Mrs. Goddard, the local schoolmistress, in gossipy letters to her sister Mrs. Pinkney in London, relates the great changes Highbury faces when Emma and Mr. Knightley remove from Hartfield after Mr. Woodhouse's death. Her primary concern is about who, exactly, will be taking up residence in the now vacant home. When she discovers that the new tenant is an eligible young bachelor, thoughts of matchmaking enter Mrs. Goddard's head - much as they did in Emma's own mind several years back. In the meantime, however, Mrs. Goddard's sister is having her own problems in London. It seems her husband, Mr. Pinkney, has a distant cousin enrolled in the pretentious girls' school in their area. The poor girl, frightfully unhappy with her situation, wishes to return to her beloved home in Barbadoes - and seems determined to do so no matter what the cost.