Emma reflects miserably about the Box Hill expedition. She comforts herself a little regarding her good behavior to her father, but her conscience continues to torture her regarding her treatment of Miss Bates. The very next morning, Emma resolves to visit Miss Bates regularly.
Emma again demonstrates her ability to be severe on herself and improve. To her credit, once convicted of her faults, Emma earnestly attempts to correct them and improve her behavior.
Emma arrives at the Bateses to find Jane unwell, and she is ushered into the bedroom. Miss Bates’s gratitude further humbles Emma. Emma learns that Jane has just accepted the governess position Mrs. Elton found for her; Jane spent the past day at Box Hill making up her mind. All of Emma’s former unkind feelings towards Jane are washed away by her sympathy, as Emma wishes Jane well with heartfelt warmth.
Emma at last begins to put aside her annoyance for the gossipy Miss Bates, as she fully appreciates her goodness and generosity. Like Harriet, Miss Bates does not begrudge Emma her wrongdoing, and this generosity further humbles Emma.
Miss Bates also shares that Frank left for Richmond on Mrs. Churchill’s summons the previous evening. The contrast between Mrs. Churchill’s and Jane’s situation strikes Emma with particular poignancy, as she reflects on the former’s power and the latter’s dependence. She leaves the Bateses with sincere good will and regret for her previous unkindness.
Emma also at last puts aside her childish jealousy of Jane, towards whom she feels real female sympathy. She realizes that fate can be both fickle and cruel, endowing the cold Mrs. Churchill with power and leaving the good Jane socially impoverished.