To praise Cranford at this time of day is an idle task. After being overshadowed for a little, it has taken its place finally among the masterpieces of English fiction, along with Jane Austen and the Vicar of Wakefield. There has never been a more delightful and tender study of English village life, or one in which insight is so joined with kindliness.
scription. While the trays were yet on the tables, Captain and the Miss Browns came in; and I could see that, somehow or other, the Captain was a favourite with all the ladies present. Ruffled brows were smoothed, sharp voices lowered at his approach. Miss Brown looked ill, and depressed almost to gloom. Miss Jessie smiled as usual, and seemed nearly as popular as her father. He immediately and quietly assumed the man's place in the room; attended to every one's wants, lessened the pretty maid-servant's labour by waiting on empty cups and bread-and-butterless ladies; and yet did it all in so easy and dignified a manner, and so much as if it were a matter of course for the strong to attend to the weak, that he was a true man throughout. He played for threepenny points with as grave an interest as if they had been pounds; and yet, in all his attention to strangers, he had an eye on his suffering daughter-- for suffering I was sure she was, though to many eyes she might only appear to be irritable. Miss Je