Emma Chapter 12
Though Mr. Woodhouse wanted Isabella all to himself, Emma insisted that it would be impolite not to invite Mr. Knightley to dine with his family. Emma was hoping that they could end their quarrel and reenter a friendly acquaintance. Just seeing Emma with one of her young nieces seemed to
warm Mr. Knightley, and the two bantered good-naturedly about their differing ages and opinions. Emma hoped that Mr. Martin was not too disappointed, but Mr. Knightley told her that he was very much so. Mr. John Knightley entered the room then, and the brothers fell into their own topics of conversation.
Anxious about his daughter's health, Mr. Woodhouse sent for some gruel for he and Isabella. He objected again to her bathing trips to Southend, and they discuss the health of Mr. Perry, Mr. Woodhouse's doctor. Mr. Woodhouse criticizes London as unhealthy, but Isabella denies the charge. When he says that Mr. Knightley looks ill, her husband snaps at Isabella, telling her not to treat him like a child. Emma is shocked, and does her best to smooth over their tempers. Jane Fairfax enters the conversation, and Isabella hopes for a visit from the young lady. But since the daughter of her benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell has married, the family is unlikely to let their only companion leave.
Conversation was cheerful until the gruel came. Isabella complains that her cook can not make acceptable gruel, and such a gripe is an opening for Mr. Woodhouse to complain again about his daughter's absence from Hartfield. He tells again how Mr. Perry disliked the trip to Southend, and Mr. John Knightley finally breaks into this torrent of complaints and advice with a sharp rebuke to his father-in-law. Mr. Knightley kindly redirected his brother's attentions, and thus left Mr. Woodhouse somewhat upset to have Perry's ideas (which were also his own) so slighted. Emma and Isabella soothed him, and John cooled off enough, that spirits were not low for long.