Postal Delivery: Mrs. Gaskell’s Letters – June 14th

February 24, 1865
To: John Ruskin, art critic

My dear Mr. Ruskin,

…I will tell… a bit more of ‘Cranford’ that I did not dare to put in, because I thought people would say it was too ridiculous, and yet which really happened in Knutsford.

Two Old ladies, friends of mine in my girlhood, had a niece who had made a grand marriage… the bride & bridegroom cam to stay with the two Aunts… all dinner time they [Guests] had noticed that the neat maid-servant had performed a sort of ‘pas-de-basque’ hopping & sliding with more grace than security to the dishes she held… And they [Aunts]began to explain… they had just laid down a new carpet with white spots or spaces on it; and that they had been teaching this girl to vualt or jump gracefully over these… for fear lest her feet might dirty them….

Yours gratefully & truly,

E.C. Gaskell

Painting: Christmas Storytelling – A Winter’s Tale, John Everett Millais
Source: Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn, J. A. V. Chapple, and Alan Shelston. Further letters of Mrs. Gaskell . Newly updated in pbk. ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press ;, 2003. Print.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Barbara Kidder says:

    This is charming; Miss Mattie and Miss Deborah come to mind…!
    Thank you for this selection.

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