Posted by kathleen (elder) on July 16, 1997 at 22:04:31:
In reply to What was Emma's tone? posted by Nora on July 16, 1997 at 21:50:30
I think Mr Knightley explained it to Emma very well after the insult. It was very disrespectful of Emma to insult Miss Bates in front of company, including Jane, Miss Bates' niece. Emma is one of the highest ranking women in Highbury, and her actions could set a bad example for other people. And, the fact that Miss Bates is an older, poorer woman makes it an unfair fight, if you will.
Miss Bates' previous comments were a jest at her own expense. I might say to a friend that of course I am too old or too dull or too something -- and then want my friend to disagree or commiserate, but not insult me further.