Posted by Laraine on July 18, 1997 at 14:59:22:
In reply to Re: Class Liberalities posted by Julia on July 18, 1997 at 12:32:19
] How could Emma and her father, being of wealth and distinction, spend so much time playing cards with a schoolteacher and and poor old maid? I understand that she lacks proper society due to her inability to leave Highbury, but to choose what seems "improper" society instead? Is everyone really allowing Emma to break rank purely for her amusement?
] I'm no expert, but I think that to condensend and associate with those below you was considered charitable, not indecent.
I'm no expert either--maybe the folks at the Regency life board could help us out as to who was really "beneath" whom and what breaking such protocols meant about have people were perceived.
I do know that as the daughter and widow of the former vicar, the Bates' are acceptable as gentry, and I've always assumed (and that's all this is) the Mrs. Goddard's position must be something like Jane Fairfax's--a gentlewoman forced by circumstances to shift for herself.
It's an interesting question in the book. I won't quote it because it might be a spoiler for some who want to watch the intricate relationships unfold gradually, but if you want to, look at the opening paragraphs of volume II (chapter 19). :-)