Elizabeth Gaskell’s Moorland Cottage: A Visual Tour of the Opening Chapter

Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.

The opening paragraph of The Moorland Cottage cottage is very descriptive, I’ve collected a series of photographs to create a visual tour of what Mrs. Gaskell describes:

If you take the turn to the left, after you pass the lyke-gate at Combehurst Church…

© Tim Green

You will come to the wooden bridge over the brook

© Rusty Dragonfly

Keep along the field-path which mounts higher and higher…

© Tim Green

In half a mile or so, you will be in a breezy upland field, almost large enough to be called a down, where sheep pasture on the short, fine, elastic turf.

© Richard Carter

You look down on Combehurst and its beautiful church-spire.

© Gavin Clarke

After the field is crossed, you come to a common, richly colored with the golden gorse and the purple heather, which in summer-time send out their warm scents into the quiet air.

© Chris Coomber

The swelling waves of the upland make a near horizon against the sky; the line is only broken in one place by a small grove of Scotch firs, which always look black and shadowed even at mid-day…

© Jim Champion

When all the rest of the landscape seems bathed in sunlight.

© Tim Parkin

The lark quivers and sings high up in the air; too high–in too dazzling a region for you to see her. Look! she drops into sight; but, as if loth to leave the heavenly radiance, she balances herself and floats in the ether. Now she falls suddenly right into her nest, hidden among the ling, unseen except by the eyes of Heaven…

© John Brown

With something like the sudden drop of the lark, the path goes down a green abrupt descent; and in a basin, surrounded by the grassy hills, there stands a dwelling, which is neither cottage nor house, but something between the two in size.

© Helen Richard
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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison says:

    Just as I pictured it:-)

  2. Melissa C. says:

    This is a wonderful post! I’ll second Alison’s comment and say this is pretty much what I imagined as I read it.

  3. Cat says:

    Lovely pictures – imagination can only take one so far and it’s wonderful to see the real thing.

  4. bccmee says:

    Wow, remarkable! That was a great feast for the eyes after reading such a detailed description.

  5. darby says:

    I can just picture it all now, so perfectly wonderful. This is my treat for the day……….Thank you Katherine.

  6. Diane says:

    IF a picture is worth a thousand words these provide a novel in themselves. They gorgeously illustrate EG’s words. Job well done in finding jsut the right illustration for each word picture.

  7. Summer says:

    Really beautiful! The pictures chosen perfectly describe the opening paragraph, Many thanks for including this!

  8. Caroline says:

    I have just started reading this little novel and now stumbled upon your blog and this lovely post. Such wonderful pictures. It is my first Gaskell.

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