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|Jane's feelings, and Emma's regret
Written by Nikki N
(3/9/2011 6:07 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Frank's attraction, penned by Ramya
In chap 33 -- "Jane Fairfax has feeling," said Mr. Knightley; "I do not accuse her of want of feeling. Her sensibilities, I suspect, are strong, and her temper excellent in its power of forbearance, patience, self-controul; but it wants openness. She is reserved, more reserved, I think, than she used to be".
Now we know why she is more reserved than she used to be -- her secret engagement with Frank. And she had suffered greatly in her conscience during the concealment -- re chap 48 -- with "some happy moments", but without "the blessing of one tranquil hour", because she had "been acting contrary to all [her] sense of right". Emma believes that "Her affection must have overpowered her judgment.", and Mrs Weston "have no doubt of her being extremely attached to him." Emma, who at this point of time has a very low opinion of Frank, observes that "It is fit that the fortune should be on his side, for I think the merit will be all on her's."
Emma's "esteem and compassion" and "her sense of past injustice towards Miss Fairfax" was increased, she became aware of "the envious feelings" which she had. She bitterly regretted that she had not "followed Mr. Knightley's known wishes, in paying that attention to Miss Fairfax, which was every way her due; had she tried to know her better; had she done her part towards intimacy; had she endeavoured to find a friend there instead of in Harriet Smith; she must, in all probability, have been spared from every pain which pressed on her now. Birth, abilities, and education, had been equally marking one as an associate for her, to be received with gratitude; and the other -- what was she? Supposing even that they had never become intimate friends; that she had never been admitted into Miss Fairfax's confidence on this important matter -- which was most probable -- still, in knowing her as she ought, and as she might, she must have been preserved from the abominable suspicions of an improper attachment to Mr. Dixon, which she had not only so foolishly fashioned and harboured herself, but had so unpardonably imparted; an idea which she greatly feared had been made a subject of material distress to the delicacy of Jane's feelings, by the levity or carelessness of Frank Churchill's."
Emma was actually quite right in suspecting a secret romantic attachment for Jane formed at Weymouth, but very wrong in suspecting that it was an improper attachment to Mr Dixon, the fiance/husband of Jane's best friend. I suppose the Campbell-Dixon and the Jane-Churchill romances took place at about the same time, and that was why Jane was so reserved about what happened at Weymouth.
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