Half a Life-time Ago

Half a Life-time Ago

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Half a Life-time Ago by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Published:

1896

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Half a Life-time Ago

By

5
(1 Review)

Book Excerpt

umberland statesmen--just, independent, upright; not given to much speaking; kind-hearted, but not demonstrative; disliking change, and new ways, and new people; sensible and shrewd; each household self-contained, and its members having little curiosity as to their neighbours, with whom they rarely met for any social intercourse, save at the stated times of sheep-shearing and Christmas; having a certain kind of sober pleasure in amassing money, which occasionally made them miserable (as they call miserly people up in the north) in their old age; reading no light or ephemeral literature, but the grave, solid books brought round by the pedlars (such as the "Paradise Lost" and "Regained,'" "The Death of Abel," "The Spiritual Quixote," and "The Pilgrim's Progress"), were to be found in nearly every house: the men occasionally going off laking, i.e. playing, i.e. drinking for days together, and having to be hunted up by anxious wives, who dared not leave their husbands to the chances of the wild precipitous roads

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The story of how disease, family love, and fate turn a Scottish farm girl old before her time. Beautifully written, the story gently twists your heart as it unwinds.
Good descriptions, characterizations, and plotting. Gaskell gives a different answer to the question, "What shall we do with the Idiot brother?" than Faulkner did in "The Sound and the Fury."
Probably not high art, but skillfully done, and worth reading.