An “Emma” Riddle

February 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm (books, jane austen) (, , )

JAustenI remember well Mr Elton’s charade on Court-Ship, and Mr Weston’s “two letters … that express perfection“; I’m hoping blog readers can tell me where in Emma the following occurs:

“Riddles and puns are used with great effect to exploit the comic misunderstandings between Emma and Mr Elton (his riddle on ‘woodhouse’ is blithely misinterpreted by Emma), but with the arrival of Frank Churchill we see a master game-player.”  [The Real Jane Austen, p. 254]

What riddle on ‘woodhouse’??

1 Comment

  1. Janeite Kelly said,

    A reader emailed me with thoughts that the Mr Elton / Emma scene occurs in a carriage; I could think of only one: where Mr Elton declares himself.

    I read over the chapter (Ch XV, pp 128-133, in Chapman) and see the sentences near the top of page 131: “‘ Oh! Miss Woodhouse! who can think of Miss Smith, when Miss Woodhouse is near!'” But I would not term this a ‘riddle’.

    Am I misreading the meaning of the word ‘riddle’? Is it here, or somewhere else that Mr Elton speaks “a riddle on ‘woodhouse'”?? Am still puzzled and hope some reader can clear up my own perplexed thoughts.


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