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Summary Chapter 15

Mr. Woodhouse wishes to go home after his tea. Mr. Elton joins Mrs. Weston and Emma. Emma brings up Harriet, and he makes polite conversation about her. However, he shows more concern for Emma getting sick than for Harriet being sick. He does seem to have a crush on Emma. Mrs. Weston finds him a bit ill-mannered and reproofs him. He goes away.
Mr. John Knightley begins to complain about the snow and how it will make the return trip long and difficult. Mr. Weston is certain the roads are passable but doesn’t mind lodging them, though he only has two guest rooms. It is decided that Emma and Mr. Woodhouse will stay, while her sister and her husband return home to the children. However, George Knightley says the roads are passable—the snow isn’t high.
Mr. Elton has had much to drink. Emma is sharing a coach with him. He professes his love for her. He only considers Miss Smith a friend, and his consideration of her was only because she was Emma’s friend.
Emma is not pleased. She thought he had liked Harriet. Mr. Elton thinks Harriet is a nice girl, but she isn’t on his level. He thought Emma liked him. Emma says she liked him as a suitor for Harriet, not for herself. Both are angry and embarrassed.
Mr. John Knightley and Mr. Woodhouse are in better spirits once they return home. Emma is forced to be cheerful, waiting for a time when she can be alone to think things over.
Jane Austen