hard time refusing her excessively kind friend. Desiring to end the conversation, Miss Fairfax suggested a walk. During this stroll, Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith broke away from the rest and had a private conversation.
After the walk the group went inside to eat. Still Mr. Churchill had not arrived. The post-meal walk was to be had, but Emma remained inside with her father. Jane Fairfax ran into Emma, and asked her to make her excuses to the others, because she had to leave. Emma, confused, offered her carriage to the girl, but she was insistent on walking back to her home alone. About twenty minutes after she left, Frank Churchill arrived. His aunt had delayed him, and now he was in a terrible mood, which he blamed on the heat. Emma was glad she no longer loved such an irritable man; Harriet would do better with him. When Mr. Churchill calmed down, he began to tell Miss Woodhouse his desire to go abroad. She teased the young man, sick of a life so comfortable. He thought Miss Woodhouse very wrong. Still cross, he finally agreed to attend the Box Hill trip tomorrow. As the others returned, they were happy to see him, though the sudden removal of Jane Fairfax was a distressing mystery.