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|Is it necessarily about rank? Could it be about good-breeding?
Written by Tom P2
(2/13/2011 4:32 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma and Mrs/Miss Bates -- what a sad commentary on, penned by AnnetteJ
OK, that may sound like splitting hairs, but here's an example from S+S ch32 with two ladies of equal birth - Lady Middleton and Mrs Palmer - where the one with less polished manners oppresses the heroine and the one with more polished manners doesn't. The calm and polite unconcern of Lady Middleton on the occasion was an happy relief to Elinor's spirits, ... she was sometimes worried down by officious condolence to rate good-breeding as more indispensable to comfort than good-nature.
Good-breeding may tend to follow class lines, but I think it's not an absolute rule. For example, Mr Woodhouse sounds like he's had less vexation from James's daughter - the civil, pretty-spoken girl who always turns the lock of the door the right way and never bangs it (ch1) - than from Mr John Knightley. Perhaps Emma's inherited a bit of her father's sensitivity about manners?
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