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Written by Tarn
(4/11/2008 4:24 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Old Maids: Emma is like Miss Bates, penned by Maisy
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition
We know that Miss Bates is a gentleman's daughter and one of the very few people in Highbury of equal rank with (and therefore suitable to dine with) Mr Woodhouse's family. Indeed, she is a valuable neighbour to Miss Woodhouse with her delight in small talk exactly like that of Mr Woodhouse.
We know that the difference between Emma and Miss Bates, is that Miss Bates is poor and not clever and does not have as comfortable a home. We know that Emma thinks of this as a just reason for people generally despising Miss Bates as an old maid, even if the grounds for their contempt are pure prejudice and not at all applicable to her.
Note also, that while Miss Bates was one of the first characters to be introduced, and has attended at least one supper at Hartfield, (to our explicit knowledge, that is- there are other occasions where her attendance can reasonably be inferred); and we have even been privy to discussions at visits between her own home and Mrs Perry's (which bear a strong resemblance to Mr Woodhouse's and Isabella's revelations on the same subject); we are a third of the way through the book and she has not yet uttered a single word.
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