Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Many Matches of Emma

Throughout the novel Emma, there are many different pairings of people suggested – the book is centred on Emma and her matchmaking after all. I came to 14 couples.  

 First up there is John Knightley and Isabella Woodhouse. This is the first match and the match which sets Emma on her matchmaking schemes as Emma believes it was herself who engineered the marriage of her sister and Mr Knightley’s brother. This is one of my favourite matches given that the relationship of friendship growing to love is so appealing to me – not to mention how it links to the most important match of the novel!

Quite quickly after, we have the marriage of Miss Taylor and Mr Weston. This reassures Emma of her match making talents as she was there to smooth the way when Mr Weston was deciding on how to fill his new home, Randals. Although Mr Knightley may say that 'saying it would be a nice thing if they were to marry and repeating it to yourself every now and then is not the same as bringing it about', Emma is determined that is was through her means that there was a marriage, as everyone believed that Mr Weston would never marry again – but what a triumph! Well, Emma thinks it is a triumph, Knightley thinks it is merely a lucky guess, but have you never known the triumph of a lucky guess? But, unfortunately for Emma, by her own means she has lost something very dear to her – the company of her dear friend. This is also why she sticks with her schemes for she needs a new companion! And she is clearly enjoying practising her new found ‘talent’ of matchmaking.

Cue Harriet Smith. Harriet becomes Emma’s companion and Emma wishes to find her a husband also. Cue Mr Elton. Emma decides they would make a lovely couple, however, there is a Mr Robert Martin in the way. Harriet very quickly receives a letter with an offer of marriage from Mr Martin – and it is clear she wants to accept his offer but she has no confidence in her own opinion so seeks the counsel of Emma – bad idea! Emma cleverly gets her opinion across leading Harriet to decline Mr Martin – well, leading Emma to decline Mr Martin on Harriet’s behalf. Having Mr Martin out of the way, the road is clear for Mr Elton.

Emma is sure that Mr Elton is beginning to fall in love with Harriet and she knows that Harriet is! So, to help things along, among many things, she engineers a portrait to be painted of Harriet and to Emma’s delight, Mr Elton adores the picture and its wonderful artistry. These endeavours continue and soon a riddle arrives for Emma and Harriet’s new project. What a wonderful riddle – courtship, or shipcourt as first thought by Harriet. She really must be Elton’s desire!

Emma is sure that Harriet and Elton will be married by the New Year. But unluckily, at a crucial point to test his regard, Harriet falls ill meaning they cannot meet at the Weston’s Christmas party! But, she could judge his affection by ascertaining how concerned he is, and the result is not quite as she would have wished. After a not too pleasing evening, she is travelling home from the party, on her own, with Elton when, to her utter amazement, Elton expresses his love for her, not Harriet! What an embarrassment – all this time he was admiring her, and only being civil towards Harriet as a friend of Emma! He doesn’t care whether she lives or dies? Shocking.

After the embarrassment of that match gone wrong, Emma decided she will never match-make again. So, the matches to follow, for a little while anyway, are not pioneered by Emma.

Next, Jane Fairfax comes on the scene, shortly followed by Mr Frank Churchill. Jane decided not to go to Ireland with the Campbell’s and the Dixon’s, for a very particular reason, according to Mr Churchill. This next match is only hinted at but Churchill suggests the possibility of an ‘understanding’ between Jane and Mr Dixon after the incident when Mr Dixon saved her life. A pianoforte arrives for Jane and everyone assumes it must be from Colonel Campbell. However Churchill has another theory. He believes it was Mr Dixon because of the affection Mr Dixon formed for Jane after marrying Colonel Campbell’s daughter. 

The next suggested match is from Mrs Weston. She imagines that Jane and Mr Knightley have formed an attachment.  She suggests this to Emma who denies it straight away! Mrs Weston believes Knightley sent the piano, and thinks the care which Knightley is showing for Jane’s welfare are all signs of an attachment. This notion of Mrs Weston’s plagues her mind for a little longer, to Emma’s dismay.

Next we have one of the most important matches which is hoped for in Emma – between Churchill and Emma. From the first mention of Churchill, Mr and Mrs Weston’s hope was that Emma and Churchill would form an attachment. All the signs are pleasing to the Weston’s as Churchill and Emma do seem very pleased with each other, and particular attention seems to be shown to Emma from Frank, for example, Frank wishing to dance with Emma for the first two dances. The Weston’s hope continues right to the end - until the truth comes out.

Now Elton comes back on the scene  – with Mrs Augusta Elton. Elton comes back to Highbury with his new wife, the abominable Augusta. Poor Harriet cannot bear this as she is still infatuated with Elton, thanks to Emma. Emma does not see eye to eye with Mrs Elton – who would with a lady who is surprised to find Emma’s governess ladylike! And who calls Mr Knightley, Knightley - even Emma doesn’t call him that!

Emma now decided to restart her match making schemes! And once again it involves poor Harriet, and Frank this time, who Emma is now convinced she feels nothing for. Harriet, finally, is over Elton after he and his wife’s appalling behaviour towards Harriet at the ball. Shortly after the ball, Harriet is making her way to Hartfield when she is attacked by gypsies, but who is around to save her? Frank Churchill. Emma is then convinced that Harriet is beginning to falll for Churchill – but who wouldn’t after the service he rendered her! Harriet herself says that when she saw him approaching her, her utter despair turned to utter happiness immediately. Emma is pleased that hopefully her help to bring about the match between Harriet and Frank will end her sadness in regards to Elton, which was brought about by Emma in the first place.

All these hopes, and the hopes of the Weston’s, are dashed when Emma discovers that Frank is engaged – to Jane Fairfax!  This is another very important match in Emma as it shows Emma how blind she has been, even with Knightley’s suggestion of an attachment. No one can believe this news after Frank’s behaviour towards Emma. Emma most certainly cannot believe it! And poor Harriet, the third person she is in love with, or so Emma believes, to be lost!

After this revelation, Emma unfortunately has to tell Harriet. But Harriet already knows and is not so very affected by the news. Emma does not understand this, until she releases she has been mistaken - again. It was not Churchill’s heroic action which set Harriet’s heart a flutter, it was Mr Knightley’s, by asking her to dance after being snubbed by Elton. This is not what Emma was expecting and this news is, strangely, very unwelcome, and especially as Harriet believes Knightley returns her affections. This shocking turn of events helps Emma to realise her own feelings – if anyone is to marry Mr Knightley, it has to be her!

Finally – the most important match of all, Emma and Mr Knightley! Emma finally realised her true feelings for Knightley once her chance with him was endangered from the supposed attachment Harriet believed existed between herself and Knightley.  After this sudden realisation she knows she needs to ascertain Knightley’s own feelings regarding Harriet. How will he act when he returns from London?

Well, luckily for Emma, Harriet’s feelings are only on her side, as Knightley’s are already engaged elsewhere. Finally, each reveals their feelings and, to the dismay of Mr Woodhouse, they are engaged! But poor Harriet – her heart really has been played around with in the past year. Harriet is upset that she was mistaken, and that it was Emma, again, to win the affection of the man she loved.

But luckily, as in any Austen, everyone has a happy ending and, as it should have been from the very beginning, she accepts Mr Robert Martin’s second proposal – I think it is fair to say that she always did love Mr Martin really.

There really are many matches, or supposed matches, in Emma!

Your affectionate friend,
post signature


  1. Lizzie, why did you post this? It's supposed to be specifically for the you-know-what event. :P

  2. My bad ;) well 1. I forgot ;) 2. I'm not actually part of that so oh well ;) and 3. I will do the other post I mentioned for you very soon and send it too you and won't post it on mine till you-know-what! ;)
    You can still post this on your blog during the week, I don't mind :) and I hope your readers enjoy it and when they realise I have a blog now of my own, will visit my blog :)

  3. Haha! Dear Emma! How confused she was! Nice post, Mrs. Darcy :)

    1. Thanks Nicole!! :) yes poor Emma ;) haha

  4. Mrs Darcy
    I am in love with your blog! I am a bloggy friend of Miss Woodhouse's (you may know me as 'Abilaine') and I found your blog through her. My blog is here.

    By the way, I love your name! Mrs Darcy. It is so beautiful and I love Elizabeth. But Emma is still my favourite Austen heroine. :)

    God Bless you,

    1. hey thanks!! i am glad you enjoyed it and i hope you enjoy future posts :)
      i will follow your blog right now!! :D

      <3 <3 <3

  5. It was a nice read.


"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible," therefore I would dearly love for you to comment and let me know what you think!

Thank you for stopping by Laughing With Lizzie and I hope you will take the time to visit again before too long!