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|classes and visits
Written by Nikki N
(2/12/2011 6:18 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, But she visited poor people in their cottages,, penned by Graciela
I agree. The really poor i.e. the cottagers who receive direct charity would not be among the "second and third rate" who would visit Mrs and Miss Bates! Emma did not mind visiting the cottagers -- I think they were regarded as the poor working class -- such visits were charitable visits, not social calls. As for people like the Martins, they did not need her charity, so as she said they were "in one sense as much above" her notice as "in every other" they were "below" it. She could not pay them charitable visits, and she did not wish to pay social calls to them.
I think the "second and third rate" refer to the lower middle class e.g. the tradesmen's families, people like the Coxes, the Gilberts, the Coles; Emma did not mind occasionally meeting them, but she had a horror of being considered to be on the same level as they.
Visits to Mrs and Miss Bates involve some tact and delicacy -- they had to be treated as social calls, and indirect charity given in the form of generous "gifts" to them. I don't blame Emma for finding Miss bates tiresome -- in fact, if Miss Bates was rich, I think Emma would still find her tiresome. But in that case, it would not matter so much if Emma was remiss in her duty calls. A rich Miss Bates would not be in need of much attention from Emma.
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