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|But I'm not suggesting Mr Woodhouse...
Written by Tarn
(2/9/2011 12:09 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, From what I can gather, Emma has never ventured into, penned by AnnetteJ
In chapter one we are told that "London, only sixteen miles off, was much beyond [Emma's] daily reach", and that "many a long October and November evening must be struggled through at Hartfield" before Emma sees the John Knightleys and their children. This suggests to me that Emma does not travel to London in the winter, when she might have to return in darkness or bad weather, and that even in the summer months she doesn't visit Isabella more than once or twice a week. Of course, there is no mention of Emma going more than walking distance from Highbury, but --
While this near-marathon effort is clearly not typical, I think it demonstrates that the tyranny of distance was not an insuperable obstacle to Emma making a day visit to Isabella in the coach, if she wished, with Mr Knightley or merely James and a footman, even quite late in the year.
Even Mr Woodhouse's perception of the distance is not immutable: Mr Weston commutes to London regularly without disturbing Mr Woodhouse's composure, Mr Knightley can walk a mile to Hartfield after making the journey, with nothing more than a passing solicitude, he can look on while Emma, with no (sincere) scruple, sends Mr Elton off to London in the middle of winter on horseback, to save Isabella, his firstborn child, the "'usual doer of all commissions" from "the fogs of December"(6) -- which implies that Mr Woodhouse was able to bear Isabella coming (if not going) for a day-visit in more clement months.
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