Saturday, June 16, 2012

Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax – engaged?

Now this unexpected turn towards the end of Emma is not what I expected when I first read it. Frank was for Emma surely! But, as always, Mr Knightley was right when he thought about a possible attachment between them.

But, looking back, Austen does include some hints for us along the way.

Firstly, when Jane first comes on the scene and when she is talking to Emma one day, she is very vague about Frank, whom she met at Weymouth. But, unfortunately for the very interested Emma, she doesn't wish to talk about him much when Emma questions. This is shown well in the 1996 Paltrow version...

“Was he handsome?”

“Many say he is.”

“Was he agreeable?”

“He was in no way disagreeable.”

“Was he a man of information?”

“All his statements seemed correct.”

These are not the answers which will satisfy Emma’s intrigue about this Mr Frank Churchill.

The next hint is linked to Frank’s always managing to find an excuse for not visiting his father in Highbury. His poor, poor aunt keeps becoming too ill so she can’t bear to part with her beloved Frank. Luckily, he does manage to visit. Isn’t it funny how it is after Jane has arrived that he is able to come?

Next up, this trifling business about this trip to London for this vital hair cut! Imperative business indeed! What a coincidence that the pianoforte for Jane arrives shortly after his visit... but of course it is from Colonel Campbell, but Jane is not so sure as everyone else seems to be.

Frank lets his guard down a little at the Cole’s party. When the piano is placed, naturally, Emma is asked to perform! After a lovely song, or duet once Frank joins in, Frank asks Jane to perform. Surely this is just out of politeness, but then asking her to sing a further three songs? That is more than mere politeness...

This speculation about this lovely, yet a little inconvenient gift of a piano, is the talk of the town for a number of days, and what an honour for Miss Bates when Emma come to view the instrument. What a surprise that Frank is already there, mending Mrs Bateses glasses. I thought he found the company of the Bateses too intolerable?

Isn’t Frank so very eager for this ball! I wonder why... Well, of course to dance with Emma. Jane seems also rather animated when she hears of the possibility of a ball, in fact, Emma had never seen her so animated, about anything! Could they be thinking of the possibility of dancing with each other? Of course, Frank would say, he would have to dance at least once with Jane, out of civility. And why would he wish it, he told Emma her dancing is of little consequence.

Oh dear, Mrs Churchill is ill, again. He must be off this instant, and had only a short time to say goodbye to Emma. Shame he couldn’t spare 5 minutes for the Bateses. Oh? He has already been there, to Emma’s surprise. Why would he wish to spend the last morning of his at Highbury, at that house? “Seeing as you know everything, you can hardly be without suspicion.” What does this mean? Well, Emma has an answer to everything, Frank must be in love with her – Emma that is, not Jane! It must be this, with his high regard for “this place” and he thought he would be able to stay here forever...

Oh, poor, sad Jane. Going out in rain to fetch her letters! Who could they be from making them of such important for her to go out in the pouring rain? She could have caught a cold! How nice of Mrs Elton to offer to collect them, not that Jane will let her servant be troubled. And, there is the issue of privacy. And again, how obliging of Mrs Elton to help Jane to find a governess position. But, Jane will not agree to this. She doesn't want to leave Highbury, quite yet. But surely all the good positions will be gone soon, and surely she does not wish to stay with her, talkative, aunt for too long? What could the reason be?

Finally Frank returns and the ball can go ahead! Isn’t Frank the gentleman, escorting Jane and Miss Bates into the ball, before they were even three steps out of the carriage? But, when Emma questions him on why he is staring at Jane, he ungallantly says that he is, supposedly, thinking how awful her hair looks – must be an Irish tradition!

Next up, just before the strawberry party, the mention of Dr Perry's plan to set up a carriage is mentioned. He thought he heard in Mrs Weston's letter, but Mrs Weston knows nothing of this plan. Where did he hear it then? He must have been mistaken...

What a fun game to play! Nice to return to your childhood ways with a game of alphabet tiles (not that some need to look far to be a child again!) 'Blunred'- blunder is a peculiar choice of word to give Miss Fairfax isn’t it?

Next we have one of the biggest hints. Knightley's suspicion. We have seen throughout that Knightley’s judgments and ideas are normally correct, with Elton for example. Knightley wonders about the extent of Jane and Frank’s relationship. But, as Emma is always right, this is nonsense! She knows how much Frank dislikes Jane!

Jane is still continually refusing to accept a governess position, why ever not?

On the day of the strawberry party, Jane does not seem in spirits. So much so that she decided to leaves the strawberry party early. She is fatigued, but it is not the usual kind. It’s a shame she wouldn’t take the carriage home, and in such heat! Shortly after, Frank arrived – also not in spirits. He says he ran into Jane so assumes the party is breaking up! He is not sure why she would be walking home in this heat, its madness! Frank really is not happy, why is he so angry I wonder?

Box hill – doesn’t Frank go a little far with his ‘attentions’ to Emma during this visit? There are also some very strange comments during the conversion, referring to getting to know someone in their own environment if you are to truly understand someone’s disposition. What a strange topic of conversation...

Once again Frank is off again for his Aunt, who then dies! How unfortunate! During this time, Emma wishes to make emends to them for her hurtful comment at Box Hill. But, poor Jane is too ill to see Emma, every time she tries to visit! What a shame. Jane has never seemed keen on Emma since Frank was showing her particular attention, but why should this bother her? Surely she is nothing to Frank.

So, shortly after this, it is all revealed! What a surprise Emma received! How is it even possible? Jane and Frank – engaged! Who would have thought it...

Your affectionate friend,
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  1. Mrs. Darcy,
    Just a quick note asking if you would be interested in founding a blog in honour of all the great heroes and heroines of literature. Would you be interested?

    Eva-joy is deigning it and we would like you to be one of the authors.
    Respond back soon! :-)

    1. That sounds brilliant! However I am not sure whether I have read enough!! I mainly know the Austens... Examples of some others you were thinking of?
      I believe you asked for my email in another comment and were going to email me.
      So Incase you missed it, here is my email again.

      :) perhaps we can discuss this further by email?
      :) glad you would like my participation though :)

  2. I love your posts! they are so charmingly witty & Austen-ish ;) Very well done.

    1. Thanks so much!! I really appreciate the comments and feedback! Makes it so worth while. :)

  3. I sent you an email but I am afraid you must have not got it.
    Sorry about the late comment. :P
    You are asking if we are going to post about different heroes and heroines.
    The blog is going to be about many heroes and heroines. But Austens are so very good we (Miss Woodhouse and I) are going to post a good deal about them. (more than we should in fact)

    *screams "D.A.R.C.Y. post please" as loud as I can*


    I cannot tell you some of the other h\heroines that are in other period dramas 'cause it would spoil the movie. LOL!

    So do you think you would be able to contribute to the blog?
    Here is the link. Eva-joy is still working on it. :-)

    1. Haha. Yes I did get your email and I replied...
      It's sounds great and I would love to contribute!! Just email me when ever :) its looking great the blog!!
      Ahh man!! You beat me to Darcy ;)

  4. Mrs. Darcy,
    as one who enjoys the study of characters, I find your work very informative! Have you read the ending of Emma, or are you still reading? Either way, love the blog!

    1. Hello! Thank you!! I am glad you enjoyed it!! I hope you enjoy past and future posts :)
      I have read the end of Emma (for the 2nd time ;) ) and I still love the book. :) which of the Austen's have you read?

      It's great to have a male opinion if my work :) thanks again!!

  5. Absolutely! Delighted to be here! Not sure if I've read any and if I did it was a while back. But I have seen most of the BBC movies! My sisters tell me which ones are the closest to the books! I would take it that you've read many of her books, and that you enjoy them? ;)

    1. I am glad :) you don't have a blog do you?
      That's a shame. Funny that you can't remember them - really made an impression on you then ;)
      Ohh that's good!! And I take it you enjoy them? Which is your favourite? Of the BBC ones... I like... Pride and Prejudice 1995 (Firth and Ehle) (surprise surprise) Sense and Sensibility 2008 (Wakefield and Morrisey, Stevens and someone ;) ) and Emma 2009 (Garrai and Miller) (I think they are all BBC)
      Yes I like those because they are close to the book. Nice for the words to come to life on screen :)
      How did you guess ! ;) yes i read P&P for my English classes when I was 15 and have since read all the others (at least once!) and watched as many adaptations as possible, quite quickly I guess, as I am now 16 ;)
      My favourite , again you might have guessed from my blog, is P&P, but I love the others as well!! Almost love them all equally!!
      Where are you talking to me from James? I'm in good old England :) (I seem to 'meet' people all over the world ! It's great!)

    2. Woah - long reply there ;)

  6. I hail from Missouri in America. My favorite is probably sense and sensibility. Just the little extra twist she put in was perfect!

    1. Missouri. That a new one ! :)
      Yes S&S is great and Willoughby is such a scoundrel - I love to hate him :)

    2. I quite agree. Same with Caroline Bingley! ;)

  7. Hi there, I just wanted to let you know I've given you the Liebster Award. I hope you accept and answer the questions here

    1. oh thank you!!! i will check that out now... :)

  8. Hi! I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog and it really helps me to write my MA thesis in Jane Austen adaptations. Looks and reads very nice! (: All the best from Polish reader. (:

    1. Hello! Thank you - you comments mean a lot to me! I am glad you read and enjoy my posts :) And that I am helping with your Austen Thesis!
      Polish? WOW!
      All the best from England :)
      Mrs Darcy <3


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