"Honestly, I could not understand the simplicity of these people and how they think," Mrs Elton said loudly to her husband. "I do not know how you managed without me, Mr E; these people are simply without elegance and grandeur. A wedding without satin! I should have known that despite how well educated Miss Woodhouse is she is as simple as a village girl when it comes to fashion and how society really works. It must be that Miss Smith influence!"
"Indeed," Mr Elton agreed.
"You...why...you..." the married couple turned to see Miss Bates stammering behind them. She was clutching a tray of glasses filled with orange juice for the reception. She had insisted on fetching them since it was ever so kind of Miss Woodhouse to invite her to the occasion. "You are awful people!" she blurted out.
"I beg your pardon!" Mrs Elton snapped.
"M-Miss Woodhouse and Mr Knightly are two of the finest people in Highbury," Miss Bates said, her voice getting stronger. "They are both kind, generous, welcoming people who think of the community. Miss Smith is too an endearing person with a sweet polite manner, she is more graceful and composed than you ever could be!" Mrs Elton gasped at the mere suggestion of someone with lower status being more graceful than her. "I know that whether Miss Woodhouse had married secretly with few witnesses or had the grandest wedding fit for a princess, her wedding would be better than yours and it is because it is a true marriage for love. Unlike yours where Mr Elton only married you because Miss Woodhouse had rejected him!" another horrified gasp from Mrs Elton and Mr Elton paled rapidly. Miss Bates had overhead Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith discussing it one morning and had kept it to herself knowing that Miss Woodhouse would not want to it to be spread around. "Good day, Mr and Mrs Elton," Miss Bates said walking away with her head held up high.
"Why I never!" Mrs Elton shrieked. "The rudeness of some people, especially her, a woman of such poor fortunes and foul manners!"
Miss Bates quickly passed the tray to her future nephew in law who looked ready to defend her honour – bless the boy, he really is a true gentleman and a sweet loving man as well, her Jane was so very blessed to find him – and rushed back to Mrs Elton. She leaned in and hissed into Mrs Elton's ear,
"If you must know, no one in Highbury likes you and they consider Miss Woodhouse to be the leading lady of society," Miss Bates whispered. She found Jane who was watching the scene with a mild surprised expression, Miss Bates almost collapsed onto her niece when she just realised what she said. "Oh my, oh dear, did I...oh my...oh...oh ... I do not know what overcame me!" she babbled. "I was just so very cross! I mean she has been kind enough to help advance you in the world dear Jane but she had always came across as if she was doing the world a charity just by being there! And the way she insulted Miss Woodhouse...I just...I...oh dear..."
Jane laughed a cheerful, delightful laugh, "Oh Aunt," she said, "I thought you were incredibly brave over there. Brave than I or the new Mrs Knightly could ever be, neither of us had dared to put Mrs Elton in her place like you have." She hugged Miss Bates quickly and murmured, "I am very proud of you."
Miss Bates could not help but smile and feel very flattered indeed. Oh she could get used to being brave and lecturing people.