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|for with all the high opinion of [Frank Churchill]
Written by Stephanie
(3/17/2011 5:15 p.m.)
Emma's praise of Frank Churchill in ch. 18 strikes me as being enough to trigger jealousy in anyone in love with her. While playing a part to contradict that she is not really interested in Mrs. Weston's stepson paying a visit, she says:
[Emma] then proceeded to say a good deal more than she felt, of the advantage of such an addition to their confined society in Surrey; the pleasure of looking at some body new; the gala-day to Highbury entire, which the sight of him would have made [...]
She then defends Frank Churchill's absence, forcing Mr. Knightley into an entrenched position where he comes little short of calling Frank Churchill a spoiled, manipulative, pleasure-seeking child in a man's body, worthless, short-sighted, and vain. He winds up with:
I hear of [no merits], except what are merely personal; that he is well grown and good-looking, with smooth, plausible manners."
Emma's response would certainly spark jealousy in a Mr.-Knightley-in-love:
"Well, if he have nothing else to recommend him, he will be a treasure at Highbury. We do not often look upon fine young men, well-bred and agreeable. We must not be nice and ask for all the virtues into the bargain. Cannot you imagine, Mr. Knightley, what a sensation his coming will produce? There will be but one subject throughout the parishes of Donwell and Highbury; but one interest -- one object of curiosity; it will be all Mr. Frank Churchill; we shall think and speak of nobody else." [...]
"My idea of him is, that he can adapt his conversation to the taste of every body, and has the power as well as the wish of being universally agreeable. To you, he will talk of farming; to me, of drawing or music; and so on to every body, having that general information on all subjects which will enable him to follow the lead, or take the lead, just as propriety may require, and to speak extremely well on each; that is my idea of him."
"But I am [prejudiced for him] very much, and without being at all ashamed of it. My love for Mr. and Mrs. Weston gives me a decided prejudice in his favour."
Ow! Turn the knife a little deeper, Emma, dear; I think you missed a vital organ or two.
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