Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Young ladies are delicate plants."

'"I am very sorry to hear, Miss Fairfax, of your being out this morning in the rain. Young ladies should take care of themselves. Young ladies are delicate plants. They should take care of their health and their complexion. My dear, did you change your stockings?'

'Yes, sir, I did indeed; and I am very much obliged by your kind solicitude about me.'

'My dear Miss Fairfax, young ladies are very sure to be cared for. I hope your good grandmamma and aunt are well. They are some of my very old friends. I wish my health allowed me to be a better neighbour. You do us a great deal of honour to-day, I am sure. My daughter and I are both highly sensible of your goodness, and have the greatest satisfaction in seeing you at Hartfield.'

The kind-hearted, polite old man might then sit down and feel that he had done his duty, and made every fair lady welcome and easy."
- Mr. Woodhouse & Jane Fairfax, Jane Austen's Emma, Chapter 34

In reading some of the books I received for Christmas I was interested in the fact that "a nice basin of gruel" was actually quite a common repast for a late evening meal, especially those with poor digestion. 

"You must go to bed early, my dear -- and I recommend a little gruel to you before you go. You and I will have a nice basin of gruel together. My dear Emma, suppose we all have a little gruel." 
- Mr. Woodhouse (to Isabella & Emma), Jane Austen's Emma, Chapter 12

Dear kind-hearted Mr. Woodhouse! Even though he does sometimes take too much care he is truly solicitous for everyone's good health and a considerate friend to his neighbors. 
It's not new but, a fun site for those interested in Emma and Mr. Woodhouse in particular is The Woodhouse Defense League and in particular their page on The Wit and Wisdome of Mr. Woodhouse.

Would you like to join Mr. Woodhouse in a "basin of gruel"?
(or perhaps just a bowl of oatmeal?)

What are your favorite Mr. Woodhouse quotes?


Maria Elisabeth said...

"Open the windows! but surely, Mr. Churchill, nobody would think of opening the windows at Randalls. Nobody could be so imprudent! I never heard of such a thing."

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Maria Elisabeth,
Oooh! That is a great quote! :)

Melanie G. said...

Isn't it shameful that I love old fashioned things but haven't read Jane Austen? I've read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, though!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Melanie G,
Thanks for your comment! You really must read Jane Austen, I highly recommend all of her novels but you might want to start with 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Sense and Sensibility'.

Livia said...

Mr. Woodhouse drives mes nuts, but my mom likes him (she has only seen the movies). He irritates me to no end especially when he won't let Emma marry Mr. Knightly. I like the part when Mr. John Knightly (whom I quite like especially when he tries to point out to Emma that Mr. Elton is flirting with HER) gets annoyed with him.

Mom Walds Place said...

Poor, poor Mr. Woodhouse, so scared that he cannot enjoy life. Whenever I think of him it is with the wedding cakes, horror of horrors!

Ella said...

Great quotes.
Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel(so far:)

Abby said...

Haha, I love Mr. Woodhouse: he might be a little ridiculous but he's very well-meaning really. I was going to suggest the quote Maria Elisabeth said - the one about about the windows always makes me laugh :')


Melody said...

I seem to remember you quoting the delicate plants rather recently...;-)

It amuses me that Scrooge was eating gruel in A Christmas Carol.

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