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The other day, on a sunny summer afternoon when I was picking blueberries in the Annapolis Valley, I happened to overhear a conversation about Emma and Mr. Knightley. A couple of rows over (these were high bush blueberries), one woman was telling another about the scene on Box Hill, describing how Emma insults Miss Bates and how Mr. Knightley tells her that what she has said was “badly done.” blueberry bush For a moment I felt like Anne Elliot in Persuasion, overhearing a conversation that interests her from behind the hedgerow. Except that the outcome of the conversation was not nearly as important to me. Soon I heard the two women discussing “Emma” as very tall and blonde, and one asked, “isn’t she the one who’s married to that guy from Coldplay?” Maybe I should have approached them and perhaps even invited them to join our local chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America. But I was reserved, perhaps too reserved, and I stayed where I was, eating berries and every now and then dropping them into my pail, “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk,” like Blueberry Sal. Blueberry box