A laughing summary of a lady’s capacity to say the right thing at the right moment, just what she ought, no more no less.

The image is simply one I chose to represent the era, mood and look – a suitably elegant lady who might be the owner of such impeccable soft skills. In case you’re curious, she is Lady Selina Caroline Meade (1797-1872), described by the artist as ‘in beauty and interesting character, one of the most distinguished persons in Vienna’.

‘She spoke then, on being so entreated. – What did she say? – Just what she ought, of course.  A lady always does.’ 

See another signal of good breeding, also from Emma. 


Source: Jane Austen, Emma (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 1999), p. 399

Image credit: Thomas Lawrence, portrait of Lady Selina Caroline Meade, later Countess Clam-Martinic (1797–1872); oil on canvas, April 1819


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