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A Proper Education : Harriet Smith’s school gave her a grounding in good sense that even Emma Woodhouse could not quite overthrow.
A Proper Education

From ‘Emma’ (1815) by Jane Austen.

‘Emma’, like Jane Austen’s other novels, is essentially about the effects of bad education, that is, an upbringing from which good role-models have been absent, and in which theory is an accepted substitute for results. Here, she describes Harriet Smith’s school - the one she attended before ‘handsome, clever, and rich’ Emma Woodhouse tried to improve her.

MRS Goddard was the mistress of a School — not of a seminary, or an establishment, or any thing which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality, upon new principles and new systems — and where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity —

but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way, and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies.

Mrs. Goddard's school was in high repute — and very deservedly; for Highbury was reckoned a particularly healthy spot: she had an ample house and garden, gave the children plenty of wholesome food, let them run about a great deal in the summer, and in winter dressed their chilblains with her own hands. It was no wonder that a train of twenty young couple now walked after her to church.

From ‘Emma’ (1815) by Jane Austen.

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Jane Austen (15) Extracts from Literature (93) Enterprise in Education (8) Character and Conduct (30) Emma (novel) (1) Fiction (83)

Picture: © Richard Croft, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
The old school in Itchen Stoke, Hampshire. It is now a private residence, and a Grade II listed building.
By Jane Austen

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