The description of Emma, a novel by Jane Austen Free eBook
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance
Emma Woodhouse has just attended the wedding of Miss Taylor, her friend and former governess, to Mr. Weston. Having introduced them, Emma takes credit for their marriage, and decides that she likes matchmaking. After she returns home to Hartfield with her father, Emma forges ahead with her new interest against the advice of her sister's brother-in-law, Mr. Knightley, and tries to match her new friend Harriet Smith to Mr. Elton, the local vicar. First, Emma must persuade Harriet to refuse the marriage proposal from Robert Martin, a respectable, educated, and well-spoken young farmer, which Harriet does against her own wishes. However, Mr. Elton, a social climber, thinks Emma is in love with him and proposes to her. When Emma tells him that she had thought him attached to Harriet, he is outraged. After Emma rejects him, Mr. Elton leaves for a stay at Bath and returns with a pretentious, nouveau-riche wife, as Mr. Knightley expected. Harriet is heartbroken and Emma feels ashamed about misleading her.
Frank Churchill, Mr. Weston's son, arrives for a two-week visit to his father and makes many friends. Frank was adopted by his wealthy and domineering aunt and he has had very few opportunities to visit before. Mr. Knightley suggests to Emma that, while Frank is clever and engaging, he is also a shallow character. Jane Fairfax also comes home to see her aunt, Miss Bates, and grandmother, Mrs. Bates, for a few months, before she must go out on her own as a governess due to her family's financial situation. She is the same age as Emma and has been given an excellent education by her father's friend, Colonel Campbell. Emma has not been as friendly with her as she might because she envies Jane's talent and is annoyed to find all, including Mrs. Weston and Mr. Knightley, praising her. The patronising Mrs. Elton takes Jane under her wing and announces that she will find her the ideal governess post before it is wanted. Emma begins to feel some sympathy for Jane's predicament.
Emma decides that Jane and Mr. Dixon, Colonel Campbell's new son-in-law, are mutually attracted, and that is why she has come home earlier than expected. She shares her suspicions with Frank, who met Jane and the Campbells at a vacation spot a year earlier, and he apparently agrees with her. Suspicions are further fueled when a piano, sent by an anonymous benefactor, arrives for Jane. Emma feels herself falling in love with Frank, but it does not last to his second visit. The Eltons treat Harriet badly, culminating with Mr. Elton publicly snubbing Harriet at the ball given by the Westons in May. Mr. Knightley, who had long refrained from dancing, gallantly steps in to dance with Harriet. The day after the ball, Frank brings Harriet to Hartfield, she having fainted after a rough encounter with local gypsies. Harriet is grateful, and Emma thinks this is love, not gratitude. Meanwhile, Mrs. Weston wonders if Mr. Knightley has taken a fancy to Jane but Emma dismisses that idea.
Emma is certain that Frank's engagement will devastate Harriet, but instead Harriet tells her that she loves Mr. Knightley, although she knows the match is too unequal, but Emma's encouragement and Mr. Knightley's kindness have given her hope. Emma is startled, and realizes that she is the one who wants to marry Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley returns to console Emma from Frank and Jane's engagement thinking her heartbroken. When she admits her own foolishness, he proposes and she accepts. Now Harriet accepts Robert Martin's second proposal and they are the first couple to marry. Jane and Emma reconcile, and Frank and Jane visit the Westons. Once the period of deep mourning ends, they will marry. Before the end of November, Emma and Mr. Knightley are married with the prospect of "perfect happiness".