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A World of Differences : Emma tries to reconcile her father to the unaccountable tastes of his nearest and dearest.
A World of Differences

From ‘Emma’ (1815), by Jane Austen (1775-1817).

Mild Mr Woodhouse cannot quite forgive Mr John Knightley for carrying off his daughter Isabella as bride, even though he dotes on his little grandchildren Henry and John. It is left to Isabella’s sister Emma to calm his fear that the boys’ father is altogether too rough-and-tumble with them.

“ONCE Henry asked me for a knife, but I told him knives were only made for grandpapas. I think their father is too rough with them very often.”

“He appears rough to you,” said Emma, “because you are so very gentle yourself; but if you could compare him with other papas, you would not think him rough. He wishes his boys to be active and hardy; and if they misbehave, can give them a sharp word now and then; but he is an affectionate father. The children are all fond of him.”

“And then their uncle comes in, and tosses them up to the ceiling in a very frightful way!”

“But they like it, papa; there is nothing they like so much. If their uncle did not lay down the rule of their taking turns, whichever began would never give way to the other.”

“Well, I cannot understand it.”

“That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

From ‘Emma’ (1815), by Jane Austen (1775-1817).

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Picture: Via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Pubic domain. View original
A cricket match in progress in 1817, two years after the publication of ‘Emma’. For all that continental Europe has generally failed to comprehend the quintessentially English game of cricket, this match took place in the city of Geneva in Switzerland, but Emma’s point still stands.
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