— But you will be ready to say, what was your hope in doing this? — What did you look forward to? — To any thing, every thing — to time, chance, circumstances, slow effects, sudden bursts, perserverance and weariness ... Every possibility of good was before me, and the first of blessings secured ... — from Emma, by Jane Austen
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

December 5, 2017

Old friend



[Miss Bates] enjoyed a most uncommon degree of popularity for a woman neither young, handsome, rich, nor married. ..She had never boasted either beauty or cleverness. Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavour to make a small income go as far as possible. And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will. It was her own universal good-will and contented temper which worked such wonders. She loved every body, was interested in every body's happiness, quick-sighted to every body's merits; thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so many good neighbours and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing. The simplicity and cheerfulness of her nature, her contented and grateful spirit, were a recommendation to every body, and a mine of felicity to herself. She was a great talker upon little matters ...full of trivial communications and harmless gossip.
from Emma, by Jane Austen

Still and always my favorite character, or one of them ... because I am sometimes like her, or because I would sometimes like to be?




5 comments:

Lisa said...

The last time I read Emma, I appreciated Miss Bates more than ever before. And I think JA did as well, despite all of Emma' waspish comments.

Jane @ Beyond Eden Rock said...

What struck me on my recent re-read was that Miss Bates made such an impression with relatively few appearances. I appreciated her more this time than I had in the past.

JaneGS said...

I once read that Miss Bates is one of those characters who is much better on the page than in person. I adore her myself, but I fear might behave as Emma did if she was someone actually in my life. That makes me sound mean, which I'm not, but Austen was a master of characterization and dialogue and Miss Bates is one of her masterpieces.

Tanya van Hasselt said...

A hugely enjoyable post and comments, thanks so much! I love the way Jane Austen uses Miss Bates' meandering speeches to drop clues about what is really happening. In this way she has parallels to the sharp-eyed spinsters in other books, even more ironic because she is so innocent herself. Spinsters are often the most memorable characters in fiction, aren't they? You might like the post 'Spinsters of the splendid kind' over on ninevoices.wordpress.com

Vintage Reading said...

Love Miss Bates, too. A woman who always puts others first. I re-read Emma last Christmas and the snowy carriage drive is quite appropriate for the season. Merry Christmas!

Thank you for visiting!

Card Catalog

#6barsets #emma200th #maisie #PalliserParty #Woolfalong A.A. Milne Agatha Christie Alexander McCall Smith Allison Pearson Amy Lowell Angela Thirkell Ann Bridge Anne Perry Anthony Trollope Anticipation Armchair Travels Art Audiobooks Barbara Pym Biography Bloomsbury Bookish things Boston British Library Crime Classics Cambridge Cathleen Schine Charles Dickens Coffee-table books Cookbooks D.E. Stevenson Deborah Crombie Donna Leon Dorothy L. Sayers Dorothy Whipple E.H. Young E.M. Forster Edith Wharton Elinor Lipman Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Jenkins Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth von Arnim Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway Eudora Welty Fiction Films Food from Books Food Writing Found on a Blog George Eliot Georgette Heyer Helen Ashton Henry James History Homes and Haunts Ideas Imogen Robertson Isabella Stewart Gardner Jacqueline Winspear Jane Austen Joanna Trollope Julia Child Language Laurie Colwin Letters Library Books Literature Louise Andrews Kent Louise Penny M.F.K. Fisher Madame Bovary Madame de Sévigné Madame de Staël Margaret Kennedy Margery Sharp Martha Grimes Mary Shelley Memoirs Miss Read My Year with Edith Mysteries Nathaniel Hawthorne Nonfiction Nook Only Connect P.D. James Paris in July Persephones Plays Poetry Pride and Prejudice 200 Queen Victoria R.I.P. Reading England 2015 Ruth Rendell Sarah Orne Jewett Short Stories Switzerland Sylvia Beach Team Middlemarch The 1924 Club The Brontës the Carlyles The Classics Club Thomas Hardy Virago Virginia Woolf Washington Irving Willa Cather William Maxwell Winifred Peck Winifred Watson