In the drawing-room, whither she then repaired, she was soon joined by Mrs. Jennings, with a wine-glass, full of something, in her hand.
“My dear,” said she, entering, “I have just recollected that I have some of the finest old Constantia wine in the house, that ever was tasted — so I have brought a glass of it for your sister. My poor husband! how fond he was of it! Whenever he had a touch of his old cholicky gout, he said it did him more good than anything else in the world. Do take it to your sister.”
“Dear ma’am,” replied Elinor, smiling at the difference of the complaints for which it was recommended, “how good you are! But I have just left Marianne in bed, and, I hope, almost asleep; and as I think nothing will be of so much service to her as rest, if you will give me leave, I will drink the wine myself.”
Mrs. Jennings, though regretting that she had not been five minutes earlier, was satisfied with the compromise; and Elinor, as she swallowed the chief of it, reflected that, though its good effects on a cholicky gout were at present of little importance to her, its healing powers on a disappointed heart might be as reasonably tried on herself as on her sister.
Chapter 30 of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
It is with humor that Elinor reflects upon Mrs. Jenning’s prescription for her sister’s aching heart. But is Jane Austen being entirely honest here? Is there not some connection between of gout and unrequited love in Marianne’s case? Indeed, they are both the result of the surfeit of unrestrained passions.
Yet even self-possessed Elinor is not without the need of some balm at this point in the novel.
If only gout or heartache could so easily be mitigated. Of course, it is only in outbreak of inflammation that all benefits self-command become obvious. But to one such as Marianne (and presumably the late Mr. Jennings) such self-command remains the folly of the unromantic life.