By Carnegie Dale
By Carnegie Dale
Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the early classics of self-help literature, with a specific emphasis on positively oriented interpersonal and leadership skills. Written in 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, it was an immediate bestseller and has continued to be popular ever since.
How to Win Friends and Influence People was initially inspired by Carnegie’s experience, beginning in 1912, teaching public speaking to professionals in New York City. In doing so, he realized that most adults, himself included, were even more in need of training in interpersonal skills than in public speaking. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905, roughly 85 percent of financial success results not from technical mastery—important as that is—but from interpersonal and leadership skills. Furthermore, these skills are learnable, as indicated in a quote by John D. Rockefeller, who considered them to be the most valuable “purchasable … commodity” of all. Rockefeller was not alone in his opinion: an extensive survey conducted in Meriden, Connecticut, revealed that the two foremost subjects on people’s minds were health and the ability to foster successful relationships and influence other people. Yet for all the interest, the survey committee discovered that the materials needed to teach these skills were nowhere to be found. Dale Carnegie himself had been looking without success for a manual on relationship training for his classes, so when he came up empty-handed, he resolved to write his own.
Carnegie and a hired researcher spent at least a year and a half reading all kinds of literature, both ancient and modern, on human relationships and leadership. In his words, they spared nothing in their quest for any practical wisdom available on these subjects, including interviewing famous contemporaries in politics, film, business, and science. How to Win Friends and Influence People began as a short talk that grew into a one-and-a-half hour lecture given regularly at the Dale Carnegie Institute. Students were encouraged to try the techniques in the real world and then voice their experiences in class. From fifteen years of this interchange, together with additional research, the book was finally born; and as Carnegie says, its principles do not rest on conjecture but have been tried, tested, and found to be extraordinarily effective. Seemingly miraculous stories abounded of business and family relationships being dramatically turned around. Even educated and sophisticated men waxed eloquent on the merits of these ideas which, when applied, could have such pronounced and positive results. And this was Carnegie’s final and most powerful point—that the book is about action, about unfolding the capacities that produce positive change and make the most of the potential that life offers.
The book is divided into four main sections dealing with
Reading through the various principles presented in each section, youcan’t help but notice a certain amount of repetition or, at least, similarity from section to section. There is often even a strong relationship between principles within one section, with one idea seeming to form the basis for the next. Overall, the thrust is to avoid negativity and focus on cultivating positive attitudes towards others and positive, encouraging ways to access both their potential and your own. Specific principles include such rules as avoiding criticism, expressing appreciation, admitting your mistakes, using encouragement as a motivational tool, listening more than talking, and taking a genuine interest in what others have to say. These ideas are underscored by real-life examples illustrating the “magical” effects that often occur when they are applied with determination and consistency. The book ends with an appendix—previously the introduction to the original edition—that includes a synopsis of Carnegie’s background, possibly the best proof of how a dedicated application of the book’s ideas can dramatically change not just one but many people’s lives.
As with most of the book’s principles, this one shows up in multiple forms throughout the book. Our initial introduction to it is in the first section about basic interpersonal skills, where it is introduced as the first rule of thumb. Carnegie’s main two points are first, that criticism does nothing beneficial for our own character and mindset, let alone success; and second, that it simply does not resonate with other people, regardless of whether their actions deserve it. For that reason, it tends to fall on deaf ears, a fact that makes it a counterproductive habit and underscores the importance of avoiding it altogether.
The second basic principle of personal interaction, this one again shows up under various guises throughout the book and is our introduction to Carnegie’s firm belief in the advantages of a positive approach to motivating others. As Carnegie states, to successfully motivate people, we need to understand their essential desires; and one of the most essential is the desire to feel that our lives matter in some way. Expressing honest appreciation—not manipulative or insincere flattery—for a person’s finer qualities, deeds, and achievements is one way of nourishing this need.
Carnegie stresses that the benefit derived from this approach should always be mutual, not a one-sided, selfish manipulation of other people. The other party will never be thoroughly convinced if he or she cannot connect with the idea and feel that it serves a personal need on some level. The connection has to have genuine roots in the person’s psyche, or it will be weak and, therefore, unlikely to succeed long-term. So whetheryou are selling insurance or training a child, introducing a business plan or convincing your friend or spouse to try something new, remember to see the other person’s point of view, as well as your own.
As long as your primary focus and interest is yourself, you will not get overly far with others; but switch that focus and show a genuine interest and caring for other people, and you will find doors easily opening that before seemed locked and barred. Demonstrating caring, enthusiasm, and interest can be done in a number of ways, and those who do so with energy and heart are often surprised at the remarkable results this produces both on a business and personal level. True caring comes from within and carries no ulterior motive. That is why its effect is so lasting and profound and why it benefits all involved in multiple ways.
To Carnegie, there is in truth no way to win an argument. Most of the time, the two parties hold fast to their original opinions, and the only thing accomplished is that one of them is made to feel bad.For that reason, both parties are losers: the one because he feels bad about himself; the other because he caused his fellow man discomfort. Patrick O’Haire, a truck salesman who took Carnegie’s course, learned to see the other person’s point of view before presenting his own, and, as a result, gained both his customers’ goodwill and a significant increase in sales. To sum it up, always remember the power of listening and the advantages of deflating, rather than escalating, an argument.
All of us make mistakes at one time or another, yet how many of us are ready to admit them? Instead, we grow defensive and make excuses, blaming our errors on the situation, our condition at the time, or perhaps another person. The irony is that these maneuvers usually aggravate the other person, often an authority, whereas admitting our errors openly and taking responsibility for them softens the reaction and bypasses what would otherwise be an uncomfortable encounter. The same person who threatened us with harsh measures a week earlier may demonstrate a forgiving approach when we openly and willingly confess our mistakes and commit to making amends.
A mean or aggressive approach might feel good to the person delivering the punch, but its effect on the relationship will be counterproductive. Carnegie reminds us of Aesop’s famous fable of the wind and the sun, who in their different ways attempt to make a man take off his coat. Naturally, the sun’s gentle warmth proves more convincing than the cold blasts from the wind.
The next time you have the urge to browbeat somebody, remember that anger, aggression, and coercion seldom bring about the desired results and usually only make matters worse; whereas friendliness, courtesy, and appreciation, like the rays of the sun, can open the door to negotiation and agreement.
This principle is similar to the rule in Part 3 that advocates using the Socratic method in your arguments, that is, leading others to the desired conclusion by getting them to agree with each preceding statement. Forcing an idea on someone never works. Instead, Carnegie recommends gently leading people’s thoughts and allowing them to work out the conclusions for themselves. Once again, this involves listening as one of the main components.
If the idea has any value, people will usually sell themselves on its merits, especially if they are given the means or references that provide them with additional information.Sometimes you may also need to be gracious and wise enough to step aside when others take credit for ideas that may not have originated with them. As Carnegie reminds us with a quote from Lao-tse, to be above or ahead of others means placing yourself below or behind them, as the seas and rivers lie below the mountain streams that nevertheless merge into the larger bodies of water.
According to Carnegie, all of us have a sense of idealism, even the criminals in society. Of course, most people are not criminals, which should make it even easier to address any idealistic tendencies they might have. Carnegie believes that it is safe to assume that the greater part of the populace wants to do the right thing. When disputes arise from errors or misunderstandings, if youare convinced that you are right, an appeal to the other party’s sense of honesty and fairness cannot go wrong in most cases. It is important, however, to not force your point onto the other person but to allow him or her to examine the facts and come to an independent conclusion. This approach has been used to elicit fairness, charitability, and proper behavior. But like the other suggestions in Carnegie’s book, it must come from a noble, sincere, and trusting place, or it will devolve into manipulation and, therefore, be unlikely to work. In other words, be certain that you are in the right and then sympathetically appeal to the natural sense of honesty, fairness, and kindness in your neighbor.
Very often, people fail to solve their issues because they perceive them as being impossible to fix. An extension of another principle, this rule uses positive suggestion and ingenuity to awaken the dormant sense of potential and ease of learning that provide the seeds for change.
One of the Carnegie course teachers, Clarence Jones, turned his own son’s life around through the use of encouragement and by working with his son’s natural aptitudes in order to overcome his difficulties. Using flash cards, he worked with him nightly, celebrating and rewarding each small improvement until his son was able to go through the whole stack of cards without error in under eight minutes—a feat that initially seemed impossible to him. As his capacity and enjoyment for learning grew, his grades improved and his abilities expanded rapidly. David, Clarence’s son, went from being a slow learner to a nationally recognized honor student in a short time. Carnegie’s summary of this segment is that in seeking to improve performance, remember the power of encouragement, and look for ways to make change easy.
“Father Forgets” first appeared as an editorial in the 1920s in the women’s magazine People’s Home Journal and afterwards was reprinted in condensed form by the Reader’s Digest. Because it has caught the imaginations and hearts of people worldwide, it has since been translated and reprinted many times and is still being circulated today.
John D. Rockefeller, Sr., one of the wealthiest men in history, was a believer in the effectiveness of using appreciation. Rockefeller even held to this under difficult circumstances, as when Edward Bedford, his partner, cost the firm one million dollars through a business misstep. Instead of berating him, Rockefeller chose to see the incident in a positive and compassionate light, acknowledging that Bedford had done his best and that few others could have done better. He even congratulated him on saving most of the investment, a feat that could not necessarily be counted on from his superiors in the business.
One of Carnegie’s most compelling stories is of a New York stockbroker who took his course. The week’s assignment was to smile at someone each hour throughout the day and then report the outcome in the next class. The broker, William Steinhardt, who described himself as a terrible grouch, decided to try it. Aside from his wife’s initial shock when he greeted her with a smile at breakfast, Steinhardt reported outstanding results, in the form of increased happiness and friendship, from applying this, as well as some of the previously mentioned principles.
One of the outstanding examples of the art of addressing people by name was the politician and businessman James Farley, perhaps best known as a key member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. Farley lacked a high school education, but he taught himself to commit to memory the names and basic facts of 50,000 individuals, an ability that Carnegie speculates made a critical difference to Farley in his role as FDR’s 1932 campaign manager.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself cultivated both the time and the ability to remember names. When Chrysler built a special car to accommodate the President’s lower-body paralysis, the President showed keen interest and attentiveness toward W.F. Chamberlain, the man who delivered the car and explained its workings. When it came time to say goodbye, in spite of the fact that his meeting with the Federal Reserve Board was delayed, FDR sought out the shy, retiring mechanic who had accompanied Chamberlain, calling him by name and thanking him warmly.
The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, also understood this concept well. When Carnegie’s transportation company was competing with Pullman for the sleeping car business, Carnegie suggested that they merge and name the venture after Pullman—a suggestion that opened the door wide to further discussion. Carnegie also understood the importance of using names with his employees, and he was proud of the fact that his steel mills never saw a strike under his direct leadership.
Those needing additional advice on how to remember names can learn from France’s Emperor Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon the Great. A master at the art of remembering people’s names, the Emperor used several techniques, such as repetition, studying people’s features and fixing the information in this mind. For important personages, he would even write it down in private immediately afterwards and then destroy the piece of paper so that he was forced to memorize the information.
Demonstrating caring, enthusiasm, and interest can be done in a number of ways, and those who do this with energy and heart are often surprised at the remarkable results they achieve both on a business and personal level. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, always greeted even the lowliest employees, thereby winning their hearts and brightening their day. When expecting guests, he regularly researched their interests before they arrived, since he understood that talking about others’ interests was an important aspect of success with people.
Surprisingly, one of the greatest statesmen ever, Benjamin Franklin, began as an opinionated, argumentative young man who alienated others, until a Quaker friend of his pulled him aside to inform him in no uncertain terms of the unproductiveness of his attitude. Franklin was wise enough to listen, and he changed his manner from obstinate and overly certain to diplomatic, considered, and humble. Rather than blurting out whatever he thought, he learned the wisdom of forbearance, even when he knew himself to be right or the other person to be wrong in his assertion.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s adroit handling of the difficult situation that followed the bloody 1914 Colorado Fuel and Iron Company miners’ strike is an example of the advantages of a friendly approach. In spite of his presumed status at the time as the most hated man in Colorado, Rockefeller visited the miners’ homes, where he met their families, and then delivered a speech brimming with friendliness, courtesy, and respect. Because of his approach, the miners returned to work. Another strike incident at the White Motor Company was handled in such a friendly manner by the company’s president, Robert F. Black, that the strikers voluntarily cleaned up the grounds surrounding the factory while still on strike. Black had been impressed by the strikers’ peaceful manner, so he endeavored to make their situation more pleasant by providing them with baseball bats and gloves and renting a bowling alley for those preferring something other than baseball. The strike ended in a friendly compromise.
Charles Schwab maintained that Andrew Carnegie appointed him as president of United States Steel because of his outstanding motivational skills. Dale Carnegie cites Charles Schwab as having been a master at indirect constructive criticism. According to Schwab, his secret was that he never criticized people, instead praising and encouraging them when appropriate. For example, when Schwab noticed some employees smoking immediately beneath the “No Smoking” sign, instead of pointing out the obvious, he handed each of them a cigar with a request that they smoke them outside.
Schwab also understood that, more than money, benefits, or any other factor, people thrive on challenge. When he questioned one of his managers about why the mill under his charge was so unproductive, the manager could not give him a good answer, claiming to have tried everything to motivate his people. Finally, Schwab asked him how many heats the last day shift had produced. The answer was “six; ” so Schwab drew a large “six” on the floor and left. When the night shift arrived, they questioned the day shift about the “six,” and after having it explained to them, decided to top the day shift’s production. This went on between the two shifts until, within a short time, the mill became the highest producing in the plant. Schwab attributed this to the stimulation of a healthy competitiveness, not for money but for excellence.
Presidents William McKinley and Abraham Lincoln both exhibited an intriguing mix of tact and directness, wisely encouraging the person’s good points while at same time pointing out what needed to be corrected. In both cases, where McKinley was grooming a speechwriter and Lincoln was dealing with the more difficult task of correcting one of his commanders, General Hooker, during the Civil War, it is clear that their main goal was to achieve a positive result. They instinctively knew that criticism, to be productive, had to be accompanied by encouragement, tact, and support. Lincoln had been freer with his criticism in the past, but like that other prominent statesman, Benjamin Franklin, he had learned the valuelessness and hurtfulness of that approach and, therefore, chose to avoid it. In fact, Carnegie quotes Lincoln on this issue, even repeating the same quote three times because of its pertinence:
A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.
Clarence Jones, one of the Carnegie course teachers, turned his son’s life around through the use of encouragement and by working with the boy’s natural aptitudes. Clarence’s son, David, was a slow learner and was considered brain-damaged by his teachers and peers. He did possess technical aptitude, though, so Clarence used his son’s goal to become a TV technician as motivation to improve his mathematical skills. Using flash cards, he worked with him nightly, celebrating and rewarding each small improvement. As his capacity and enjoyment for learning grew, his grades improved and his abilities expanded rapidly. His father’s persistence, encouragement, and ingenuity had enabled David to go from being a slow learner to a nationally recognized honor student in a short time.
The following is a synopsis of the introduction to the first edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People. In the current revised edition, it is presented as an appendix entitled A Shortcut to Distinction, written by Lowell Thomas.
The synopsis begins with a dramatic description of a packed hall in New York City, where 2500 spectators, men and women who were both seated and standing, even after a long business day, waited to hear the presentation of one of the Dale Carnegie courses on public speaking and leadership that had become so popular over the last twenty-four years. The course was called “Effective Speaking and Influencing Men in Business,” and it represented one of the topics that most interested the modern men and women of the 1930s. Unfortunately, public speaking wasn’t taught in school, and young graduates, whose learning had focused mainly on relatively abstract academics, found themselves lost upon entering the real world of business. Many of them had a fear of public speaking and little knowledge of leadership, so despite the magnitude of the economic depression at the time, several thousand went out of their way to attend the presentation in the hope of gaining something they clearly believed was valuable.And they weren’t the only ones. In addition to the 15,000 individuals Carnegie’s courses had trained over the years, numerous major companies and institutions—among them, Westinghouse, McGraw-Hill, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and the New York Telegraph Company—hired Carnegie’s institute to train their people in-house. Personal success stories abounded, such as that of Patrick O’Haire, who got past his initial fears of interacting with people to become one of the course’s most entertaining and effective speakers and an excellent professional salesman.Godfrey Meyer, a Wall Street banker, delivered a passionate public talk about financial waste in his long-time hometown of Clifton, New Jersey, just a short while after taking the course. Based on his speech, the townspeople encouraged him to run for mayor, and he won against ninety-five other candidates.
Carnegie himself came from a poor and difficult background, but his considerable energy, ingenuity, determination, and helpful character pulled him out of his inherited circumstances and raised him to a life of adventure and achievement that traversed the globe and met with royalty and other people of stature. Lowell Thomas, the author of this appendix and himself one of Carnegie’s clients, calls the talent for public speaking a “shortcut to distinction”, and Carnegie, who taught himself to speak publicly, was proof of that statement.
It all began when Carnegie’s background of struggle and poverty led him to seek a way out of his difficulties. At State Teacher’s College, he noticed that athletes and public speakers enjoyed the greatest distinction among their peers. Since athletic ability was not his strong suit, he opted to practice public speaking in order to win one of the competitions. At that point in his life, he had not yet mastered the art, and he suffered many defeats before he finally started to win all of the college speaking contests and, due to demand, to successfully train others,as well.
Carnegie’s early professional life included sales and acting, which he learned in New York City, afterwards working with a touring company. After returning to sales again, though without much enthusiasm, he finally decided that he wanted to write and teach. The question was: what? Evaluating his life, he realized that one of the most valuable skills he had learned was public speaking, so he convinced the YMCA to give him a chance. They reluctantly did so on a commission basis, and within a few years, the business had extended to other cities, eventually covering London and Paris,as well.
According to Thomas, Carnegie’s perception of his true calling was not teaching public speaking but building confidence and courage. He believed that everyone had the capacity to speak well and that confidence was built by achieving repeated successes doing what you feared—a concept which became an essential part of his program.How to Win Friends and Influence Peopleis rooted in this idea that encouragement and confidence provide the basis for developing the inherent though often undeveloped abilities that all of us possess; and because Carnegie’s audiences were largely composed of business people with immediate needs, his methods developed a speed and practicality that was previously unknown.
The final few pages of How to Win Friends and Influence People outline the courses and books available at the Dale Carnegie Institute at the time of the book’s revision. Although the titles have since been updated and a few additional courses added, the offerings remain essentially the same. As presented in this edition, they are:
Enrich Your Life, The Dale Carnegie Way, by Arthur Pell, Ph. D.
Carnegie begins this chapter by describing how most people, including the most hardened criminals, resist criticism, failing to view themselves in critical terms even when such a perspective would be warranted. Studies have found praise and reward to be far more effective than punishment in producing behavioral change in both human beings and animals. Furthermore, as Carnegie points out, the level of character required for demonstrating charity toward our neighbor is far greater than that exhibited by those who habitually criticize without considering the other person’s situation.
To illustrate his point, Carnegie cites various positive and negative examples—from revered statesmen such as Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin to notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Dutch Schultz. Although they had criticized others in the past, both Lincoln and Franklin learned the valuelessness and hurtfulness of that approach and, therefore, chose to avoid it; while Capone and Schultz, like other notorious criminals and wayward politicians, viewed themselves as public benefactors in spite of their destructive deeds. One of the most inspiring stories was about performance and test pilot Bob Hoover’s approach toward the mechanic who injected the wrong kind of fuel in his plane. Hoover’s skill enabled him to land the plane safely anyway, thus averting his own and his passengers’ deaths. Remarkably, instead of venting his anger and criticism on the young mechanic, who was genuinely remorseful, Hoover consoled him by expressing his confidence that the mechanic would never again repeat that mistake. To prove his faith, he gave him a chance to service his plane the next day.
The section ends with a reprint of a famous story by W. Livingston Larned called “Father Forgets,” which tells of a father’s change of heart after a day of habitually criticizing and shaming his young son, who nevertheless maintains an open and loving heart toward his father. At the end of the day, the father realizes that his son is still just a little boy doing what little boys do, and as he visits the sleeping child in his room, he vows to be more loving, more playful, and more understanding in the coming days.
“Father Forgets” first appeared as an editorial in the 1920s in the women’s magazine People’s Home Journal and afterwards was reprinted in condensed form by the Reader’s Digest. Because it has caught the imaginations and hearts of people worldwide, it has since been translated and reprinted many times, and it is a heartfelt and fitting way for Carnegie to make his final point. In fact, he does not tell us not to criticize: he simply states that before we do so, we try to understand and that we will find this approach far more valuable.
Chapter 2 begins by informing us that the way to get what we want is to give others what they want. That, of course, raises the question of what people want, and according to Carnegie, one of our strongest desires is to feel important. Certainly, we have other needs, some more basic to survival than others, but the need to have our lives matter is often just as powerful. It is this drive that motivates to be outstanding in some way—to win prizes, create works of art, amass wealth, seek office, or pursue fame, status, or power; in short, to impact our own and others’ lives in ways that will be noticed, cared about, and remembered. For some, as previously described, the expression of this drive is public; for others, it is more private, as in raising and educating children, building a beautiful home, or creating a compelling lifestyle. But no matter what the expression, the essential drive is the need to feel that our lives matter to someone somewhere. Carnegie even cites perverse attempts to garner attention through criminal activity, invalidism, or insanity.
But what does all this signify in terms of dealing with people? Carnegie quotes Charles M. Schwab, the man chosen by Andrew Carnegie to be the first president of the United States Steel Company. Schwab maintained that Carnegie chose him, not for any rare mental gifts or specialized knowledge about steel manufacturing but for his outstanding motivational skills. According to Schwab, his secret was that he never criticized people, instead praising and encouraging them when appropriate. This, he believed, functioned far better as incentive to improve, while the opposite tendency to criticize only demoralized people. Andrew Carnegie himself, considered to be one of the wealthiest men of all time, also believed in the effectiveness of this approach, as did the elder John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller even held to it under difficult circumstances, as when Edward Bedford, his partner, cost the firm one million dollars through a business misstep. Instead of berating him, Rockefeller chose to see the incident in a positive and compassionate light, acknowledging that Bedford had done his best and that few others could have done better. He even congratulated him on saving most of the investment, a feat that could not necessarily be counted on from his superiors in business.
Butyoudon’t have to be a Rockefeller, a Carnegie, or a Schwab to experience the power of praise and appreciation. Dale Carnegie tells the story of a woman who, as part of a self-improvement program, asked her husband to name six ways in which she could better herself as wife. Her husband asked her if he could delay his answer, and the next morning, instead of criticizing his wife, he sent her six red roses with a message of appreciation and love. It is important to note that he did this in spite of his admission that he could easily have criticized her on various points, but at the same time, he acknowledged that he was hardly blameless. That evening, she greeted him in tears because she was so moved; and the following Sunday, the other women in the self-improvement group told him how impressed they were with his consideration. The whole experience brought home to him the considerable effect that a show of appreciation can have.
Carnegie continues by making the point that we regularly nourish our own and our families’ bodies but too often neglect to do the same for each other’s self-esteem.Yet the effectiveness of this type of nourishment has been proven time and again by such examples as Florenz Ziegfeld’s (of Ziegfeld Follies fame) capacity to transform women from ordinary beings to glamorous showgirls, or the teacher who noticed the exceptional gift of hearing in a young blind student named Stevie Morris, later to become known as Stevie Wonder. Carnegie is careful, however, to distinguish between sincere appreciation and manipulative flattery. The former will have the desired positive effect; with few exceptions, the latter will not and will ultimately cause more problems than it seems to solve.
But how do these ideas impact our own lives? Carnegie urges us to express appreciation whenever we experience something positive, whether courtesy, kindness, or excellence of some type. Otherwise, those we deal with can easily be left feeling like the woman in an allegory he used to illustrate the importance of acknowledgement and appreciation. Figuring no one would notice (since they never seemed to), she served hay for dinner instead of the regular meal. As would be expected, the men noticed. In another example, a woman named Pamela Dunham put the power of praise to good use when dealing with an underperforming maintenance worker. Her regular appreciation of any good work that he did gradually improved his performance until he did a consistently excellent job. Before that, he had been taunted by his peers, but this only added to his demoralization and underperformance; while a steady diet of genuine praise that built his morale and self-confidence produced the desired effect of excellence.
Carnegie concludes this section by recommending the following practices: showing kindness whenever we have a chance to express it; cultivating a recognition of the value of every person; choosing to learn from everyone we meet, and giving heartfelt praise as the occasion arises. By doing these things, we will create lasting positive effects that will continue long after the deeds themselves.
Carnegie’s wording of the third principle, a quote from philosopher and author Harry A. Overstreet’s book Influencing Human Behavior, is to “arouse … an eager want” in others. This seems at first to mean that Carnegie recommends creating previously non-existent desires in others; yet he spends the first page of this section advising us to not think in terms of our own but of other people’s desires.
Carnegie’s view of desire is that it can function as a type of bait for influencing people or even animals; that all our actions are motivated by some sort of desire; and that we are all mostly interested in our own needs and interests, although these may be unselfish in themselves. As a rule, however, most of us do not typically think from the other person’s perspective. This is the essential cause of resistance and strife. When we can tap in to the other party’s point of view, we have a better chance of successfully influencing the person’s actions. This is not necessarily as self-centered as it sounds. Carnegie is referring to such contexts as raising children or training animals, where the influence is intended as a benefit to the other party. For example, the parent or teacher who can think like a child and understand its needs and tendencies has a strong advantage over those who are stuck in an adult mode. Similarly, the animal trainer who can get inside the animal’s head can usually solicit the response he or she wants. Carnegie gives the example of Emerson’s calf, which resisted both Emerson and his son’s efforts to get it into the barn but yielded to the unschooled housemaid, who let the calf suck on her finger as she led it along.
From the above contexts, it is clear that Carnegie does not mean only thinking from the other party’s point of view. At one point in the chapter, he emphasizes a quote by Henry Ford that defines the secret of success as being able to see both from your own and the other person’s perspective. The key, then, to successfully presenting a request or change, whether in business or personal life, is to organize and word it so that it expresses appreciation and addresses the needs and potential benefit to the other party before launching into your own wants. Presenting the material in the reverse manner tends to foster resentment and ill will rather than cooperation—obviously not a productive approach. In other words, you will more readily convince others if you think in terms of serving rather than selling, and you will do this more easily if you understand the other person’s needs. This will require imagination and intuition as well as observation and research. Writing down the pros and cons of a situation from the other person’s point of view is one way of accessing this knowledge. Another is demonstrating your point in a vivid and concrete manner, such as bringing the other person in contact with real-life examples of an idea.
Carnegie stresses that the benefit derived from this approach should always be mutual, not a one-sided, selfish manipulation of other people. The other party will never be thoroughly convinced if he or she cannot connect with the idea and feel that it serves a personal need on some level. But the connection has to have genuine roots in the person’s psyche, or it will be weak and, therefore, unlikely to succeed long-term. So whetheryou are selling insurance or training a child, introducing a business plan or convincing your friend or spouse to try something new, remember to see the other person’s point of view, as well as your own, and you will be on your way to mastering one of Carnegie’s basic rules for success.
The opening principle for the section on how to get others to like you is easy and straightforward: As long as your primary focus and interest is yourself, you will not get overly far with others; but switch that focus and show a genuine interest and caring for other people, and you will find doors easily opening that before seemed locked and barred. Carnegie fills the chapter with anecdotes of many different people who understood and used this principle, either naturally or by accident. They include individuals like Theodore Roosevelt and the Viennese psychologist Alfred Adler as well as ordinary salesmen, small children, and perhaps one of the greatest masters of all—the dog. In fact, Carnegie opens the chapter by introducing the dog as the master friend maker—one who never exhibits an ulterior motive and whose curiosity and love of people is totally enthusiastic and unfeigned.
Demonstrating caring, enthusiasm, and interest can be done in a number of ways, and those who employ these basic practices with energy and heart are often surprised at the remarkable results they produce both on a business and personal level. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, always greeted even the lowliest employees, thereby winning their hearts and brightening their day. The same technique, as naturally used by one particular salesman, unwittingly won him an account he thought was a lost cause because he had bothered to regularly greet the staff when none of the other salesmen did. A banker who needed information, after an initial unsuccessful attempt with the president of the corporation, demonstrated strong interest in the stamp collecting habit of the president’s young son by bringing the president the stamps that his firm had gathered through its overseas contacts. The banker spent a half hour with the president conversing about stamps and his son. Following that, the president spontaneously spent over an hour going out of his way to ensure that the banker had all the information he needed (and then some).The student nurse who stayed way past the end of her shift on Thanksgiving Day to comfort a lonely young boy with food and company remained in his heart and memory for years afterwards.And another young German boy, against the tide of general hatred, wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm II after the First World War, declaring his love and admiration under all circumstances. Ultimately, that same boy, after being invited to meet the Kaiser, ended up becoming his son when Wilhelm married the boy’s mother.
True caring comes from within and carries with it no ulterior motive. That is why its effect is so lasting and profound and why it benefits all involved in multiple ways.
The second principle of this section is even simpler than the first: if you want to win people over, smile. Like the previous principles of showing caring, interest, and appreciation, your smile must be genuine. Anything feigned simply will not work. Think again about a dog’s natural enthusiasm or a baby’s irresistible charm. When a baby smiles, it usually disarms even the most hardened or jaded person in the room, along with everyone else. Carnegie tells a story about how one baby’s smile, directed at a disgruntled man in a veterinary waiting room, eventually changed the room’s grim atmosphere to a pleasant one.
The late University of Michigan animal psychologist James V. McConnell maintained that people who smile are more effective at their jobs, whether they teach, manage, sell, or raise children. As various companies have discovered, even the unseen smile, as in the case of a phone conversation, can have a marked effect on the listener. A genuine smile or fun attitude has been found to have a definite competitive edge.
One of Carnegie’s most compelling stories is of a New York stockbroker who took his course. The week’s assignment was to smile at someone each hour throughout the day and then report the outcome in the next class. The broker, William Steinhardt, who described himself as a terrible grouch, decided to try it. Aside from his wife’s initial shock when he greeted her with a smile at breakfast, Steinhardt reported outstanding results in the form of increased happiness and friendship from applying this, as well as some of the previously mentioned principles.
Carnegie counsels us to smile even when we don’t feel like it. Simply by doing so, we can change how we feel. He points out that happiness does not result from circumstances but from thoughts. Therefore, by regulating our thoughts, we can increase our happiness regardless of our condition or surroundings. Carnegie relates the time he was so struck by the laughing, happy attitudes of a group of crippled boys that he felt moved to ask about it, and he learned that once they got past the shock, their difficulties did not ultimately interfere with the naturally happy state of boyhood. So remember, when you’re tempted to indulge in a gloomy mood, a sincere smile has the power to lift both your spirits and those of the people around you.
The third principle for this section is another basic technique, though it requires a bit more skill and commitment than a smile. It is to remember and use the names of as many people as possible. One of the outstanding examples of this was the politician and businessman James Farley, perhaps best known as a key member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. Farley lacked a high school education, but he taught himself to commit to memory the names and basic facts of 50,000 individuals, an ability that Carnegie speculates made a critical difference to Farley in his role as FDR’s 1932 campaign manager.
Learning to pronounce a name correctly, especially a difficult foreign name, can mean a lot to the individual in question. Carnegie mentions a salesman, Sid Levy, who made a special effort to correctly pronounce the Greek name Nicodemus Papadopoulos, even though everyone simply called the man “Nick.” As small a thing as this may seem, it, in fact, moved Mr. Papadopoulos to tears. It was the first time in his fifteen years in America that anyone had made the attempt to use his full name.
The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie also understood this concept well. As a child, Carnegie once suddenly found himself with numerous baby rabbits and not enough to feed them. His solution was to solicit help from his peers, and in return he would name each rabbit after its particular benefactor. Years later, when Carnegie’s transportation company was competing with Pullman for the sleeping car business, Carnegie suggested to Pullman that they merge instead. Somewhat skeptical, Pullman asked him what he would name the new venture, and when Carnegie suggested naming it after Pullman, the door to further discussion opened wide. Carnegie understood the importance of using names not only in relation to his peers but also with his employees, and he was proud of the fact that his steel mills never saw a strike under his direct leadership.
Learning and using people’s names can add a personal touch when corporate growth threatens to make employees feel lost in a large, cold environment. It can give a feeling of warmth and recognition to those who serve us in different capacities on a regular basis, and that can make the difference between heartfelt, outstanding service or just an average or even careless approach. It can make a customer feel special, as in the example set by Karen Kirsch, the TWA flight attendant who memorized and used as many of her customers’ names as possible. Similarly, naming a person or thing, such as a building or artwork, in someone’s honor, can give that person a sense of importance, perpetuation or, at a minimum, grateful recognition, since some sort of financial support is usually involved in such cases.
Many people claim to have insufficient time or ability to remember names. Yet President Franklin Roosevelt cultivated both, and as Dale Carnegie points out, it is doubtful that he had more time on his hands than most of us. When Chrysler built a special car to accommodate the President’s lower-body paralysis, the President showed keen interest and attentiveness toward W.F. Chamberlain, the man who delivered it and explained its workings. When it came time to say goodbye, in spite of the fact that his meeting with the Federal Reserve Board was delayed, FDR sought out the shy, retiring mechanic who had accompanied Chamberlain, calling him by name and thanking him warmly. Later, he even took the time to autograph and mail a photograph with a thank you note to Chamberlain—the sort of thing many of us neglect to do these days.
Those needing additional advice on how to remember names can learn from France’s Emperor Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon the Great. A master at the art of remembering people’s names, the Emperor used several techniques:
Taking the time to learn and remember someone’s name shows attention, caring and respect, demonstrating that you view people as valuable individuals rather than faceless robots. If, like smiling, it is done in an unfeigned manner, this ordinary act has the power to brighten a person’s day and give a sense of warmth, connection, and worth.
The easy way to become known as an excellent conversationalist is to learn the art of listening. According to Carnegie, most people would rather talk than listen, anyway, though they might not realize it and even claim otherwise. As Carnegie himself experienced, his honest, undivided, appreciative attention left a deep impression on at least one other individual, who found Carnegie extremely appealing, even though that man had done all of the talking himself.
Listening has other benefits as well, the most obvious being that we might actually learn something new and valuable when we take a little time to hear what others have to say. In fact, Carnegie had been so interested in the previously mentioned person’s expertise (botany) that he took the opportunity to meet with him again, something that probably would not have happened had Carnegie been a poor listener.
As implied in the previous paragraphs, listening can also significantly improve our relationships, both business and personal. Careful, patient listening has prevented the loss of good customers by hearing and acknowledging the validity of the problem (and then fixing it) rather than brushing it off because it seemed to go against procedure. Patient listening has even converted irascible clients whose problems were more concocted than real. The simple fact of feeling heard changed their attitudes and ultimately mended the problem, even in cases where the company had already written off the issue as a loss. In one instance, gracious listening changed the mind of a dissatisfied customer who had been threatening to remove his business (even though the problem was his mistake, which he later realized and rectified, with apologies). He ended up placing an unexpectedly large order and remained a loyal customer for the rest of his life.
The next time youare tempted to interrupt or brush someone off, or if you are worried about what to say in an interview or at a party, try simply listening. Ask people questions about their own lives, the subject they know best, and then listen attentively to the response. You never know what you might gain from the experience.
Like listening, talking about the other person’s interests shifts the focus away from yourself to that person, a potentially wise maneuver when trying to engage or persuade someone. Most people have a strong interest in at least one area, so if you do not know the person well, do a little research. Theodore Roosevelt did this regularly before his anticipated guests arrived, and this was at least part of his success with people. Others have done it, too, with the same good results: doors opened, and friendships or business deals were sealed.
If the person is normally inaccessible, as in the case of executives who are protected by loyal secretaries, then try to discover the secretary’s interests. She (or he) is, after all, one of the main doors that you will need to open.
But it was the expert in employee communications Howard Z. Herzig who perhaps said it best in answer to the question about what reward he received from applying this principle. Herzig asserted that the reward differed with each person and that his life grew every time. So remember: don’tbore people with the subjects that interest you. Instead, engage them with the topics that interest them.
Carnegie feels so strongly about this rule that he inserts the word “always” at the beginning of the sentence. He maintains that if we can always give the other person a sense of importance that we will gain much in friendship and happiness. But if we neglect this concept, we will create problems for ourselves.
When applying this rule, avoid harboring selfish ulterior motives. Carnegie was appalled when he was asked what he had hoped to gain from a positive interaction with a post office clerk, when his only intention had been to brighten the clerk’s day and, in the process, his own. Taking the notion one step further, Carnegie relates it to the Golden Rule that has been preached in all great civilizations throughout history: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do not be choosy in your application of this rule. Use it all the time and in every circumstance.
What does this mean in practice? As in the case of the post office clerk, you could find something about the person to like or admire. The clerk looked bored until Carnegie mentioned his attractive hair, after which he visibly brightened. Giving people appropriate opportunities or responsibility is another way of showing respect and appreciation. So is the use of everyday courteous phrases, such as “Would you mind …,” “Please,” and “Thank you.”
As with the other principles, sincerity is crucial. Carnegie illustrates this with yet another rags-to-riches story—that of the best-selling novelist Hall Caine. The son of a blacksmith, Caine, like numerous other success stories, had relatively little education; yet that did not stop him from writing a letter of sincere admiration to Dante Gabriel Rosetti. That small but genuine act led to a position as Rosetti’s secretary, putting Caine in touch with the literary luminaries of his day. His castle on the Isle of Man attracted tourists from all over the world, and Caine died a multi-millionaire.
One of Carnegie’s most moving stories was told by a man who took one of his courses. Left alone with his wife’s elderly aunt in her beautiful 1890 Long Island home, he decided to put into practice what he was learning in the course. The house, lovingly built and furnished by the lady and her late husband, contained many tender memories; so when he expressed his genuine admiration for its features, it struck a deep chord with the elderly aunt, who gave him a tour of the house and its contents. After showing him her treasured belongings, she bequeathed to him one of her prize possessions—a Packard car in excellent condition, which had been given to her by her husband but which she could not bring herself to either use, sell, or give to just anyone since her husband’s death. Her nephew-in-law’s sincere appreciation for the beauty she and her husband had created made him the perfect candidate for the gift, and though he was overwhelmed at first and attempted to refuse it, she finally persuaded him to take it.
Another equally moving story was of James Adamson’s first encounter with George Eastman, the inventor, businessman, and philanthropist who was responsible for motion picture film and the building of such establishments as the Eastman School of Music. Adamson, who was in the woodworking business and the president of the Superior Seating Company, was competing for an account to supply theater chairs for several of Eastman’s buildings. He had been warned to take no more than five minutes of Mr. Eastman’s time unless he wanted to lose the opportunity altogether. Yet upon entering Eastman’s office, Adamson could not help but notice the beauty of the woodwork. When Eastman, who had been engrossed in his work, finally addressed the men, Adamson—in spite of the prior warning to take a minimum of time—expressed his deep admiration for the beauty of the office. Moved by Adamson’s observation, Eastman confessed that though he, too, had at first enjoyed its beauty, he had almost forgotten it in the midst of all his work and constant concerns. The meeting lasted two hours rather than five minutes and extended to such topics as Eastman’s childhood poverty and current philanthropic efforts, for which Adamson expressed similar genuine appreciation. Adamson was subsequently invited to Eastman’s home for lunch, where he proudly showed Adamson some inexpensive Japanese chairs he had painted himself. Adamson won the $90,000 account, but perhaps more importantly, the two men became lifelong friends.
Carnegie ends the chapter by quoting Disraeli, who said that people would “listen for hours” if you talked to them about themselves. But Carnegie’s most moving stories highlight something else, namely, to talk to people not just about themselves but about the things they love and to sincerely appreciate and value their accomplishments.
Early in life, Dale Carnegie was an inveterate arguer, so he begins this chapter with the episode that brought about his conversion. At a formal dinner in honor of the flying ace Sir Ross Smith, Carnegie found himself seated next to a man who was quoting from Shakespeare, though he swore the quote was from the Bible. Carnegie’s friend, Frank Gammond, who was seated on his other side, happened to be an expert in Shakespeare, so they determined that they would ask his opinion. To Carnegie’s surprise, instead of confirming the truth, Gammond kicked his friend under the table and then confirmed the incorrect assertion that the quote was indeed from the Bible, even though he knew exactly where to find it in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. When Carnegie questioned him later, Gammond reminded him that they were attending a formal occasion and that it would be better under such circumstances to let the other person save face than to prove him wrong, even if he clearly was wrong.
That experience taught Carnegie that there is in truth no way to win an argument. Most of the time, the two parties hold fast to their original opinions, and the only thing accomplished is that one of them is made to feel bad.For that reason, both parties are losers: the one because he feels bad about himself; the other, because he caused his fellow man discomfort. Any victory gained from being right is shallow at best and does not compare to the deeper loss of upsetting another person.
Should we run then every time we encounter a disagreement? Physically avoiding the situation is not always possible and can be counterproductive. Patrick O’Haire, a truck salesman who took Carnegie’s course, became the best salesman in his company by learning to see the other person’s point of view before presenting his own. Instead of escalating an argument, as he had habitually done before, O’Haire learned to first agree with the other person’s opinion and then, once the person was satisfied that he had been heard,O’Haire would present his own side. The result? He gained both his customers’ goodwill and a significant increase in sales.
The Economics Press once published an article called “Bits and Pieces,” which outlined a number of ways to minimize an argument. They are:
Whatever you do, always remember the power of listening and the advantages of deflating, rather than escalating, an argument.
Telling someone that he or she is wrong will not get that person to side with us.And how many of us are right most of the time, anyway? Even when we are, insisting on or proving our point only antagonizes other people. To try to convince others of what we believe to be the truth, we need to do so quietly and humbly in a way that goes unnoticed, allowing for possible error on our own part and respecting the other person’s opinion. Whether others are sure or unsure of their actions and opinions, an outright attack or attempt to discredit usually creates defensiveness, while a gentle, listening approach often opens the door to honest, useful communication.
Surprisingly, one of the greatest statesmen ever, Benjamin Franklin, began as an opinionated, argumentative young man who alienated others, until a Quaker friend of his pulled him aside to inform him in no uncertain terms of his counterproductive attitude. Franklin was wise enough to listen, and he changed his manner from obstinate and overly certain to diplomatic, considered, and humble. Rather than blurting out whatever he thought, he learned the wisdom of forbearance, even when he knew himself to be right or the other person to be wrong in his assertion.
Does this approach work in business? Carnegie cites one instance where a diplomatic, cooperative response to the customer’s complaint about the quality of the lumber received saved both money and aggravation and ultimately led the customer to recognize his ordering error.
The chapter concludes with quotes from some of the greatest men in history—Dr. Martin Luther King, General Robert E. Lee, and even Jesus Christ. Dr. King believed in judging an individual on that person’s own terms; and General Lee committed himself to retaining an objective view, regardless of the person’s opinion of him.
No matter, therefore, how we are treated, we can never lose by being diplomatic, though it may seem so at first. A little practice in this direction will demonstrate, however, that there is much good to be gained and that the only real losses are ill will and unnecessary aggravation.
All of us make mistakes at one time or another, yet how many us are ready to admit them? Instead, we grow defensive and make excuses, blaming our errors on the situation, our condition at the time, or perhaps another person. The irony is that these maneuvers usually aggravate the other person, often an authority, whereas admitting our errors openly and taking responsibility for them softens the reaction and bypasses what would otherwise be an uncomfortable encounter. The same person who threatened us with harsh measures a week earlier may demonstrate a forgiving approach when we openly and willingly confess our mistakes and commit to making amends.
One of the most moving stories in this chapter comes from Michael Cheung, a teacher of Carnegie’s course in Hong Kong. Because Chinese cultural tradition presented certain obstacles to the ready acceptance of some of the course’s ideas, one of the students, a man estranged from his son and grandchildren (whom he had never met) owing to a prior opium problem, had to surmount both his own personal issues and the force of ancient tradition. In the end, he chose to adopt the new principle over the tradition that demanded that the younger members of society should entreat their elders in matters of forgiveness—not the other way around. In an act of tremendous courage, love, and humility that had the full support of the other class members, he asked his son for forgiveness and was reconciled to his family.
Even when we stand to gain nothing outwardly, an admission of our mistakes can point to a rare grandeur and nobility of character, as in General Lee’s case when he insisted on taking full responsibility for the disastrous maneuver at Gettysburg called Pickett’s charge. Lee could have easily placed the blame elsewhere; instead, he blamed himself and offered his resignation as proof.
Such nobility of character is difficult to resist and can often turn around an imperfect or difficult situation. Carnegie, therefore, ends the chapter by reminding us to be gentle and diplomatic when convinced that we are right and, at the same time, to be quick and decisive in admitting our mistakes. The common denominator between these ideas, both of which support his final statement that fighting ultimately brings less than yielding, is that they lead us away from self-interest by placing others’ concerns and feelings before our own.
Carnegie calls this chapter “A Drop of Honey,” based on the saying that a bit of honey is the most effective way to catch a fly. A mean or aggressive approach might feel good to the person delivering the punch, but its effect on the relationship will be counterproductive. Carnegie reminds us of Aesop’s famous fable of the wind and the sun, who in their different ways attempt to make a man take off his coat. Naturally, the sun’s gentle warmth proves more convincing than the cold blasts from the wind.
Carnegie cites several real-life instances to further prove his point, including John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s adroit handling of the difficult situation that followed the bloody Colorado Fuel and Iron Company miners’ strike in 1914. In spite of his presumed status at the time as the most hated man in Colorado, Rockefeller visited the miners’ homes, where he met their families, and then delivered a speech brimming with friendliness, courtesy, and respect. Because of his approach, the miners returned to work. Another strike incident at the White Motor Company was handled in such a friendly manner by the company’s president, Robert F. Black, that the strikers voluntarily cleaned up the grounds surrounding the factory while still on strike. Black had been impressed by the strikers’ peaceful manner, so he endeavored to make their situation more pleasant by providing them with baseball bats and gloves and renting a bowling alley for those preferring something other than baseball. The strike ended in a friendly compromise.
A genial approach works on a more personal level, as well. One man found himself unable to afford a rent increase but wanted to remain in his current apartment. Instead of complaining and finding fault, like other tenants, he approached the landlord in an open, friendly, and appreciative manner. The landlord was so happy to find someone who appreciated his efforts that he ultimately agreed to the man’s request for lower rent and even spontaneously offered to upgrade the apartment’s decor.
Because it sums up the chapter’s main idea so well, Carnegie repeats the same quote by Abraham Lincoln three times:
A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.
The next time you have the urge to browbeat somebody, remember that anger, aggression, and coercion seldom bring about the desired results and usually only make matters worse; whereas friendliness, courtesy, and appreciation, like the rays of the sun, can open the door to negotiation and agreement.
Carnegie maintains that once someone has said “No,” he or she will likely insist on giving the same answer out of a sense of pride that dictates the need for consistency. It is, therefore, crucial to get the other person to agree with you as quickly as possible and to avoid disagreement.
The method for doing this harkens back to some of the rules outlined in earlier chapters to approach the situation from the other person’s point of view. Specifically:
Not surprisingly, the chapter’s three main examples are all from the world of retail or banking sales. Yet perhaps the most intriguing one has nothing to do with business or money. In fact, the method itself is named after one of its greatest practitioners: Socrates. When persuading others of his logic, he used what is now known as “the Socratic method” to get them to agree with each point until they found themselves considering a conclusion they might not have reached without his wise and gentle guidance.
Again, Carnegie’s sixth principle for this section revisits an earlier rule that advises us to do more listening than talking. In fact, he advises us to encourage the other person to speak and, at the same time, to resist the urge to interrupt. As Carnegie astutely points out, people have a hard time listening when their heads are full of their own ideas, so give others a chance to express themselves. Your genuine patience and open-mindedness will ensure their attention, because they will feel that they have been heard.
This sort of attentive listening works equally well in business and personal matters. One salesman landed his largest account ever when, because he had lost his voice, he agreed to let the president of the company do the talking for him. In another instance, a mother who was too tired to yell at her teenage daughter one day discovered the value of listening, with the result that their relationship improved immensely.
Contrary to what many of us might think, listening is one of the keys to a great interview, and it can work in various ways. One interviewee researched the company before responding to a request for an interview and then spent most of the time listening with genuine interest to the president’s reminiscences of his early days. In another instance, the interviewer wisely allowed the interviewee to do most of the talking, since the latter was singlehandedly convincing himself of the positive aspects of working for the company.
Remember, as stated earlier, that people are primarily interested in their own thoughts and accomplishments. You will alienate most people if your emphasis is always on yourself. But give the stage to others with genuine interest, and you will find your relationships growing in happy and productive ways.
This principle is similar to the rule in the same section that advocates using the Socratic method in your arguments, that is, leading others to the desired conclusion by getting them to agree with each preceding statement. Forcing an idea on someone never works. Instead, Carnegie recommends gently leading people’s thoughts and allowing them to work out the conclusions for themselves.
Carnegie’s reasoning is that people are more convinced of their own ideas than they are of those imposed on them from the outside. Once again, this involves listening as one of the most important components, for the simple reason that when people feel heard, they are more willing to engage and commit. Eugene Wesson, a salesman for a design studio, demonstrated this when, after three years of unsuccessfully courting one particular New York stylist, he decided to change his method. Instead of presenting the stylist with the usual array of finished sketches, Wesson asked him for his opinion on some unfinished sketches. He gave the client a few days to think over his ideas, then had the sketches completed according to the client’s specifications. The outcome was that the client bought every sketch and became a regular buyer from then on.
A similar approach was used by a manufacturer of some new X-ray machines. Acknowledging that the machines could be improved, he sent a letter to a doctor requesting the doctor’s evaluation of the machinery. Flattered by this attention, the doctor took time out of his busy schedule to study the machinery, and in the process became more and more convinced of its excellent benefits.
Carnegie gives a few other examples, taken from such diverse situations as family and personal matters, as well as affairs of state. Each shows the value of planting an idea in a person’s mind and giving it a chance to grow. If the idea has any value, people will usually sell themselves on its merits, especially if they are given the means or references that provide them with additional information. This refers to either observing the item firsthand or gathering information from knowledgeable sources. In some instances, it also means being gracious and wise enough to step aside when others take credit for ideas that may not have originated with them. As Carnegie reminds us with a quote from Lao-tse, to be above or ahead of others means placing yourself below or behind them, as the seas and rivers lie below the mountain streams that nevertheless merge into the larger bodies of water.
Again, this principle is strongly reminiscent of earlier statements that to influence others we must first see things from their perspective. Most of us know this intuitively. We would not, for example, communicate with a two-year-old child in the same way as with a philosophy professor or the CEO of a large company or our own mother. We naturally understand that the world looks a little different to each of these people and that our interactions would largely depend on the specific situation. So in a conflict of interests, it’s crucial to remember that each party is coming from a different angle. Carnegie gives the example of two different approaches he used in trying to elicit the cooperation of some boys who were building fires that were setting the woods on fire. The boys didn’t mean badly: they just wanted to have some fun cooking outdoors. Carnegie found that scolding them in an authoritarian manner yielded a sullen, halfhearted reaction; so he tried communicating his message in a pleasant way that was sympathetic to their point of view, with the result that the boys gladly cooperated with his request for safe practices.
It should be clear from the above example that Carnegie does not mean that we should forget our own interests while catering entirely to others; merely that in communicating our needs or desires that we should always remember that there is another side to the issue. Making a genuine effort to understand and accommodate the needs of all involved can go a long way towards finding a mutually satisfactory solution.
Though similar to the previous principle, this notion emphasizes more of the emotional aspect of seeing another person’s point of view. Carnegie attributes a type of magic to genuine sympathy, with its ability to smooth over the rough edges of human interaction, calm people’s fears, and fill a need for attention.
Carnegie begins this chapter by advising us to refrain from being judgmental, no matter how depraved someone’s manner or actions may be. He points out that all of us are what and where we are because of our backgrounds, both genetic and environmental. In Carnegie’s view, those of us who have done well have no right to take credit for our accomplishments; and those who have done poorly or lapsed into criminal lifestyles do not deserve the judgment of their fellow beings, who would have done the same under the same conditions. As Carnegie puts it, the only reason we aren’t rattlesnakes is because our parents weren’t.
Carnegie recounts several stories illustrating how a little imagination, forbearance, and sympathy can turn another person’s resentment into understanding and mutual sympathy. In one instance, Carnegie himself experienced how a simple apology for a silly but careless blunder made during his radio talk show changed the other person’s attitude from anger to sympathy. The individual in question, a woman of significant culture and stature, even apologized for the hostile letter she had written and expressed an interest in getting to know Carnegie better.
The value of forbearance in such cases cannot be stressed too much. President Taft, who was faced with a similar situation, advised resisting the urge to respond in kind. He recommended that if you do go so far as to put your answer in writing, delay sending it for two days. Then, once you have regained your composure, do as Taft did: write a polite and sympathetic letter. The result—a salvaged and possibly even improved relationship—is far preferable to ongoing mutual hostility.
Sympathy can also calm nerves and allay fears. One of Carnegie’s most amusing anecdotes is of the impresario Sol Hurok’s navigation of Feodor Chaliapin’s moods. The great Russian bass would call Hurok on the day of an operatic performance, claiming that his throat was raw and that he was in no condition to sing.Hurok, instead of arguing, would visit Chaliapin in his hotel room, where he would express his deep sympathy and offer to cancel the performance immediately. Chaliapinwould then ask him to wait and to return later to see how he was doing. This would go on several times until Chaliapinwould finally agree to perform on the condition that Hurok would first make an announcement to the audience about the singer’s condition.
According to psychologist Dr. Arthur Gates, author of Educational Psychology, people of all ages hunger for sympathy. That is why we show each other our bruises or relate our stories of illness or disaster. So in dealing with people, remember this human need: expressing a little sympathy may gain you an ally even under difficult circumstances.
According to Carnegie, all of us have a sense of idealism, even the criminals in society. In fact, as mentioned earlier in the book, many crime bosses view themselves as fine human beings with good intentions, and their personalities are often more complex than we might imagine. Carnegie gives the example of Jesse James, who helped to pay his neighbors’ mortgages with stolen money from bank and train heists.
Of course, most people are not criminals, which should make it even easier to address any idealistic tendencies they might have. Carnegie believes that it is safe to assume that the greater part of the populace wants to do the right thing. Disputes may arise from errors or misunderstandings, or they may be the result of plans that have not been thought through with care. Whatever the reason, if youare convinced that you are right, an appeal to the other party’s sense of honesty and fairness cannot, in most cases, go wrong. It is crucial, however, to not force your point onto the other person but to allow him or her to examine the facts and come to an independent conclusion. This was the approach used by James L. Thomas, a representative for a car company who was asked by the general manager to deal with six delinquent accounts after a botched attempt by another representative. The general manager had noticed that none of these accounts had a prior record of delinquency, so Thomas, who had taken Carnegie’s course, approached the clients in a spirit of courtesy, fairness, and trust. Rather than badgering the clients, he entrusted each of them with adjusting the bill as the client saw fit. The result was that all except one made the adjustment in the car company’s favor.
This approach has been used to elicit fairness, charitability, and proper behavior. But like the other suggestions in Carnegie’s book, it must come from a noble, sincere, and trusting place, or it will devolve into manipulation and therefore be unlikely to work. In other words, be certain that you are in the right and then sympathetically appeal to the natural sense of honesty, fairness, and kindness in your neighbor.
We all know the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Dramatization does not necessarily demand the use of pictures or some other visual form, but it does need to stand out from “business as usual.” The problem with following a routine is that, after a while, no one notices. If you are having difficulty setting up an appointment or having your presentation noticed, maybe you need to do something a little different—something that will get people’s attention. Carnegie gives several examples that illustrate his meaning:
So ifyou want your idea to bring results, use your imagination and do something different. Capture your audience’s attention with a little drama.
More than money, benefits, or any other factor, people have been found to thrive on challenge. Carnegie begins this chapter with a story about Charles Schwab, who was questioning one of his managers as to why the mill under his charge was so unproductive. The manager could not give him a good answer, claiming to have tried everything from coaxing to threats. Finally, Schwab asked him how many heats the last day shift had produced. The answer was “six;” so Schwab drew a large “six” on the floor and left.
When the night shift arrived, they questioned the day shift about the “six,” and after having it explained to them, decided to top the day shift’s production. The next morning, the day shift arrived to find the large “six” replaced by a “seven.” Determined not to be outdone, the day shift produced ten heats and proudly recorded their triumph on the floor. Within a short time, this mill became the highest producing in the plant. Schwab attributed this to the stimulation of a healthy competitiveness, not for money but for excellence.
After citing several other examples, Carnegie ends the chapter by noting the findings of behavioral scientist Frederic Herzberg who, from his studies of a wide diversity of working people, concluded that the single most motivating factor was the challenge and interest of the work itself. To sum up Carnegie’s final statements for this chapter, if your personal challenge is to motivate others, remember that the human spirit looks for far more than material comfort.
The advantage of complimenting people before criticizing them is obvious: it is easier to accept and digest negative feedback when it has first been balanced by praise. Carnegie cites several instances of this, many of them from the political arena—not surprisingly, since politics requires a high degree of diplomacy. In the examples given in the text, Presidents William McKinley and Abraham Lincoln both exhibited an intriguing mix of tact and directness, wisely encouraging the person’s good points while at the same time pointing out what needed to be corrected. In both cases, where McKinley was grooming a speechwriter and Lincoln was dealing with the more difficult task of correcting one of his commanders, General Hooker, during the Civil War, it is clear that their main goal was to achieve a positive result. They instinctively knew that criticism, to be productive, had to be accompanied by encouragement, tact, and support.
This approach works in other areas of life, as well. When the delay by one bronze subcontractor threatened to hold up a building project, Mr. W. P. Gaw of the Wark Company, a Philadelphia construction company, was sent to Brooklyn to deal with the matter. Gaw and the subcontractor spent the entire morning together in pleasant and friendly conversation as they toured the bronze factory and examined its workings, with Gaw admiring the subcontractor’s achievements. It was only after lunch that the subcontractor himself brought up the subject of the delay. His appreciation of Mr. Gaw’s courteous and amiable approach was such that he promised to deliver the shipment on time regardless of any inconvenience to his company. In another instance, a bank manager, Dorothy Wrublewski, was able to help a new employee who showed every sign of being an excellent hire except for her difficulty in balancing the cash drawer at the end of the shift. Despite the head teller’s recommendation to terminate the young woman, the bank manager chose to take a more evenhanded approach. Recognizing the new hire’s otherwise excellent work throughout the day, she complimented her on her speed, accuracy, and customer service, and then supported and encouraged her in learning to balance her drawer properly, with good results.
To sum up Carnegie’s point for this chapter: constructive criticism is certainly essential to improvement, but it becomes even more effective when preceded and accompanied by praise, encouragement, and support.
Using an indirect approach to criticism can help to bypass the risk of demoralizing people or creating resistance. Carnegie cites Charles Schwab as having been a master at this. When Schwab noticed some employees smoking immediately beneath the “No Smoking” sign, instead of pointing out the obvious, he handed each of them a cigar with a request that they smoke them outside. Another example of this technique was demonstrated by John Wanamaker, who unobtrusively waited on a customer who had gone unnoticed by the staff, who were busy conversing among themselves. Once he got his staff’s attention, he let them complete the sale and continued making his rounds without mentioning the incident.
The instances described above are examples of the old adage, “Action speaks louder than words.” But words, chosen with care, can make a tremendous difference in their effect on others, just as those carelessly thrown about can demoralize and disconcert. Carnegie gives an example of how changing one little word that often goes unnoticed can make a significant difference in the impact of the whole statement. When praise is followed by the word “but,” the value of the praiseis often diminished and may appear less trustworthy. By simply changing “but” to “and” and rephrasing a negative into a positive statement, the overall effect of the statement can shift from demoralizing to encouraging. To paraphrase Carnegie’s example: “Your report card is great, but you need to improve your math grade” becomes “Your report card is great, and if you keep working hard, your math grade will be just as good.” The first version is potentially discouraging; the second inspires hope and positive effort.
So if you want to encourage the sort of positive effort that brings about positive results, avoid direct criticism. Instead, frame your observations in a positive manner that inspires people to do the right thing.
When Carnegie’s niece Josephine moved to New York to be his secretary, it was clear that she was extremely bright, having graduated high school three years earlier at the age of sixteen. But, like most nineteen-year-olds, she was also inexperienced in business, so the task of training and correcting her fell to Carnegie himself. Recognizing her youth and that he had had even less judgment at the same age, he softened his approach by talking about his own youthful mistakes before correcting hers, which were far fewer than his had ever been. Over time, she grew into one of the finest secretaries he knew.
A more historically significant illustration of the same principle occurred between Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia and his Imperial Chancellor, Prince Bernhard von Bülow. When the Kaiser suggested that von Bülow take the blame for the Kaiser’s own diplomatic blunders which had Europe in shock, the Prince made the mistake of protesting that no one would believe him to be capable of such things. Following the Kaiser’s infuriated response, von Bülow quickly mended the situation by praising the Kaiser and insisting on his own inferiority in matters of scientific and military knowledge. Fortunately, this rapid instinct for diplomacy salvaged the situation and the relationship but, as Carnegie points out, would have been better timed if the displays of praise and humility had been placedbefore the criticism.
Openly discussing your mistakes lets the other person know that youdon’t place yourself on a pedestal or look down on others’ shortcomings. Even when you’re unable to set a good example for the issue you want to discuss, taking this approach will prevent you from coming across as hypocritical and may even help you to change an undesirable behavior, as in the case of the father who wanted to prevent his son from smoking because of his own addiction to nicotine. Speaking honestly and humbly with his son not only prevented his son from taking up the habit but also gained for himself the family support and personal strength that ultimately enabled him to quit.
So beforeyou criticize, imagine yourself in the other person’s place and think about how you handled (or might handle) a similar situation at the same age. Your honesty and openness will be appreciated.
Leadership begins with respecting your subordinates and peers. One of the ways to demonstrate this in practice is to avoid giving direct orders, especially when they are given in a bossy or belligerent manner. Instead, try asking questions or making suggestions. Doing so stimulates creativity, responsibility, and self-reliance rather than resentment and resistance or excessive dependency. One manager found that what seemed to be an insurmountable problem was solved by brainstorming with his employees about different possibilities. Originally hesitant to take on the order, his employees convinced him of the viability of the project, which was successfully handled and delivered on schedule.
Next time you see yourself about to give an order, stop and consider whether a polite suggestion or question might not result in a superior effect.
There are many situations in life that could easily result in hurting another person’s dignity. Making a mistake, failing, being fired or demoted are all examples of events that can have a negative effect on a person’s self-esteem. Yet most situations can be approached in a positive manner that avoids unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame. When General Electric found their star employee, Charles Steinmetz, to be a poor match for the role of department head, instead of firing him, the company transferred him to a more suitable position as Consulting Engineer. Similarly, an accounting firm that had to regularly let its seasonal workers go, learned to do so with words of encouragement and praise for the good workers. Not only did they rescue the employees’ morale, but they kept the door open for future seasonal work. In another instance, a woman who made an error in her first attempt at test-marketing a product was assured that first-time mistakes were not uncommon and that she would no doubt do fine in the future.
Each of those situations could have been handled carelessly, resulting in unnecessary personal and interpersonal damage. Instead, they were handled thoughtfully, and in the process not only allowed the person in question to save face but also opened the door to positive future interaction.
This means that every time you see an improvement, no matter how small, give the person copious praise. Many of us will instantly think of dog training when we read that statement, and that is, in fact, the first analogy that Carnegie draws. But why, he wonders, do we not apply the same logic to our human interactions? He cites several examples of notable artists—Enrico Caruso, Charles Dickens, and H. G. Wells—whose sometimes dismal or discouraging early lives were changed by just a few words of praise from one or two people, or by one encouraging incident that opened the way toward a new life.
According to Carnegie, B. F. Skinner’s basic philosophy, reinforced by experiments with both animals and people, was that repeated praise coupled with minimal criticism would result in an increase in good behavior and a gradual erosion of bad habits. By contrast, scolding and yelling tend to have the reverse effect: instead of correcting, they make things worse. John Ringelspaugh, who took Carnegie’s course, was well aware of this negative effect in relation to his family, so he and his wife decided to give the praise method a try. At first it was difficult because their perception of their children was that they did so many things wrong. The more they found to praise, though, the more the children changed their behavior to earn more praise. Ringelspaugh and his wife were astounded by the turnaround in behavior. In another example related to the work place, a disgruntled young man who nevertheless did good work, was almost fired because of his attitude. Fortunately, a man named Keith Roper noticed the high quality of his work and specifically praised him for it. The result was that the young man had a complete change in attitude because he felt genuinely appreciated.
The element of specificity is important here, since it convinces the person that the praise is sincere and not just flattery. Carnegie is definite in his statement that if the rules he outlines are not applied from a truthful, heartfelt place, they will not work. As he states, he is not proffering a “bag of tricks” but a “new way of life.”
Carnegie concludes the chapter with a quote from William James that reminds us that all of us have hidden powers and resources of which we use only a fraction. He urges us to imagine what might happen if we sincerely applied the principle of praise—how our own and others’ currently untapped abilities might grow and bloom in new and unforeseen ways.
This could be viewed as the positive side of preventing loss of face. Going one step further, it does not just tactfully prevent others from feeling ashamed, demoralized, or guilty: it gives them a positive reputation to live up to. This can be as simple as letting others know of your elevated expectations of them, which, like the other principles, can often easily and effectively reverse a negative trend. By giving people a different sense of themselves, service has been dramatically improved and attitudes have significantly changed, resulting in benefits for all involved.So instead of putting other people down or feeding a negative sense of self, give them an improved sense of their own worth and potential, a different image to hold in mind. Then watch as they change and blossom in response.
Very often, people fail to solve their problems because they perceive them as being impossible to fix. An extension of the previous principle, the eighth rule in this section uses positive suggestion and ingenuity to awaken the dormant sense of potential and ease of learning that provide the seeds for change.
One man, convinced by his fiancée to take dancing lessons, was sure that he had no aptitude for it. His first teacher confirmed his belief. Determined to learn, he tried a different teacher, who told him that he had a natural ability and a good sense of rhythm. In the end, he still saw himself as a fourth-rate dancer, but he believed that his second teacher’s faith and encouragement had given him the impetus to improve. Another man, Ely Culbertson, was searching for a profession after a series of failed attempts at teaching and selling. Josephine Dillon, the woman he eventually married and herself a bridge teacher, persuaded him to take up bridge as a profession when she mentioned his potential genius after noticing his analytical approach to the cards. And one of the Carnegie course teachers, Clarence Jones, turned his son’s life around through the use of encouragement and by working with the boy’s natural aptitudes in order to overcome his difficulties. Clarence’s son, David, had a permanent scar from a head wound he had received in a car accident when he was a small child. A slow learner, he was two grade levels behind others in his age group and was considered brain-damaged by his teachers and peers, some of whom taunted him. At fifteen, his mathematical and reading abilities were still negligible. He did possess technical aptitude, though, so Clarence used his son’s goal to become a TV technician as motivation to improve his mathematical skills. Using flash cards, he worked with him nightly, celebrating and rewarding each small improvement until David was able to go through the whole stack of cards without error in under eight minutes—a feat that initially seemed impossible to him. As his capacity and enjoyment for learning grew, his grades improved and his abilities expanded rapidly. That same year, his exhibit about levers won first prize in the school’s science fair and third prize for all of Cincinnati. Because of his father’s persistence, encouragement, and ingenuity, David went from being a slow learner to a nationally recognized honor student in a short time.
Carnegie’s summary of this chapter is that in seeking to improve performance, remember the power of encouragement, and look for ways to make change easy.
Principle 9 recommends finding ways to make people feel good about cooperating with your requests. Carnegie considers this one of the basic features of diplomatic behavior on both a large and a small scale.
By some accounts, President Woodrow Wilson was known for phrasing his requests so that the person felt honored and important, as in the case of William McAdoo, when he was asked to join Wilson’s cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury.Unfortunately, President Wilson neglected at times to use this ability to smooth relations and elicit cooperation. In Carnegie’s view, his undiplomatic and exclusionary behavior in his handling of the dispute over the League of Nations with the Senate and the Republicans, including toward such prominent figures as Henry Cabot Lodge and Elihu Root, cost Wilson his health and career and changed history by preventing the United States from joining the League.
One way of eliciting cooperation is by giving people responsibility. Putting someone in charge of a task or department gives the person a sense of ownership that may have been missing before, and the technique works in many situations, including child-rearing and maintaining order in the business or home, although in some cases, it may require additional incentive. For example, one father paid his son a dollar for every full bushel of pears collected off the ground and docked him the same amount when the job was done imperfectly. Carnegie cites several other instances of people whose prior behavior was problematic, yet who, when put in charge of the same situation, made sure that everything ran smoothly. A similar but more symbolic approach is through the use of medals, awards, or titles, a tactic used by Napoleon to motivate his army.
Carnegie lists six basic rules to practice when attempting to alter the behavior or attitudes of others. In brief, they are:
Carnegie does not promise that these techniques will always work, but he claims that most people have found them helpful in improving their leadership capabilities, adding that even a small improvement is an advantage.
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.