Mr. Woodhouse liked his small society of close friends who came to visit him. He disliked late hours and large parties. The Westons, Mr. Knightley, and Mr. Elton were part of his circle of friends. Mrs. and Miss Bates and Mrs. Goddard provided female companionship.
Mrs. Bates was a widowed woman whose life pretty much revolved around tea and cards. Miss Bates, her unmarried daughter, was a cheerful girl of no distinction who was content wither her life. Mrs. Goddard ran a boarding school for girls.
It was through Mrs. Goddard that Emma met Harriet Smith, a pretty 17 year old girl that piqued Emma’s interest. She was pleased with the girl after spending an evening with her. She takes it upon herself to introduce Harriet to proper society, feeling the girl’s current friends are unsuitable because of their coarseness.