Chapter 46: About ten days after Mrs. Churchill's death, Mr. Weston comes to Hartfield to ask Emma to return home with him, as Mrs. Weston wants to see her. He seems quite serious, and Emma is concerned that something horrible has happened. When she gets there Mrs. Weston tells her that Frank had just been there and had told them that he and Jane are engaged, and have been since October. Emma is shocked and tries to remember everything that she said to Frank about Jane. They are both disillusioned about how Frank could have been engaged to Jane since before either of them had come to Hartfield and that they would hide it so long. Mrs. Weston fears that Emma may have been mislead, and Emma assures her that she is not in love with him. She continues on to say that this should not excuse him though, since he obviously was trying to make it look like she was the object of his affections, and she could have been badly hurt. Emma also does not understand how Jane could watch his attentions to her and say nothing, and Mrs. Weston says that Frank said that there were misunderstandings between them.
The couple could not marry with Mrs. Churchill alive, as she would not approve the match. As soon as she died and Frank heard about Jane's plans to take a position, he talked Mr. Churchill into approving the match and came quickly to his father to have him approve it. Emma is quite upset that they had been duped the whole time. Mr. and Mrs. Weston are quite relived that Emma will not have any pain over the marriage as they were quite concerned and had wished for a match to be made between them.
Chapter 47: Emma feels horrible for encouraging Harriet again to fall for a man that did not want her. She did not need to worry about why Jane had ignored her attentions; it must be from jealousy, as Jane must have seen her as a rival. Emma had promised that she would keep the secret about the engagement, but she still feels that she has to tell Harriet. She does not have to wait long, as Harriet soon enters the room asking Emma if she had ever heard such odd news. She says that Mr. Weston had told her when she ran into him on her way there. Emma thinks it strange that Harriet does not seem to be disappointed at all, and when she mentions it to Harriet, Harriet is surprised that Emma could ever think her attached to Frank Churchill. Emma reminds Harriet of their conversation, and says that while they never named anyone, she was sure they were talking about Frank. Emma is quite surprised when Harriet reveals that she was speaking of Mr. Knightley. When they had been talking about the great service the man had done for Harriet, Harriet had been talking about Mr. Knightley asking her to dance when Mr. Elton refused, and Emma had been talking about Frank saving her from the gypsies. Emma is obviously displeased, and Harriet does not understand why Emma would think that Frank would not mind the disparity between them but Mr. Knightley would. Emma asks Harriet if she thinks that Mr. Knightley returns her affections, and she says yes, and that she hopes Emma will not stand in the way of it. Emma wonders why she should be so upset at the idea of Harriet marrying Mr. Knightley, and she realizes that no one must marry Mr. Knightley but herself.
Emma turns again to Harriet and changes the subject back to Jane, but soon Harriet gives her reasons for thinking Mr. Knightley might return her affections, reflecting on times that he had gone out of his way to talk to her. When they hear Mr. Woodhouse approaching, Harriet takes her leave. Emma can think of nothing else the rest of the day. She tries to understand how she didn't realize that she was in love with Mr. Knightley, and tries to think back to when it might have started. She thinks of what a debasement it would be for Mr. Knightley if he married Harriet. She wishes that she had never brought Harriet out, and that she had never prevented her marrying Mr. Martin. She blames herself for Harriet's presumption in thinking that she could marry Mr. Knightley.
Chapter 48: Emma is thoroughly convinced of her love for Mr. Knightley, but she does not think that he could love her back in that way, as he has always tried to improve her and had most recently proved his impartiality by scolding her about her treatment of Miss Bates. Emma thinks again how she could not leave her father, and decides that even if Mr. Knightley were to ask her to marry him, she would have to refuse. She decides to watch Mr. Knightley, as he is to return that day, to see where his affections lie. She writes a letter to Harriet saying that she thinks it best if they do not see each other for a few days, and Harriet agrees. Mrs. Weston stops by on her way home after a visit to Jane Fairfax. She and Mr. Weston had gone there to show that they approve of the match and to get to know her better. While there, Jane asked Mrs. Weston to thank Emma for her attentions during her illness, and Emma is reminded of all of her injustices to Jane. The evening wears on, and Emma worries about how everyone is leaving her. If Mr. Knightley married, he would not visit as much, and since Mrs. Weston was to soon have a child, she would be too busy for Emma. She also worries about her past conduct, and the only thing that makes her feel better is the resolution that she will behave better.