"As Fresh As Paint"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Smedley was just one of the many writers of the Victorian era who produced a vast number of exceedingly sentimental novels which were quickly bought up by a sentimental reading public and as quickly forgotten. Since, says the author of this novel, many volumes have appeared concerned with "'Schoolboy Days' and 'College Life,'" but none concerned with "the mysteries of that paradise of public-school-fearing mammas–a 'Private Tutor's,'" this novel was produced to fill that void. It chronicles the adventures in the life of a private pupil. In Chapter 41, Oaklands, a friend of the hero, laments that Fairlegh's sister seems very apathetic and lacking in interest in anything and asserts that he shall raise her spirits by having her ride horseback every day. Oaklands, who has been very ill, is overheard by Lawless, who has entered unperceived and misunderstands the context:

"Horseback, eh!" exclaimed Lawless, who had entered the cottage without our perceiving him. "Ay, that's a prescription better than all your doctor's stuff; clap her on a side-saddle, and a brisk canter for a couple of hours every day across country will set the old lady up again in no time, if it's your mother that's out of condition, Frank. Why, Oaklands, man, you are looking as fresh as paint; getting sound again, wind and limb, eh?"