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|Mrs. Goddard & Mr. Woodhouse
Written by Robbin
(1/26/2011 1:33 p.m.)
Some speculation on Mrs. Goddard’s past. (Reposted) She may have been a genteel young woman who found herself forced to earn her keep. It seems to me she must have had some education and could the hard work of her youth be applied to starting her school? Forty students seems a bustling business and she must have worked hard to build her reputation:
…but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies. Mrs. Goddard's school was in high repute -- and very deservedly; for Highbury was reckoned a particularly healthy spot: she had an ample house and garden, gave the children plenty of wholesome food, let them run about a great deal in the summer, and in winter dressed their chilblains with her own hands. It was no wonder that a train of twenty young couple now walked after her to church. She was a plain, motherly kind of woman, who had worked hard in her youth, and now thought herself entitled to the occasional holiday of a tea-visit; and having formerly owed much to Mr. Woodhouse's kindness, felt his particular claim on her to leave her neat parlour hung round with fancy-work whenever she could, and win or lose a few sixpences by his fireside. (3)
Mrs. Goddard still feels Mr. Woodhouse has a claim on her society so what did she formerly owe him? Could “having formerly owed much to Mr. Woodhouse's kindness” mean Mrs. Goddard owed him money at one time but has since repaid the debt? Perhaps he loaned her the capital to start her boarding school or to make it though the lean first years? (:D)
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