Persuasions #4, 1982                                                                                                                                            Page 9



Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet
in conversation


Patricia Shepherd

Littlehampton, West Sussex, England


“They say I’m a snob, dear Eliza!

(You are nodding your head, I can see) –

So wasn’t it lucky Miss Austen

Didn’t give Mr. Darcy to me!

For if I am truthful I have to declare,

We would have proved an impossible pair!”

“We all have our faults, dearest Emma,

I have this compulsion to tease;

A characteristic unlikely

To put Mr. Knightley at ease! –

And mud-laden petticoats trailed through the hall!

Your dear papa would have hated it all!”

“I have to admit, sweetest Lizzie,

My papa might have found you a trial,

But if I’d caught sight of your mother,

I’d have run the proverbial mile!

A pity my dear, but the longer one looks,

It seems we are better in separate books.”

“And yet how diverting, dear Emma,

To break all the literary laws;

For then I could move Lady Catherine

From my book, and put her in yours!

Were you dear to follow a similar line,

No doubt Mrs. Elton would turn up in mine!”


Illustration by C. E. Brock.

Note: The color images have replaced the original black and white images for the on-line edition of this poem. C. Moss, JASNA Web Site Manager

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