Shirley’s self-doubting friend Caroline renders herself ill to the point that her uncle, the Rector, decides to feed her himself. Showing her with his words the same tenderness he displays in his actions.
‘Lift her up, and put a shawl over her. On my word, I understand nursing. Now, here is the very same little silver fork you used when you first came to the Rectory; that strikes me as being what you may call a happy thought, a delicate attention. Take it, Cary, and munch away cleverly.’
‘Munch away cleverly’, indeed. What kindness in these small attentions.
Source: Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (London: Collins, 1968), p. 350
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