Cranford

Cranford

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Cranford

Cranford

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In order to appreciate the main facts of Mrs. Gaskell's interesting and useful life, it is well for the young American student to try to realize two things that are outside of his own experience. One is the mid-century movement toward philanthropic consideration of the "lower classes," their needs, their lack of opportunity, their aspirations; the other is the fact that, owing to the strong English adherence to the Established Church, those who hold to other creeds or forms have been more or less regarded as outsiders, as "Dissenters." Mrs. Gaskell was of this latter group by birth, inclination, and association; and as to the first matter, much of her good life was given to an unselfish effort to better the hard conditions of existence which she found in the populous cities where her life was spent.

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born in London in 1810. Her father had been a Unitarian minister, but had given up the calling to assume an official position in the British capital. Her mother died shortly after giving her birth, and the girl's childhood was spent with an aunt at Knutsford, in Cheshire, near Manchester. Knutsford is Cranford, and how well the girl learned to know the spirit of the place, the story printed in this volume will attest.

When twenty-two, at which time she was of remarkable personal beauty, she was happily married to William Gaskell, a . . .

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