More of Mr. Knightley

After it was shown how Mr. Knightley dislikes Frank Churchill, self found herself developing quite a liking for Mr. Knightley (She read somewhere in the Introduction that he’s the richest man thereabouts, so while everyone is acting like a perfect bounder, Mr. Knightley giving himself no airs is very attractive. Just saying)

The next we see of him is when Emma accepts an invitation to an evening’s entertainment at the Coles’. Her carriage arrives at the Coles’ just ahead of another and it pleases Emma that the carriage ahead belongs to Mr. Knightley (quelle bonne chance!)

Self will just say the following passage in her own words because Austen takes too long to get to the point: the point being that it is Mr. Knightley who extends his hand to help Emma out of her carriage. The following conversation ensues, which self finds absolutely adorable and enchanting because Emma fusses so at Mr. Knightley, and he is 16 years her senior.

Emma: This is coming as you should do, like a gentleman.

Mr. Knightley: How lucky that we should arrive at the same moment! For, if we had met first in the drawing-room, I doubt whether you would have discerned me to be more of a gentleman than usual.

Thanks to Emma’s interior monologue (which Austen manages to pull off even though the point of view is third person), we know that Mr. Knightley, “having . . . a great deal of health, activity, and independence,” does not often resort to using his carriage.

Emma: There is always a look of consciousness or bustle when people come in a way which they know to be beneath them. You think you carry it off very well, I dare say, but with you it is a sort of bravado, an air of unaffected concern; I always observe it when I meet you under those circumstances.

Hmm, self wonders. Why did Mr. Knightley resort to his carriage? Could he be trying to show up Frank Churchill?

What is Mr. Knightley’s first name, anyway? It can’t be John, because that’s his brother’s name. It can’t be Frank, because then he would have the same first name as his ‘rival.’

It can’t be Edward because no Edwards are ever becoming. At least not in Regency fiction. Self thinks. Hopes.

Stay tuned.



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