Chapter 7: The very day that Mr. Elton sets off for London, Harriet receives a letter proposing marriage from Mr. Martin and runs to Emma to find out what she should do. Emma finds the letter better than she had expected, but is surprised when she realizes that Harriet is thinking about what she ought to answer. Emma says that she will not give Harriet any advice on the matter, but adds that if Harriet has any doubts about it, she ought to refuse. Harriet cannot seem to make this decision by herself, and hesitantly says that she has almost determined to refuse him. Emma is immediately relieved, saying that she has made the right decision, and that she is glad, as they could no longer be friends if she married Mr. Martin. Harriet writes a letter refusing Martin, and Emma tries to make Harriet feel better about not being able to visit Mr. Martin's sisters anymore. Emma tries to get her to think of Mr. Elton instead, saying that he is probably showing her portrait to his mother and sisters.
Chapter 8: For the past few weeks Harriet has been spending more and more time at Hartfield, but the morning after the proposal from Mr. Martin she has to go back to Mrs. Goddard's for a bit, and Mr. Knightley visits Emma. Mr. Knightley hints that Harriet may soon be receiving a marriage proposal. Emma thinks that Mr. Elton has dropped a hint, but Mr. Knightley says that Robert Martin had paid him a visit to ask him what he thought about it. Knightley says that he is an excellent young man, and that he encouraged him in his proposal. Emma tells Knightley that Martin has already proposed, and that Harriet has refused him. Knightley is quite surprised and says that she must be mistaken. When Emma says that she saw her refusal, Knightley accuses her of writing it. He is shocked when he finds out that Emma thinks Martin is not Harriet's equal, stating that he is her superior. He tells Emma that she has been no friend to Harriet, and that Harriet should marry Martin, as no higher man would marry a woman with such an obscure family history. Knightley guesses that Emma is trying to make a match between Harriet and Mr. Elton, and he tells her that it will be in vain, as Elton is a very respectable vicar and would not make such an imprudent match. After Knightley takes leave of Emma she is concerned, as she usually respects Knightley's opinion, but she convinces herself that he has never seen Elton and Harriet together, so she knows better than he does.
Chapter 9: Emma convinces herself fully that Knightley is wrong, and he does not visit Hartfield for a while. When he does, Emma can see that she was not forgiven. The portrait of Harriet is brought back framed, and is hung up in a prominent spot at Hartfield. Emma and Harriet start collecting riddles and transcribing them into a book. They invite Elton to write one, and soon he does give them one that he states a friend of his wrote to give to a young lady. The riddle is deciphered to mean 'courtship,' and Emma convinces Harriet that Elton wrote it himself, and that he wrote it for her. Emma is soon busy preparing for the visit of her sister and her family for Christmas.