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|Does Emma respect Miss Bates?
Written by Robbin
(4/9/2008 8:51 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A very different reading, penned by Tracy W
"Do you know Miss Bates's niece? That is, I know you must have seen her a hundred times -- but are you acquainted?"
"Oh! yes; we are always forced to be acquainted whenever she comes to Highbury. By the bye, that is almost enough to put one out of conceit with a niece. Heaven forbid! at least, that I should ever bore people half so much about all the Knightleys together, as she does about Jane Fairfax. One is sick of the very name of Jane Fairfax. Every letter from her is read forty times over; her compliments to all friends go round and round again; and if she does but send her aunt the pattern of a stomacher, or knit a pair of garters for her grandmother, one hears of nothing else for a month. I wish Jane Fairfax very well; but she tires me to death." (Chapter 10)
I agree one can admire the gift of a stomacher pattern while not wishing to hear of it for ages on end but Emma does not say she admires it. Emma says, “and if she does but send her aunt the pattern of a stomacher, or knit a pair of garters for her grandmother, one hears of nothing else for a month.” I agree hearing of nothing else for a month could get tiresome but this comment of Emma’s sounds dismissive to me. I think the word ‘but” down-plays what is to follow as if it is less than what should be expected to excite anyone’s admiration.
I think Emma is being disrespectful by calling Miss Bates silly and complaining about how boring she is to Harriet because she is an older lady deserving of respect on that account alone and she is also her father’s good friend. I think it is clear Emma does not respect Miss Bates abilities but does she respect her as a person—if she did would she criticize her so much to Harriet or is she just not thinking? (:D)
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