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Emma: Summary: Chapter 1- Chapter 3

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Chapter 1: In chapter one, twenty-one year old Emma Woodhouse is introduced.  She is the younger of two daughters, but as her mother died long ago and her sister has already been married, she has been the mistress of Hartfield for some time.  Her father, Mr. Woodhouse, had hired Miss Taylor as Emma's governess, and the two became more like sisters, Emma being allowed to have things her way most of the time.  At the beginning of the novel Miss Taylor has just been married to Mr. Weston, making what was a suitable match for both, and Emma is wondering how she will bear the change of not having Miss Taylor around.  Her sister, Isabella, is too far away in London to be a companion, and Highbury, the small village that Hartfield is a part of, does not really offer any other options, as the Woodhouses are the most important family there.  Luckily Mrs. Weston will only be a half-mile away.  Mr. Woodhouse requires much consolation on the marriage of Miss Taylor, as he does not approve of change of any sort, so marriage was always disagreeable to him. 
Emma tries to make him happier.  Mr. Knightley, the thirty-seven or thirty-eight year old intimate friend of the family (and the elder brother of Isabella's husband) visits, and he cannot agree that it is a sad thing that Miss Taylor has married, as now she will have more independence and will not have to spend so much time humoring Emma.  He is one of the few people who find fault with Emma, and the only one who ever voices her faults.  Emma agrees that the match is good, especially since she believes that she caused it to happen.  Her father is sorry to hear of it, but Emma promises him that she will make no matches for herself.  Knightley states that she just made a lucky guess, and that she really had nothing to do with it, but Emma disagrees.  Her father asks her to make no more matches, but she says that she will make no more after she finds a wife for Mr. Elton, the vicar of Highbury. 
Chapter 2: Mr. Weston is a native of Highbury.  He met and married Miss Churchill over the objections of her brother, and she died three years later after bearing them a son, Frank.  Weston eventually gave Frank up to his wife's brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Churchill, to raise, as they had more money and could support him better, and Frank eventually even took the name Churchill.  Mr. Weston purchased a small estate in Highbury.  He sees his son every year in London, and everyone in Highbury thinks Frank Churchill is one of their own, and all talk about him with pride even though they have never met him.  Now with the marriage of Mr. Weston and Miss Taylor, everyone thinks that he will have to come and visit soon to meet the new Mrs. Weston.  Instead Mrs. Weston gets a very nice letter from him that everyone in Highbury approves of and cannot talk about enough.
Chapter 3: Mr. Woodhouse is fond of society, but he prefers to have people come and visit him rather than to travel out, and indeed people do come.  The Westons, Mr. Knightley and Mr. Elton come to see him, as do Mrs. Bates, an old widow, and her daughter Miss Bates, a rather silly and talkative but good-natured woman.  Mrs. Goddard, the schoolmistress, is also a visitor.  One day Mrs. Goddard brings Miss Smith, a student from her school, with her.  Mrs. Goddard has raised Harriet Smith, and no one knows who her parents are.  Emma is quite taken by her beauty and manners, and by the end of the evening has decided to befriend her.  She decides to form her and to keep her away from the lower friends that she has, most namely the Martin family, who are renting a farm from Mr. Knightley.  These visits make Mr. Woodhouse happy because he likes the company, but it dismays him to see people eating supper.  He thinks the food quite unwholesome, and would rather they all eat gruel. 


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