By Shakespeare William
By Shakespeare William
Considered one of the best and most influential poets and playwrights in the English language, William Shakespeare continues to be celebrated for his work, even after over 300 years. His plays are performed in theaters all throughout the country, and his sonnets are studied in classrooms in every high school and college throughout the nation (and most of the world!). The Shakespeare library consists of about 154 sonnets, and 38 plays. These are just the works of which we know exist. There could be many more not yet discovered. Shakespeare’s work touches on themes of love, beauty, tragedy, time, death, and morality. Some of the most romantic pieces of literature come from Shakespeare, and some of the most tragic of pieces come from him, as well.
Henry VIII is a history-themed play, based on the life of King Henry VIII of England. This play has a different tone than that of his other works. Because of this, some people argue that Shakespeare did not actually write this play. That is an ongoing debate with all of his works, as a matter of fact. It leads some people to believe that Shakespeare never even existed!
Henry VIII was Shakespeare’s last play and is said to be written in 1613 (more than half a century after Henry’s reign), two years after The Tempest. Henry VIII, in a way, tells three different stories. The first story is Wolsey’s story. The second story is the fall of Katherine and rise of Anne. And lastly, the third story is the rise of Cranmer. The first three acts are when we actually learn Wolsey’s story, and see his rise and subsequent fall from power and wealth.
A play surrounding the theme of power and greed, Cardinal Wolsey becomes close to the king. The Duke of Buckingham, unhappy with this relationship, believes Wolsey to be disloyal. The Duke, however, gets arrested by a guard because Wolsey accuses him of treason. In order to strengthen and unite his power with the king, Wolsey feels he must get rid of the Duke. Henry’s wife Katharine (who was married to Henry’s brother before he passed away), defends the Duke. Katharine accuses Wolsey of abusing the tax system for his own selfish purposes.
The Duke is then sentenced to be executed, and the Earl of Surrey, his son-in-law, is sent to Ireland so as not to pose a threat. Now that Wolsey no longer has to worry about the Duke, he sets out on his final mission: Get Queen Katharine out of the picture. Not only does he cause Henry to question his marriage to his wife Katharine by convincing him that his marriage is not legal, but he also has a plan for the King to marry the daughter of the King of France. Wolsey engaged in a truce with France, which is why he wanted to engineer this marriage.
What does Wolsey do from there? He requests the Pope to authorize a royal divorce between Henry and Katharine on the basis that Katharine did not bear any male heirs for Henry. Expelled from the court, Katharine then withdraws to Kimbolton.
Finally reaching the power he set out to get (he is even more wealthy than the king at this point), Wolsey is now burdened by greed (his biggest flaw). He desires even MORE control than he already has. Because of this desire and greed, Wolsey ends up digging himself his own hole. Wolsey fears that instead of seeking a royal alliance with France, the king and Anne Bullen will marry, a woman Wolsey introduced the king to at a party (and the king becomes quite infatuated with her). So Wolsey writes to the Pope requesting that the marriage be delayed.
To add to the already dramatic play, the letter was accidentally delivered to Henry rather than the Pope. Henry is obviously outraged by Wolsey’s actions, and Wolsey is left with no choice but to vacate the court. Before facing trial, Wolsey is arrested in New York and dies on the way to London.
Meanwhile, Henry marries Anne and makes Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) his new adviser. But, of course, the drama has not died with Wolsey. Gardiner (the Bishop of Winchester), sets out to ruin Cranmer by accusing him of heresy. Compassionate towards Cranmer’s circumstances, Henry gives him the royal signet ring. Cranmer is to present this ring in the event that his prosecutors do not accept his position in the argument, and find him guilty.
The trial then happens, and Henry is listening from behind a curtain. Found guilty, Cranmer presents the ring and finds that the nobles are apologetic for their actions. Henry then enters from behind the curtain, denounces them for their mistake, then proceeds to bless them.
Henry and Anne have a daughter named Elizabeth, and they name Cranmer as her godfather. Cranmer predicts that she will be strong and wise and that she will be one of England’s greatest rulers.
Coming from a place which granted Wolsey no opportunity for greatness, he set out to achieve that greatness himself, and that he did. Through careful and successful maneuvering, Wolsey became one of Henry’s most trusted advisers. From there, Wolsey grew to be powerful and wealthy, and he got what he wanted. But that way of life couldn’t last too long. It was boundto eventually catch up with him, and it did. The “fall” of this great man happened when his letter was accidentally sent to Henry, and Henry, therefore, discovered Wolsey’s true intentions. Wolsey was expelled from the court and died in New York. Wolsey rose to greatness, until his fortune was eventually reversed, thus causing his fall. Less extreme examples of this are Katharine and the Duke’s stories. Each of these three characters shows forgiveness and are ready for death after their fall.
All of these fallen characters– Wolsey, Katharine, and the Duke– believe they are loyal to Henry. The Duke wants to prove that Wolsey is disloyal to the king. Coincidentally enough, before he can even do that, he is arrested for treason– one of the highest acts of disloyalty. We honestly have no solid evidence whether or not the Duke is loyal. We just have his word against Wolsey’s.
Many would accuse Wolsey himself of being disloyal, because of his selfish intentions to become powerful and wealthy, as well as his communications with the Pope regarding the divorce. However, in act 3, scene 2, Wolsey proclaims to have been too loyal to the King: “Had I but serv’d my God with half the zeal / I serv’d my King, he would not in mine age / Have left me naked to mine enemies.”
This theme plays off of the two themes mentioned above. Throughout the play, it is difficult to decipher whether the characters’ actions came from a pure, honest place or an evil, dishonest one. The Duke tries to accuse Wolsey of being dishonest because he doesn’t like the power and pride that Wolsey possesses, and he isn’t happy with how close he has become to the king. Does that come from a truly concerned place, or is the Duke jealous? The same question can be asked to Wolsey. The lines between the two are blurred throughout the play, allowing the reader/audience to create their own interpretations of what they consider to be good and evil.
The Renaissance court was found during the time of Henry VIII, and it began the transition from medieval values to new values and rules. This was part of the major evolution of England during the 16th century. The power that Wolsey had over certain situations and the king had over the people of England illustrates the true nature of England at the time. The Duke was executed just based on mere speculation.
The signet ring at the end of the play symbolizes justice and, more importantly, the king’s power. With this ring, no harm or evil can come to the possessor.
Though King Henry’s name is the title of the play, King Henry is coincidentally not a main character throughout the play. He is a main character in the sense that all of the actions took place because of Henry’s existence, but he did not actually play a major role in the character or scene development throughout the play. We learn at the beginning of the play that the king is easily persuaded. We see this when Wolsey effortlessly turns him against the Duke of Buckingham.
We then see Wolsey convince the king that his marriage to Katharine is not legal. It isn’t until the king accidentally receives the letter Wolsey wrote (which was meant to be sent to the Pope) that he realizes Wolsey’s impure intentions.Henry’s presence in the play becomes more prominent when rumors start spreading about Cranmer, causing him to have to go to trial. Henry gives Cranmer his ring with the intention to save him and listens to the trial from behind a curtain. The play ends with Henry becoming a new father to a baby girl, Elizabeth (who will later become Queen Elizabeth).
Annoyed by Wolsey’s influence over the king, he quickly harbors resentment toward him. Wolsey has him arrested for treason. He is accused to have been plotting to gain the throne and is therefore executed.
Queen Katharine accuses Wolsey of plotting for her failure as he convinces the king to divorce her. Because of this, she would not accept the divorce. Shocked by the accusations made against her, she goes into detail of her 20-year marriage to the king and her loyalty during those 20 years. She is then punished for not providing the king with a male heir. She eventually forgives Wolsey and envisions her own death.
Maneuvering his way to becoming the King Henry’s most trusted adviser and having quite a powerful influence over him, Cardinal Wolsey convinces Henry that his marriage to Katharine is illegal. Henry and Katharine end up splitting because of this. Wolsey’s intention is to have the Henry marry the daughter of the King of France because of a truce he entered into with France. But that plan did not go the way he wanted it to. Wolsey introduced Henry to Anne Bullen, and Henry becomes interested in her and ends up wanting to marry her.
Wolsey writes a letter that was supposed to be sent to the pope, requesting he delay the marriage. However, Henry got a hold of this letter and, appalled by Wolsey’s disloyal actions, fires him and forces him to leave. Wolsey eventually realizes his wrongdoings and dies before he is even able to attend trial.
Anne and Henry are introduced by Wolsey at a dinner party, and Henry becomes interested in her. Henry and Anne eventually marry, and she gives birth to Elizabeth.
Cromwell is fiercely loyal to Wolsey and is totally devastated to learn of his death. Despite the terms that Wolsey and the King ended on, Wolsey tells Cromwell to go and serve the King. Wolsey also tells him to live in a humble nature and not repeat the mistakes that he made. Cromwell listens. Cromwell ends up defending Cranmer when he is being attacked by Gardiner.
Gardiner starts out as Wolsey’s secretary, until Wolsey assigns him to Henry. Gardiner eventually becomes a member of the council. He has a strong hatred for Cranmer and plots to bring him down. After attacking Cranmer, the King forces Gardiner to accept Cranmer as a friend and he complies.
Cranmer spends the beginning of the play traveling to various colleges inquiring about the legality of the King’s divorce. During his travels is when Gardiner spreads the rumors about him and planned on bringing him down. Upon learning about this, Henry gives Cranmer his ring to use for protection during trial. It is to be presented in the even that his prosecutors to not accept his position in the argument. Cranmer is an upright, honest character and has done no wrong, and he ends up forgiving Gardiner. At the end, Cranmer baptizes Elizabeth.
Buckingham’s surveyor holds a grudge against Buckingham because he fired him (he managed Buckingham’s lands). Wolsey brings in the surveyor to the trial to speak against Buckingham.
At first, Norfolk did not take Buckingham’s aversion to Wolsey seriously. In fact, he told Buckingham to keep his mouth shut about it. However, Norfolk ended up plotting against Wolsey. After Wolsey’s fall, Norfolk gets a promotion. He also is part of Cranmer’s trial and intends to take him down, as well.
Cardinal Campeius is the one who had to analyze Henry’s divorce to Katharine and determine whether or not it is legal. He actually came from Rome with the divorce papers, because he knew that Henry was planning on doing it.He, along with Wolsey, try to convince Katharine to go ahead with the divorce. They try to convince her that Henry still loves her and has every intention of watching after her. She, of course, does not buy it. It is not quite clear whether or not Carinal Campeius agrees or disagrees with the divorce.
The prologue is used to set up the foundation for the reader and put them in the appropriate state of mind, emotionally. Shakespeare’s intention with this prologue is to prepare the audience for a sad, dramatic story in which dignified people do undignified things.
Shakespeare tells the audience that he is not here to make them laugh. His focus this time is “sad, high,” and “full of state and woe.” He stresses the fact that this play is not a comedy, but rather an illustration of power and pity. He tells the audience to put themselves in a sad state and to see the people on stage as real people, not actors.
The play opens with Norfolk and the Dukes of Buckingham engaging in a discussion of their last meeting in France. Buckingham was sick in his room, while Norfolk witnessed the scene between King Henry VIII and King Francis I saluting one another on horseback. Everyone was shining in gold “like heathen gods.”
Cardinal Wolsey arranged this meeting between the kings, both which were “equal in lustre.” Buckingham openly expresses his hatred toward Wolsey, as he remembers that Wolsey is the son of a butcher, not a nobleman. Wolsey does not come from a noble background and has no noble ancestry, automatically placing him at a disadvantage to work his way up. He is on a different level in society. Because of this, Wolsey creates his own destiny and maneuvers his way into the king’s life.
The dukes analyze him, as Norfolk states that he is “spider-like,/ Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,/ The force of his own merit makes his way/ A give that heaven gives for him, which buys/ A place next to the king.” He is a self-made man full of pride (too much of it, in fact). Wolsey is so prideful that he made it his duty to assign the officials who attended the meeting between Henry and Francis I.
Many people spent a fortune on clothing for the event, and Norfolk thought that the trip cost more than the peaceful treaty they sought, as he states, “Grievingly I think,/ The peace between the French and us, not values/ The cost that did conclude it.” And that was an intriguing thought because the storm that hit foreshadowed a break in the peace.
Wolsey then enters, and he and Buckingham exchange scornful looks with one another. Buckingham becomes angry after Wolsey’s departure, and he starts to follow Wolsey until Norfolk becomes the voice of reason by stating, “Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot/ That it do singe yourself; we may outrun,/ By violent swiftness, that which we run at,/ And lose by over-running.” Though Buckingham agrees with this statement, he still maintains his position on wanting to exposing Wolsey to the king. He is bothered by the fact that Wolsey “doe buy and sell his honour as he pleases,/ And for his own advantage.”
Buckingham is then arrested for treason, at Wolsey’s command.
Prepared to hear the details of Buckingham’s treason, the king enters and leans on Wolsey’s shoulder. But before he can hear what happened, Queen Katharine enters to defend Buckingham. Norfolk and Suffolk join her. She tells the king that the people are unhappy about Wolsey’s decisions and that their loyalty is slowly diminishing because of Wolsey and his policies. Katharine, however, is careful with her words because Wolsey is there to hear her speak of her disapproval. Because of this, she makes sure to state that the people are just as bothered by the king, as well, because of the power he trust Wolsey with.
This is when the tax situation gets brought to the table. Norfolk announces his dissatisfaction with the current taxations. Henry has no idea what he is talking about as he isn’t aware of these taxes. He then asks Wolsey to explain. Henry finds out that the people are taxed at such a high rate to support the wars in France.Henry is of course not happy with this, but Wolsey points out that he is just one person and the decision for such votes are ultimately up to the judges.
Though Wolsey doesn’t show much care or concern for the people, Henry does. Henry states, “We must not rend our subjects from our laws,/ And stick them in our will.” Henry expresses his utter disagreement with these taxes: “Sixth part of each?/ A trembling contribution! Why, we take/ From every tree lop, bark, and part o’ the timber;/ And, though, we leave it with a root, thus hack’d,/ The air will drink the sap. To every county/ Where this is question’d send our letters, with/ Free pardon to each ma that has denied/ The force of this commission: pray, look to’t;/ I put it to your care.” Wolsey, however, tells his secretary to word the letters to make it sound like he was the one to put these positive changes into motion.
Katharine again brings up the arrest of Buckingham and expresses how she disagrees with what has happened. A surveyor is requested to tell what he knows of Buckingham, and he said that Buckingham sought the throne. He also said that Buckingham planned on getting back at Wolsey. Though Katharine recounts that the surveyor was fired by Buckingham, which might an influence for what he is saying, Henry requests to hear more because he is bothered by what Buckingham was apparently plotting.
Henry decides that Buckingham is,in fact, guilty and orders him to go to trial.
Scene 3 is a short scene telling us that there is a large supper at Cardinal Wolsey’s York Place, and many ladies and lords will be there.
Lord Sands and Lord Chamberlin talk about the nobles’ peculiar behavior upon their return from France. The fashion they adopted seem comical to the lords and they spend time joking with each other about it. Lovell then enters and also agrees with the other lords’ stated opinions.
At the beginning of the dinner party, Sir Henry Guildford welcomes everyone by telling them that a good time is to be had by everyone. Sands gets seated next to Anne Bullen and proceeds to flirt with her. Wolsey then enters, stating “That noble lady or gentleman that isnot freely merry/ Is not my friend.”
A group of French shepherds then arrive, and Henry sends Lord Chamberlain to greet them since he speaks French. Wolsey invites them inside and learns that they are actually Henry and some of his men dressed in disguise. They heard exciting news of Wolsey’s party and had to check it out for themselves, which is what brought them there.
Everyone begins to dance with one another. Henry dances with Anne and becomes infatuated with her. He states, “By heaven, she is a dainty one.”
In a street in Westminister, two men discuss what has happened with Buckingham. One of the men was at the trial and tells the other that, even though he pleaded not guilty, Buckingham was found guilty of treason and explains that he was sentenced to death. He also explained that Buckingham handled it well and defended himself in an upright, mature manner. He did not expose fear of death, but rather fear of dying for an unjust cause.
Buckingham then brings up the fall of his father, who was killed by Richard III, a king he was quite loyal to. When King Henry’s father took Richard III’s spot as king, he sympathized with Buckingham, therefore allowing him to reestablish his honor. And now, that king’s son has stripped him of it, much like Richard III did to Buckingham’s father. They were both taken down by men they served and to whom they were utterly loyal. Buckingham goes, peacefully, stating, “I forgive all… No black envy shall mark my grave.”
The other man openly expresses his ill feelings towards Wolsey: “All the commoners hate him perniciously and, o’ my conscience,/ Wish him ten fathom deep.” Both men agree that these events were unfortunate ones. One man then whispers to the other the rumor of Henry and Katharine ’s supposed separation. The men also have a feeling that Wolsey is the one who even put the thought in the king’s head in the first place. Cardinal Campeius then arrives from Rome to talk about the rumor, confirming that it is, in fact, true.
Lord Chamberlain and the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk meet to talk about Wolsey. They say that Wolsey is the reason England’s relationship with the Emperor is now ruined. They also say that Wolsey has had much success in controlling the king’s thoughts. Suffolk thinks that the only way the king will be able to think logically again is when he gets rid of Wolsey.
Meanwhile, Henry is worrying about his marriage to Katharine, and Wolsey isn’t making it any easier on Henry by causing him to be even more suspicious and unsure than he already is. Norfolk gets worked up about the situation, especially seeing as Katharine has been nothing but a loyal wife to Henry for 20 years. Norfolk and Suffolk then go to talk to the king, just to get ignored and kicked out of his chambers.
Wolsey explains that no one can be upset with the king for choosing to end his marriage to Katharine. His reasoning for this claim is the fact that the Pope has been asked to examine the king’s decision. Henry calls Gardiner into the room (who used to be Wolsey’s secretary). Gardiner tells Wolsey that, even though he belongs to the king now, his first loyalty is to Wolsey. Even though Henry is saddened to leave Katharine, as he recognizes she is a good wife, he insists that it is unconditionally necessary.
Anne Bullen and an “old lady” discuss the situation surrounding Katharine. They agree that the treatment she has received is nothing short of a crime, especially for someone as humble and kind as Katharine. They do not believe someone like her should have to suffer such a fall. It is Anne’s opinion that “‘tis better to be lowly born,/ And range with humble livers in content,/ Than to be perk’d up in a glistering grief,/ And wear a golden sorrow.”In other words, she thinks it is better to be poor and happy than rich and unhappy.
Anne then states, “By my troth and maidenhead, I would not be queen.” However, the old lady quickly accuses her of being a hypocrite, stating that she would happy be queen if she had the chance. That is when Anne responds that she would not be queen, “not for all the riches under heaven.”
The Lord Chamberlain enters and relays a message from the king of his high regard for her: “You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings/ Follow such creatures…/ the king’s majesty/ Commends his good opinion of you, and/ Does purpose honour to you no less flowing/ Than Marchioness of Pembroke:/ to which title/ A thousand pound a year, annual support,/ Out of his grace he adds.” In other words, the king has given Anne a higher annual income, as well as a new title. Though the old lady is a little worked up at the fact that she has never gotten this kind of treatment in the 16 years she’s been working at the court, Anne requests that she not say anything to Katharine about this.
Black-Friars is the courtroom that the divorce hearings took place. Several officials were in attendance, including Cardinal Wolsey and Campeius, the Archbishop of Canterbury, some bishops, nobleman, and of course the royal couple.
Katharine kneels at Henry’s feet and states her one desire: “…I desire you do me right and justice;/ And to bestow your pity on me: for/ I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,/ Born out of your dominions; having here/ No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance/ Of equal friendship and proceeding.” In this statement, Katharine is fundamentally asking the king to have pity on her. She then proceeds to ask how she has offended him and what she did to have ultimately led him to this decision. She has been such a loyal and humble wife that she is having a hard time understanding what led to the demise of their marriage.
Katharine requests some time to consult with Spain before taking this trial to the next step. Wolsey states that the king is set in his decision, and no one can convince him otherwise, therefore seeing no point in putting the trial off any longer.
Katharine then openly states that Wolsey is her enemy, and she believes that it is because of him that all of this is happening. Wolsey, of course, denies any involvement in Henry’s decision and lets it be known that this situation has been discussed by many others. She repeats over and over that she will not be judged by him.
She says that Wolsey is arrogant, and she cannot defend herself against him: “My lord, my lord,/ I am a simple woman, much too weak/ To oppose your cunning. You’re meek and/ humble-mouth’d;/ You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,/ With meekness and humility; but your heart/ Is cramm’d with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.”
She also states that he has gone too far to gain that kind of power over the king: “You have, by fortune and his highness’ favours,/ Gone slightly o’er low steps and now are mounted/ Where posers are your retainers, and your words,/ Domestics to you, serve your will as’t please/ Yourself pronounce their office.I must tell you,/ You tender more your person’s honour than/ Your high profession spiritual..”
Katharine then departs, and Henry admits that she is a lovely wife and queen, stating that she is “the queen of earthly queens.” He then recounts the reason he chose to divorce her in the first place– he wanted a son and realized he had to marry another woman in order to make that happen. The scene ends with Henry scorning the whole process expressing disdain toward Rome. He is excited for Cranmer’s return.
The queen is in her apartment in London and asks a maiden to play a song on the lute for her to cheer her up from her sadness. Before the maiden can genuinely get into it, the queen learns that cardinals Wolsey and Campeius are there to see her. They claim to have come with peace, curios of her thoughts. But, of course, Katherine does not believe they are there for that reason. She states, “Alas, I am a woman, friendless, hopeless!”
Campeius tries to convince Katherine that the king will continue to protect her and urges her to cooperate with him. He tells her to be mindful of Henry’s yearn to continue his royalty with a male heir. However, Katherine states, “Is this your Christian counsel? Our upon ye!” She sees through them. She knows these are the cardinals’ desires, not Henry’s. She is disgusted at their advice to trust someone who has outwardly rejected her.
She has spent all these years being a faithful wife and devoting herself to the needs of her husband. Because of that, she refuses to surrender her royal title: “I dare not make myself so guilty to give up willingly that noble title your master wed me to: nothing but death/ Shall e’er divorce my dignities.” Campeius tells that Henry still loves her and to forget about her sadness.
Katherine then changes positions and begs them to counsel her, declaring “Do what ye will, my lords: and, pray, forgive me,/ If I have used myself unmannerly;/ You know I am a woman, lacking wit/ To make a seemly answer to such persons./ Pray, do my service to his majesty:/ He has my heart yet;/ and shall have my prayers/ While I shall have my life. Come, reverend fathers,/ Bestow your counsels on me: she now begs,/ That little though, when she set footing here,/ She should have bought her dignities so dear.”
The Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, Earl of Surrey, and Lord Chamberlain are all talking. Norfolk wants everyone to bring together their complains against Wolsey so that he will not be a threat any longer. Chamberlain, however, informs everyone that nothing can happen until Wolsey is totally barred from Henry. Norfolk then brings to everyone’s attention the fact that the king is already catching onto Wolsey’s actions and is becoming angered by him. He tells them that Henry is aware of what Wolsey did with the divorce situation, and it is unlikely that the king will put much trust in Wolsey’s hands at this point.
The way that Henry found out about Wolsey’s activity is by accidentally receiving a letter that Wolsey wrote which was intended to be delivered to the Pope. Wolsey tried to get the Pope to delay Henry’s marriage to Anne Bullen by telling him (the Pope) to reject Henry’s divorce, but when that letter was accidentally received by Henry, he was filled with fury to learn of Wolsey’s deceit. Chamberlain then announces that the king has already marred Anne. Suffolk expresses his approval, as he thinks that Anne will bring much good to the land.
Cranmer is soon to return from his visit to all the well-known colleges of Christendom (who all support Henry’s decision to divorce). From there, Cranmer will soon be named Archbishop of Canterbury and Katherine will no longer hold the title of queen. Instead, she will be named “Princess Dowager.”
Wolsey then enters with Cromwell, and Wolsey asks whether Henry has read what was inside the packet. It is clear that Wolsey is unaware of the depth of the damage done, because he voices his desire for Henry to marry the French king’s daughter (the Duchess of Alencon), rather than Anne. Wolsey wants no part in Anne, as he does not believe she would fit in well because of her Lutheran background. He states, “…yet I know her for/ A spleeny Lutheran; and not wholesome to/ Our cause, that she should lie i’ the bosom of/ Our hard-ruled king.” Wolsey then expresses jealousy over Cranmer’s relationship to the king, saying that he is a threat: “one hath crawled into the favour of the King and his oracle.”
Henry then enters as he examines a document revealing how much money Wolsey has so selfishly accumulated. Henry is clearly outraged by this and asks the lords if they have seen him (Wolsey). They tell Henry that Wolsey seems to be quite upset (they couldn’t hear what Wolsey was saying, but they did see his obvious irritation.
Henry then confronts Wolsey. Wolsey declares his faithfulness to Henry and reiterates that his intentions were always pure. Henry doesn’t buy it. He hands Wolsey the papers and the letter, then leaves, obviously appalled. Wolsey seems to be confused by Henry’s fury, and then he looks at what the king handed to him. Wolsey discovers the documents illustrating his wealth, as well as the letter which was intended for the Pope. It is in this moment that Wolsey realizes that there is no possible way he can get himself out of this. That is when he says to himself, “Nay then, farwell!/ I have touch’d the highest point of all my greatness;/ And, from that full meridian of my glory,/ I haste now to my setting: I shall fall/ Like a bright exhalation in the evening,/ And no man see me more.”
The four men– Suffolk, Norfolk, Surrey, and Chamberlain– then enter and demand Wolsey to hand over the great seal, per the king’s orders. He is also instructed to stay in his house until he hears from Henry. Wolsey refuses to do this, stating that these men are envious; he prefers to hand the seal to Henry himself.
Wolsey is to surrender all of his goods and is left with no more protection from the king. Left alone with his thoughts, Wolsey says, “I have ventured,/ Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,/ This many summers in a sea of glory,/ But far beyond my depth. My high-blown pride/ At length broke under me and how has left me,/ Wear and old with service, to the mercy/ Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.” This is the moment that Wolsey seems himself for who he truly is.
Cromwell then enters with sorrow at Wolsey’s fate. Wolsey tells him not to be sad, and that he has never felt better, for he now knows himself. Wolsey says, “I feel within me/ A peace above all earthly dignities,/ A still and quite conscience.” Cromwell tells him that Cranmer is now Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Anne is now Henry’s wife and queen.
This is the moment we see, for the first time, true sincerity in Wolsey’s words: “Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition!/ By that sin fell the angels; how can man, then,/ The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?/ Love thyself last. Cherish those hearts that hate thee;/ Corruption wins not more than honesty…/ By just and fear not./ Le all the ends thou aim’st at be thy counry’s,/ Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st, Cromwell,/ Thou fall’st a blessed martyr! Serve the king!”
Here, we see Wolsey telling Cromwell how to avoid the fate that Wolsey is now enduring. He urges Cromwell to live a selfless life, and to love himself last and cherish the ones who hate him.
Perhaps most importantly, he demands Cromwell to serve the king.
Scene one starts with two men (who met last time for Buckingham’s trial) waiting for Anne Bullen, now queen, to pass on her way to her cornoration. Other than the fact that Katherine is now residing in Kimbolton and has gotten sick, this marks a shift in the mood of the play. From Buckingham’s trial to Anne’s coronation, the mood is taking a turn for the better (for now).
Their coronation passes, and when Anne arrives, people are captivated by her beauty. They compare her to an angel. A third man then enters, who tells the events of the ceremony. Though the even is a happy one and everyone is totally enamored of Anne, trouble is clearly brewing between Cranmer and Gardiner (Bishop of Winchester). It is rumored that Gardiner does not like Cranmer.
Katherine is sick in her apartment, and asks her servants to tell her the details about the death of Wolsey. It is said that he was arrested in York by the Earl of Northumberland, and he (Wolsey) became sick en route to London. A room was arranged for him in Leicester, where he died.
Katherine recalls his character saying that he lied and brought ruin to the kingdom. Griffith (her attendant), on the other hand, spoke nicely of Wolsey: “He was a scholar, a ripe and good one; Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading:/ Lofty and sour to them that loved him not;/ But to those men that sought him sweet as summer.”
Griffith’s words causes Katherine to reconsider her feelings towards Wolsey. She then falls asleep, seeing a vision of six people dressed in white robes holding garlands above their heads. Katherine then wakes up yells for “these spirits of peace.” No one else sees them, though. Griffith and one of Katherine’s servants notice that she is turning pale and seems to be near death.
Capucius, an ambassador from her father, then arrives. He says Henry sent him and Katherine hands him a letter to deliver to Henry. The letter requests that her servants be well looked after. Katherine tells Capucius to give Henry her best and tell him she is on the brink of death: “Tell him, in death, I blessed him, for so I will.” Katherine then goes into the details of what she wishes her funeral be like.
Gardiner meets with Sir Thomas Lovell in one of the palace galleries. Gardiner questions Lovell as to why he wants to meet so late in the night, and he says that Anne is about to give birth. Gardiner does not care much for Anne and does not believe she is the best fit to raise the heir to the throne. Gardiner does not think the kingdom will be safe until Anne, Cromwell, and Cranmer are all dead, despite their high positions with the king. Gardiner says that he has already expressed his belief that Cranmer is a heretic, and Cranmer is to be examined by the Council the following morning.
Henry, Suffolk, and Lovell talk about Anne’s labor pains. Henry sends Suffolk away because he has to think. Cranmer enters with Denny. Henry then sends away Denny and Lovell. Henry discusses with Cranmer the many bad rumors he has heard about him (Cranmer). Cranmer is meeting with the council in the morning, but Henry isn’t afraid because he knows that Cranmer is an upright man. This is when Henry gives Cranmer the signet ring, which is to be shown at the council if they find him guilty. It is intended to protect him, by showing that Henry is on his side.
Lovell and the old lady then enter to tell Henry his child is born. Though Henry wants a boy and demands that they tell him it is such, he actually had a daughter.
Cranmer is told to wait until the council is ready for him. Henry enters at a window above. Henry is disgustedby the way the council is treating Cranmer. Henry states, “there’s one above ‘em yet… By holy Mary, there’s knavery.” The Lord Chancellor and Gardiner express their disappointment in Cranmer’s supposed behavior. They say that such behavior shall be punished.
Cranmer states that he has never done wrong and his teachings always come from a pure place. He wants to know what exactly he is being accused of. But since Cranmer is a member of the council, no one can complain against him. Because of that, Gardiner says that it is Henry’s wish to imprison Cranmer in the Tower of London.
When a guard enters to take Cranmer away, Cranmer presents the ring. This is when the council members realize how high the king holds Cranmer, and they revoke their decision. The king then comes down from the window, and Gardiner realizes he has to save himself, because he had no idea the king was up there. Gardiner states, “Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to Heaven/ In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince;/ Not only good and wise, but most religious;/ One that, in all obedience, makes the church/ The chief aim of his honour; and, to strengthen/ That holy duty, out of dear respect,/ His royal self in judgment comes to hear/ The cause betwixt her and his great offender.”
Henry isn’t interested in Gardiner’s words and sees right through them: “You were ever good at sudden commendations, Bishop of Winchester. But know, I come not to hear such flattery now.” Henry does not trust Gardiner’s intentions.
Henry then tells the council of his disappointment in making Cranmer wait. The king tells him that he thought they were wise men, just to learn they are not. He then demands that they trust Cranmer, much like he does. Henry then requests the council baptize his daughter, and chooses Cranmer to be her godfather.
Cranmer baptizes Henry’s daughter and announces her name as Elizabeth. Cranmer also announces how great Elizabeth’s future will be. He says that she will bring greatness to England, saying she will bring “a thousand blessings.” Cranmer says that Elizabeth “shall be loved and feared: her own shall bless her;/ Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn/ And hang their heads with sorrow.”
Cranmer goes on speaking highly of Elizabeth’s future, and Henry is blown away by Cranmer’s words. Henry states, “This oracle of comfort has so pleased me/ That when I am in heaven I shall desire/ To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.”
The epilogue states that this play likely did not please everyone, and might have even put some to sleep: “‘Tis ten to one this play can never please/ All that are here: some come to take their ease,/ And sleep an act or two.” It states that others might have come “to hear the city abused extremely” and laugh at the way the court is made fun of, which did not happen either. The epilogue then states that the only thing the play did do was entertain the women: “For this play at this tie, is only in/ The merciful construction of good women;/ For such a one we show’d ‘em: if they smile,/ And say ‘twill do, I know, within a while/ All the best men are ours; for ‘tis ill hap,/ If they hold when their ladies bid ‘em clap.” In other words, if the women were clapping, their men better have been clapping, as well!
The Chorus enters and asks the audience to imagine the darkness that fills the universe. The noise of both armies grows so quiet that those standing sentinel can imagine they can hear the whispers of the other army’s men. Fires are lit on both sides, and through the flames each army sees the others’ faces. The horses on both sides answer one another with threatening and boastful neighs, and in the tents, the sound of hammers closing rivets on armour adds an extra note of preparation. The crows cry out and the clocks toll three in the morning. The overeager and confident French bet to one another how many prisoners they will take. The poor Englishmen sit like sacrificial lambs and patiently wait for the morning to come. They almost seem like horrifying ghosts under the moon. The Captain of the army walks from camp to camp and tent to tent and visits all of the troops, wishing them a good morning. He refuses to reveal how he truly feels and appears fresh and well rested to everyone who sees him. It gives the men comfort. They will now rush toward the battle which will disgrace the name of Agincourt. The Chorus asks them to sit and see what will happen, and then leaves.
At the English camp near Agincourt, King Henry enters with Bedford and Gloucester. Henry admits that they are in danger, but their courage should be even greater because of that. There must be some good in evil if only men would care to look for it. In this case, their bad neighbours, the French, have made their get up early, which is good for your health. The French also act as a conscience because they know they could die today and so they can prepare themselves for that death. Erpingham enters. Henry greets him. They talk about the uncomfortable living conditions and how it provides a good example for the other men for how to take pleasure in their discomfort. Henry asks them to give his compliments to the other princes in the camp and ask them to come to his tent. He takes Erpingham’s cloak. Gloucester will do so. Erpingham wonders if he should stay with the King, but he would like to be alone with his thoughts for a little while. Erpingham blesses the King and then everyone but Henry leaves.
Pistol enters and asks in French who stands there. King Henry reveals himself as a friend. Pistol orders him to reveal who he is—an officer or a common person? Henry tells him he is a gentleman of a company and carries a pike. Pistol tells the King he is as good a gentleman as the emperor. Henry concludes the he must be a better man than the King, then. Pistol admits the King is a fine man with a heart of gold. He kisses the King’s dirty shoe and loves him from the bottom of his heart. Pistol asks for Henry’s name. Henry gives Harry le Roy as his name. Pistol wonders if Harry knows Fluellen. He does. Pistol gives him a message: he’ll slap him on Saint Davy’s Day. Henry tells him to be careful not to carry a dagger in his hat that day or he might be slapped with it. Pistol wonders if he is Fluellen’s friend. Henry admits he is a relative, as well. Pistol insults him, tells him his name and then leaves. Henry blesses him before he goes.
Gower and Fluellen enter. Fluellen tells Gower to keep his voice down. It amazes him that people ignore the correct way of going about war. If Gower had taken the trouble to study the wars of Pompey the Great, he would find that there is no tomfoolery in Pompey’s camp. The ceremony and sobriety of war requires modesty. Gower replies that the enemy is loud, though, and that they could hear them all night. Fluellen concludes that this is because the enemy is foolish and idiotic. Does that mean they should stoop to their level? Gower will lower his voice. Fluellen is glad for it. Gower and Fluellen leave.
King Henry thinks there is a lot of courage in Fluellen, even if he is a little old fashioned. Three soldiers, John Bates, Alexander Court and Michael Williams enter. Court asks Bates if dawn is breaking. Bates admits it is, but they have no reason to want the day to come. Williams thinks it is the beginning of the day too, but he doesn’t think they will see the end of it. They see Henry and ask who he is. King Henry replies that he is a friend and serves Sir Thomas Epringham. Williams asks what Epringham thinks of their situation. Henry replies that they are men beached on the sand and waiting to be washed out with the next tide. Bates wonders if he has told the King this. Henry admits he has not, nor would it be right for him to do so. The King is, after all, only a man, the same as anyone else. All of his senses are of a normal man’s, and without his clothes he looks the same as a common man. He even fears the same way as other men, but he must not betray his fear just in case it disheartens his army. Bates believes that the King can act as bravely as he wants, but he’s sure that he would rather be neck deep in the Thames. This is where Bates would rather be too, as long as they were far away from this place. Henry doesn’t think the King wants to be anywhere but where he is right now. Bates wishes he would stand alone, then, and save all of his follower’s lives. Henry doesn’t think he does: if he wished this, he would not truly love the King. He wonders if Bates says this merely to find out how everyone else feels. He wouldn’twant to die anywhere else, but in the King’s company as his cause is just and honourable.
Bates and Williams discuss this: even if the cause is wrong, their obedience to the King will clear their consciences. On the other hand, if the cause is not just the King will have to answer for a lot on Judgement Day. If the men do not die well, then the King will have to answer for this as their subjects could not disobey. Henry doesn’t think that the King is responsible for each soldier’s end, just the same as a father is not responsible for his son who dies at sea, and a master is not responsible for his servant’s death if he is attacked by robbers. He adds that there is also no such thing as a King with totally innocent followers in soldiers. Some might be guilty of murder, seduction, looting and stealing, escaping punishment at home, and so on. Everyone will eventually have to answer to God, and as War is God’s way to get revenge, it makes sense for them to fight in a War. If these men die unprepared, the King is no more guilty of their being sent to Hell then he is guilty of those crimes the men committed before they were under his command. If a man is spared by God, he should use the rest of his time alive preparing and helping others to prepare for death. Williams agrees that the King is not responsible for every man’s way of dying. Bates doesn’t expect the King to answer for him, but he will fight courageously for him. Henry tells them he heard the King vow not to be ransomed. Williams thinks he would have said this no matter what, even if they end up with their throats cut. Henry vows never to trust the King’s word again if he lives to see that. Williams mocks him for having said that—why would the King care if he wasn’t trusted again. Williams and Henry vow to make an argument and fight of this if they ever live to see another day. Williams wonders how he will recognize Henry in the future. Henry asks for a trinket he can wear in his hat. If Williams dares to acknowledge he has seen it, they will take up their quarrel again. They swap gloves. Williams will wear Henry’s glove in his hat, too.
Bates urges them to be friends as they have enough enemies on the French side. Henry tells the men that the French can bet twenty crowns to one that they will beat the English, but it’s no treason for the English to cut off French heads and the King himself will do some chopping the next day. Bates, Court and Williams exit, leaving the King by himself.
The King is upset that everything is his responsibility. Although it goes along with being born of greatness, it is hard to bear the brunt of every man who sees that he is suffering in some way. He wonders what more private men have in terms of peace, and what he is missing out on, and whether or not God and ceremony is worth anything at all. Nothing in ritual can give him peace so he can sleep soundly in bed with an empty mind. The common man who spends his day working and his night sleeping is much better off than the King himself.
Erpingham enters and reports that Henry’s subjects are looking for him. Henry orders them gathered in his tent. He will meet them there. Erpingham leaves. Henry prays that his soldiers’ courage is bolstered and that they will not know what fear is. He asks that they are robbed of the ability to count, so that they will not know how many enemy soldiers stand before them. He also prays that the Lord does not think about his father, Richard, stealing the English crown. He has tried to show remorse for his father’s crime by hiring five hundred almsmen to give them a better life than the poor one they have, and he has built two chapels where priests sing constantly for Richard’s soul. He cannot do anymore than this in asking for a pardon for the crime already committed. Gloucester enters. Henry knows why he has come: everyone is waiting for him. Everything—even the day—waits for him. They leave.
In the French camp near Agincourt, the Dauphin enters with Orleans, Rambures and others. They are eager and excited to get started with the battle. The Constable enters. He tells them to listen to the horses who seem to neigh to get on with their service. The Dauphin orders his men to dig their spurs into the horse’s flanks so that the blood skirts into English eyes. Rambures wonders why they don’t want to see the Englishmen’s real tears instead.
A Messenger enters and reports that the English are already in the field. The Constable tells them all to get onto their horses right away. All they’ll have to do is show their formidable strength to the starving army and the English will be too terrified to fight. They won’t even have enough blood in their bodies to leave stains on their swords. They could even send their servants and peasants to do the fighting for them, and it would still be a glorious victory, but their own honour wouldn’t survive that. They call for trumpets to sound the signal to mount up and march. Grandpre enters and wonders what they are waiting for—the English are an offence to the field that they stand in, that their banners are shredded, and the French air makes the men shiver. The crows wait for their moment, and there are no more words to describe the lack of life in this army. The Constable thinks they’ve said their prayers and then they wait for their deaths. The Dauphin wonders if they should send them food and fresh clothing and give their starving horses food before their fight. The Constable cannot wait. The sun is up, and they are wasting their chance. They all leave.
In the English camp near Agincourt, Gloucester, Bedford, Exeter, Erpingham, Salisbury and Westmoreland enter. Gloucester wonders where the King is. Bedford tells him that he rode out alone to look at the French soldiers. Westmoreland thinks they have sixty thousand soldiers waiting for them. Exeter makes that five to one and the French soldiers are fresh and rested. Salisbury hopes that God will strike the French down as these odds are terrifying to him. He blesses the princes—if they do not meet again before they meet in heaven, they will still meet joyfully. He leaves to join his men. Bedford compliments him on his courage and kindness.
King Henry enters. Westmoreland wishes they had ten thousand more men from England who are still back home and not working that day. King Henry thinks that this is a silly prayer—if they are to die, then it’s best that fewer English men die, and if they are to live, the more honour they will each have. Henry doesn’t care if people eat his food and wear his clothes, but he is selfish when it comes to honour. He asks the men to make it known throughout the army that whoever has no courage or spirit to fight this battle can leave. Henry will assure them safe guard and money for their journey home as he does not want anyone afraid of dying with them in their army. Whoever stays and wins the battle with them can yearly look on their scars and show them to the people around them, and tell the story in considerable detail about what they did on this day long after they’ve forgotten everything else they used to know. The people of England will remember their names. Whoever sheds their blood with him this day will be his brother, no matter how common he is. He shall be granted nobility. And those back home in England in their beds will be sorry not to be here and think less of themselves when they listen to the story of what happened.
Salisbury enters and asks them to be quick as the French have arrived and will charge at any moment. Westmoreland wishes any man who isn’t ready for them to die right now. Henry asks if he has changed his mind about having more help from England. Westmoreland wishes he could fight this battle alone with the King. King Henry likes this—it’s much better than wishing for more soldiers. He hopes God will be with them all.
Montjoy enters and asks once more if the King is ready to negotiate his surrender to France. The Constable has also sent word that the English should say their final prayers of repentance so that their souls may go to God while their bodies fester in the field. Henry asks him to send back the same answer he did before. They can capture him and sell his bones. He wonders why the French feel they can mock him in this way. Many of the men here today will end up in English graves with the stories of what happened here written in brass. Those who leave their bones behind in France will be remembered too, and the smell of their rotting flesh will cause a plague in France. All of the men are ready to fight, no matter what happens. King Henry tells the messenger to not come again. If the French get their ransom, all they will get are Henry’s bones, which will be of little use to anyone. Montjoy will take the message. He says goodbye and leaves. Henry is afraid that the Messenger will be back once again for his ransom.
York enters and asks to be the leader of the vanguard. Henry grants him this position. He tells the soldiers to advance. They all leave.
On the battlefield at Agincourt, Pistol, a French Soldier and the Boy enter. Pistol tells the French man to surrender. In French, the soldier admits Pistol looks like a gentleman of high ranking. Pistol asks if the French man is a gentleman and what his name is. The French Soldier exclaims, but Pistol makes this for his name and calls him O. Signieur Dew. He assumes the French Soldier is a gentleman with a name like that and demands he pay a large ransom or be killed with his sword. The French Soldier begs for mercy—he wonders if he can escape Pistol’s arm, but Pistol mistakes the word arm/“bras” in French for brass and assumes the French soldier is offering him brass as a ransom. Pistol asks the Boy to come closer and ask the French Soldier what his name is. It is Master Fer. Pistol tells him to prepare for death as he is going to cut his throat. The French Soldier has this translated for him by the Boy. The Soldier vows to give him two hundred crowns if Pistol spares his life. The Boy points out that this would be breaking his oath to pardon any prisoner but Pistol is prepared to take the crowns to spare the Soldier. The Soldier is so happy that he is fortunate to have fallen into battle with such a kind and valiant Knight. The Boy tells the French Soldier to follow Pistol, which he does, leaving the Boy alone.
The Boy thinks Bardolph and Nym had ten times the amount of courage that Pistol has. He is sorry he has to stay with the servants as they are unprotected from the French. He leaves.
On the battlefield, the Constable, Orleans, Bourbon, Dauphin and Rambures enters. They lament that they are in trouble. Battle noises ring out. The Dauphin tells them not to run away. The Constable notes that their men have broken ranks. The Dauphin suggests they should stab themselves. He can’t believe that these are the same men they played dice and bet on.Orleans can’t believe that this is the King they offered to take ransom from. Bourbon wants to die honourably. They should go back into the fight—anyone who remains behind will die a dishonourable, shameful death. The Constable considers that they could go back into the chaos and give up their lives. Orleans thinks there are enough of them left that if they could restore order to the army, they could fight and overcome the English. Bourbon doesn’t care for order—he’ll go back into the battle now. They all leave.
Still on the battlefield, King Henry, Exeter, and his Soldiers enter. Henry compliments them on a job well done, but reminds them the battle is not over yet as the French are still fighting. Exeter relays a message from the Duke of York who sends Henry his respect. Henry is amazed he is still alive as three times he saw York down on the floor, and three times he sprung back up again and fought. He was covered in blood from helmet to spurs. Exeter tells Henry he is still like that, lying on the ground and drenching the field with his blood. He lies beside the Earl of Suffolk, who died first. York took him by the beard and kissed his gashes, crying out for Suffolk to wait for him so their souls could keep each other company. Exeter then went to comfort him. York took his hand and asked him to send his respects to Henry. After that, he put his arm around Suffolk and kissed him in a testament of undying love. Exeter tried to hold his tears back, but it was too hard. Henry doesn’t blame him. Even hearing about it has made his eyes misty. The sounds of battle call him back. The French have regathered their men into order. All the prisoners should be killed immediately. He calls for the word to be sent throughout the soldiers. They all leave.
Fluellen and Gower enter. Fluellen is amazed that the French would have killed the boys with the luggage as it is expressly against the rules of combat. Gower couldn’t see a single boy left alive. Their murderers were those running from the battle. They have either burned or carried away everything else that was in the King’s tent, and so the King has ordered every prisoner’s throat to be cut. Fluellen compares Alexander the Great’s birthplace of Macedon to King Henry’s birthplace of Monmouth. He does not see many differences between them. He also does not see many differences between the two men’s lives. Gower disagrees—Henry has not killed any of his best friends like Alexander did. Fluellen is not pleased that Gower has cut him off before he has made his conclusion. He is merely talking about comparisons. So, just as Alexander killed his friend while drinking, Henry, having come to his senses, has sent away the Knight in the oversized doublet who was always mocking people. Gower reminds Fluellen his name was Falstaff.
King Henry enters with Warwick, Gloucester, Exeter and others to the sound of battles. Henry has not been angry since he came to France until now. The sight of the French is offensive to him. They will not show a single man mercy. He tells the Herald to relay this message to the French. Montjoy enters. He asks Henry for a moment to count their dead and separate the commoners from the noble born. Henry doesn’t even know who has won the battle yet as the French horsemen are still galloping around the field. Montjoy tells Henry that he won. Henry is please—he asks what the Castle nearby is called. Montjoy tells him itis called Agincourt. Henry announces that this battle shall be known as the Battle of Agincourt, then. Fluellen reminds Henry that his grandfather, Edward, fought a terrific battle on this field. They discuss the King’s Welsh blood. Henry orders Heralds to go with Montjoy to bring an exact number of dead on both sides. He asks Williams to be brought to him.
Henry asks Williams about the glove he wears in his hat. Williams tells him about the Englishman he has to fight if he managed to survive the battle and their exchange of tokens. Henry asks Fluellen if Williams should keep his oath. Fluellen thinks he would be seen as a villain if he didn’t. Henry warns them that his opposition could be a gentleman. Fluellen doesn’t care if he was even the Devil himself—if he has made a vow, he must keep his vow. Henry tells Williams to keep his vow, and then asks who he serves under. He serves under Captain Gower. Henry sends Williams to fetch Gower.
Henry hands Fluellen William’s glove and tells him to put it in his hat. He tells him that when he fought Alencon, he took his glove. If any man challenges the glove, then he is an enemy to them all. Fluellen should arrest him and prove his loyalty to Henry. Fluellen thanks Henry for this great honour. Henry sends Fluellen to find Gower and bring him to Henry’s tent. He leaves to do that.
Henry tells Warwick and Gloucester to keep an eye on Fluellen as the glove he has given him might land him in a fight. According to the agreement they made, Henry should be wearing the glove himself, and Fluellen might end up injured. He asks the men to make sure nothing too serious happens between them. Exeter will come away with Henry. They all leave.
Gower and Williams enter. Fluellen enters behind them, wearing Williams’ glove. Fluellen asks Gower to come quickly to the King’s tent. Williams asks if he recognizes the glove. Fluellen knows the glove is a glove. Williams recognizes the one hanging out of Fluellen’s hat. He challenges Fluellen, who immediately calls him a traitor to England. Gower calls Williams a villain. Fluellen tells Gower to stand aside while he fights this treasonous man. Williams vows he is not a traitor, but Fluellen calls this statement a lie. He is obviously a friend of the Duke of Alencon.
Warwick and Gloucester enter and ask what is happening. Fluellen announces that treason has been uncovered. King Henry and Exeter enter. Henry asks what has happened. Fluellen and Williams both give their stories about the glove. Henry reveals it was him Williams threatened to strike and spoke to in an unkind manner. Fluellen would like Williams’ neck to pay the price of this insult. Henry asks Williams what he will do to make things better. Williams assures that he never intended to offend the King. Henry reminds him Williams abused him to his face. Williams begs him to understand. He had not represented himself as a King, but as a commoner. It is Henry’s fault for not revealing himself as Williams would not have insulted him had he done so. Henry asks Exeter to fill the glove with gold coins and give it to Williams. He asks Fluellen to make friends with Williams. Fluellen gives him twelve pence and prays he will only serve God and keep out of brawls from now on.It will be better for him if he does. Williams will not take Fluellen’s money. Fluellen assures him it’s meant in good will. He can use it to get his shoes mended.
An English Herald enters. Henry asks him if the dead have been counted. The Herald hands over the count of slaughtered French men. Henry asks who they have taken prisoner from French nobility. They have taken Orleans, Bourbon and Bouciqualt, and a full fifteen hundred men besides common men. Henry tells them what the piece of paper says: ten thousand Frenchmen are dead. One hundred twenty six princes and nobles have died among these. Some of their names are Delabreth, Chatillon, Rambures, Dolphin, Alencon, Brabent, and Grandpre. Henry asks for the number of dead English. The Herald hands him another piece of paper. Henry reads it: York, Suffolk, Kelty, and Gam are dead. Only twenty five other men lost their lives. Henry sees this as God’s intervention—he must have been on their side for so many on the French side to lose their lives, and so few on the English side to lose theirs.
Henry suggests they should make a procession to the village. Anyone in their army who boasts or tries to take credit from God for this victory will be hung. Fluellen wonders if it is permissible to mention the number of dead on each side. It is, but only in the context that God fought for them. Henry will have the holy rites performed, and then they will leave for Calais and then England. They all leave.
The Chorus enters and fills in the gaps for those in the audience who do not already know this story. He begs them to excuse gaps in time, and all the things that cannot be properly represented in their size and reality. He asks the audience to imagine the King has come to Calais and travelled from here on the sea. On the coast of England, the people line the shore and applaud as the ships draw near. Henry then proceeds to London. He refuses to carry his sword and helmet used in battle within the procession as he is full of humility and attributes the victory to God. The Chorus asks the audience to imagine a sizeable number of people come to celebrate the King’s arrival back in London.
The Emperor comes to ask for peace between France and England, and then Henry returns to France. The Chorus exits.
In the English camp in France, Fluellen and Gower enter. Gower wonders why Fluellen is still wearing his leek as Saint Davy’s Day has already passed. Fluellen tells him that Pistol came to see him yesterday and bought him bread and salt and told him to eat his leek. He could not pick a fight with him where they were, and so he has decided to wear it in his hat until he sees him again. Pistol enters. Gower notes that Pistol has swollen and puffed himself up like a turkey. Fluellen calls him a villain. Pistol wonders if Fluellen is a madman who wants him to cut his life short. The smell of leek makes him feel sick. Fluellen would like to see him eat this leek, particularly as Pistol hates them. Pistol won’t. Fluellen strikes him. He wonders if he will eat it now. Pistol vows he will die. Fluellen will, when it is God’s will that he does. In the meantime, he’ll be happy if Pistol would live and eat his food. He strikes him again. Gower tells him to stop as he has already stunned him. Fluellen will either make him eat the leek or give him a head bashing that will last four days. Pistol asks if he actually has to bite the leek.Fluellen tells him he absolutely has to.Pistol swears, he will make him pay for this, but as Fluellen goes to strike him again he agrees to eat it. Fluellen wonders if he would like some sauce to go with the leek. Pistol tells him to stop fussing—he’s eating the leek, isn’t he? Fluellen hopes that it does him some good. He hands Pistol a penny to heal his head with. Pistol will take it, or Fluellen will find another leek in his pocket that he can eat. Pistol takes the penny as a token for Fluellen’s revenge. Fluellen owes him nothing but slaps. Fluellen wishes him well and then leaves.
Pistol vows that there will be hell to pay. Gower tells him to get going. He’s a lying, cowardly man. He mocks an ancient tradition worn out of respect for those who have died, and he has the audacity to refuse to stand by his own words. Just because Pistol didn’t think Fluellen spoke English like a native man didn’t mean he couldn’t handle a club, and now he has learned otherwise. This is to be a lesson to Pistol to not underestimate the Welsh in the future. He says goodbye and then leaves.
Pistol believes Fortune has turned her back on him. He has had news that Nell died of an illness in a hospice. He has no dignity left. He will turn into a pickpocket, go back to England, and steal some more when he arrives. He will patch his wounds up and claim he got them in the battle against the French. He leaves.
At the royal court in France, King Henry, Exeter, Bedford, Gloucester, Warwick, Westmoreland enter through one door. The French King, Queen Isabel, the Princess Katherine, Alice and others enter with the Duke of Burgundy through the other. King Henry calls the French King his brother and wishes both him and his family good health. The King of France returns the greeting and makes Henry welcome. Queen Isabel is pleased to see Henry as his face before now had such a terrifying look in the face of battle. She hopes that the venom in his look and personality has disappeared and that they shall end up friends. King Henry agrees with her. Burgundy offers his loyalty and love to both France and England. He has struggled for a long time to bring these two monarchs together in a meeting, and now he has succeeded he demands to know what else stands in the way of them entering into a peace. He tells them that peace has been absent from France for such a long time, and this peace has affected families and their children, vineyards and the countryside as a whole. If they can reverse the effect of war on the country and bring about peace, then maybe everything else can go back to the way it was. Henry tells Burgundy that to have peace between them, France must agree to England’s demands, which he has already given him in detail. Burgundy admits the French King has not given his answer yet. Henry makes it clear that peace depends on his answer.
The French King admits he has only glanced at the demands. He wonders if Henry could appoint some of his followers as part of a council who can explain the demands to him so he can give his answer right away. Henry sends Exeter, Clarence, Gloucester, Warwick and Huntingdon with the King. Henry gives them the power to change, remove or add to the demands to England’s advantage during the meeting. Queen Isabel will also go—a woman’s voice might be of use to them when discussions hold up advancing further. Everyone except for King Henry, Katherine and Alice exits.
Henry asks Katherine to teach him what to say to show his love. Katherine thinks he is mocking her as she cannot speak English as well as he does. Henry doesn’t care how she says it—if she loves him with her French heart, he will hear it in her broken English. Henry calls her an angel. Katherine asks for confirmation from Alice that this is what he said. Katherine is amazed that all men are deceitful in their way of speaking. Henry is glad Katherine’s English is not better than it is, because if she could understand more she might think him a common King, almost as if he had sold his farm to buy the crown. He doesn’t know how to talk about love in a delightful way. Henry can only state that he loves her, ask for her own answer and then they will enter into an agreement. Katherine is not pleased. Henry explains he can’t recite or write poetry, or dance to woo her. He could perform feats of strength for her. If Katherine could take Henry for what he is as he stands in front of her, then they will be married. If not, he will not die for love. He will die for God, when God is ready to take him. Any man could talk of beauty, but these are just words. They don’t mean anything.
Katherine doesn’t know if it’s possible for her to love an enemy of France. Henry corrects her—if she loved him, she would be loving the friend of France. Henry loves France so much that he will not part with a single part of it. He will have it, and he will have Katherine, and when he has Katherine she will also have France. Katherine doesn’t understand. Henry tries to explain it to her in French, but believes he has failed miserably. Katherine compliments his French—it is better than her English, at least. Henry presses her again—can she love him? Katherine doesn’t know if she can. Henry knows if she does manage to win her hand, it won’t be without a struggle. He thinks this is good as Katherine will make a good mother of soldiers.
Henry suggests that he will look better as he grows older. He can’t look any worse than he looks now, so if Katherine takes him for her husband, he will grow on her. He urges her to put aside her blushes and just to answer him plainly. Katherine will marry him if it will please her father. Henry assures her it will. Katherine agrees to marry him. Henry wants to kiss her hand, but Katherine will not allow him on account of her being his servant still. Henry will kiss her lips then, but it is not custom for French maidens to kiss before they have been married. Henry assures her that these customs curtsy and bow to great Kings. They are the makers of custom and, therefore, have freedom to do what they want. He kisses her.
The French King, Queen Isabel, Burgundy and others enter. Burgundy wonders if Henry is teaching Katherine English. He is teaching her how much he loves her, which is good English to him. Henry cannot conjure up love in her spirit, and she cannot show herself to be in love with him. Burgundy doesn’t think they can blame her—all virgins are forced to stand in front of naked boys, which is a lot to ask of them. Henry assures him that virgins close their eyes, so they don’t have to see anything. Burgundy thinks they can be excused if they can’t see what they’re doing. Henry asks Burgundy to teach Katherine to close her eyes. Burgundy can—women can be handled, especially well during the summer. Henry wonders if this means he has to wait for summer and blind Katherine in order to win her love. Henry asks the French King if Katherine will be his bride. She will, if it pleases Henry.
Henry asks if they have agreed to all of the other demands. He has. Henry asks for confirmation from his English Lords. The only thing he has not agreed to do is to address Henry with his new title, but the French King will give in if Henry asks for this. Henry will let this one slide as long as he can have Katherine. The French King implores Henry to take her for his wife and to have children with her so the two countries can enter into a peace and finally end their mutual envy and hatred.
Trumpets sound. Queen Isabel hopes that God will join their hearts and kingdoms into one. Henry calls for preparations for the wedding. He will take an oath of loyalty from Burgundy and all of his friends to ensure the treaty on that day. Then Katherine and he will swear to one another. He hopes that their oaths will be well kept ones. They all leave.
The Chorus enters. He admits that the life of their English hero was short, but he lived anextraordinary life. He left his son, Henry VI, as the crowned King of France and England, but France was lost because so many people were managing the ruling of the Kingdoms. Civil war broke out in England. He admits that this story is one they have acted out many times on the stage already. He hopes that the audience will take this one kindly as well, and then leaves.
Rain begins coming down incessantly and it ruins the crops and the camps. People’s vehicles begin washing away in the flooding, rivers overflow, and stuff begins to get lost in the mud. Because no one can work the migrant workers are forced to beg for food wherever they can find it. The women become worried that their husbands will begin to break under the pressure of not having jobs and watch them, hopeful that they can keep it together. The men do not live in fear for long but instead become angry at their situation and the women know that the men will be just fine as long as they have something to be angry about.
After three days of rain, there is no sign of it stopping, and Rose of Sharon goes into labor. The family has to stay in the boxcar because their truck has flooded, and the men have built a dam to keep the water outside of their shelter. While building the dam a tree uproots itself and crushes what has been built, ruining all of their efforts. Pa goes into the boxcar to tell Ma what has happened, and learns that Rose of Sharon has delivered her baby and it is stillborn.
Uncle John goes off to bury the baby, which he does by placing it in the water and watching it float away. After six days of rain the boxcar begins to flood and Ma tells the family they must find a dryer place to live. Al stays behind with his bride-to-be and her family and the rest of the Joads walk until they find a dry barn. In the barn, they find a man who is dying and his son.
The man is starving to death as he has given all food he could find to his son. He cannot digest any solid food and Ma looks at Rose of Sharon, who immediately understands what she must do. Rose of Sharon, who is producing milk having just given birth, asks everyone to leave the barn and she breastfeeds the man in the hopes that he will survive off her nutrients.
Emma continued to think about her love for Frank—she wondered by how much she was in love with him. It was lovely to hear about Frank, to wait for a letter and to wonder when he might return to Highbury, but she was not unhappy. She could imagine his faults, and as she sat she thought of the way their friendship might have evolved, imagining conversations and elegant letters. The conclusion to every imaginary scenario led to her refusing him and them staying friends. She did not think she could be completely in love if she could not even imagine marrying him. Emma suspects she does not need him to be happy, and will not persuade herself to be more in love than she appears to be. Emma has no doubts that Frank is in love with her, and she must not encourage him when he returns to Hartfield. She thinks she has been let off easily—everyone is meant to be in love once in their lives, and she is happy to have it over and to have ended happily.
When Frank’s letter to Mrs. Weston arrived, Emma read it. It was a long letter detailing his journey and his feelings about it. Emma was pleased to see that her name was mentioned more than once in compliments. Frank sent his apologies to Emma’s “friend” Harriet, who is not mentioned by name. Emma is sure that this remark was meant for her more than for Harriet. Mrs. Churchill was still recovering from her illness, and Frank was unable to suggest a time when he would be back in Highbury again. Although Emma was pleased by the letter, she found it did not leave any lasting happiness with her, and she was decided that they must do without one another. She considered matching Harriet and Frank together as Frank had been struck by her beauty, but then decided against it—it would be in Harriet’s advantage, but Emma knew the dangers of speculating marriage matches.
Where Frank’s visit had meant less conversations about Mr. Elton, the reverse was now true. His wedding date to Miss Hawkins was named, and he would soon be back at Highbury with his bride. Frank was not discussed. Emma was tired of it—she had had three weeks without hearing Mr. Elton, which she hoped had helped Harriet to get over him. She had not. Harriet required comfort from Emma, but it was hard work when Harriet never seemed to get any better or change her opinions. Emma tried a different angle—she accuses Harriet of dwelling on her unhappiness and insulting Emma in the process because of her mistake. She has not forgotten it was her own doing, and she will never forget it, and Harriet must stop trying to remind her of it. Emma wants Harriet to forget for her own sake, not for Emma’s, because Emma will never forget. Emma’s appeal to Harriet’s affection for her helped considerably. Harriet felt she was ungrateful to Emma, and Emma had never loved her more. She thought Harriet’s tenderness of the heart was like her own father’s or Isabella’s. Emma does not have it herself, but she respects it in others. She thinks of Harriet as her superior in this sense, and the superior to the cold Jane Fairfax. Emma even longs for a man who might transform her from an Emma into a Harriet, knowing the value of affection and kindness, but having none herself.
Mrs. Elton was first seen at Church, but the pews were not a good viewing location, and so it was left to the formal visits to see if she was pretty or not. Emma did not want to be the last to pay her respects to the family and made sure Harriet went with her to avoid too many unpleasant moments. Emma was struck by her memories of three months before, when she entered the house to lace up her boot. She believed Harriet was remembering the same, but she behaved herself and kept quiet. They kept the visit short, and Emma found that she was so occupied by her past memories that she could not form an opinion of Mrs. Elton. She did not really like her, however, as Mrs. Elton was not elegant. Mr. Elton’s manners were awkward, but Emma forgave him for that—it must have been hard to be in the same room as his new wife, the woman he wanted to marry, and the woman he had been expected to marry.
After the visit, Harriet and Emma discuss Mrs. Elton. They both admit that she is charming and well dressed. Neither is surprised that Mr. Elton fell in love with her, but they disagree about Mrs. Elton being in love with him. Emma suggests that not all women can marry the men they love—they have to marry for a home, and take the best offer they will likely receive. Harriet admits that she will not be afraid of seeing them again as Mr. Elton being married makes everything different. She is comforted to know that he did not throw himself away and that he married someone he deserves.
When a return visit was made at Hartfield, Emma managed to talk to Mrs. Elton by herself for fifteen minutes. She decided that Mrs. Elton was a vain woman who was interested in her own importance. She wanted to be superior, but her manners were not excellent ones. Emma was convinced that Harriet would have been a better match for Mr. Elton, and that it was only the rich brother in Bristol which had enticed him into the alliance. The brother’s home in Maple Grove was compared to Hartfield—Mrs. Elton thought they were quite similar and compared the gardens and the house to the point where she could imagine she was back home. She is sure that her brother and sister will love Hartfield particularly for the extensive grounds, but Emma doubts this statement—no one with extensive grounds cares about any other household with them. Emma tells Mrs. Elton that after she has seen more of Surrey, she will have found she has overrated Hartfield. Mrs. Elton is well aware—she knows that Surrey is the garden of England. Emma reminds her that many counties claim to be the garden of England, but Mrs. Elton disagrees—she has never heard of anywhere but Surrey called this name. Emma keeps quiet.
Mrs. Elton goes on to describe the future visit her brother and sister will make, and the exploring they will do. Mrs. Elton is sure that Emma and her friends do the same thing, but Emma does not go far and insists that they are more inclined to stay at home. Mrs. Elton claims she is the same way, but does not believe people who shut themselves off from society do themselves any favours—it is better to live in moderation. Mrs. Elton suggests that taking Mr. Woodhouse to Bath might help his health and let Emma go out more often. Emma tells her Mr. Woodhouse has attempted it before with no benefit to his health and that his doctor, Mr. Perry disagrees with the place. Mrs. Elton offers to introduce Emma to the best society in Bath as she has led a secluded life. Emma could not stomach this suggestion—to be in debt to Mrs. Elton for the introduction would be undignified. Emma remained polite and thanked her, but reminded her that going to Bath was out of the question. She changed the subject quickly.
Emma and Mrs. Elton talked about music. Emma had heard Mrs. Elton was an excellent performer, but Mrs. Elton insists that she is mediocre in talent. She loves to perform, and this was the only condition that Mrs. Elton made clear to Mr. Elton before they were married—she could do without all of the pleasures and luxuries she was used to at Maple Grove except for being part of a musical society. Emma assured her they were quite musical at Highbury. Mrs. Elton is pleased and suggests that they hold small concerts and attend weekly meetings. She thinks this will help her to continue with her music, especially as married women tend to give up their musical hobbies. Emma does not think she will give it up if she loves it that much, but Mrs. Elton doubts this.
Mrs. Elton changes the subject. She has visited Randalls and thinks that Mrs. Weston is a lovely person. She is surprised, however, that she is also quite lady-like, but Emma insists that her manners have always been very good. Mrs. Elton asks her to guess who was there when they visited, but Emma had no idea. Mrs. Elton tells her they met Mr. Knightley there, whom she had been looking forward to meeting after Mr. Elton had mentioned him so often. She likes him very much. At this point, the Eltons had to leave, and Emma could finally breathe.
She could not believe Mrs. Elton had the audacity to call Mr. Knightley, “Knightley”, and this to only be their first visit. She is also insulted that Mrs. Elton was surprised to find Mr. Knightley was a gentleman and that Mrs. Weston was a gentlewoman, and that she suggested the musical club. She imagines how angry Frank would be if he was there.
Mr. Woodhouse thought she was quite a charming young lady and would make for a fine wife. He still did not think Mr. Elton should have married. He made his excuses to them for not visiting, and hoped that he would be able to in the summer. He worries that he has insulted them by not visiting the new bride before now, but Emma assures him that his apologies would be well accepted. If he does not like marriage so much, he should not pay his respects to a bride or he would be seen encouraging more people to marry. Mr. Woodhouse still believes that a bride should have attention paid to her. It is polite and has nothing to do with encouraging marriage. Emma continued to be occupied by Mrs. Elton’s insults.
On the second visit with Mrs. Elton, Emma felt secure in her opinions—she was still self important despite her little beauty and accomplishments. She thought that she had come to this country neighbourhood to improve it. Mr. Elton was proud of his wife and appeared to believe not even Emma was her equal. Emma continued to stick to her original polite compliments. Mrs. Elton’s feelings toward Emma, however, changed. She was probably offended by Emma’s reserved nature and started to draw away from her, as well. This only added to Emma’s dislike of her. Both Mrs. Elton and Mr. Elton were cruel to Harriet, and Emma only hoped that it would cure Harriet of her love. It was likely that Mr. Elton had told his wife what had happened, making sure to show himself in a better light.
Mrs. Elton did like Jane Fairfax; before Mrs. Elton stopped confiding in Emma, she admitted that she wanted to do something for Jane to bring her forward in life. Mrs. Elton did not want her talents and charm to go to waste when she becomes a governess. Emma does not understand how Mrs. Elton’s attention could be any different than that of the rest of Highbury. Mrs. Elton insists that she lives in a style which could support Jane—she will have her at her house whenever she can, introduce her to those she can, have musical parties to show off her talent and be on the look out for an eligible husband for her. Mrs. Elton has many friends, and she does not doubt hearing of someone suitable soon. Emma thought Jane did not deserve this, even if she had acted improperly around Mr. Dixon. Thankfully, Mrs. Elton’s change came soon after, and Emma did not have to listen to her talk about this again. Emma was surprised that Jane accepted Mrs. Elton’s help and attention and Emma heard of Jane spending time with them most days. Emma did not understand why Jane was still at Highbury and had not returned to the Campbells. They had decided to stay on for longer during the summer, and a new invitation had arrived for Jane, but she had declined to go. Emma feels there must be a hidden motive for refusing the invitation. Mrs. Weston explains to Emma that Jane must have accepted the Eltons as friends because it is better than her Aunt for company. Mr. Knightley agreed with this theory and added that she was capable of deciding for herself who she spent time with. Had Emma taken the time and effort to pay attention to her, Jane may not have chosen Mrs. Elton for her friend. Mr. Knightley added that Jane probably impressed Mrs. Elton by her superior mind and talent, and that she deserves the respect that Mrs. Elton gives her. Emma—suddenly afraid for Henry’s inheritance again—tells Mr. Knightley she knows how highly he thinks of her and that his admiration for her might take him by surprise one day. Mr. Knightley tells Emma she is far behind in her theories—Mr. Cole suggested it over a month ago. Even if Mr. Knightley asked Miss Fairfax, she would not have him, and he will not ask her. He realizes that Emma has been matching him with Jane, but Emma denies it. She would never take that kind of liberty with him and did not want him to marry anyone. Mr. Knightley assures her he has never thought of Jane in that way—she does not have the open temper which he wished for in a wife. Jane has feelings, but she is too reserved and cold. When Mr. Knightley left them, Emma asked what Mrs. Weston had to say about her theory about them being in love. Mrs. Weston does not think she has been beaten yet as he might be opposing the idea so much that he might actually be in love with her after all.
Everyone who had ever visited Mr. Elton before had to give him attention for his marriage. There were dinners and parties given for him and his new wife, and Mrs. Elton thought she would never have a day without something to do. She was used to going to dinners and parties because of her past at Bath and Maple Grove, and she corrected all the little mistakes some of the neighbours in Highbury made in their arrangements. Emma would not be satisfied until she gave a dinner at Hartfield for the Eltons because she did not want to be insulting them. Mr. Woodhouse agreed to it. Emma invited Harriet, but she begged not to attend. She did not want to see Mr. Elton happy with his wife and would rather stay at home. Emma was secretly pleased because she actually wanted to have Jane as her last dinner party guest, especially considering the last conversation she had had with Mr. Knightley about her. She wanted to show her the attention Mr. Knightley thought Emma should give her. Emma was sad that she did not try and be friends with Jane because it was expected of her. She did not think that Jane would accept her as a friend now, but Emma would still show her attention.
However, they received word that Mr. John Knightley would be visiting the day of the party. Although Mr. Woodhouse was anxious about a ninth person being at the dinner, Emma comforted him. As it happened, Mr. Weston was called out of town on business and would not be able to attend the dinner. Mr. John Knightley talked with Jane for a while and did not pay much attention to Mrs. Elton, except to take in enough detail to relay to Isabella when he returned home. He criticizes Jane for walking in the rain to collect letters. Jane expresses the value of friendship, especially those who were not near her and probably never would be, and so she must walk to the post-office no matter what the weather is doing. Mr. John Knightley suggests that, in ten years, she will have people she cares about in her more immediate circle and will not have to keep walking to collect her letters. Jane is a little tearful and grateful to him for saying so. Mr. Woodhouse interjected then and insisted young ladies should take better care of themselves. Mrs. Elton was then interested in this conversation about Jane walking in the rain, and was upset that she was not there to take care of her. Jane insisted she had not caught a cold, but Mrs. Elton told her off for not being able to take care of herself. Mrs. Weston agreed: Jane must not take risks or she might bring her cough on again. Mrs. Elton suggests that they will get one of their servants to collect her letters to stop Jane from having to fetch them, but Jane has been told to walk outside every day. She refuses to accept Mrs. Elton’s help because she likes walking to the post-office.
Jane changes the subject slightly and talks to Mr. John Knightley about the advantages of the post-office. She is fascinated that they rarely lose a letter. The conversation then moved onto the observations of handwriting. Mr. John Knightley believed that the handwriting of a family or close relations were often the same. Isabella and Emma’s handwriting are similar, for example. Everyone, including Mr. Knightley, agreed that Emma’s handwriting was lovely. Emma praised Frank’s handwriting, then, which Mr. Knightley disagreed with—he thought Frank wrote like a woman. Emma and Mrs. Weston disagree and wish they had a sample of writing to prove it to Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley jokes that a man like Frank would always use his best handwriting when writing to someone like Emma.
Emma was curious that Jane had refused help fetching her letters. She suspected that Jane had received a letter that had cheered or excited her because she seemed happier. She could have asked Jane a question about the speed of the Irish post, but she decided not to in case she would hurt Jane’s feelings.
When the ladies returned to the drawing room, two parties formed. She and Mrs. Weston talked together and Mrs. Elton drew Jane away. Emma did not want to talk to Mrs. Elton and Jane was engrossed by her attention. The post office situation was talked over again, and then Mrs. Elton asked if she had heard of a governesses position yet. Jane has not made any enquiries yet because she has not fixed on a month for her to be employed. Mrs. Elton suggested that it would be more difficult if she left it so late, but Jane is well aware. Mrs. Elton does not think she is—she has seen more of the world than Jane has done. Jane wants to spend more time with Colonel and Mrs. Campbell when they return to town mid-summer, and then she will make her own enquiries. She does not want Mrs. Elton to do anything on her behalf. Mrs. Elton insists that she write to her friends, and Jane continues to refuse. She will find something when she wants to. Mrs. Elton is worried she will not find a position worthy of her talents and accuses Jane of being modest.
Later on, when the men stepped into the drawing room, Emma overheard Mrs. Elton speak to Jane about Mr. Woodhouse. She admires his old fashioned manners and politeness and wishes Jane could have heard all of the compliments she received from him during the dinner. Just then, Mr. Weston returned from his business trip out of town, and everyone was generally pleased to see him. Mr. John Knightley was amazed that he would come to Hartfield when he could be at home out of the cold and in bed. His arrival at the party would lengthen it considerably. He was happy, and after making his compliments to everyone, he gave Mrs. Weston a letter, which they had just received. He asks her to read it to Emma. It is from Frank. He will be travelling close to Highbury the following week with the rest of the family and will split his time between the two places. Mrs. Weston was happy as she should be. Emma did not know how she felt about this. Mr. Weston went around the room to tell other people the news, and finding that Mrs. Elton was not currently talking to anyone, started with her first.
Mr. Weston expressed his hope that he would be able to introduce Frank to Mrs. Elton soon. They begin a rambling conversation wherein Mrs. Elton chastises Mr. Weston for opening his wife’s letters. They discuss the distance of Enscombe to London, and although Mrs. Elton thinks it is extraordinarily far, she does not think travelling distances truly matters to people of large fortunes. Mr. Weston tells her that Mrs. Churchill had been so weak that she had been unable to move for a week. She will only stop for two days on the road. Mrs. Elton agreed with this decision—sleeping in an inn is quite horrific for many ladies. Mr. Weston does not believe Mrs. Churchill is actually ill and that she has actually grown tired of being at Enscombe instead. Mrs. Elton hopes that when Frank returns he will be pleased to find an addition to Highbury, and she suggests that he would have never heard of her. Mr. Weston indulges this call for a compliment: Mrs. Weston has often written about Mrs. Elton to Frank. While Mrs. Elton continues to fish for compliments, Mr. Weston tries to tell her about Frank’s journey and Mrs. Churchill. He is looking forward to Frank being there for the nicer weather. He adds that he hopes Mrs. Elton is aware of his past history with Mrs. Churchill and that this informs his general attitude about her. He hopes he has not treated her too poorly. Instead of commenting on Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. Elton once again brings up Maple Grove and the people she disliked there.
Thankfully, they were interrupted by tea and Mr. Weston escaped her. While some of them played cards, Mr. John Knightley went over the plans for his two oldest sons while they stayed at Hartfield. Emma promises to do everything she can to make them happy. Mr. John Knightley wonders if they will get in her way, especially considering that her social life seemed to have picked up. Emma denies that there has been a difference, but Mr. John Knightley thinks she is much more involved in Highbury society than she has ever been. Although he suggests that the boys should be sent back home if they get in the way, Mr. Knightley opposes this—he would rather the boys be sent to him. Emma denies her social life has increased—it might seem that way because of discussions of dances that never happened, but it is not true. She always has time for her nephews—much more than Mr. Knightley had because of his business.
Emma figured out why she was agitated by the news of Frank returning. It was out of embarrassment for him because her attachment to him had disappeared. If Frank’s attachment had not cooled either, there would be some awkward times ahead for her. She would need to be cautious. She wanted to keep him from declaring his feelings for her outright, but she felt like the Spring would not pass before something substantial would happen to alter her peaceful state.
When Frank finally arrived at Hartfield, Emma immediately noticed that his treatment of her had altered considerably, and he was not as in love with her has he had been before he left. He was friendly and happy as he always was. They talked about old stories from his previous visit. He was restless and could only stay for a moment to visit other friends in Highbury. Emma considered that his restlessness might be due to his disinclination to trust himself around her. This had been the only visit he made to Hartfield in ten days. He had continued to hope to come, but he was always prevented from doing so—Mrs Churchill could not spare him. Frank admitted that she was weak and sicker than she had been half a year before and needed his attention. London was not for Mrs. Churchill, and they soon heard that they would move on to Richmond.
Frank wrote to the Westons and expressed his happiness. He would be much closer to Highbury and could visit more often. Emma thought Mr. Weston expected an engagement to bring him happiness before too long. She hoped she was wrong. Another good thing about this new arrangement was the ball at the Crown. Preparation for it began again. Frank wrote from Richmond to tell them his Aunt was improved, and he would be able to join them for the ball. Mr. Woodhouse felt it was a better idea to hold the ball in May than in February and could not complain as much about it. Mrs. Bates would spend the night with Mr. Woodhouse, and he hoped that neither of the Knightley boys would need anything while Emma was out for the evening.
Nothing prevented the ball from happening this time. Frank arrived at Randalls in time for the ball, and everything was set. Emma and Frank had not had a second meeting before the ball, but Emma thought it would be best to have this meeting without a crowd around them. Mr. Weston had asked her to arrive at the Crown before anyone else to make sure everything was set, and so she had some quiet time with Frank before the ball. When she arrived other carriages of close family friends and cousins had arrived to also give their opinion on the Crown’s Inn space. Emma thought half the party might have been invited to do the same task.
Frank was curious to meet Mrs. Elton. Emma wanted to know what his first opinion of her might be. The Eltons carriage had returned to fetch Miss Bates and Jane, and at the first sign of rain, Frank went outside to help them inside. Mrs. Elton took the time to compliment Mr. Weston on his son. She did not wait long enough for Frank to be out of earshot, however. When Mrs. Elton changed the subject to that of Maple Grove, Mr. Weston suddenly remembered that there were women who needed help and hurried away. Mrs. Elton expressed her pleasure to Mrs. Weston at being able to help friends with her own carriage, and insisted that the Westons would not need to offer their own carriage again. She will always take care of them. Miss Bates arrived in the room and started to, almost without taking a breath, speak incessantly. She was pleased with everything she saw in the Crown and delighted to see everyone. She reveals that she forced Jane to wear a shawl that Mr. Dixon had chosen for her. She expressed her gratitude for Frank’s kindness in not only helping with her mother’s spectacles, but also for helping them inside the inn.
Emma and Frank stood together then and overheard Mrs. Elton and Jane talk. After Mrs. Elton gave Jane many compliments, Mrs. Elton then pushed for compliments of her own. She mentions that she had heard Frank is a fabulous dancer and intends to find out for himself. Frank started to talk loudly, then, and Emma imagined it was because he did not want to hear any more. Emma whispered to him and asked if he liked Mrs. Elton. He did not. Still in an odd mood, Frank ran off to find his father to find out when the dancing was to begin. The Westons returned to Emma—they had realized that they would have to ask Mrs. Elton to start the dancing despite them wanting to give Emma that honour. Mr. Weston wondered what they would do for a partner—she is likely to want Frank for a partner. Frank turned to Emma then and boasted that he was already taken, which Mr. Weston was pleased for. Mrs. Weston talked her husband into dancing with Mrs. Elton, which he agreed to. They started the ball and Emma and Frank danced second. Emma was sad that she had to stand second to Mrs. Elton as she had always thought of the ball as hers.
Emma was not happy with Mr. Knightley, who was not dancing and standing at the side talking. He stood out among the other men as a striking gentleman, and she guessed that he would be a graceful dancer. During the last two dances, Harriet had no partner. Neither had Mr. Elton, but Emma was sure he would not ask her to dance. He walked close to her and asked Mrs. Weston to dance. She declined on account of there being others who would make a better partner for him. She points out that Harriet has no partner and Mr. Elton changes his mind about dancing altogether. He announces he is a married man and cannot dance anymore. Mrs. Weston and Emma were shocked. Mr. Elton returned to his seat near Mr. Knightley, and he exchanged a smile with his wife. Emma looked away, and then looked back again to find Mr. Knightley leading Harriet onto the dance floor. She was grateful to him. Mr. Elton had retreated into the card room, probably because he felt foolish.
Emma had no chance to talk to Mr. Knightley until after supper, where she thanked him for his kindness to Harriet. He asked Emma why the Eltons were her enemies as he could see that they aimed to hurt more than Harriet. Emma confesses that she wanted Mr. Elton to marry Harriet, and that neither of them can forgive her for it. Emma admits she was completely wrong about Mr. Elton. Mr. Knightley had described him fairly perfectly. Mr. Knightley admits she had chosen better for him than he has chosen for himself as Harriet has more good qualities than Mrs. Elton does. Emma was grateful for his admission. Mr. Knightley wondered who Emma would dance with next. She asks him to dance, and he agrees.
Emma was glad she and Mr. Knightley had come to an understanding of the Eltons. His praise of Harriet was also welcomed. The rudeness of the Eltons had actually invited in a moment that gave Emma utter satisfaction. Harriet was suddenly able to see that Mr. Elton was not the man she thought he was. Her infatuation was over, and Emma was not afraid of it returning. She did not expect to see Frank that day, and she was not sorry for it. However, he turns up with Harriet on his arm. She is pale and faints in the hall. After a few moments, Emma discovered why she had fainted. Harriet and Miss Bickerton, who worked alongside Mrs. Goddard, had walked together and come across gypsies. A child came towards them to beg for money and Miss Bickerton screamed and ran up a steep hill to take a short cut back to Highbury. Harriet could not follow because she was still sore from dancing. Harriet was approached by half a dozen children. She gave them a shilling and asked them not to beg for anything else. She was then able to walk, but was still surrounded by the children who demanded more from her.
Frank had found her in this way and assisted her. The group were frightened by Frank and Harriet clung to him, unable to speak, and weak. He did not know where else to take her but Hartfield. Emma assured him she would take good care of him, and then he left to carry out the errands he had been meaning to complete. She would also write to Mr. Knightley about the gypsies being in the neighbourhood. Emma wondered who could have failed to see what she saw in this adventure—her imagination was on fire concerning the possible match between Harriet and Frank.
Emma wanted to keep this news from her father but within half hour the entirety of Highbury knew the story. Mr. Woodhouse discovered the news and made them promise not to go beyond the grounds again. The gypsies took off and left Highbury, and the importance of the event dwindled in people’s minds. All, that is, except for little Henry and John who continued to ask Emma to tell the story of Harriet and the gypsies.
A few days passed. Harriet visited Emma one morning with a small parcel in her hand. She admitted she had something to confess. Harriet admits that she sees nothing extraordinary in Mr. Elton now and does not care if she meets him or not. She would rather not see him, but she does not envy his wife anymore. She has brought items she wishes she had destroyed before so that she can do so in front of Emma. They are not gifts from him, but they are things she has treasured.
She shows Emma a piece of court-plaster (bandages) which she given to Mr. Elton when he cut himself on Emma’s new penknife. Emma had denied she had had any on her when it had happened, but she admits to Harriet that it was another one of her tricks. She wanted Harriet to be the one to help Mr. Elton. Emma is ashamed by the memory. She then shows him a blunted pencil which he had left on the table when he discovered there was no more lead in it. Harriet took it for herself. Harriet has nothing more to show Emma and resolves to throw the items in the fire, even if the plaster could be useful in the future. She does not want to look at them anymore. Harriet resolves that this is the end of Mr. Elton. Emma wondered when the beginning of Frank would come.
One day, when advising Harriet of what she should do when she gets married, Harriet announces that she will never marry. Emma is surprised by this change of heart and hopes it is not because of Mr. Elton. Harriet denies that it is. Emma wondered if she should push for more information because it might have hurt her, but decides it would be safer to know what is happening. She asks Harriet directly if her decision not to marry stems from her love for someone who is far superior to her and would probably never think of her. Harriet admits it is. Emma is not surprised considering the aid he gave her. Harriet admits when she saw him coming she changed from misery to happiness. Emma thinks it is natural and honourable to feel so well. She does not encourage Harriet to think she will be asked, but does not think she should throw her feelings away. She should watch him and let his behaviour to her be her guide. Emma will not speak to her again about this because she is determined to not influence her. She does not even want to know the name of the person, but knows it is Frank. Harriet kisses her hand in gratitude and Emma thinks that the attachment would be a good thing for Harriet and raise her in society.
June came to Highbury, but not much change occurred. Jane delayed her return to the Campbells by a couple of more months. That is, if she managed to avoid Mrs. Elton finding a job for her by then. Mr. Knightley, who had taken a dislike to Frank from the outset, had started to dislike him even more. He thought there was something going on. While he seemed to be doting on Emma and fixing on her as his possible partner, Mr. Knightley suspected that he had an understanding with Jane. He thought that they both admired one another. He had seen them give looks to one another which seemed out of place and suggested a secret understanding.
Mr. Knightley walked with Emma and Harriet one day and joined with Mr. and Mrs. Weston, Frank, Miss Bates and Jane who all then decided to go back to Hartfield to take tea. Everyone agreed to it. As they approached the house, Mr. Perry passed them, and Frank asked Mrs. Weston about Mr. Perry’s carriage. Mrs. Weston does not know what he is talking about, and Frank insists that she wrote to him about it. Mrs. Weston denies talking to him about Mr. Perry buying a carriage. Frank concludes he must have been dreaming about Highbury, as he often does. Mr. Weston turned to ask Emma if she was as a great a dreamer as Frank, but she had gone ahead and was already out of hearing. Miss Bates does remember, however, that there was talk of Mr. Perry buying a carriage but that the conversation was a secret one and had gone on at the Bates house. Jane was present. Mr. Knightley suspected that Frank was trying to catch Jane’s eye and watched them closely as they entered the hall.
Frank asked Emma if her nephews had put away their box of letters. He would like to play with puzzles. They started to form words for one another. Frank placed a word down for Jane and she looked at it to figure out what it was. Mr. Knightley tried to see what the word was, but could not before Jane figured it out and pushed it away. It was not mixed in with the rest of the words and Harriet looked at it to try and figure out what it was. The word was “blunder”, and Jane blushed when it was figured out. Mr. Knightley decided that there was a definite connection between Jane and Frank and continued to observe them. Frank placed a word down for Emma and on figuring out chastises him and sends it over to Jane. The word is “Dixon”. Jane looks away in disgust and blushed. She pushed away the words angrily and turned to her Aunt who immediately decided they should leave. As Jane stood, others stood with her and Mr. Knightley saw that Frank had pushed another collection of letters toward Jane.
Mr. Knightley remained at Hartfield after the rest had left and decided he would ask Emma what the last word meant. Emma brushed it away, but Mr. Knightley hoped she would tell him. However, he owed it to Emma to step in. He asked her if she understood the nature of the relationship between Frank and Jane. Mr. Knightley admits he has frequently seen looks that suggested an attachment between them. Emma was pleased that Mr. Knightley’s imagination was wandering, but Emma did not believe there was any attachment between them. She explains that there is a different set of circumstances that have led to these looks, but not for admiration. She knows that Frank is not attracted to her. This confidence in her answer silenced Mr. Knightley. Although Emma wanted to continue talking about what Mr. Knightley had seen, he was too agitated to continue and left.
Mrs. Elton was disappointed to hear that her brother-in-law and sister, Mr and Mrs. Suckling, would not be able to visit until the Autumn. It meant the delay of pleasure and of parading them around to feel her own self importance, but she was convinced with a little persuasion to explore the area around Highbury herself and not to wait for the Sucklings. She decided to go to Box Hill. Emma had never been to Box Hill before, and the Westons decided that they would go with her. She was upset to hear that Mr. Weston had proposed to Mrs. Elton that they go as one company of people. To save Mr. Weston’s feelings, Emma agreed to it even if it meant feeling the degradation of being part of Mrs. Elton’s party. While they were looking to fix the date, a horse was suddenly lame, and they did not know when the horse would be useful to them again. Mr. Knightley suggested that they should come to Donwell and eat the strawberries in his field. They would not need horses to explore Donwell. While Mrs. Elton wants to plan the party herself and invite those she would like to be there, Mr. Knightley is firm with her. Only one person could dictate to him who would be invited to Donwell and that it is the non-existent Mrs. Knightley. Mrs. Elton thought he had great humour and complimented him on it. She suggested the way that the party should be arranged, and Mr. Knightley refused to let her dictate to him, especially because he wanted to make sure Mr. Woodhouse would attend. Mr. Woodhouse would attend, as would Harriet and Emma, the Westons, the Eltons and Frank. The lame horse recovered quite quickly, so Donwell was decided for one day, and Box Hill for the following.
As soon as Emma made sure her father was sat in comfort, Emma decided to explore Donwell as it had been some time since she had been there. She enjoys the grounds and the house and respected everything she saw. Frank had yet to arrive. Mrs. Elton led them through the garden, talking loudly about the fruit. Mrs. Weston was worried about Frank. After the tour around the garden, Emma sat down in the shade and overheard Mrs. Elton and Jane talking about a governess position Mrs. Elton has managed to hear about. While Mrs. Elton wanted to establish Jane there immediately, Jane continued to protest and would not take a position until she wanted to take one. Emma felt sorry for Jane, who had to repeat herself over and over, until Jane asked Mr. Knightley to show them the entire garden.
As they walked around the garden, Mr. Knightley and Harriet walked together talking. Emma was pleased to see them together, even if it was an unusual sight. With the tour around the gardens over, they went inside the house to eat. Frank had still not arrived. Mr. Weston would not admit to his anxiety, but Mrs. Weston continued to look, worried about his horse. Mr. Weston suggested that Mrs. Churchill might have taken ill. After they had eaten, Emma opted to stay behind with her father while the rest continued to walk. It gave Mrs. Weston a break. Mr. Knightley had been kind to her father and made sure that he had endless things to distract him with. After Emma and Mr. Woodhouse looked them over together, she stepped into the hall for a moment of peace. Jane came up to her from the garden and asked her to give her apologies. She was determined to leave immediately but did not want to say anything to anyone. Emma agreed to give her goodbyes, but was not at ease with Jane walking back to Highbury by herself. Jane begs her to let her go—she wants her own way. Emma could not oppose that. Before she left, Jane exclaimed that she was comforted by solitude sometimes, and Emma felt sorry that she had to deal with so many tiresome people.
Jane had not been gone fifteen minutes when Frank stepped into the room. Mrs. Churchill had delayed him with a seizure which had lasted hours. He had come in the heat and looked worse for wear. He had an angry temper which Emma guessed was brought on by the heat. Once he had cooled down, his manners returned and was able to engage them in conversation. They were looking at pictures of Switzerland. Frank announces that he will go abroad as soon as his Aunt is well. Emma does not believe his Aunt and Uncle will ever let him leave England. Frank thinks that they will come with him as his Aunt is meant to stick to a warmer climate. He is tired of doing nothing and is sick of England. Emma asks him to come with them to Box Hill the next day—it might not be Switzerland, but it will be a change from the regular pace of life. Frank does not want to—he will leave Donwell that evening and not return. He worries about being angry and spoiling the mood, but he will be angry if they are all at Box Hill without him. Emma tells him to decide for himself.
As everyone parted, Frank expressed his decision to stay and go with them to Box Hill the following day.
The weather was good for their visit to Box Hill, and it was generally agreed and expected that they would have a nice party. However, the party split up—the Eltons walked together, Mr. Knightley with Miss Bates and Jane, and Emma and Harriet with Frank. Mr. Weston tried to bring them all together, but it never quite happened. The Eltons did not want to be friendly. Emma was bored. Frank was silent, and when he did speak said nothing worth hearing. Harriet was the same, and Emma was tired of them both. When they sat down, Frank became more talkative and made sure to amuse Emma. Although they flirted, Emma only did this because she was disappointed by the party and only thought of him as her friend. Frank thanks her for persuading him to come to Box Hill. Emma mentions his temper the previous day, which Frank does not really understand. He was hot, not angry. Emma suggests that he was not himself, and now he is back under control. Frank suggests that she means her control, but Emma insists that they are not together all the time. It can only be his control. Frank questions this logic—they’ve been together since February. Emma suggests that he stop talking in this way as the rest of the party can hear them. Frank is not ashamed by what he has to say. He decides they should get the rest of the people to talk and pretends that Emma has asked him to order them to tell her what she is thinking about. Mr. Knightley asks if Emma seriously wants to know, and she denies it. She really does not want to know what they have to think. Mrs. Elton takes Frank’s interest in Emma as an insult—she thinks of herself as the Chaperone and organizer of the party, not Emma.
Frank decides to push for further conversation by asking for one clever thing, two moderately clever or three dull things from each person. Miss Bates decides to aim for three dull things, and Emma teases her by telling her she has to keep to the certain number. Miss Bates blushed when she understood the insult and confided in Mr. Knightley that she did not know what she had done to be treated so poorly. Mr. Weston asks Emma what two letters of the alphabet express perfection. He tells them that these are M and A—Em and Ma. While Emma and a few others are entertained by this, Mr. Knightley looked quite sad—no one would be able to combat Mr. Weston’s entertainment. Mrs. Elton does not even approve of the game itself—she believes it is more suited to Christmas around the fire. She tells Frank to pass herself, Mr. Elton, Knightley and Jane as they have nothing to say. Mr. Elton agrees—there is nothing that can entertain a young lady when it comes from an old married man. The Eltons leave for a walk. Frank comments that having known each other for only a few weeks in Bath, they are particularly suited. He goes on to say that it is difficult to know a woman until they are seen within their own homes and neighbourhoods. It is often that a man has committed to a woman after a short friendship and done poorly. Jane admits that it happens, but not as often as Frank suggests. There would be time to recover from it afterwards. Frank does not think he has good judgement and suggests he will have to have his future bride chosen for him. He asks if Emma would choose a wife for him, take her under her wing and make her like herself. Frank will go abroad for a few years and then return for his wife. She secretly thought that it was Harriet whom Frank suggested she should make more like herself.
After another walk, the party waited for their carriages. Mr. Knightley found a moment to speak to Emma quietly and asked why she was so unkind to Miss Bates. Emma laughed it off and suggested Miss Bates did not understand her. Mr. Knightley assured her she understood and has talked of nothing since. She was generous to Emma in her discussions. Emma thought she was a good person, but a ridiculous one. Mr. Knightley does not disagree with this, but implores Emma to think. Miss Bates is poor, and her situation in life should secure Emma’s compassion. To laugh at her and humble her in front of her niece and others who might be guided by Emma’s treatment of her was in poor show. Emma has never felt so ashamed and upset in her entire life. She could not disagree with anything Mr. Knightley had said, and did not know how she could have been so cruel to Miss Bates. Emma cried all the way home.
Emma looked back on Box Hill as a morning not well spent. She imagined that the others would be having their own particular opinions about the morning themselves. She spent the evening playing games with her father, which was time well spent and a pleasure to her. She was giving up her hours to the comfort of her father, and hoped that she was not without heart in their relationship. Emma hoped that Miss Bates would forgive her. She would visit her the next morning and attempt to start up a more equal and kinder friendship.
The following morning she went early to stop anything from preventing her. She would not be ashamed by going. When she arrived there was a rush to move Jane, who Emma caught a glimpse of and thought she looked quite sick. Mrs. Bates admitted that Jane was quite unwell, but they would only tell her otherwise. Miss Bates stepped into the room, and although she greeted Emma with her usual cheerfulness, Emma could tell there was a lack of feeling in it. She asked after Jane, which Emma hoped would lead them to their old ways. Miss Bates reveals that a position has been found for Jane which she has accepted. Jane is depressed by it, and Miss Bates sent her to bed. Jane did not want to see anyone, but she was sorry to miss Emma. Emma was terribly sorry for Jane—she had grown interested in her lately because of her increasing kindness to Jane, and she understood Jane’s wish to not see anyone. Miss Bates said, then, that Emma was always too kind, and Emma could not stand it. She asked where Jane would be going. She is off to Mrs. Smallridge’s, which is only four miles away from Maple Grove. Emma understood that Mrs. Elton had been the one to arrange it all. Miss Bates revealed that Mrs. Elton would not take a single one of Jane’s objections and did not write her denial to Mrs. Smallridge. The previous evening, Jane had taken Mrs. Elton aside and announced that she had decided to accept. Emma asked if she spent the entire evening with the Eltons—Miss Bates admitted she had been invited back with everyone else at Box Hill. Mr. Knightley refused to go, but Miss Bates, Jane and Mrs. Bates all attended. Emma suggested that Jane had been trying to make up her mind the entire day. Miss Bates agreed. Emma asked when Jane was set to leave. She would leave within two weeks as Mrs. Smallridge is in a hurry for a governess. Miss Bates reveals that Mr. Elton had heard a carriage was sent to Randalls to take Frank to Richmond. Emma did not have a chance to say that she had not heard this news, but as Miss Bates did not know anything else, it wasn’t important to say so. Frank had received a letter from Mr. Churchill telling his nephew not to rush back as Mrs. Churchill was doing fairly well, but Frank decided to go home immediately. Emma did not know what to think about this sudden change in behaviour and kept quiet until Miss Bates thought she was thinking of the pianoforte. Jane will leave it behind until Colonel Campbell comes back and deals with it himself. The discussion of the pianoforte only reminded Emma of her past tricks and amusements until she decided she had to leave. Emma gave her good wishes and then left.
On returning to Hartfield, Emma found Mr. Knightley and Harriet had arrived and were sitting with Mr. Woodhouse. Mr. Knightley immediately stood and said goodbye. He was going to London to spend time with John and Isabella. Emma did not think Mr. Knightley had forgiven her as he was not acting like himself. She thought with time they would return to normal. Mr. Woodhouse asked after Emma’s visit to the Bates’ and thinks that she was kind to them. Emma blushed and shook her head. Mr. Knightley looked at her then with respect, and Emma was grateful for it. Mr. Knightley took her hand and was about to carry it to his lips when he suddenly dropped it. Emma did not know what made him change his mind. He then left.
Emma wished she had left the Bates house ten minutes earlier so that she could have discussed Jane’s news and situation with Mr. Knightley. She also would have preferred having more notice of Mr. Knightley’s journey. She distracted her father from worrying about Mr. Knightley on horseback with news of Jane’s position. Mr. Woodhouse was darned glad she had a job.
The following day, they received news that Mrs. Churchill had died. Although Frank had not had need to hurry back, she had not lasted more than 36 hours after he returned. Of course, everyone felt sorry that she had died despite being disliked for 25 years. Now that she had died, everyone admitted that she must have been quite ill after all. Emma wondered how this might affect Frank—how it would free him. He could now marry Harriet without any issues, but Emma was not certain that the attachment would be formed. Harriet behaved herself—if she had any brighter hopes, she did not reveal them. Emma was pleased that she was much stronger in character now than she had been. Randalls received short letters from Frank detailing the plans they had. After the funeral, Mr. Churchill and Frank would go to a friend’s house in Windsor.
Emma found her concerns moving from Harriet to Jane, who Emma wanted to show kindness to. She regretted her coldness to Jane in the past and wanted to be useful to her. She wrote a letter inviting Jane to Hartfield for a day, but Jane did not reply. Mr. Perry relayed a verbal message to them that Jane was too unwell to write. He doubted that she would be able to leave for Mrs. Smallridge’s when she was meant to do so as her health was bad. Mr. Perry was worried about Jane’s current living conditions with her tiresome family and the single room. Emma sent her another note to offer to call on Jane whenever she wanted to take some exercise. Emma received a note telling her that Jane was not able to exercise. Emma felt she deserved a little more than this short statement, but could not feel that bad about it. She ordered the carriage and went down to the Bates house to see if Jane could be enticed outside, but Miss Bates came to the door and admitted she had tried, but Jane would not come out, and would not accept any visitors. Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Cole and Mr. Perry had all forced their way in and had visited, but Emma did not want to be compared with them. She only asked Miss Bates if she might be able to help with Jane’s appetite.
Emma returned to Hartfield and asked for some arrow-root to be sent to Miss Bates for Jane. It was returned half hour later with a note explaining that Jane did not want anything. Emma heard that that afternoon Jane had been walking in the meadows. This was more than enough evidence that Jane did not want Emma’s help at all. She was sorry for this and felt powerless. The only consoling feeling was that she knew her intentions were good ones, and at least Mr. Knightley would have been proud of her.
One morning Emma was called downstairs by Mr. Weston who needed to talk to her immediately. Mrs. Weston needed to see her and wanted her to come to Randalls alone. Emma pushed for more information as to what was wrong, but Mr. Weston assured her she would know in time. After checking in with Mr. Woodhouse, she left with Mr. Weston. Emma demanded to know what was happening and was terrified that something bad had happened to someone they know. Mr. Weston will not tell her, but assures her it is nothing connected with anyone named Knightley. He reveals that Frank had visited that morning and was on his way to Windsor—Emma would not be able to see him.
Once she arrived, Mr. Weston left the two women by themselves. Emma was anxious as Mrs. Weston looked ill. Mrs. Weston wondered if Emma had any idea who the news concerned. Emma guessed it had to do with Frank, and she is correct. He came to Randalls that morning to announce his engagement to Jane Fairfax and to reveal he had been engaged to her for a long time. Emma was surprised by the news, but Mrs. Weston assured her it was the truth. They had been engaged since they spent time together at Weymouth and had kept it a secret from everyone. Mrs. Weston thought she knew him. Emma thought about her previous conversations with Jane, and also about poor Harriet. Mrs. Weston admits it has hurt them both. Emma thought for a moment and then told her that he had not revealed his intentions toward Emma, if that was what they were afraid of. There was, she admitted, a small amount of time where she was interested in him, but this left her after a moment. She cares nothing for him. Mrs. Weston is struck with joy immediately—she is relieved. They had hoped that Emma and Frank would be engaged and were upset to think what Emma would feel when she heard the news. However, Emma agrees that Frank’s behaviour could not be excused. He came to Highbury and endeavoured to please Emma—how would he know if Emma had fallen in love with him or not. She did not know how Jane stomached Frank’s behaviour either. She could not respect him for that. Mrs. Weston admitted that there had been some misunderstandings between them because of Frank’s behaviour. Emma suddenly remembers that Jane is meant to go to Mrs. Smallridge’s. Mrs. Weston assures her Frank had no idea that Jane had agreed to go. The discovery of this decision is what forced him to come forward and announce the engagement. He promised before he left, to write to Mrs. Weston and to detail everything that had happened, which may excuse some of his past behaviour. She asks for Emma’s patience.
Emma wondered if the Dixons or Campbells knew of the engagement. Frank told her that only they knew about their agreement. Although Emma hopes they will be happy, she will not be able to forgive Frank for his deceit. Mr. Weston appeared, then, and Emma congratulated him on the news. He realized that everything was fine with Emma. He was happy immediately. When he walked her back to Hartfield, he even admitted that it was probably one of the best things Frank could have done.
Emma was sorry to think of poor Harriet, and could not stop thinking about her. She could not forgive Frank for his behaviour, and she could also not forgive herself. To find Harriet deceived a second time because of her own misconceptions was a horrid business. She believed in what Mr. Knightley had said when he told her she was no friend to Harriet. Although she had not constructed and built up Harriet’s love as she did in the first instance, she should have repressed Harriet’s interest in Frank when she first admitted to it.
When Emma heard Harriet’s footsteps coming she was as anxious about them as she imagined Mrs. Weston had been when Emma was approaching Randalls. Harriet had already heard the news from Mr. Weston and thought it was odd news. Harriet was not upset or disappointed. Emma did not know what to say to her. Harriet wondered if Emma knew about the engagement, or their being in love, and decides that she must have as she usually knows what is going on. Emma cannot imagine why she would encourage Harriet in her feelings if she knew Frank was in love with Jane. Harriet did not understand—she was not in love with Frank. Emma did not understand. Harriet was upset that she had been misunderstood—how could Emma have thought she meant Frank when there were more superior people to look at. Emma then wondered if it was Mr. Knightley who she was in love with. Harriet is—she thought she had been as clear as possible. Emma admitted that everything Harriet had said seemed to point to Frank after she had been rescued from the gypsies. Harriet suddenly realizes that what she said could have been interpreted in two ways—she had meant that Mr. Knightley had done her a great service and made her happy. Although Emma cannot speak, Harriet asserts that crazier engagements had taken place, and that if Mr. Knightley certainly did want to marry her Emma should not get in her way. Emma wondered if she had received any hint as to Mr. Knightley’s affection and Harriet asserted she had. Emma wondered to herself why it was worse for Harriet to be in love with Mr. Knightley than with Frank. She suddenly realized that she did not want anyone else to marry Mr. Knightley but herself.
She also saw how inconsiderately she had treated Harriet and then asked her for proof of Mr. Knightley’s affection for her. From the time they had danced together, Mr. Knightley had spoken more to her in kindness, and wanted to be acquainted with her. Emma had observed this. He praised Harriet for having gentle and honest feelings, which Emma had heard herself. Some others Emma did not believe were exact pieces of evidence for Mr. Knightley’s feelings. When they were at Donwell, Mr. Knightley had drawn her away from the crowd and appeared to be asking her if her affections were engaged. When Emma had joined them, he had changed the subject. When Mr. Knightley had decided to leave for London, he had confided in Harriet that he would rather not have gone, which was much more than he had said to Emma. Emma wondered if he was actually trying to figure out if Harriet was still in love with Mr. Martin. Harriet denies it—she knows not to care for Mr. Martin now, or to be suspected of loving him. Harriet thanked Emma for her good advice—she was told to observe his behaviour for evidence of his feelings for her, which she had done. Harriet feels that she deserves him. On hearing Mr. Woodhouse’s footsteps, Harriet excused herself. She was much too agitated to be near him. Emma wished she had never set eyes on her before.
Emma tried to sort through her feelings and everything that had happened in the last day. Her first aim was to understand her own heart. She wondered when she had considered him so dear to her. There had not been any time when she had not loved Mr. Knightley, and figured out that she had never truly loved Frank at all. It did not take her long to figure this out, and she was ashamed of all of her feelings except for her love for Mr. Knightley. She had been mistaken at every turn where other people’s feelings were concerned. She wished that she had never pushed Harriet forward and hoped that Mr. Knightley would not debase himself by marrying someone as common as her. She wished she had not persuaded her against marrying Mr. Martin and taken up company with the people she belonged to. If she had not done this, Harriet would not presume to think of Mr. Knightley as being in love with her. Emma had taught her this. Harriet had lost her sense of humility because of Emma.
Only now that she was threatened by the loss of it was Emma aware how much of her happiness depended on being considered first by Mr. Knightley. She had been first in his estimation for a long time and had taken it for granted. She had not deserved it, either, but he had loved her since she was a child. While Harriet was convinced of Mr. Knightley’s affection for her, Emma doubted that Mr. Knightley felt love for Emma. He had been so shocked by her treatment of Miss Bates. She could not deceive herself as she hoped Harriet was doing. If Mr. Knightley never married at all, Emma would be satisfied. She wanted him to continue on in the same way that they had been if Mr. Knightley would not marry her. She did not believe she would marry even if Mr. Knightley asked her. It would remove her from her father and she owed him her care.
Emma hoped that the next time she saw Harriet and Mr. Knightley together that she would be able to figure out what the chances of Harriet being disappointed were. She decided not to see Harriet as it would do neither of them any good. She wrote to her and asked her not to come to Hartfield so that they could avoid conversation of the topic they should avoid. They could meet if there were a group of people around, but only if they acted as if they had not talked about Mr. Knightley. Harriet approved.
Mrs. Weston stopped by Hartfield after visiting the Bates house even though she had not wanted to until everything was settled with Frank. Mr. Weston persuaded her into going. Jane had hardly spoken a word, and she was visibly suffering. Mrs. Weston asked Jane to come with her for a drive in the carriage, during which Mrs. Weston was able to break through some of Jane’s embarrassment and ask her about Frank. They talked a lot about the past and future possibility of the engagement, and Mrs. Weston was sure this was helpful to Jane. Jane blames herself for the engagement and dreads Colonel Campbell hearing about it. It was her love for Frank that overthrew her reason and logic as she had not been brought up to act as she had done so. Emma was afraid that she had caused Jane suffering, but Mrs. Weston knew she did not do it on purpose. Jane sends her many thanks for her continued interest and affection when she was sick. Emma wishes she could do more for her and wishes that she will be happy in marriage. Mrs. Weston reveals that she has not yet received the letter Frank promised he would send.
Emma keenly felt the shame associated with her past treatment of Jane. Had she sought a friend in Jane rather than in Harriet she might have been spared the pain she felt now. That night she thought of the end of Mr. Knightley’s visits to Hartfield which usually brought them happiness, especially on nights of bad weather. She looked ahead to the coming winter with regret—if everything happened as it might, she would lose most of her friends. Hartfield would be empty. When the Westons had a child, they would not see them often. Frank and Jane would cease to belong to Highbury. Mr. Knightley would no longer visit Hartfield at nights. If Mr. Knightley was to marry Harriet, it would double Emma’s pain for she would be well aware that it was her own doing. The only peaceful thought Emma had was that she might act better in the future and find a more rational self. Hopefully she would regret her actions far less in this instance.
With the change in the weather for the better, Emma decides to go outside as much as possible. She goes for a walk around the gardens. Mr. Knightley comes out into the garden to join her, which surprises her for she thought he was still in London. They exchanged general comments, and Emma asked after John and Isabella. She thought he seemed quite serious, and considered he might have told his brother about his plan to marry Harriet and had not received a good response. She also considered he might be trying to build his courage—he might be about to tell her about his engagement to Harriet. Emma could not encourage the subject—he had to do this by himself. Emma starts to tell him about Jane and Frank’s engagement, but Mr. Knightley has already heard of it. Mr. Weston told him. Emma was relieved the news had not come from Mrs Goddard or Harriet. Emma remembered that Mr. Knightley had once tried to warn her, but admits she is probably doomed to be blind. Mr. Knightley tells her that time will heal her wound, but Emma insists he is mistaken. Although she said things that made her ashamed, she has no other reason to regret Frank and Jane’s engagement. Mr. Knightley is overjoyed. She had been tempted by his attentions and allowed herself to seem pleased, but she has never been attached to him. She does not understand his behaviour as he never intended to be attached to her. Mr. Knightley had never had a high opinion of Frank but for Jane’s sake he wished them both well. Emma thinks they are mutually attracted and should be happy. Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank’s engagement to Jane and that despite his behaviour everyone has forgiven him.
Emma refuses to ask why Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank, and as he starts to explain, Emma tells him not to say anything. She changes her mind and tells him that if he has anything to say, he should say it. She is his friend and will tell him exactly what she thinks of what he has to say. Mr. Knightley wondered if he would ever succeed with her. Mr. Knightley admits that he could not love her more. Emma could not think—she saw that Harriet’s hopes had been mistaken and that she was pleased she had not revealed Harriet’s secret. He admits he had not aimed at asking her to marry him, but was so delighted in her indifference toward Frank that he could not help but hope. Both of them had changed in mood to a state of happiness. It had been Mr. Knightley’s jealousy that had sent him away from Box Hill and to London. However, the domestic bliss of his brother and Isabella had not given him peace but had reminded him of Emma. The news of Jane and Frank’s engagement gave him hope, then, and he had ridden home in the rain to find out how Emma felt about the news. By the time they went into the house, they were engaged to be married.
Emma was surprised by the change in her feelings in such a short space of time. Mr. Woodhouse did not suspect what was going on between them. Emma decided that night that while her father still lived, her engagement to Mr. Knightley would remain just that. She could not leave him. She would also try to spare Harriet as much pain as she could, but did not know how. She would avoid a meeting with her and then send her a letter to explain everything that had happened. It would be desirable for Harriet to leave Highbury for a while and Emma decided that she should go to Brunswick Square.
The next morning Emma wrote her letter to Harriet but was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Knightley who sent her into happiness again. When he left, and before Emma could get back to her letter, she received a letter from Randalls which contained Frank’s letter to Mrs. Weston. It details his need to keep the engagement a secret because of the situation at Enscombe. If he had not been engaged to Jane, he would have gone mad. Frank then discusses his treatment of Emma. He pretended to feel more for Emma than he did, but would not have done so had he not been convinced that she did not feel anything for him. It appeared as if they understood one another, and that suited Frank. When he came to Hartfield and was about to tell her the truth, he felt Emma had figured out a part or the whole of his secret. Emma frequently hinted at her knowledge, such as when she insisted he owed Mrs. Elton gratitude for the way Jane was treated. The pianoforte had come from Frank and had Jane known about it she would not have allowed it to be sent to her. He explains that he and Jane argued the morning of the Donwell party and that it chiefly concerned Frank’s behaviour towards Emma. Frank regretted how much pain he had caused Jane, and left for Richmond, convinced that she had grown cold towards him. Jane sent him a letter to break off the engagement, but he received it the morning his Aunt had died and had not had time to send a reply. He received a parcel at Windsor, which contained all of his letters to her and a small note from Jane to express her surprise that she had not received a reply. She encouraged him to send her letters to him to Mrs. Smallridge’s where she would be governess. Frank was angry with himself for his mistakes and regretted how ill he had made her. They managed to reconcile their feelings and save the engagement, and Frank is sure nothing will ever come between them again. He thanks Mrs. Weston for her kindness and hopes that she will be able to forgive him.
Although Emma felt Frank had been wrong on several accounts, he had done it because he was so in love with Jane. She forgave him for his conduct. She thought the letter was so good that when Mr. Knightley returned, she asked him to read it. Although Mr. Knightley thought the letter was long, he had to read it then and there as Emma had to return it to Mr. Weston that evening. Mr. Knightley gives his opinion as he reads the letter. At first he does not seem to care much for Frank’s words, but when he reaches the point where Frank regrets his behaviour, Mr. Knightley agrees and is impressed with his admission. Emma does not think he is as satisfied with the letter as she is, but Mr. Knightley thinks a little better of him, especially as he is very much in love with Jane.
Mr. Knightley changes the subject, then. He has been thinking of how to ask her to marry him without harming her father. Emma announced that she could never leave her father while he was still alive. He had hoped to entice Mr. Woodhouse to move to Donwell with her, but he suggested instead that he should move to Hartfield so that neither of them would have to leave. This theory had not occurred to Emma, who felt Mr. Knightley would be sacrificing a great deal by leaving Donwell and his own habits. The more Emma thought of the plan, however, the more she liked it. She would have been even happier had it not been for her thoughts about Harriet. Mr. Knightley would be forgotten by her eventually, but he would not be able to help her along with his considerate nature.
Emma was pleased to discover Harriet wanted to avoid a meeting, as well. There was a resentment to her letter despite her good natured response, and this only increased Emma’s desire for them to be separated. She managed to acquire an invitation to Brunswick for Harriet. Harriet had wanted to see a dentist for a while, so it was fortunate that she would be off to London. Isabella was keen to help anyone with their health, and was eager to have Harriet in her care. Harriet was to go for at least a fortnight. Now Emma could enjoy Mr. Knightley’s visits and be truly happy without feeling guilty. She still had to admit to her engagement to her father, but she did not want to do this until Mrs. Weston had given birth and was well.
Emma decided to call on Jane and see how she was doing. That she was also secretly interested in what was happening, was an additional benefit to the visit. She had not been in the house since the morning after Box Hill, and the fear of still being unwelcomed by Jane was in Emma’s thoughts as she was driven down there. Jane met her on the stairs, and Emma had never seen her look so lovely. Jane offered her hand and expressed her thanks for Emma’s kindness. Whereas Miss Bates was out, Mrs. Elton was in. Emma wished Mrs. Elton had not been present either, but decided she would have to have patience. Mrs. Elton folded up a letter and smiled with the knowledge of a secret she was keeping between herself and Jane. That everyone else knew the secret was not apparent to Mrs. Elton. She told Jane that Mrs. S. had accepted their apology and was not offended by Jane’s inability to become the governess at her house. Although Mrs. Elton had not named names, Emma knew exactly what she was talking about. After praising Mr. Perry’s efforts in returning Jane to her former healthier state, Mrs. Elton whispered that she would not mention the Doctor from Windsor who had helped.
Jane asked Emma if she would be willing to attend Box Hill again with the same visitors to try and recreate a happier memory there. Miss Bates stepped in then and did not know what to say—she was trying to keep the engagement a secret, and failing miserably. Mrs. Elton is waiting for her husband to finish a meeting at the Crown with Mr. Knightley, but Emma is sure the meeting was not supposed to be until the next day. Mrs. Elton denies mistaking the day—she believes that the parish at Highbury is troublesome and that they never had these problems at Maple Grove. Jane suggests this is because it was small. Mrs. Elton had never heard such a thing. Jane suggests that it should be small considering the size of the school which Mrs. Elton had previously mentioned. Mrs. Elton compliments her on her intelligence.
Mr. Elton arrived then and was sorry to have missed Mr. Knightley at Donwell for their meeting. He could not find him even though he had sent him a letter asking him if he would be home that day. Mrs. Elton corrects him—surely he means at the Crown. Mr. Elton tells her this is a different meeting, and that no one at Donwell had expected him. Emma had no explanations to give. Mrs. Elton could not believe that Mr. Knightley would do this to him—a man who should have been the last person to have been forgotten. Mrs. Elton blames Mr. Knightley’s servants for forgetting. Emma decided to leave then, as she assumed Mr. Knightley would be waiting for her at Hartfield. Jane took his moment to walk with her down the stairs. Emma tells her she would have talked about the engagement but did not want to be impolite. Jane is grateful for her interest and starts to give her apologies for being ungrateful. Emma refuses to hear them—Jane owes her nothing. Both of them apologize for their reserved and cold nature toward one another. Jane reveals she will be living with Mr. Churchill at Enscombe in three months time after the mourning period is over. Emma wishes her well and expresses her love for things that are out in the open.
Mrs. Weston safely gives birth to a little girl. Emma refused her initial desire to make a match between the girl and one of Isabella’s sons, but was glad the Westons had a girl. It seemed to suit them. Mr. Knightley is sure that Mrs. Weston will dote on and spoil the girl as much as she did for Emma. Emma jokingly wonders what will become of her. Mr. Knightley assures her she will correct herself as she grows older. Emma believes it was because of Mr. Knightley’s help that she corrected herself, but he believes he did her more harm than good. They remember their past—how challenging Emma had been, and how she had always called him Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley wondered if she would not call him George, instead. Emma cannot. She will call him George, but she cannot say when out loud—only when “N. takes M.”, i.e. when they marry. Emma wishes that she could talk to Mr. Knightley about Harriet and wondered why he did not comment on their waning friendship. Isabella had sent letters to Emma to keep her informed about Harriet. She had been quite depressed when she had arrived, but Isabella explained this away because of her impending visit to the dentist. After that, she had become her old self again. Emma was pleased to hear that Harriet would be staying for a month instead of just two weeks. Isabella and John would return with her in August.
John had sent Mr. Knightley a letter congratulating him and Emma on the engagement. Emma believes he has suggested that she will, in time, grow worthy of Mr. Knightley’s love. They both consider that they had hoped their family would see the engagement as equal on both sides. John admits he had an idea that his brother was in love with Emma and was not surprised to hear about the engagement. Emma thinks he was not so aware of who his feelings were for. Now that Mrs. Weston was able to receive visitors, Emma had to announce her engagement to Mr. Woodhouse. She did not know how she would do it, but she had to. She made sure to speak cheerfully so that Mr. Woodhouse would not be upset. It was a shock to him, at first, especially as Emma had always said she would never marry. She insisted that it would not be like Mrs. Weston and Isabella because Emma would not leave Hartfield. She knew he loved Mr. Knightley a lot—he was useful and cheerful. The worst of it was done, and their acquaintances and friends helped persuade Mr. Woodhouse that the engagement was a good thing. Eventually, he believed it would be a happy occasion, and that it might not be bad if they had the wedding in the next year or two. Mrs. Weston had been surprised, but was very happy for the announcement.
From here, the news spread. It was a generally approved match. Some disagreed as to where the couple should live, or who was the more fortunate of the couple, but on the whole there were no serious objections made aside from in the Vicarage. Mr. Elton did not care for it. Mrs. Elton felt sorry for Mr. Knightley and did not think he was in love with Emma at all.
The party from London was soon to arrive, and the news agitated Emma. Mr. Knightley came into the room and told her that Harriet Smith was engaged to Mr. Martin. Emma was surprised, but Mr. Knightley had heard the news from Mr. Martin himself. He is afraid that Emma does not like the news at all, as he feared, but suggests that time will bring her around. Emma exclaims that Mr. Knightley has mistaken her silence—she is just surprised he asked her again. It does not make her unhappy. Mr. Knightley reveals how it happened: Mr. Knightley asked Mr. Martin to deliver some papers to John and was asked to join a party which Harriet had attended. He then dined with them the following day and during this visit found an opportunity to ask Harriet. Mr. Knightley thought Mr. Martin was very happy. He knows that this engagement cannot bring Emma happiness, but in reality she is only trying to hide how happy she was. Emma admits that Harriet has done well, but is surprised as she had reason to believe Harriet was quite against him. Mr. Knightley did not think that Harriet could refuse a man who dearly loved her, and Emma had to laugh at this.
Mr. Knightley is surprised at how much Emma’s opinion has changed on this matter. Emma admits that she was a bit of a fool where it was concerned. Mr. Knightley admitted he has changed where his opinion of Harriet was concerned, too. He had made great efforts to talk to her and get to know her a bit better. He considered that Emma probably thought he was pleading Mr. Martin’s case, but he only wishes Harriet the best. She has excellent principles and good notions, which have secured her happiness. Mr. Knightley believes that Emma is to thank for this, and Emma cannot feel she deserves this praise.
There would now be pleasure and happiness in Harriet’s return, especially as it meant not having to hide anything from Mr. Knightley anymore. On visiting Randalls, they find that Frank and Jane are visiting. Emma and Frank meet for the first time in a long time. He thanks her for forgiving him, and Emma expresses her pleasure at being able to share in his joy for his engagement. They joke about their past tricks with the name Dixon, and Frank shares his surprise that Emma never suspected he and Jane were engaged. He wonders if Emma has pity for them not having met since the day they reestablished their engagement, and Emma does. Frank had endless compliments for the health Jane now had. Emma reminds him of the day he commented that he did not like her complexion. They laugh at this. Emma accuses him of being very amused by his trickery. Frank denies this—he was very depressed by it. Emma compares their behaviour—they are both prone to finding amusement in odd places. They are also to marry two people superior to them. Frank does not think Emma has a superior, but agrees on account of Jane. They are very pleased to have seen each other again. As Emma left Randalls, she was very pleased to have seen Frank again—not only because it meant their friendship was reestablished, but because she was now sure Mr. Knightley was the more superior of the two.
In a few days, Isabella, John and Harriet arrived from London. After an hour alone with Harriet, Emma was satisfied that he feelings for Mr. Knightley were gone and replaced for those for Mr. Martin. Harriet was a little ashamed for the past, but Emma had immediately soothed these feelings by congratulating her on her engagement. Harriet was then very pleased to give her all of the details of the engagement itself. It suggested to Emma that Harriet had always loved Mr. Martin.
They discovered Harriet’s origins: she was the daughter of a tradesman, not of a gentleman as Emma had sworn. Her low rank would have been a blight on a marriage to the Knightly, Churchill or Elton family. Emma accepted Mr. Martin at Hartfield and approved him as a good match for Harriet. Although Harriet would be among people she belonged with and who loved her, it would mean less visits to Hartfield. It was, Emma thought, for the best. Harriet was married to Mr. Martin before the end of September and were the first of the three couples to be so. Jane Fairfax had already left Highbury and had returned to live the Campbells. Frank and Mr. Churchill were in town, and the couple were waiting until November. Emma and Mr. Knightley had decided to have their marriage while John and Isabella were still at Hartfield so they could go away for two weeks to tour the seaside. Mr. Woodhouse was miserable when he heard of the plan, and Emma could not bear to see him suffering.
When Mrs. Weston’s turkeys were stolen one night, Mr. Woodhouse grew scared of Hartfield being broken into and wanted either John or Mr. Knightley to be at Hartfield to protect him. John had to be back in London by November, and so Emma was allowed to decide on the date for her wedding. The wedding itself is far too modest for Mrs. Elton, but all those present wished them well.
David takes charge of transporting Steerforth’s body back to London—Steerforth’s body was carried to the same cottage that currently housed Ham’s body, but once they got him there, it seemed wrong to the carriers to have him under the same roof, so they brought him to the inn. The body didn’t remain there long. Knowing he was the only one who could break the news to Steerforth’s mother, David wasted no time getting an appropriate means of transport from Joram’s, and he set out for London that night at around midnight. Even at that hour, contrary to expectation, groups of townspeople waited to watch them leave.
David arrives at the Steerforth home, which looks shut down—David arrived in Highgate the next day. Leaving the carriage driver with orders to wait for further instructions, he walked the rest of the way to the Steerforth home. The parlor maid who answered the door could see immediately that something was wrong. She asked David whether he was ill, but he replied that he was just tired and distraught. As he sat in the drawing room waiting for the maid to return from announcing his arrival, David noticed that the house had a dismal, shut-down look. The harp hadn’t been played in a while, and he learned from the maid that Mrs. Steerforth never left her room anymore. She had taken to living in her son’s room, probably out of loneliness over his absence.
Miss Dartle quickly loses her composure—After the usual greeting and introductory conversation, David tried to break the news to Mrs. Steerforth as gently as possible, but Miss Dartle caught on quickly and lost her composure. She began to rail on Mrs. Steerforth and David, too, when he tried to calm her down or berate her for her lack of compassion. In Miss Dartle’s mind, no one loved Steerforth more than she had. She would have been his devoted, self-sacrificing wife if she had had the chance. Instead, she received a scar on her lip that marred her face for life. In her view, Mrs. Steerforth had ruined him, encouraging his faults and discouraging whatever was good in him. As far as she was concerned, the mother had gotten what she deserved.
Mrs. Steerforth becomes nonfunctional on hearing the news—Throughout this diatribe, Miss Dartle showed no compassion and a good deal of contempt and mockery of Steerforth’s mother. But it almost didn’t matter. Once the mother realized what had happened, she lapsed into a semi-catatonic state, with an occasional moan being the only sign that she was alive.
Miss Dartle finally expresses compassion for Mrs. Steerforth—David was concerned that Miss Dartle would remain in her relentlessly cruel mode, but just before he left, she drastically changed her manner and began showing affection and concern for Mrs. Steerforth. Still, all Mrs. Steerforth could do was stare into space with a fixed look and moan. As David left the room, he was followed by Miss Dartle’s curses.
Steerforth’s body is returned home; David says his last farewell to his friend—David returned later that day with Steerforth’s body. Mrs. Steerforth was still in catatonic mode, despite multiple attempts by the doctors to help her. She and Miss Dartle hadn’t left Steerforth’s room, so David and those who helped to carry the body laid it on Mrs. Steerforth’s own bed. Before leaving the house, David closed all the curtains and shades, leaving the room with Steerforth for last. In a final act of farewell to his friend, he took Steerforth’s motionless hand and placed it against his heart.
David takes steps to prevent Mr. Peggotty and Emily from learning about Ham and Steerforth–David was determined not to let word of Ham’s and Steerforth’s deaths get back to his emigrant friends, so he told no one, with the exception of Traddles and Mr. Micawber, whose help he enlisted. Mr. Micawber’s job, which he took on with great flourish and enthusiasm, was to prevent Mr. Peggotty from seeing a newspaper.
The Micawbers adjust their style for the great outdoors—As preparation for his new life in Australia, Mr. Micawber had outfitted himself with an oilskin jacket, a straw hat, and a telescope. Mrs. Micawber had wrapped herself in a shawl and put on a tight bonnet, as had Miss Micawber. Master Micawber wore a Guernsey shirt and sailor pants, and the younger children were all dressed in waterproof clothing. In short, they were ready for the great outdoors.
Everyone gathers to help with the preparations—David found the Micawbers in front of the Hungerford Steps as they watched some of their belongings leave by boat. They were staying in a room overlooking the river above a nearby pub, where David also found Agnes, his aunt, and Peggotty helping with last-minute clothing preparations before 7 a.m. the next day, when all emigrants had to be on board. Mr. Peggotty was there, too, and in the midst of all the commotion, David quietly told him the false but comforting message that Emily’s note had been delivered to Ham and that all was well. David’s goal was to see his friends off happy and untroubled, no matter how dark the reality was.
Mr. Micawber invites his friends for one last round of punch—Mr. Peggotty announced that all well-wishers could see their friends off the following day in the afternoon at Gravesend, where the ship would be docked before leaving. Until then, Mr. Micawber added, the men would be busy guarding their families and things, and, as Traddles just reminded him, there should be time for one more cup of punch—and all were invited!
More adjustments for life in the bush—David noticed that all the older Micawbers now carried bush knives, and it was his own foot-long version that Mr. Micawber now used to prepare the punch after first getting the ingredients from the bar downstairs. He even went so far as to wipe the knife on his sleeve. Moreover, the Micawbers no longer drank out of glasses but out of tin cups, apparently to get used to the rugged life that awaited them.
Another arrest and bail-out; Mrs. Micawber keeps hoping her family will appear—As Mr. Micawber was expounding upon this, he received a message asking him to come downstairs. Mrs. Micawber’s hunch was that it was someone from her family, finally come to make amends and say goodbye. In fact, it was an officer who had come to arrest Mr. Micawber on another charge by Uriah Heep. David was presently informed of this through another note, and promptly went downstairs to pay it and have Mr. Micawber released. Returning to the room upstairs, Mr. Micawber gave a vague excuse for his absence and then, apparently to ease his own mind, handed Traddles an elaborate calculation of his remaining debts, with compound interest. Unaware of the real reason for her husband’s momentary disappearance, and disappointed but undeterred in her hopes, Mrs. Micawber still believed that her family would show up at Gravesend at the last minute.
Mrs. Micawber’s faith in Mr. Micawber’s prospects in the brave new world of Australia—Aunt Betsey and David urged Mrs. Micawber to write when she got the chance. Both Mrs. and Mr. Micawber assured them they would, and Mr. Micawber added that it would be an easy thing, with all the ships going back and forth, and that the distance wasn’t worth mentioning—an exaggerated assessment in David’s view. Mrs. Micawber then launched into a speech about Mr. Micawber’s talents, his position in the new world, and her expectation that it would strengthen his ties with their home country, which had never given him the credit or opportunity he deserved. She felt he was an uncommon case and that he would rise to a high position in Australia, which would gain him recognition back in England. In her opinion, he should take charge of his destiny now and claim his due. Mr. Micawber, who was ready to put his experience in Britain behind him, had his doubts at first, but gradually saw the merit in her point of view and expressed his gratitude for her determined confidence. On that note, Aunt Betsey proposed a toast, and a beaming Mr. Peggotty shook hands with Mr. Micawber. In that moment, David felt that all would be well and that Mr. Peggotty, too, would do well wherever he went.
A final farewell on board the ship; one last arrest and bail-out—When David checked on them the following day, the Micawbers had already left by 5 a.m. in a boat for Gravesend, where he and Peggotty later met them to say their final goodbyes. The ship itself was mid-river, so that they had to take a smaller boat to get to it, which was apparent from the many boats that already surrounded it. Arriving on deck, David discovered from Mr. Peggotty that Mr. Micawber had been arrested one final time. But per David’s request, Mr. Peggotty had paid the bill, and now David paid him back.
A variety of emigrants and well-wishers crowd the boat; David spots Emily—In the dim lighting of the ship’s hull, David could see it was crowded with emigrants and their belongings. There were people of all different types, ages, and careers: smiths, farmers, children, parents, young adults, newborn infants, old people—all engaged in various activities as they said goodbye and prepared to leave on their long voyage. Off to the side by an open porthole, David noticed someone who resembled Emily. Another woman had just kissed her goodbye and moved off, but by the time David realized that her graceful manner reminded him of Agnes, he had already lost her in the crowd.
David and Mr. Peggotty say their final farewells; David finds Martha among the emigrants—The time had come for all visitors to leave, and Mr. Peggotty turned to David and asked him whether he had any last-minute messages or concerns. David answered that there was one—Martha. Just before that, David had noticed a young woman in black who was helping Mrs. Gummidge organize their belongings. Mr. Peggotty tapped her on the shoulder, and as she stood up, David saw that it was Martha. She was so overcome with emotion just then that she burst into tears. David blessed Mr. Peggotty for taking her with him, and in that moment he felt a deep love and respect for this kind and good man. David’s only other remaining mission was to give Mr. Peggotty Ham’s parting message, without revealing that Ham had died. That was hard, but even harder was not reacting when Mr. Peggotty gave him a loving message in return.
Last goodbyes as the ship moves off into the sunset—Peggotty had been sitting on a chest, crying, and David now said his final goodbyes to his emigrant friends before taking his dear old nurse with him into the little boat. It was sunset by then, and the beauty of the ship, with all the people crowded on deck in silence as they waited to wave their final farewells, left him with feelings of both sadness and hope. As the ship started to sail away, cheers arose from the small boats and were returned by the ship’s passengers. All of a sudden, David noticed Emily standing next to her uncle, who now pointed out David and Peggotty. Seeing Emily waving to them for the last time, David wished in his heart that she would be true to her uncle, who loved and cared for her. As the ship sailed off into the fading light and night fell on the English shore, David felt that night had fallen on his life.
David’s journey: an outline of his inner changes—Chapter 58 is about David’s journey abroad, though it’s more about his inner journey than about his external travels, which he barely mentions. Even then, the chapter is fairly simple as it explains how he went from a sense of overall numbness to grief and despair and, finally, to the remembrance of an old love that might once have become something more.
A three-year journey as a means of processing his emotions—David’s travels abroad lasted three years and encompassed many places and sights, but with little enthusiasm and with an ongoing sense of being removed from it all. As the shock of his recent losses gradually wore off, their reality began to hit home, and David’s suppressed grief rose to the surface. It encompassed not only his own losses, mistakes, and youthful dreams, but what might have been—lives that might have blossomed more fully had they not been cut short.
David’s heart begins to open in the purity of the Swiss countryside—After many months of aimless wandering, David finally arrived in the Swiss mountains. There, in the beauty of a Swiss valley at sunset, he began to feel a faint sense of peace and hope. Something of the purity and wonder of the place opened his heart, and for the first time since Dora’s death, he sobbed from the depths of his soul.
David receives a packet of letters—Immediately before that, David had picked up some letters at the village post office. He had barely kept in touch with his friends and relations, informing them of his latest destination but unable to write anything beyond that. This was the first packet he had received in a while, having missed a number of others.
David reads a comforting letter from Agnes—The letter he opened was from Agnes, who after one brief line about her own happiness and success in her latest endeavors, proceeded to write about her hope and confidence in David’s character and future development. She knew that, no matter what difficulties befell him, no matter how much pain he experienced, he would make the right choices and grow from his trials. He had done this before as a boy, and he would do it again. And she would always be there beside him, proud of his past and future accomplishments. That letter of comfort and hope was exactly what David needed. He read it many times and wrote Agnes, telling her that although he did not yet measure up to her view of him, he would work toward becoming that.
The dawning of a new life—This chapter contains some of the book’s most beautiful scenic descriptions, and like many scenic descriptions in Dickens, they depict a state of being. In this case, the pure beauty of the Swiss valley—the green trees and pasture, the sunlit snow-capped mountains, the singing shepherds’ voices, the fading colors of the sunset—all point to the dawn of a new life and hope, a new purity, like the clearing of the air after a violent storm. At the end of the last chapter, night fell as the ship sailed away, and now, having lived through the dark night of his own soul, David began to see a new light dawning in his heart through the words of one who had been a steady guide and comfort to him since his boyhood.
Agnes’s encouragement gives David new hope and resolve—Buoyed by Agnes’s sense of confidence in him, David resolved to try to become what she saw in him. One thing he appreciated about Agnes was that her vision for him was never accompanied by any sense of pressure. In that spirit, he allowed himself another three months to just be. By then, a year would have elapsed since the beginning of his journey, and he would decide what to do next.
David spends another two years in Switzerland, begins to write again, and regains a sense of self—David spent those three months in the valley, and when they were up, he decided to stay in Switzerland a while longer and write, wintering in Geneva and spending the rest of his time in the valley. He began to come out of his shell again and soon had many warm new friendships, and he took comfort and inspiration from nature. He also resumed his disciplined routine of writing and before long had sent Traddles a finished story for publication. After a break, he started his third novel, and before it was halfway through, he realized he was ready to go home. Aside from regaining a sense of self, he had accumulated much in the way of knowledge and experience, and he felt healthy again, which was not the case when he left England.
David becomes aware of his complex feelings for Agnes—There was one other thing David wanted to mention before leaving this chapter of his life. His complex feelings for Agnes, which remained suppressed for a long time, began to surface during his period of darkness and despair. It occurred to him that, through the impetuous choices of his younger years, he had undervalued her love and possibly thrown away the opportunity of its evolving into something more. Dora’s intuitions on the subject had also haunted him, and he had an inkling that Agnes might have felt something more for him at one point, but he wasn’t sure. Now as he returned to his native shores three years later, he knew he had feelings and thoughts of that nature, but he felt the opportunity to realize them was gone, and he didn’t want to disrupt what they had.
Returning to London in the fall—David returned to London on a cold, dreary, foggy evening in autumn, before the long summer vacation for the courts and universities had ended, Michaelmas term not beginning until October. After his travels through Europe, London’s houses, though familiar, seemed bleak to him, and some had even been pulled down to make way for changes in the neighborhood.
A lonely return by himself in the London fog—Change was, of course, to be expected not only in the physical surroundings but in the lives of those close to him. Traddles was slowly breaking into the legal field and was living in chambers at Gray’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court, and Aunt Betsey had returned to her house in Dover. David’s friends and relatives weren’t expecting him so soon, and because he wanted to surprise them, he hadn’t arranged for anyone to meet him and therefore felt a bit lonely. This was quickly eased, however, by the warmth from the familiar shop windows glowing through the fog.
David inquires about Traddles at the inn—On entering into the coffee shop at Gray’s Inn, where David would also be spending the night, he inquired about Traddles’s exact address. He next asked how Traddles was doing in his career as a lawyer. The first waiter David asked was not aware of any great reputation on his part, and the head waiter had never heard of him, nor did he seem interested. He was more intent on taking David’s dinner order.
After a discouraging response, David wonders if Traddles will succeed—David felt sorry for Traddles and wondered if he would ever make a go of it. It didn’t help that the heavy, traditional environment of Gray’s Inn, personified by the head waiter and the coffee room, seemed full of rules and regulations, unbending and unchanging. Everything was perfectly polished and maintained—sedate, old, and expensive. In such an environment, where little changed in a decade, someone like Traddles would come across as an unlikely upstart, and the thought that his friend stood no chance saddened David.
David hears girls laughing as he walks up to Traddles’s apartment—David quickly finished his dinner and headed off to see his old friend. Traddles lived on the top floor of No. 2 in the Court, and as David made his way up the dimly lighted staircase, he was surprised to hear the sound of girls laughing. When he stopped to listen, one of the old, decrepit planks gave way, and the noise he made upon stumbling interrupted the laughter.
A happy reunion—Arriving at Traddles’s door, he was greeted by a young boy attendant, who, after some hesitation, let David in and escorted him to the sitting room to see Traddles. Traddles was sitting at a table, apparently working, and both the boy and Traddles looked out of breath. But whatever hesitation was previously there disappeared when Traddles saw David. Instead, there was a happy reunion, with hugs, handshaking, and a mutual exchange of warm greetings and new information.
Traddles and Sophy are recently married; the laughing girls are her sisters—Traddles was impressed by David’s growing fame, and David learned that Traddles had finally married the “dearest girl in the world” just six weeks earlier. Apparently, David had not received Traddles’s latest letter. Sophy, who had been hiding behind the curtain, now came out, beaming. The laughing girls, it turned out, were her sisters, and just as David was coming up the stairs, Traddles had been playing with them. He had stopped when he heard a visitor arrive in the interest of looking professional.
Traddles makes the best of his situation—Traddles was delighted to have the laughter of young girls in his apartment. He felt it brought a sense of lightness and life to the heaviness of Gray’s Inn, even if it was deemed unprofessional. Living there with Sophy was also considered unprofessional, but they had no other options, and Sophy was extremely capable, which justified it in Traddles’s mind. And, as Traddles mentioned several times, they were ready to “rough it.” David asked which of the girls were there at the moment and learned that there were five, including the oldest (the “Beauty”), the invalid, and the two younger ones, whom Sophy had educated. Sophy had organized beds for all her sisters in their three-room apartment, while she and Traddles cheerfully made do with the floor the first week, afterwards graduating to a small attic room, which Sophy fixed up and which had an excellent view.
Traddles’s patience and determination—Traddles was also thrilled to point out the marble table and flowerpot he had been saving for so long. The other furniture was just functional, and they still didn’t have any silver, but all that would come in due time and would mean even more when they finally had it. After all, it had been a long wait for both Traddles and Sophy, so when Traddles began to make headway as a lawyer, he went down to Devonshire to convince Sophy’s father, the Reverend Crewler, that the time had come for him and Sophy to be married. Sophy, too, was willing, even though Traddles wasn’t completely settled. Her father agreed, on the condition that Traddles would earn £250 a year and provide a decent living space. Traddles also promised that if anything happened to the two parents, he would take care of the girls, assuming he was in a position to do so. The Reverend agreed to convince Sophy’s mother that it was time to let go of her daughter, even if she had been a great help to the whole family. That was easier said than done. Sophy had been so useful to the family that they resented having Traddles take her from them. But they did let go, and Traddles was happy and cheerful, even though he rose at five and worked constantly and hard.
David meets Sophy’s sisters—Suddenly, their attention shifted. The girls had come into the room, and Traddles now introduced them to David, who was impressed with their freshness, describing them as a “perfect nest of roses.” David found them all pretty, especially the oldest, but Sophy had a brightness and cheer that made her unique, and it was clear that she loved and believed in Traddles (“Tom,” to her) as much as he did her. She also emphasized that Traddles was David’s devoted friend and that when they visited with Aunt Betsey and Agnes in Kent, the main subject on everyone’s mind was David.
Traddles and Sophy’s cheerful generosity and competency leaves David with a feeling of hope—Another thing that delighted David about both Sophy and Traddles was their generosity and helpfulness toward Sophy’s sisters. Neither of them was troubled by the girls’ various whims and demands, which were ongoing. Instead, they were constantly and cheerfully at their service. They seemed to take great pleasure in being there for others and never appeared exhausted or upset. In the process of serving everyone, Sophy’s knowledge and capabilities in different areas—whether of singing songs, fixing hair, writing notes, or whatever else—had grown so much that no one thought of relying on anyone but her, out of all the sisters, to do anything. In return for all their love and good cheer, Sophy and Traddles received a tremendous amount of love and respect, and the whole experience left David in good spirits. It was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dry and staid environment, and it left him with a feeling of hope about Traddles’s future, regardless of his surroundings.
David recognizes Mr. Chillip in the coffee room—It was in this mood that David returned to the coffeehouse and sat down by the fire. Before long, his thoughts turned from Traddles’s happiness to the difficulties of his own life, and he thought of Agnes and what he had lost by preventing that relationship from ever growing into something more than a brother-sister interaction. As he sat musing on these things, he noticed meek, little Mr. Chillip, the delivery room doctor, sitting off in a corner by himself reading the newspaper. David therefore walked up to him and asked him how he was. After a bit of bantering, Mr. Chillip still couldn’t figure out who David was, so David finally told him. That elicited an emotional reaction, and they got to talking about many things—that David looked like his father, that his fame as a writer was spreading, and that Mr. Chillip and his family had moved from Blunderstone to Bury St. Edmunds about seven years earlier because his wife had inherited some property.
David buys Mr. Chillip a drink and hears about the Murdstones’ latest escapades—David noticed that Mr. Chillip had emptied his glass of negus,[i] so he offered to buy them both another drink. The topic turned to David’s loss of Dora. Mr. Chillip had heard about it through Miss Murdstone, whose distinctive character had made an impression on him. In fact, the Murdstones had moved to the same neighborhood as the doctor and his family. Mr. Murdstone had once again married a young, fresh, innocent woman, and he and his sister then proceeded to terrorize her into a state of misery, weakness, and imbecility. Throughout the conversation, the doctor kept quoting Mrs. Chillip, a “great observer,” who noticed, among other things, that Mr. Murdstone referred to himself as a Divine Nature and delivered dark, severe speeches in the name of religion. Mr. Chillip himself could see no support for the Murdstones’ doctrine in the New Testament, and it was no surprise that the entire neighborhood disliked them, which, in the Murdstones’ view, meant they were all consigned to hell.
Memories of David’s birth; opinions on Aunt Betsey—After a bit more chatting, David discovered that Mr. Chillip was at Gray’s Inn as a professional witness in a hospital patient insanity case. He confessed that such cases made him nervous, just as Aunt Betsey’s behavior at the time of David’s birth had had a detrimental effect on him that took a while to unravel. David noted that he was on his way to visit the same Aunt Betsey and that she was, in fact, a wonderful, kind woman. That was too much for Mr. Chillip to process, and he took it as his cue to go to bed.
A cheerful reunion in Dover—The next day, David arrived at his aunt’s old cottage in Dover, where he was warmly and joyfully received by Aunt Betsey, Mr. Dick, and Peggotty, who now kept house for them. Aunt Betsey got a good laugh from Mr. Chillip’s fearful memory of her, and both Peggotty and David’s aunt went on about Mr. Murdstone and his “murdering” sister.
[i] Similar to hot toddy, a heated mixture of liquor, water, sugar, and spices
Catching up on the news—David and Aunt Betsey spent the evening by the fire talking of things like the emigrants’ successful beginnings in the new world, Janet’s marriage to a prosperous Dover tavern owner, and Aunt Betsey’s approval as shown by her decision to attend the wedding. Mr. Dick, too, was doing well. He had found a new vocation in copying, through which he managed to keep Charles I at bay.
Aunt Betsey steers the conversation toward the subject of David and Agnes’s relationship—Changing the subject, Aunt Betsey wanted to know when David planned to go to Canterbury. His aunt had picked up on something going on between Agnes and him, even though they hadn’t yet admitted it to each other, and now she steered the conversation in that direction. But David wasn’t ready to talk about his love for Agnes, so while it was obvious Aunt Betsey understood, she refrained from being too direct.
More detail about the Wickfields; Aunt Betsey’s intuitive understanding of David’s feelings—Before David even mentioned Agnes, Aunt Betsey read his mind and warned him that Mr. Wickfield had aged but also grown in his understanding of human nature. Agnes, on the other hand, was as beautiful and good as always, and she was busy with her school. In Aunt Betsey’s opinion, if she educated the girls to be like her, she would do much for the world. David hesitated before asking whether Agnes was romantically involved. According to Aunt Betsey, she had many suitors and could have married any number of times. Were there any viable ones, though—any that deserved her? Aunt Betsey had her suspicions but wouldn’t say anything beyond that. David’s stated hope was that Agnes would confide in him as a brother, just as he had always confided in her. But it was clear from the way Aunt Betsey looked at David throughout the conversation that she understood there was more going on. Now she said nothing but quietly placed her hand on his shoulder as they both looked into the fire.
David visits Agnes the following day—David rode to Canterbury the next day. On arriving at the old house, he hesitated at first but finally got up the courage to go in. The maid led him up the stairs to the drawing room, and David was relieved to see that all vestiges of the Heeps’ presence were gone. He had only told the maid he was a friend from abroad, so it was a happy surprise for Agnes when she saw him, and he, too, was happy to be in her peaceful presence again as he hugged her closely. She embodied home for him, a feeling of goodness, welcome, peace, and understanding he had long yearned for. Now she sat beside him, and though he still couldn’t bring himself to express his feelings, her calming influence had already begun its soothing magic, even when she spoke of Emily and of Dora’s grave.
David asks Agnes about herself but backs off when she seems uncomfortable—David asked Agnes about her own personal life, claiming she never spoke about herself. Agnes didn’t know what to say. They had their home back, and her father was healthy and content again, and that, to her, was everything. David pressed for more, but she denied there was anything else. Even so, she seemed uncomfortable, and he noticed a paleness in her face and a sadness to her smile at that moment. He changed the subject, and they spoke of different things—how the school kept her busy, how long David planned to visit, and that the old house was restored to its former happy self.
An evening with the Wickfields brings up thoughts about the past—Agnes had to finish teaching school for the day, so David went out for a walk about the town. The conversation had left him unconvinced that he could ever be anything more to Agnes than a loving brother, so he resolved to do this as faithfully as possible, as she had done for him. When David returned for dinner, Agnes’s father was back from his gardening, his latest pastime, located a bit beyond Canterbury. They had dinner with Agnes and about six little schoolgirls, and after dinner, they all went up to the drawing room, where they had tea while the little girls studied, played, and sang. After the girls left, the three of them reminisced about the past, although Mr. Wickfield spoke of many regrets. Yet Agnes had made it all worthwhile for him, and he would not change anything. For the first time, too, Mr. Wickfield spoke of his wife, who died of a broken heart after her father, a severe man who disapproved of her marriage, renounced her. Agnes was only two weeks old at the time of her death, and in her, Mr. Wickfield saw much of his wife and feared his daughter had suffered in similar ways. David wondered what he meant by this last statement. Yet even without a full understanding on David’s part, Agnes’s devotion for her father was clear, and David now gained a deeper sense of it.
Restrained communication between Agnes and David—When her father finished, Agnes played some old tunes on the piano. While she played, she asked David whether he had any thoughts of going abroad again. He asked her how she felt about it, and when she said she hoped he didn’t, he made it clear that her wish was his wish. He was trying to broach the subject of their relationship, and he finally did, but in a hesitant way. The most he could do at this point was to profess his undying love and commitment to her as a brother, no matter whom she loved or married. He felt he didn’t deserve her after all the years of falling in love with other women, and he misinterpreted the restrained emotional play he saw on her face.
David’s silent hopes—David had promised to be back in Dover by nighttime, and as he thought of their conversation on the way back, it seemed to him that neither of them was happy. He had resigned himself to a restrained love on earth, but he hoped that someday the transcendent nature of their true love would unfold in a heavenly realm.
David visits Traddles to sort through his fan mail, delivered there since his stay abroad—David spent several months in Dover finishing his book, with periodic visits to London to soak up city life or visit Traddles. Traddles had been managing David’s business affairs since his journey abroad, and in the meantime, David’s fan mail had grown so large that he arranged to have it delivered to Traddles’s address. Every so often, David would stop by to discuss some business point with Traddles and to sift through the bushels of mostly irrelevant letters.
Sophy trains herself as a copyist to help out Traddles—By now, Sophy’s sisters had returned to Devonshire, and Sophy herself kept busy managing their domestic affairs and, when necessary, staying out of sight of the stuffy legal types who might disapprove of the presence of a woman in chambers. David also noticed on many visits that Sophy would quickly shove a copybook into a drawer, and he wondered why. Eventually he discovered from Traddles that she had been training herself as a copyist so she could take over that job when “Tom” became a judge someday. He was proud of the professional results she had achieved and had no qualms about saying so, but Sophy herself felt it was better to keep it secret because of current attitudes toward women in the professions.
Traddles praises Sophy’s many wonderful qualities—David commented on what a wonderful wife she was, which got Traddles praising her many good qualities. She was cheerful and adaptable, always on time, discreet in her movements while staying in chambers, an excellent housekeeper, attractive and energetic, a good cook and baker, creative within their means, and fun to be with. For them, taking walks together to go window shopping and dream of what they would buy each other was as good as actually buying the thing. Or they would buy half-price theater tickets and enjoy every minute, or just sit together in a warm apartment on a cold night. Traddles was thrilled to be so lucky.
Mr. Creakle, now a magistrate, invites David to inspect a “model” prison system—David wondered if Traddles ever drew skeletons anymore, and Traddles had to admit that he did occasionally indulge in it. That got them talking about Mr. Creakle, and David remembered he had a letter from their old schoolmaster, who had since been appointed a Middlesex Magistrate and had invited David to observe how well their prison system worked. They claimed that solitary confinement was the secret to creating model prisoners, and David wanted to know if Traddles would come along to verify this great achievement. David also found it interesting that Mr. Creakle, who had been a tyrant toward the schoolboys, was gentle and considerate toward the worst criminals. Traddles was not surprised, and they both agreed to say nothing of their former treatment, which had apparently been forgotten now that David was famous.
David and Traddles tour the prison; David finds the prisoners’ excellent conditions ironic—A day or two later, David and Traddles visited the huge prison, which David remembered cost a great deal to build. They were met by several magistrates and some other visiting gentlemen. Mr. Creakle looked more or less the same, though older, and judging from his manner toward Traddles and David, he had no recollection of his former tyrannical behavior as their school principal. David was struck by the extreme concern the group had for the prisoners’ comfort as well as by the gentlemen’s total focus on prison life. Their tour began in the kitchen, coincidentally at around dinnertime, where David couldn’t help noticing the high quality of the meals being delivered to the prisoners’ cells. It occurred to him that the mass of workers who earned an honest living, including soldiers and sailors, rarely enjoyed a meal of that quantity and quality.
A flawed “perfect” system—The system’s supposed efficacy was based on the “perfect” isolation of individual prisoners, but as the men toured the building, David noticed that the isolation was not as perfect as claimed and that it was likely (and eventually proved) that the prisoners communicated enough that they knew a lot about each other, which was the opposite of the goal. The other thing he noticed repeatedly as they visited the prisoners’ cells was that their professions of remorse and reform all sounded strangely similar. Nor did he get a feeling of trust from any of them. It was easy to profess reform where there was no chance of temptation, but he doubted they would be able to resist reverting to their old ways under real outside circumstances.
Model Prisoner No. 27, the cream of the prisoner crop—Throughout the tour, the group kept hearing about Model Prisoner No. 27, who supposedly far outshone the others in his degree of reformation and his belief in the system that had converted him. He had such a good reputation at the prison that the tour leaders were saving his cell for last, so by the time they got there, David’s curiosity had reached its peak. When they finally arrived at his cell, Mr. Creakle, after looking through the keyhole, reported that No. 27 was reading a hymn book. The excitement that followed that revelation created so much competition for the keyhole that they decided to allow No. 27 to come out and meet the visitors in person.
No. 27 is brought out to meet the visitors—To Traddles’s and David’s great surprise, they found themselves looking at Uriah Heep. Uriah recognized them immediately and inquired after their well-being, which impressed the gentlemen on the tour. When Mr. Creakle asked him how he was, Uriah gave his usual profession of humility. Every time someone asked about his comfort, he used it as a chance to confess how wrong he had been and how much he had changed. Most of the party believed him.
Model Prisoner No. 28; the model prisoners speak—The magistrates now brought out another model prisoner, No. 28, who turned out to be none other than Mr. Littimer. Mr. Littimer emerged reading a book, with his “highly respectable” veneer perfectly intact. Each model prisoner had a champion, Mr. Creakle being Uriah’s and another gentleman being in charge of Littimer, and these champions guided the conversation. When asked how he was, Littimer’s answers had the same hollow ring to them as Uriah’s, but other than David and Traddles, the gentlemen visitors seemed not to pick up on this. The other thing Uriah and Littimer had in common, once they had made a show of how reformed they were, was to point the finger at other people, either as being the cause of their own guilt or as being in need of reform, as though the whole of London shared their qualities and backgrounds. Both Uriah and Littimer specifically addressed David, and Littimer even asked him to relay his “forgiveness” of Emily, in spite of her bad behavior when he tried to “save” her. Uriah gave a similarly sanctimonious speech, mentioning that David had hit him (to the horror of the naïve gentlemen) but that he forgave him. David couldn’t help noticing at one point that Uriah’s expression was more evil than ever and that when Littimer excused himself to return to his cell, he and Uriah exchanged looks as though they knew each other.
David asks a warden about the two prisoners’ crimes—David noticed that the magistrates were not keen to talk about the prisoners’ crimes, so he quietly asked one of the wardens, who he guessed had a more honest, less deluded view of the prisoners. He learned that Uriah was in prison for forgery, fraud, and conspiracy against the Bank of England. He had almost gotten away with the crime, but the bank managed to lure him into revealing himself. He was sentenced to permanent transportation. Littimer had been arrested for stealing £250 worth of valuables and cash from a young gentleman. He was on his way to America when he was recognized, in spite of his disguise, by Miss Mowcher, who grabbed his legs and wouldn’t let go. Littimer tried to beat her off, but even the arresting officers couldn’t pry her away, and she ended up being a star witness in court. Littimer was also sentenced to transportation.
David and Traddles’s conclusions about the model prison—David and Traddles left the prison convinced that no real reform had taken place. Littimer and Heep were the same deceivers they had always been, and the system that was supposed to be so promising held no real promise at all.
David and Agnes still keep their real feelings to themselves—Two months passed, and it was now Christmastime. David had visited Agnes once a week or more during that time, and his deep love and respect for her remained as strong as ever. Still, he could not express his real feelings and had relegated his desires to a mental shelf, where they would take a backseat to whomever she chose as her husband. His only consolation, other than her company, was that he could be to her what she had been to him for so many years—a trusted confidant, counselor, and friend—and that was what he now committed himself to being.
Aunt Betsey’s intuitions; David decides to find out if there’s another man—The only person who had any inkling of their feelings was Aunt Betsey, who silently surmised it through her usual astute observation of her nephew’s face. However, they never spoke of it directly, although Aunt Betsey left broad hints now and then, and there seemed to be a deep understanding between them. Agnes herself showed no signs of change, except for the occasional thoughtful look and sad smile, and she did not seem to have any awareness of David’s real feelings. All this reticence increased whatever confusion already existed, and David convinced himself there had to be another man, but he could not understand why Agnes kept her secret from him. In his determination to repay her for her faithfulness, he resolved to clear things up.
David gets the wrong idea from Aunt Betsey—It was in this frame of mind that David bid his aunt goodbye on his way out into the cold winter’s night. But before leaving, he could not refrain from asking her whether she knew anything more about Agnes’s secret love. Aunt Betsey said she thought she did, and when he asked her whether she was sure, she offered that she thought Agnes was going to marry. Determined to stick to his resolve and face this cheerfully, David wished God’s blessing upon her. His aunt, agreeing, blessed her husband, too. Hearing this bit of news from his aunt, David mounted his horse and set out for Canterbury, more determined than ever to broach the subject with Agnes.
David asks Agnes to reveal her secret love to him—Arriving at the Wickfields’, David found Agnes reading by herself. She quickly realized he was in a serious mood and gave him all her attention. It didn’t take David long to tell her that he knew she had a secret and he wanted her to share it with him, to let him be there for her. He assured her that his motives weren’t selfish, that he could take a back seat to whomever else she chose.
Agnes refuses to tell David and fends him off—Apparently, he struck a painful chord in her. As though she couldn’t face it, she moved quickly to the window, and he saw that she was crying, but something about her tears gave him hope. At the same time, he didn’t want to cause her pain, so he begged her to tell him what was going on, but she was adamant—she couldn’t speak about it just now. As she fended him off, David searched for some clue, and he began to wonder if there wasn’t some hope, after all, for the feelings he had buried. At first, he brushed them off. He wanted her to know that his motives were pure and unselfish, that he would be there for her no matter how their relationship changed outwardly. Hearing this, Agnes quietly informed him that he had misunderstood. Her secret was nothing new. She had held it within her for many years, but it was not something she would share, and she could bear it alone.
In a burst of passion, David and Agnes finally tell each other the truth—David’s thoughts were racing now as he realized the implications of what she was saying. As she began to walk away, he took her by the waist and held her close to him. He hadn’t come to tell her his deeper feelings, but now all his love, passion, and hopes burst forth as he dared to believe she might love him as something more than a friend. It was the closest thing to a marriage proposal, and when he saw her shedding tears of joy, he knew he had understood correctly. All the struggles he had felt in the last few years, the incompleteness he had sensed in his earlier marriage, the feeling of guidance and home she had always provided—all of it came spilling out now, and Agnes, too, admitted that she had loved David her whole life. That night, they walked together in the wintry fields, looking up at the moon and the stars and feeling at last that they had found peace and happiness together.
David and Agnes make their new relationship known to Aunt Betsey—The next day, David and Agnes went to Dover together, arriving in time for dinner. At first, they revealed nothing, but Aunt Betsey sensed something was different because she kept looking at David for clues, which meant putting on her spectacles. When she saw no hint of anything, she would remove them and use them to rub her nose, a sign that something was bothering her. Following dinner, when David told Aunt Betsey he had mentioned their conversation to Agnes, his aunt was perturbed and scolded him for betraying her trust. But when David put his arm around Agnes and they both leaned over her chair together, she caught on and became hysterical with joy—the only time David ever saw her like that. She hugged Peggotty and then hugged Mr. Dick. It was a happy moment for everyone.
David and Agnes are married; Dora’s secret request—Two weeks later, David and Agnes were married. It was a small but joyous wedding, with only the Traddles and the Strongs as guests. Afterwards, as David and Agnes drove off together, David felt at last that this was the love he had waited for all his life. But Agnes had one more thing to confess. Could David guess what it was? The night Dora died, she made Agnes promise that no one else would take her place.
Ten years later, David is a wealthy, successful author who lives in London with his family—It has been ten years since David and Agnes’s wedding. In the meantime, David has grown wealthy and famous as an author, and he and Agnes have moved to London and now have at least three children. When Chapter 63 opens, the family is together in the sitting room on a spring evening. There is a fire in the fireplace, the children are playing, and the scene is one of contentment and peace.
Mr. Peggotty visits from Australia—A servant announces the arrival of a personal visitor, a simple, rugged man resembling a farmer. It is Mr. Peggotty, and there is a joyful reunion. He is older, but still healthy and strong, and the children are immediately drawn to him. Mr. Peggotty recounts how he decided to take the long trip from Australia to visit David and his family before he got too old to do so. He would be staying in England for a month.
Mr. Peggotty tells of the hard work and success of the whole group of emigrants—After insisting that he stay with them, David and Agnes sat on either side of Mr. Peggotty, eager to see him and hear everything he had to tell. The word was that with hard work and patience, all the emigrants had prospered, between sheep farming, cattle raising, and other things. Mr. Peggotty felt with certainty that their group had been blessed.
Emily lives with her uncle, avoiding other people except when helping those in need—David and Agnes both wanted to know how Emily was doing. She had settled in with her uncle and was happy when around him, but she shied away from other people, except when helping those in need. Between that and her chores, she stayed busy. She could have married many times but felt that possibility was over for her, and there was something sorrowful and shy in her manner. No one there knew her history or why she was the way she was, though many people liked her.
Mr. Peggotty thanks David for keeping secret the bad news about Ham and Steerforth—Mr. Peggotty also thanked David for keeping the bad news about Steerforth and Ham from them. Mr. Peggotty himself, when he finally found out, managed to keep it from Emily for a year, but eventually she found out through an old newspaper brought by a traveler. David and Agnes wanted to know if the news had changed Emily. Mr. Peggotty said it did for a long time, but being away from people, out in nature, and staying busy helped her get through it. He saw her too often to gauge it correctly, but he thought he had noticed a difference and wondered whether David would recognize her.
Martha marries and moves to the bush—Agnes and David asked next about Martha. Mr. Peggotty told them that Martha married a year or so after they arrived. Women were few there, and her husband was a farmhand who had traveled a considerable distance. He proposed to her, and they moved to their own solitary place in the bush country. Before doing so, she asked Mr. Peggotty to tell her suitor her real life story, which he did.
Mrs. Gummidge decks a marriage suitor but remains loyal and helpful to Mr. Peggotty—What about Mrs. Gummidge? Mr. Peggotty started roaring with laughter when he heard the question, and soon they were all laughing uncontrollably. Even Mrs. Gummidge received a marriage proposal, and she reacted by smashing a pail over the suitor’s head. That incident aside, she remained completely changed. She totally dispensed with her lost, forlorn attitude and was the most helpful, hardworking, faithful person you could imagine.
The emigrants move to Port Middlebay after thriving in the bush; Mr. Peggotty pulls out the town paper—Finally, there was Mr. Micawber. What happened to him and his family? David and Agnes knew he had paid all his debts, which spoke well for him, but they were curious to learn more. Mr. Peggotty smiled and pulled out a newspaper. He explained they had all gotten their start in the bush country, where Mr. Micawber had worked as hard as anyone. Eventually, though, they had prospered so much they all moved to a town called Port Middlebay Harbour. Mr. Peggotty presented the Port Middlebay Times to tell the rest of the story.
Mr. Micawber fulfills Mrs. Micawber’s prediction; all the Micawbers and Mr. Mell, now Dr. Mell, and his family are thriving—The paper told of a dinner given in honor of Mr. Micawber, who was now a District Magistrate and regular columnist for the paper. The large room was packed to overflowing, and the town’s elite had crowded in to pay their respects to Wilkins Micawber, Esquire. He was introduced and toasted by Dr. Mell, David’s former teacher at Salem House, who had founded his own grammar school in Port Middlebay and was now married with children of his own, one of whom, Helena, was applauded for her beautiful dancing. Mr. Micawber’s own speech was received with great enthusiasm and applause. Further toasts were extended to Mrs. Mell and all the Micawbers: Mrs. Micawber and her extended family in England; Master Micawber, who delighted the audience with his singing; and the former Miss Micawber, now Mrs. Ridger Begs. The dinner and toasts were followed by dancing.
Mr. Peggotty points out a letter in the paper addressed to David and written by Mr. Micawber—Mr. Peggotty now drew their attention to another article, this one written by Mr. Micawber himself and addressed in formal terms to David, with the subtitle “The eminent author.” It was a public expression of gratitude and admiration for David’s contribution and achievements as an author. Mr. Micawber especially wanted to express that the people of Port Middlebay, who were as civilized as anyone, were his avid readers and always interested in David’s latest venture.
Seeing Peggotty and Aunt Betsey; visiting Ham’s grave; saying goodbye for the last time—During Mr. Peggotty’s time with David and Agnes, Peggotty and Aunt Betsey also came to see him. Toward the end, he and David took a trip to Yarmouth to see Ham’s grave, and in keeping with a promise he made to Emily, Mr. Peggotty collected some of the earth. Finally, David and Agnes both saw him off, and David knew it would be for the last time.
What became of everyone?—In his short closing chapter, David recalls the faces of those still living who played a role in his journey, and now he traces the outcome of their lives.
Aunt Betsey—First, there is Aunt Betsey, now in her eighties. Her eyesight might be weaker, but she still stands as tall and strong and energetic as ever, even walking six miles in the cold. Aunt Betsey’s longstanding wish for a goddaughter named Betsey Trotwood has been fulfilled, and that child was followed by a younger sister named Dora.
Peggotty—Then there’s Peggotty, also wearing glasses but still with her wax candle and needlework, and shoved in her pocket is the crocodile book, a cherished remnant of David’s childhood.
Mr. Dick—Entertaining himself and a new generation of boyish Davids with his kites is Mr. Dick. He still holds Aunt Betsey in the highest regard, but he is no longer too concerned with the Memorial.
Mrs. Steerforth and Rosa Dartle—Mrs. Steerforth has grown old and hunched over, and her mind is weak. She is easily confused, until she remembers that her pride and joy, her son, is dead, and she is struck by the pain of that realization. Her companion, Rosa Dartle, is the same edgy, bitter, impatient person, but when needed, she still has some compassion left for Steerforth’s mother.
Julia Mills, Jack Maldon—Julia Mills, now married to an extremely wealthy Scotchman, has returned from India. She is surrounded by the trappings of money and “society,” which includes the likes of such shallow individuals as Jack Maldon—and she has forgotten love and romance. To David, such an existence is the opposite of the things that make life worth living.
Dr. Strong, Annie, and Mrs. Markleham—Dr. Strong, that kindly old gentleman, has gotten as far as the letter D in his dictionary. But his marriage with Annie is happy, and his mother-in-law has been tamed.
Traddles and Sophy—Of course, there’s also Traddles. Time has moved a bit further along at this point, and Traddles is balding now, though what remains is as unruly as ever. He is on his way to becoming a judge, though he is modest about it. And he’s thrilled that he’s achieved all his life goals, and more. He is earning almost twice as much money as he expected to, his boys are receiving excellent educations, and Sophy’s sisters are either happily married or living with either them or their father, the Reverend. Only the “Beauty,” now a widow, is unhappy, having been through an imperfect marriage. But Traddles feels they can and will restore things.
It is Sophy’s birthday, and the house is full of relatives. It is one of the houses Sophy and Traddles once dreamt of owning, long before they could afford it. Now that they actually live there, they still give away the best rooms to Sophy’s sisters, who always seem to be staying with them for one reason or another. But for all their wealth, there is still the same simple good cheer that has always been a part of their home.
Agnes—Such are the faces that people David’s life. Yet among them all, one stands out and shines more brightly than all the others. It is Agnes, the guiding light of his life, who is beside him now and will be there till the end.