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|The Farmer and the Nobody
Written by Robbin
(2/3/2011 7:10 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Road vs assembly, penned by Reeba
I agree the situations at the assembly (P&P, 3) and on the Donwell road (4) are not exactly the same but in the end Emma and Darcy had the same choice. They each outranked their company and thus had the power to bestow or withhold their notice. The etiquette of introductions gives Emma the choice of acquaintance but it does not prohibit the acquaintance. Walking away from the couple and the facts she did not ask Harriet to introduce him to her and that no introduction took place evidences Emma did not wish to initiate an introduction:
They met Mr. Martin the very next day, as they were walking on the Donwell road. He was on foot, and after looking very respectfully at her, looked with most unfeigned satisfaction at her companion. Emma was not sorry to have such an opportunity of survey; and walking a few yards forward, while they talked together… (4)
Emma’s snobby claim “a respectable, intelligent gentleman-farmer” (8) is “a man whom I could never admit as an acquaintance of my own” (8) illustrates she would not take any steps of introduction herself. Of course I am not suggesting they dance at the next farmer’s ball but I don’t think admitting Robert Martin’s acquaintance is quite the horror Emma makes it out to be. After all she has befriended Harriet who she admits to Mr. Knightley “in a legal sense… may be called Nobody” (8).
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