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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about Emma.

This topic was discussed very happily, and others succeeded of similar moment, and passed away with similar harmony; but the evening did not close without a little return of agitation.  The gruel came and supplied a great deal to be said—­much praise and many comments—­ undoubting decision of its wholesomeness for every constitution, and pretty severe Philippics upon the many houses where it was never met with tolerable;—­but, unfortunately, among the failures which the daughter had to instance, the most recent, and therefore most prominent, was in her own cook at South End, a young woman hired for the time, who never had been able to understand what she meant by a basin of nice smooth gruel, thin, but not too thin.  Often as she had wished for and ordered it, she had never been able to get any thing tolerable.  Here was a dangerous opening.

“Ah!” said Mr. Woodhouse, shaking his head and fixing his eyes on her with tender concern.—­The ejaculation in Emma’s ear expressed, “Ah! there is no end of the sad consequences of your going to South End.  It does not bear talking of.”  And for a little while she hoped he would not talk of it, and that a silent rumination might suffice to restore him to the relish of his own smooth gruel.  After an interval of some minutes, however, he began with,

“I shall always be very sorry that you went to the sea this autumn, instead of coming here.”

“But why should you be sorry, sir?—­I assure you, it did the children a great deal of good.”

“And, moreover, if you must go to the sea, it had better not have been to South End.  South End is an unhealthy place.  Perry was surprized to hear you had fixed upon South End.”

“I know there is such an idea with many people, but indeed it is quite a mistake, sir.—­We all had our health perfectly well there, never found the least inconvenience from the mud; and Mr. Wingfield says it is entirely a mistake to suppose the place unhealthy; and I am sure he may be depended on, for he thoroughly understands the nature of the air, and his own brother and family have been there repeatedly.”

“You should have gone to Cromer, my dear, if you went anywhere.—­ Perry was a week at Cromer once, and he holds it to be the best of all the sea-bathing places.  A fine open sea, he says, and very pure air.  And, by what I understand, you might have had lodgings there quite away from the sea—­a quarter of a mile off—­very comfortable.  You should have consulted Perry.”

“But, my dear sir, the difference of the journey;—­only consider how great it would have been.—­An hundred miles, perhaps, instead of forty.”

“Ah! my dear, as Perry says, where health is at stake, nothing else should be considered; and if one is to travel, there is not much to chuse between forty miles and an hundred.—­Better not move at all, better stay in London altogether than travel forty miles to get into a worse air.  This is just what Perry said.  It seemed to him a very ill-judged measure.”

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