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|Cows & Friends
Written by Robbin
(1/26/2011 12:50 p.m.)
If you feel a little déjà vu reading this post you are right. I have combined two speculative posts lost to void into this one. (:D) In Ch. 3 the narrator relates the intimate friends of Hartfield, eight in all, Mr. and Mrs. Weston, Mrs. and Miss Bates, Mr. Knightley and Mr. Elton, and Mrs. Goddard and Miss Smith. In Ch. 4 Harriet tells Emma of the Martin’s farm which happens to include eight cows:
…and of their having eight cows, two of them Alderneys, and one a little Welch cow, a very pretty little Welch cow, indeed; and of Mrs. Martin's saying, as she was so fond of it, it should be called her cow… (Chapter 4)
This always strikes me as funny because eight friends and eight cows in succeeding chapters seems more than a coincidence. Emma can roundup a card table for her father almost any day of the week from amongst these friends. I liken Emma’s particular pleasure in Harriet to Harriet’s admiration of the Martin’s Welch cow. Harriet says “a very pretty little Welch cow” (3) and Emma’s thoughts about Harriet are pretty much the same:
She was a very pretty girl, and her beauty happened to be of a sort which Emma particularly admired. She was short… (4)
Reference.com had this to say of Alderney cattle:
Pure-breed Alderneys were smaller, more slender boned animals than the cattle of the other Channel Islands and in some ways they were more deer-like than bovine. They were docile animals and would even follow children passively to or from pastures. Their milk was copious and produced very rich butter.
This does nothing to erase the image of Emma herding friends to Hartfield. (:D) Mrs. Bates, Miss Bates and Mrs. Goddard “were the ladies whom Emma found herself very frequently able to collect” (3). They might be described as rather “docile” in their “quiet prosings” (3) and willingness to be collected and “copious” as in “having or yielding an abundant supply” of friendship. Mrs. Bates is a “very old lady, almost past every thing but tea and quadrille” (3) so I fancy Miss Bates and Mrs. Goddard as the Alderneys because their situations and relationships with Mr. Woodhouse are minutely explained in Ch. 3:
The simplicity and cheerfulness of her [Miss Bates’] nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to every body and a mine of felicity to herself. She was a great talker upon little matters, which exactly suited Mr. Woodhouse, full of trivial communications and harmless gossip. (3)
She [Mrs. Goddard] was a plain, motherly kind of woman, who had worked hard in her youth, and now thought herself entitled to the occasional holiday of a tea-visit; and having formerly owed much to Mr. Woodhouse's kindness, felt his particular claim on her to leave her neat parlour hung round with fancy-work whenever she could, and win or lose a few sixpences by his fireside. (3)
The definition of copious is from dictionary.com. Thanks for reading! (:D)
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