You would think, being a fan of Edith Wharton and John Galsworthy, that I would have more dinner parties in my reading life. But I'm having a really hard time thinking of any. I've been trying not to use Jane Austen for every single Book a Day choice, but I think I'll have to give up trying today and just stick with the first one I can think of.
I'm going to have to go with the wedding dinner in honor of the Eltons in Emma. This is probably due to the fact that I just finished Robert Rodi's Bitch in a Bonnet, which spends a lot of time looking at the most comically brilliant moments in Austen, and this particular party proves that this is Mrs. Elton's world, and we all just live in it. The epic talk down between Mr. Weston and Mrs. Elton, each competing to control the subject of the conversation without much regard for the other (for SIX PAGES) is one of the funniest moments in the book. And while It isn't a hugely dramatic party, it does highlight some big, fat clues regarding the "mystery" of Jane Fairfax and her possible future- right under Emma's (and the reader's) nose. The balance of the serious and the ridiculous is so perfect, even a 5th or 6th (or 20th) re-reading can't dispel its charm.