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|I doubt if we are ever going to agree on this one
Written by Kathleen Glancy
(2/28/2011 9:40 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Well, I don't think..., penned by Reeba
But one last try. I said Emma's clothes might be made up by Emma's maid - who would be trained in fancy needlework - with help from Hannah, not that Hannah would do it alone. I visualised Hannah doing the boring bits, hems and seams, while the maid did the fancier work. Bear in mind, too, that although Emma does not go out much she would change her dress for dinner every night, even if it was only her and her father. That was what people of her station did.
It is no doubt true that Mr Knightley has not heard Emma talking about her clothes. But she also does not spend time gazing in mirrors, drawing attention to her hairstyle or recommending Gowlands lotion to all and sundry, and I remain convinced that it is this lack of vanity that he praises. I don't know that a gentleman at the time would have regarded a lady being fashionably and tastefully dressed as vanity, so long as she did not keep drawing attention to her clothes.
Since Mrs Elton does not balk at offering Emma advice on going to Bath and offering an introduction to Mrs Partridge, despite Emma's polite but clear rejection of that idea, I don't think she would balk at dress advice, perhaps tagging on - "Of course if you were to go to Bath you may wish to refurbish your wardrobe" and telling her where the best shops and sewing-women were to be found there.
Cherry-picking from one of your other posts, I think it is a bit of a leap to assume that because Emma has pockets in one day dress (not necessarily her newest one), which is all that can be proved from the quote from Chapter 40, her entire wardrobe would be old-fashioned.
And I am done - since I am not convinced by your arguments and have little hope of you being convinced by mine, perhaps we should agree to disagree. The more so since in the latest chapters Emma has behaved so very badly that it hardly matters whether she was wearing silk or fustian when she did it.
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