Yes," said he, smiling. "You are better placed here; very fit for a wife, but not at all for a governess. But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife all the time you were at Hartfield. You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise; but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of submitting your own will, and doing as you were bid;" and if Weston had asked me to recommend him a wife, I should certainly have named Miss Taylor

Quoted from Emma by Jane Austen

What does he mean by "on the very material matrimonial point"? And what does "on" function as here?


1 Answer 1


"on" is functioning as a preposition, with object "point". To be "on point" means to be relevant to a subject. So she was receiving an education to the topic of "submitting your own will..."

A "material matrimonial point" is some word play (Austen showing of a little?) "material" means "important or relevant to the current topic" and "matrimonial" means "relevant to marriage". Thus the "point" that they are discussing is about marriage and is an important matter. But Austen is playing with the alliteration of "material matrimonal", just because she can.

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