Sunday, December 27, 2020

A morning of mourning: The marriage of Miss Taylor in Jane Austen's "Emma"

At the beginning of Jane Austen's "Emma", the marriage of Emma Woodhouse's governess is the equivalent of death for Emma and her father: "Miss Taylor married. It was Miss Taylor's loss which first brought grief. It was on the wedding-day of this beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of any continuance." Her friend's marriage brings "grief" and "mournful thought", and the wedding itself "was a black morning's work for her" – a morning, then, of mourning. With her marriage, Miss Taylor may not die, but she does cease to exist not only as Emma's daily companion but also as "Miss Taylor" at the moment when she becomes Mrs. Weston. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 December)

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