How we cite our quotes:
I am Lady Patroness, you know. It is my party. I will bring friends with me. (42.12)
Mrs. Elton expresses a deep need to be the top of the social ladder. Her grasping is funny – but it articulates an understanding of the importance of social networking in Austen’s novel.
But consider—you need not be afraid of delegating power to me. I am no young lady on her preferment. Married women, you know, may be safely authorised. (42.14)
Mrs. Elton unwittingly parrots a common social convention: unmarried women are always scheming to get something (like a man’s attention) out of any social engagement. Married women are safe, because they no longer desire men. Hmm.
But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife all the time you were at Hartfield. You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise; but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of submitting your own will, and doing as you were bid; and if Weston had asked me to recommend him a wife, I should certainly have named Miss Taylor. (5.11)
OK, we’ve got to admit, Mr. Knightley drives us crazy here. A wife should submit to her husband’s will. We sure hope he’s joking.