Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

By Elizabeth Gaskell

The unconventional Cranford grew out of a brief tale (now the 1st chapters) and it reads like a sequence of episodes within the fictional city of Cranford. The important characters are Mary Smith and her associates, the spinster sisters omit Matty and omit Deborah. it's a old fashioned, comedic ode to small city lifestyles, and is still Gaskell's most renowned paintings.

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Sample text

Chid tells him about the centres of energy within the body and the methods to be employed in order to release them. He points now to his skull and now contorts himself so as to dig himself in the base of his spine; and then he weaves his hands; about in the air as if drawing down spiritual forces to be found there. I get very bored with all this. It seems to me that ~hid has picked up scraps of spiritual and religious lore here and there, and as he is neither an intelligent nor very educated boy, it has all sort of fermented inside him and makes him sound a bit mad at' times.

I've got used to it now, like everyone else. Once we really did leave, in my first year. He has a marvellous house up there - it's a Swiss chalet with a dash of Gothic cathedral, very impressive indeed. So is the view. You can look right across to - what's the name of that mountain where Siva is supposed to sit amid the eternal snows? Not that I got much time to enjoy it. A dead bat was found in - of all places - the Begum's bedroom and that of course is a terrible omen so we had to pack up and come home immediately and as soon as we got here ceremonies had to be performed for about three weeks without stop.

For this they seem ready to give him the benefit of many doubts. I've seen them do the same with Indian holy men who often pass through the town with their ochre robes and beads and begging bowls. On the whole they look a sturdy set of rascals to me - some of them heavily drugged, others randy as can be, all it seems to me with shrewd and greedy faces. But as they pass through the streets, some half naked, some fully so, rapping their pilgrim staffs and shouting out the name of God as pedlars shout their wares, people come running out of their houses to lay offerings into the ready begging bowls.

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