— But you will be ready to say, what was your hope in doing this? — What did you look forward to? — To any thing, every thing — to time, chance, circumstances, slow effects, sudden bursts, perserverance and weariness ... Every possibility of good was before me, and the first of blessings secured ... — from Emma, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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April 29, 2011

Involvement in the near, yearning for the far



I feel a stirring instinct and long  to be off into the deep grassy solitudes of the country, just like a bird wakens up from its content at the change of the seasons, and tends its way to some well-known but till then forgotten land. But as I happen to be a woman instead of a bird, as I have ties at home and duties to perform, and, as moreover I have no wings like a dove to fly away ...
-- Elizabeth Gaskell, quoted in Elizabeth Gaskell:
A Habit of Stories
, by Jenny Uglow


I mean to be re-reading this excellent biography, and to begin reading beyond Cranford, back in January, but other books and tasks came along instead. But I still have time to participate in the Gaskell Reading Challenge over at the Gaskell Blog, and to read this book, and one or two (or three?) of her novels, before the end of June. This quote, from a letter EG wrote in 1832, is included at the beginning of the biography, and I thought it was a perfect entry into my reading.

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