The last three chapters of Volume II tell the tale of Emma’s dinner for Mrs. Elton. Let us be grateful that modern etiquette rarely asks us to hold a party for a person we despise! Needless to say, it is not Emma’s most successful entertainment. The gathered company has little desire to be there, Mr. John Knightley being the most vocal in his distaste. Mrs. Elton snubs her hostess. Jane Fairfax is put on the defensive, subject to everyone’s unwanted advice.
I think the atmosphere of the evening is well summarized by the final sentence of Chapter 36 and clears up any doubt that the men had any better time over their port than the ladies had in the drawing room:
Mr. Knightley seemed to be trying not to smile; and succeeded without difficulty, upon Mrs. Elton’s beginning to talk to him.
The bulk of the scene takes place in the drawing room, with Emma and Mrs. Weston chatting on one side of the room while Mrs. Elton tries to whisper to Jane Fairfax on the other. There is little camaraderie amongst the company until Mr. Weston arrives. He and Mrs. Elton hit it off like two peas in the pod. This will be the subject of the discussion today at The Writer’s Block. We invite you to share your thoughts and inspirations. Leenie, Rebecca, and I (your read along team) have been experimenting with creative writing replies to each other’s prompts. We hope you’ll check it out and join in the fun!
Come join us at The Writer’s Block for conversation and fun! http://austenauthors.net/writers-block/emma-read-along/emma-chapters-34-36/#p306