Emma Woodhouse's friend and former governess Miss Taylor marries Mr. Weston. Because Emma introduced them to each other, she decides she has a gift for matchmaking.
She sets her sights on setting up her friend Harriet Smith with the local vicar, Mr. Elton, against the advice of her sister's brother-in-law, Mr. Knightley. Emma convinces Harriet to turn down a marriage proposal from Robert Martin, a local farmer.
Mr. Elton mistakenly believes Emma is interested in him, however, and he proposes to her. Emma then reveals she has actually been trying to set him up with Harriet, and because Mr. Elton is status-driven, he is disgusted because he considers her socially inferior. Mr. Elton then goes to Bath, leaving Harriet upset.