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|acquaintance with the Martins of Abbey-Mill-Farm
Written by Stephanie
(3/15/2011 2:47 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, marrying outside the sphere, penned by Nikki N
The parallel between the Bennets' marriage and a hypothetical one between Mr. Knightley and Harriet Smith holds in the wife's weak mind, perhaps, but Harriet's sweet temper is something I think Mrs. Bennet, nee Gardiner, never had.
The Gardiner's were of a lawyer's family, not in trade (until Mr. Gardiner entered it), but even a family in trade is better than illegitimacy. While Harriet might have turned out to be the daughter of anybody, Emma was not certain enough of which way that would fall out to rightly encourage Harriet without compunction. Imagine if you told a friend taking a position at Buckingham Palace that she would be able to be in the same household as the unengaged prince, and would be sure to catch his eye, and they would live happily ever after! Well, right, it COULD happen, but who in their right mind would bank on it?
The Misses Martin might have been day students for a session, not necessarily students who had attended for several years, as Harriet had. They may or may not have been Harriet's equal in education. Often children of a farm are needed there, and can not spend as much time in a town school.
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