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|Of course she does. Emma is hardly subtle about it
Written by Kathleen Glancy
(2/11/2011 12:38 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Maybe she realizes Emma is on a fishing expedition to, penned by AnnetteJ
and it's not just about Frank Churchill either. Emma could be excused for asking about him, since he is now the stepson of her closest friend. But in Chapter 20 Emma also probes about the Dixons, possibly hoping for information to feed the unpleasant fantasy she has contocted about Jane and Mr Dixon, on the thinnest of evidence. We find that Jane "was more reserved on the subject of Weymouth and the Dixons than any thing. She seemed bent on giving no real insight into Mr. Dixon's character, or her own value for his company, or opinion of the suitableness of the match". If Emma has ever met the former Miss Campbell at all, it cannot have been for long enough to form any real relationship - so Emma has no legitimate interest here. How many of us would be prepared to discuss our closest friend's prospects of happiness in her recent marriage with someone who (so far as Jane knows) can have no reason other than vulgar curiosity for asking about it? It would of course only be polite to mention it, but to ask whether Jane thought the match suitable, however the question was couched, is not polite at all. I do not blame Jane for stonewalling. Of course this only convinces Emma that her unpleasant fantasy must be true. You would think she might have learned something from the Elton/Harriet fiasco, but apparently not. The more charitable feeling she had towards Jane after visiting her at the Bates' home has not outlasted Jane's return visit to Hartfield.
Emma appears to me to be so prejudiced against Jane that Jane can do nothing right. For example "They had music; Emma was obliged to play; and the thanks and praise which necessarily followed appeared to her an affectation of candour, an air of greatness, meaning only to shew off in higher style [Jane's] own very superior performance". It would be incredibly rude to do anything but praise and thank your hostess' playing. I wonder if Emma would have liked it any better if Jane had not praised her performance as common courtesy required but instead given her a detailed appraisal of the deficiencies in her technique? I suspect not.
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