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Authors: Elizabeth Gaskell

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Literary, #Fathers and daughters, #Classics, #Social Classes, #General & Literary Fiction, #Literature & Fiction, #England, #Classic fiction (pre c 1945), #Young women, #Stepfamilies, #Children of physicians

Wives and Daughters

BOOK: Wives and Daughters
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
FROM THE PAGES OF
WIVES AND DAUGHTERS
For the first time in her life, Molly Gibson was to be included among the guests at the Towers. (page 9)
 
He had not an ounce of superfluous flesh on his bones; and leanness goes a great way to gentility. (page 38)
 
“To be sure, a stepmother to a girl is a different thing to a second wife to a man!” (page 75)
 
“She’s at school in France, picking up airs and graces.” (page 123)
 
She was sent home in the carriage, loaded with true thanks from every one of the family. Osborne ransacked the houses for flowers for her; Roger had chosen her out books of every kind. The squire himself kept shaking her hand, without being able to speak his gratitude, till at last he had taken her in his arms, and kissed her as he would have done a daughter. (page 212)
 
“Such a shabby thing for a duchess I never saw; not a bit of a diamond near her! They’re none of ’em worth looking at except the countess, and she’s always a personable woman, and not so lusty as she was. But they’re not worth waiting up for till this time o’ night.” (pages 291-292)
 
During all the months that had elapsed since Mrs. Hamley’s death, Molly had wondered many a time about the secret she had so unwittingly become possessed of that last day in the Hall library. It seemed so utterly strange and unheard-of a thing to her inexperienced mind, that a man should be married, and yet not live with his wife—that a son should have entered into the holy state of matrimony without his father’s knowledge, and without being recognized as the husband of some one known or unknown by all those with whom he came in daily contact, that she felt occasionally as if that little ten minutes of revelation must have been a vision in a dream. (page 318)
 
Just then she heard nearer sounds; an opened door, steps on the lower flight of stairs. He could not have gone without even seeing her. He never, never would have done so cruel a thing—never would have forgotten poor little Molly, however happy he might be. (page 371)
 
“Madam your wife and I didn’t hit it off the only time I ever saw her. I won’t say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn’t me.” (page 390)
 
“I wish I could give you a little of my own sensitiveness, for I have too much for my happiness.” (page 425)
 
Having anything to conceal was so unusual—almost so unprecedented a circumstance with her that it preyed upon her in every way. (page 482)
 
“People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people’s minds as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues.” (page 534)
 
“Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” (page 582)
 
“My dear, if you must have the last word, don’t let it be a truism.” (page 634)
BARNES & NOBLE CLASSICS
NEW YORK.
 
Published by Barnes & Noble Books
122 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
 
 
Wives and Daughters
was serialized in
Cornhill Magazine
between August 1864 and January 1866, and then published in volume form in 1866.
 
Published in 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new
Introduction, Notes, Biography, Chronology, Inspired By,
Comments & Questions, and For Further Reading.
 
Introduction, Notes, and For Further Reading
Copyright © 2005 by Amy M. King.
 
Note on Elizabeth Gaskell, The World of Elizabeth Gaskell and
Wives and Daughters,
Inspired by
Wives and Daughters,
and Comments & Questions
Copyright © 2005 by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
 
Barnes & Noble Classics and the Barnes & Noble Classics colophon are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
 
Wives and Daughters
ISBN-13: 978-1-59308-257-4 ISBN-10: 1-59308-257-6
eISBN : 978-1-411-43352-6
LC Control Number 2004112107
 
Produced and published in conjunction with:
Fine Creative Media, Inc.
322 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher
 
Printed in the United States of America
QM
3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
ELIZABETH GASKELL
Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born in London in 1810, the daughter of Unitarian parents. Her father chose a variety of different careers, including experimental farming, preaching in the Unitarian church, and writing for various periodicals. Her mother died the year after Elizabeth was born, and of the eight children she bore, only two survived childhood. Elizabeth was raised by her maternal Aunt, Hannah Holland Lumb, whose farm in rural Knutsford provided a serene and happy childhood for the young girl. Unitarians believed in education for girls, and after lessons at home Elizabeth was further educated at a high-quality, progressive boarding school.
Elizabeth’s ties to her brother John were kept up through letters and occasional visits. After setting sail for India in 1828, he disappeared without a trace, leaving Elizabeth stunned and her father in deep depression. His failing health compelled Elizabeth to travel to London to nurse him until his death the following year. After his death, Elizabeth visited a variety of cultured and interesting family members, and met William Gaskell, an assistant Unitarian preacher in Manchester, whom she wed in 1832.
Although the Industrial Revolution thrummed in the background of her childhood, it was William’s Manchester congregation that first put Gaskell in touch with the grim realities of factory work. Cotton mills dominated the labor force in the city, and filthy shanty towns housed thousands of exploited, undernourished mill workers. William and Elizabeth were kept busy by their congregation and by their efforts to address the social problems that plagued the booming industrial city of Manchester. Although she had written only personal diaries, and was also busy raising her own family in the early years of her marriage, Gaskell’s community work inspired her to collaborate with her husband on the narrative poem “Sketches Among the Poor, No. 1,” which was published in 1837.
Gaskell’s happy, busy life was interrupted by tragedy in 1845 when her infant son died of scarlet fever while on a family vacation. Overcome by grief, Gaskell followed her husband’s advice and became absorbed in her writing. The result was her first novel, Mary Barton: A Tale of a Manchester Life (1848), which earned her instant success—and hostile criticism from the cotton mill owners whom she so unsentimentally portrayed. Gaskell, a prolific writer, went on to write six other novels:
Cranford
(1853),
Ruth
(1853),
North and South
(1855),
Sylvia’s Lovers
(1863),
Cousin Phyllis
(1864), and
Wives and Daughters
(1866). She also wrote numerous short stories, as well as a famous biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë,
The Life of Charlotte Brontë
(1857). Much of Gaskell ’s short fiction appeared in popular literary journals, and several of her novels were serialized in those publications. Gaskell’s works were popular during her life and esteemed by the critics. Friendships with literary giants of the day—including Charles Dickens, who also published her work in his journals—aided her career, and frequent travels throughout Europe gave her material for her writing and eased the strains of an extremely busy life. Gaskell had six children, four of whom, all daughters, lived to be adults.
In 1865 Gaskell bought a country house in Hampshire as a surprise for her husband’s retirement. By then her last novel,
Wives and Daughters,
was being serialized in the
Cornhill Magazine.
Physically exhausted, and yet to complete the final installment of her novel, Elizabeth Gaskell died suddenly on a visit to the house on November 12, 1865. Although never completed,
Wives and Daughters
is considered by many to be a study in character on a par with the novels of George Eliot and Jane Austen. Elizabeth Gaskell was buried at Brook Street Chapel in Knutsford.
BOOK: Wives and Daughters
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