'"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?