I must once more speak to you

Category: Education | Type: Discussion | Title: Emma (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Vol: Volume III | Ch: Chapter VII

Emma is so infected by Frank's behavior that she's oblivious to the effect of what she's said until Knightley tells her.

After he reminds her of Miss Bates's vulnerability and poverty, Emma responds with "anger against herself, mortification, and deep concern." As Highbury's doyenne she's set a miserable example; others, he reminds her, "would be entirely guided by your treatment of her."

He's right, for when Mrs. Elton sought to enlist Emma in jointly supporting Jane, she says, "My dear Miss Woodhouse, a vast deal may be done by those who dare to act. If we set the example, many will follow it as far they can; though they have not our situations." It will be no consolation to Emma to recall Mrs. Elton's lesson. 

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