Harriet certainly did not look upset, and Emma did not understand it.
‘Did you ever suspect that he loved her?’ asked Harriet.
‘Of course not. I let you hope for him.’
‘Me? I have never hoped for Frank Churchill!’
‘Harriet, what do you mean?’
‘I know we agreed not to speak his name, but I do not understand how you could have made this mistake. I spoke of someone much better than Frank Churchill.’
Emma sat down and tried to keep calm.
‘Let us be very clear, Harriet. I remember you saying how you felt when he saved you from the gipsies — I am certain I did not imagine it.’
At first Harriet looked confused, then she said, ‘I remember the conversation, but I was thinking of something very different at the time. The night of the ball when Mr Elton would not dance with me and there was no other partner in the room …’
‘Good God!’ cried Emma. ‘You are speaking of Mr Knightley! This is an awful mistake.’
Harriet did not think so.
‘He is kind and sweet to me. And you said yourself, strange things have happened before.’
Suddenly Emma realised why it was so much worse now that Harriet was in love with Mr Knightley and not Frank Churchill. It cut through her like a knife. She would be unhappy if Mr Knightley married anyone except herself!
The rest of the day and the next night she did not stop thinking about it. How long had she loved Mr Knightley? How could she be happy now without him?
He was coming back to Highbury very soon and until then, Emma decided, she and Harriet had better not meet.
Mrs Weston visited Jane Fairfax and she told Emma about it afterwards.
‘She only decided to go to Mrs Smallridge because she believed Frank was in love with you and they could never marry. Now that she has spoken to him again and the secret is out, she will not go. She said you were very kind to her recently when she was ill,’ said Mrs Weston.
‘I am glad she is happy now, and very sorry if I sometimes hurt her in the past,’ Emma replied.
That evening there was a storm and it continued all night. Emma sat quietly with her father and it reminded her of the evening of Mrs Weston’s wedding day. Then Mr Knightley had walked in soon after tea and made them feel happier, but everything was different now. Mrs Weston had told Emma she was going to have a baby, so they were probably going to see less of her. Jane and Frank were getting married and might not live in Highbury, and if Mr Knightley and Harriet married she would also lose her two dearest friends to each other. There might not be other evenings when Mr Knightley just walked into Hartfield for the evening.
Emma felt very sad and could not sleep that night. The bad weather continued next morning but in the afternoon it stopped raining, the sun came out and it was summer again.