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This chapter is really something - it's about the ball at the Crown. I shan't summarize the whole thing for you, but will instead pick out a few bits and pieces I feel like talking about, and then provide you with yummy video footage.

A number of privy councillors

Emma is flattered and delighted (at first) to be asked by Mr Weston to come early - but somewhat less so when it turns out that half the company has been asked to come early, and that Mr Weston isn't especially discriminating in bestowing his favor. It leads to an interesting bit of analysis, followed by a lovely bit of foreshadowing:

Emma perceived that her taste was not the only taste on which Mr Weston depended, and felt, that to be the favourite and intimate of a man who had so many intimates and confidantes, was not the very first distinction in the scale of vanity. She liked his open manners, but a little less of open-heartedness would have made him a higher character.--General benevolence, but not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be.--She could fancy such a man.

Frank is eager for the Eltons' carriage to arrive

Because he cannot wait to see Mrs Elton, he says. And then the Eltons, who were to have picked up Jane Fairfax and Miss Bates, arrive without having done so, and have to send off for them. Worried about the threat of rain, Frank rushes out with an umbrella to look after Miss Bates.

Mrs Elton is eager to discuss her carriage

Its acquisition was delayed, based on earlier remarks by her about the carriage. And truly, the care and keeping of a carriage was an expensive proposition, as I remarked upon in this post, which talks about Lady Catherine's carriages, when we read Pride & Prejudice. Mrs Elton now cannot stop herself from talking about their carriage, which is a true trapping of luxury.

Miss Bates is the comic relief

But there are facts and clues strewn throughout her babble, both times it occurs. Just so you know.

Mrs Elton is also eager to discuss what she's wearing

She corners Jane Fairfax immediately to discuss her own attire and to add to the comic relief in her way - pray, do not sing, because she probably thinks that song is about her. And while claiming not to pay attention to what people wear, she essentially makes a cutting remark about the other ladies in attendance:

"Nobody can think less of dress in general than I do--but upon such an occasion as this, when every body's eyes are so much upon me, and in compliment to the Westons--who I have no doubt are giving this ball chiefly to do me honour--I would not wish to be inferior to others. And I see very few pearls in the room except mine."

I wonder if she considers herself to be the pearls before the swine?

Emma notices Mr Knightley

And for once, she notices him in the way that a woman notices a man, and not as a mere friend or pseudo-family member, and she remains quite aware of him at all times - while she is dancing with Frank Churchill, no less:

She was more disturbed by Mr Knightley's not dancing than by any thing else.--There he was, among the standers-by, where he ought not to be; he ought to be dancing,--not classing himself with the husbands, and fathers, and whist-players, who were pretending to feel an interest in the dance till their rubbers were made up,--so young as he looked!--He could not have appeared to greater advantage perhaps anywhere, than where he had placed himself. His tall, firm, upright figure, among the bulky forms and stooping shoulders of the elderly men, was such as Emma felt must draw every body's eyes; and, excepting her own partner, there was not one among the whole row of young men who could be compared with him.--He moved a few steps nearer, and those few steps were enough to prove in how gentlemanlike a manner, with what natural grace, he must have danced, would he but take the trouble.--Whenever she caught his eye, she forced him to smile; but in general he was looking grave. She wished he could love a ballroom better, and could like Frank Churchill better.--He seemed often observing her.

Mr Elton deliberately cuts Harriet

He ensures that his availability will be noticed during a dance for which Harriet has no partner, then evinces an interest in dancing with other women, then flat-out refuses to dance with Harriet based on his marital status. And then he and his horrible wife giggle about it as he makes his way over to converse with Mr Knightley, who, having seen what has transpired, walks away from Mr Elton and asks Harriet to dance, thereby impliedly cutting Mr Elton and instructing him on proper manners. In a public ballroom. *swoon*

Emma and Mr Knightley chat

I love this bit, and therefore share it with you in its entirety. It's notable for several points, including Mr Knightley's remarks about Harriet Smith and his willingness to dance with Emma.(And then the yummy video clips, in which we see sexy English country dancing!)

"I do own myself to have been completely mistaken in Mr Elton. There is a littleness about him which you discovered, and which I did not: and I was fully convinced of his being in love with Harriet. It was through a series of strange blunders!"

"And, in return for your acknowledging so much, I will do you the justice to say, that you would have chosen for him better than he has chosen for himself.--Harriet Smith has some first-rate qualities, which Mrs. Elton is totally without. An unpretending, single-minded, artless girl--infinitely to be preferred by any man of sense and taste to such a woman as Mrs Elton. I found Harriet more conversable than I expected."

Emma was extremely gratified.--They were interrupted by the bustle of Mr Weston calling on every body to begin dancing again.

"Come Miss Woodhouse, Miss Otway, Miss Fairfax, what are you all doing?--Come Emma, set your companions the example. Every body is lazy! Every body is asleep!"

"I am ready," said Emma, "whenever I am wanted."

"Whom are you going to dance with?" asked Mr Knightley.

She hesitated a moment, and then replied, "With you, if you will ask me."

"Will you?" said he, offering his hand.

"Indeed I will. You have shewn that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper."

"Brother and sister! no, indeed."

The song that Gwyneth's Emma and Jeremy's Mr Knightley are dancing to is called Mr Beveridge's Maggot. It has nothing to do with the life-cycle of a fly, but refers to a type of tune popular in the 1700s that is embellished by the players on each repetition. It is the same song to which Darcy & Elizabeth dance at Netherfield in the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice, by the way.

The tune to which Romola's Emma and Jonny Lee's Mr Knightley are dancing here is an original composition for the score of the movie by Samuel Sim and is (I believe) called "The Last Dance" - the soundtrack is a delight to listen to, but is not put together in chronological order, so it's not always easy to tell what is what.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
Oh my, Johhny Lee made that dance scene into sex!
Mar. 4th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
I know, right?
Mar. 5th, 2013 01:11 am (UTC)
Some where you put a link for that version of Emma and I can't find it. Not finding it on Netflix either.
Mar. 5th, 2013 07:14 am (UTC)
But I found it all on you tube and felt the Paltrow version was more faithful to the book. Still it was very enjoyable, thanks to Mr. Johnny Lee!
Mar. 5th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
What's interesting is that the more recent version is closer to the text in a lot of ways, since it was a mini-series, and had time to include a lot more of the text along the way. But I think that Jeremy Northam totally nailed Mr. Knightley by making him charming, and not as dour as the Mark Strong version or quite as serious as Jonny Lee Miller's version.
Mar. 5th, 2013 08:28 am (UTC)
Seriously! There's almost a little too much courtship in that one for the book - by the end of that dance you'd think everybody in the room, including Emma, would be saying, "When's the wedding?" (And Emma would be saying, "It can't come soon enough!")
Mar. 5th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Now now - I happen to like the sexy-dancing! And I like that both characters appear to realize there's some sexual attraction there, leaving them conflicted in their own ways, although it is, perhaps, more overt than we're used to. (Still, Jeremy Northam's dancing is sex in motion, too.)
Mar. 5th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
It's not that I think there's anything out of place about the sexy-dancing as such - if there's one thing we know, it's that people don't change just because the times do, and dancing was one of the very few times men & women were allowed that much contact. I'm sure there was plenty of sexual tension. But to me there seems too much overt sexual attraction for the book here, because Emma would have to be much more of an idiot than she's portrayed to take so long to realize she had romantic feelings toward him after THAT.
Mar. 6th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
She's standing deep in that river in Egypt . . .
Mar. 6th, 2013 07:15 am (UTC)
That's just what throws me about that version of the dance, though - way too much consciousness of how attractive he is from Emma, for her level of Pharonic dampness.

Am I over-thinking this? Probably. "If you think you think too much, you probably do. Think too much, that is."
Mar. 6th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
Love that quote!
Mar. 6th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC)
Joel Mabus is full of that kind of stuff. That's from his "Talkin' 20th Century." "If I'da known the world was gonna last this long, I'da got me a better job. Yeah, and some insurance. I been countin' on World War III."
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
And yet, nobody in the book sees through it at the time. And readers are willing to believe he wants to see what ridiculous frippery she might be wearing, rather than him being desperate for Jane Fairfax to get there. Austen was a master at writing a good mystery, don't you think? It's all hidden in plain view.
Mar. 7th, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
I love the way Mr. Knightley can put people in their place and instruct them without causing offense. This is why he is my second favorite of Miss Austen's heroes, after Mr. Darcy. It's avery close race, actually. Both he and Emma were very gracious there, in admitting their errors, I thought.

I prefer Jeremy Northam, to be honest, but that's because he has such expressive, beautiful eyes. Both of the dances were complete sex on legs. And speaking of legs, WHY have knee breeches and stockings gone out of style? They show off a man's legs very well.
Mar. 7th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
I liked the shyness of Northam's smile when he gets around to proposing, and prefer his somewhat softer edges to Jonny Lee Miller's sternness, but still, I like both performances quite a bit.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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