Character in Emma by Jane Austen. She is lovely and accomplished and good, a definite rival to Emma Woodhouse.

She also has a secret, which makes Emma a bit of a detective story. She's the granddaughter of Mrs Bates and the niece of Miss Bates, who both doat on her, but she's much more educated and musical and genteel than they are, but in poverty and grateful for their kindness.

Her stated aim is to become a governess if she can find a suitable family. One is found for her by the officious and pretentious Mrs Elton, the clergyman's new wife. Something happens to distress Jane and she determines to accept at once, though what Mrs Elton's idea of suitable may be is open to doubt. A Jane Fairfax deserves better.

Shall I tell her secret? No, in this case the book asks silence... though if I were to look at my writeup on Emma I'm fairly sure I've spilt it there. But it concerns the handsome and persuasive Frank Churchill, a contender for Emma's heart too. In partial reply to TheLady below, he's not a bad person. Agreed, Emma deserves someone like her Mr Knightley to do her full justice, but Jane and Frank also make an attractive couple, and I'm sure they'd do well. I like them both a great deal.

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