Mr. Knightley: EMMA, Vol. II

Reading Emma has been hard going: there’s not a page that self doesn’t have to re-read (sentences so long!). Now, however, she’s developing quite an interest in the character of Mr. Knightley.

Emma’s sister, Isabella, is married to his brother John, making “Mr. Knightley” Emma’s brother-in-law. Mr. Knightley is 16 years older than Emma, and his presence in her life is that of benign older brother (It is a little hard for self to wrap her mind around Mr. Knightley as a romantic partner for Emma. If for nothing else than that humongous age gap!).

Emma and Mr. Knightley had their little tiffs in Vol. I, but he doesn’t remain angry at her and by the end of Vol. I they are on speaking terms again.

In Vol. II, with the appearance of a “stranger” — Frank Churchill — into Emma’s little world of Highbury, Mr. Knightley (he is never anything other than “Mr. Knightley” to Emma) suddenly appears in opposition:

  • There was one person among his new acquaintance in Surry, not so leniently disposed. In general he was judged, throughout the parishes of Donwell and Highbury, with great candour; liberal allowances were made for the little excesses of such a handsome young man — one who smiled so often and bowed so well; but there was one spirit among them not to be softened, from its power of censure, by bows or smiles — Mr. Knightley . . .  for the moment he was silent; but Emma heard him almost immediately afterwards say to himself, over a newspaper he held in his hand, “Hum! just the trifling, silly fellow I took him for.’ She had half a mind to resent; but an instant’s observation convinced her that it was really said only to relieve his own true feelings; and not meant to provoke; and therefore she let it pass.

Self can hardly wait for Mr. Knightley, Emma, and Frank Churchill to begin quarreling with each other!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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