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Written by Nikki N
(3/15/2011 10:39 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, believed [they were] very clever, and understood every thing, penned by Stephanie
When discussing the Martins with Harriet, even Emma said -- "I wish you may not get into a scrape, Harriet, whenever he [Robert Martin] does marry; -- I mean, as to being acquainted with his wife -- for though his sisters, from a superior education, are not to be altogether objected to, it does not follow that he might marry any body at all fit for you to notice".
And Harriet said -- "I shall always have a great regard for the Miss Martins, especially Elizabeth, and should be very sorry to give them up, for they are quite as well educated as me. But if he marries a very ignorant, vulgar woman, certainly I had better not visit her, if I can help it."
Mr Martin is actually better educated than Emma thought, his reading more serious and substantial than Harriet's novels. Emma admitted that Mr Martin's sisters had "a superior education" -- this conversation took place before Mr Martin's proposal letter. So Emma must have known that the Miss Martins had properly attended Mrs Goddard's school for some time, and could not deny it when Harriet said they were as well educated as she was. If they merely attended school in between farm work, I bet that Emma would have pointed that out to Harriet, as Emma wanted to degradde the Martins in Harriet's eyes.
Considering that Harriet was of weak understanding, if the Miss Martins had received the same instruction as Harriet, I believe they would be superior to Harriet in knowledge and possible basic accomplishments. There was a reference to Miss Martin copying songs from Harriet in chap 7 discussed earlier in this group read -- that copying songs could mean copying musical sheets -- as JA herself and her friends used to copy from each other so that they need not all buy the same music.
When Emma fetched Harriet in her carriage after allowing Harriet to pay a short, formal call at Abbey-Mill, Emma saw Miss Martin at the door, parting with Harriet with "ceremonious civility" -- showing Miss Martin, like Harriet, had the manners of a near gentlewoman.
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