Friday, 27 July 2012

Cranford Envelopes

I've not watched the TV show much at all - not nearly as much as I would love to see anything with Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins.  It's a long running thing here in Britain, though, and I'm sure to catch up with it at some point. 

In visiting a local book sale (to which I'd contributed a good number of books I no longer wanted) I found a very old (pre-ISBN, pre-copyright dates) copy of the book Cranfield by 'Mrs Gaskell'.  It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I loved it.  It is set in a small village and the majority of characters are older women who are living on 'very limited means' - though they all have servants...

I came across a piece of it that talks about 'economies' that greatly amused me.  I will share bits of what it has to say:

I have often noticed that almost every one has his own individual small economies--careful habits of saving fractions of pennies in some one peculiar direction--any disturbance of which annoys him more than spending shillings or pounds on some real extravagance.  An old gentleman of my acquaintance, who took the intelligence of the failure of a Joint-Stock Bank, in which some of his money was invested, with stoical mildness, worried his family all through a long summer's day because one of them had torn (instead of cutting) out the written leaves of his now useless bank-book; of course, the corresponding pages at the other end came out as well, and this little unnecessary waste of paper (his private economy) chafed him more than all the loss of his money.  Envelopes fretted his soul terribly when they first came in; the only way in which he could reconcile himself to such waste of his cherished article was by patiently turning inside out all that were sent to him, and so making them serve again.  Even now, though tamed by age, I see him casting wistful glances at his daughters when they send a whole  inside of a half-sheet of note paper, with the three lines of acceptance to an invitation, written on only one of the sides.

If you wish to read Cranfield yourself, it's available here, on Project Gutenberg.

5 comments:

steppingmywaytobliss said...

I bought this book after seeing the mini-series--which I adored. But I haven't read the book yet. I also bought "Wives and Daughters". It too is on the reading list for the future. : )

Beryl said...

I haven't seen this program yet in Oklahoma, so I will search it out on the internet. It's fun when you find one of these series after a few years, and like I did with the Stephen Fry show, Kingdom, can indulge yourself in a marathon of viewing. Thanks for the link to the book.

Terri said...

Oh, I have similar "small economies," which I'd be embarassed to admit to.

Shelley said...

Bliss - Thanks for the heads up about another Gaskell book! I enjoyed Cranford so well, I must try another.

Beryl - I've found some Youtube videos of Kingdom...can't wait to watch!

Terri - I'd love to know what they are. I have some fairly weird habits as well. I think they are a hoot!

SewingLibrarian said...

And there's also North and South, both the book and the mini-series.