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|Emma's horror for the mixture of ranks
Written by Graciela
(4/25/2008 1:12 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Time and again, penned by Robbin
The want of proper families in the place, and the conviction that none beyond the place and its immediate environs could be tempted to attend, were mentioned; but he was not satisfied. He could not be persuaded that so many good-looking houses as he saw around him, could not furnish numbers enough for such a meeting; and even when particulars were given and families described, he was still unwilling to admit that the inconvenience of such a mixture would be any thing, or that there would be the smallest difficulty in every body's returning into their proper place the next morning. He argued like a young man very much bent on dancing; and Emma was rather surprized to see the constitution of the Weston prevail so decidedly against the habits of the Churchills. He seemed to have all the life and spirit, cheerful feelings, and social inclinations of his father, and nothing of the pride or reserve of Enscombe. Of pride, indeed, there was, perhaps, scarcely enough; his indifference to a confusion of rank, bordered too much on inelegance of mind. He could be no judge, however, of the evil he was holding cheap. It was but an effusion of lively spirits. (Ch. 24)
I wonder at how Emma rates (is this the correct term?) the Westons. Mr. Weston is a gentleman, but he was "born of a respectable family, which for the last two or three generations had been rising into gentility and property" (ch 2), which means that they were not originally gentry, possibly in trade: he made his fortune in trade, and his brothers were also tradesmen. Mrs. Weston also I suppose is a genteel woman, but she is described as "portionless" and she has been a governess (but she was *Emma's governess*). Yet Emma considers them one of the regular and best families that she supposes the Coles would not dare to invite.
The style of the visit, and the shortness of it, were then felt to be decisive. Fourteen minutes to be given to those with whom she had thankfully passed six weeks not six months ago! Emma could not but picture it all, and feel how justly they might resent, how naturally Harriet must suffer. It was a bad business. She would have given a great deal, or endured a great deal, to have had the Martins in a higher rank of life. They were so deserving, that a little higher should have been enough: but as it was, how could she have done otherwise? Impossible! She could not repent. They must be separated; but there was a great deal of pain in the process -- so much to herself at this time, that she soon felt the necessity of a little consolation, and resolved on going home by way of Randalls to procure it. Her mind was quite sick of Mr. Elton and the Martins. The refreshment of Randalls was absolutely necessary. (Ch. 23)
Harriet is suffering for the loss of her friends; the Misses Martin are surely offended by the short visit and also regretting the loss of their friendship, and Mr. Martin is also unhappy. But Emma thinks that it's *she* who has now a lot of pain and needs consolation.
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