Before the arrival of Frank Churchill in Jane Austen's Emma, Mr. Weston, Frank Churchill's father, happens to meet Emma on the road, and he says this to Emma:
Emma could imagine she saw a touch of the arm at this speech, from his wife.
'We had better move on, Mr Weston,' said she; 'we are detaining the girls.'
'Well, well, I am ready;'—and turning again to Emma, 'but you must not be expecting such a very fine young man; you have only had my account, you know; I dare say he is really nothing extraordinary:'—though his own sparkling eyes at the moment were speaking a very different conviction.
Emma, chapter XXIII
Keeping in mind that Emma is an unreliable narrator, I can't trust Emma's interpretation of Mr. Weston's words and expression; but I'm also having trouble seeing what he's hoping to accomplish by telling Emma this.
From the readers' perspective, also, what does this accomplish? What does this tell us about Mr. Weston, Emma, and Frank Churchill, in the way that this is told and interpreted by the characters?
What purpose does this little speech serve from the perspective of the characters, and what purpose does it serve for us as the readers?