Elizabeth Gaskell Quotes (47 Quotes)


    If they came sorrowing, and wanting sympathy in a complicated trouble like the present, then they would be felt as a shadow in all these houses of intimate acquaintances, not friends

    We do not look for reason for logic in the passionate entreaties of those who are sick unto death; we are stung with the recollection of a thousand slighted opportunities of fulfilling the wishes of those who will soon pass away from among us: and do they ask us for the future happiness of our lives, we lay it at their feet, and will it away from us.

    It had been a royal time of luxury to him, with all its stings and contumelies, compared to the poverty that crept round and clipped the anticipation of the future down to sordid fact, and life without an atmosphere of either hope or fear.




    Yet within a miles, Margaret knew of house after house, where she would for her own sake, and her mother for her Aunt Shaw's, would be welcomed, if they came to gladness, or even in peace of mind. If they came sorrowing, and wanting sympathy in a complicated trouble like the present, then they would be felt as a shadow in all these houses of intimate acquaintances.

    It was one of Mrs. Hale's fitful days, when everything was a difficulty and a hardship; and Mr Lennox's appearance took this shape, although secretly she felt complimented by his thinking it worthwhile to call.

    Margaret found that the indifferent, careless conversations of one who, however kind, was not too warm and anxious a sympathizer, did her good.

    But Margaret was at an age when any apprehension, not absolutely based on a knowledge of facts, is easily banished for a time by a bright sunny day, or some happy outward circumstance. And when the brilliant fourteen fine days of October came on, her cares were all blown away as lightly as thistledown, and she thought of nothing but the glories of the forest.


    But Margaret went less abroad, among machinery and men; saw less of power in its public effect, and, as it happened, she was thrown with one or two of those who, in all measures affecting masses of people, must be acute sufferers for the good of many. The question always is, has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible?


    But the monotonous life led by invalids often makes them like children, inasmuch as thy have neither of them any sense of proportion in events, and seem each to believe that the walls and curtains which shut in their world, and shut out everything else, must of necessity be larger than anything hidden beyond.




    But with the increase of serious and just ground of complaint, a new kind of patience had sprung up in her Mother's mind. She was gentle and quiet in intense bodily suffering, almost in proportion as she had been restless and depressed when there had been no real cause for grief.



    Oh, my Margaret--my Margaret! no one can tell what you are to me! Dead--cold as you lie there you are the only woman I ever loved! Oh, Margaret--Margaret!

    God has made us so that we must be mutually dependent. We may ignore our own dependence, or refuse to acknowledge that others depend upon us in more respects than the payment of weekly wages; but the thing must be, nevertheless. Neither you nor any other master can help yourselves. The most proudly independent man depends on those around him for their insensible influence on his character - his life.

    She freshens me up above a bit. Who'd ha thought that face - as bright and as strong as the angel I dream of - could have known the sorrow she speaks on? I wonder how she'll sin. All on us must sing.




    She lay down and never stirred. To move hand or foot, or even so much as one finger, would have been an exertion beyond the powers of either volition or motion. She was so tired, so stunned, that she thought she never slept at all; her feverish thoughts passed and repassed the boundary between sleeping and waking, and kept their own miserable identity.

    I believe that this suffering, which Miss Hale says is impressed on the countenances of the people of Milton, is but the natural punishment of dishonestly-enjoyed pleasure, at some former period of their lives. I do not look on self-indulgent, sensual people as worthy of my hatred; I simply look upon them with contempt for their poorness of character.

    The question always is, has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible? Or, in the triumph of the crowded procession, have the helpless been trampled on, instead of being gently lifted aside out of the roadway of the conqueror, whom they have no power to accompany on his march?

    I have passed out of childhood into old age. I have had no youth - no womanhood; the hopes of womanhood have closed for me - for I shall never marry; and I anticipate cares and sorrows just as if I were an old woman, and with the same fearful spirit.

    They had grown up together from childhood, and all along Edith had been remarked upon by every one, except Margaret, for her prettiness;


    We looked into the darkness of futurity as a child gazes after a rocket up in the cloudy sky, full of wondering expectation of the rattle, the discharge, and the brilliant shower of sparks and light.

    Madam your wife and I didn't hit it off the only time I ever saw her. I won't say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn't me.


    My heart burnt within me with indignation and grief; we could think of nothing else. All night long we had only snatches of sleep, waking up perpetually to the sense of a great shock and grief. Every one is feeling the same. I never knew so universal a feeling.

    Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.

    A wise parent humors the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and advisor when his absolute rule shall cease.

    People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people's minds, as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues.

    I'll not listen to reason... reason always means what someone else has got to say.

    How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly!

    . . . she would have despised the modern idea of women being equal to men. Equal, indeed she knew they were superior.

    To be sure a stepmother to a girl is a different thing to a second wife to a man!

    We were none of us musical, though Miss Jenkyns beat time, out of time, by way of appearing to be so.

    He could not forget the touch of her arms around his neck, impatiently felt as it had been at the time but now the recollection of her clinging defence of him, seemed to thrill him through and through,--to melt away every resolution, all power of self-control, as if it were wax before a fire.


    The cloud never comes from the quarter of the horizon from which we watch for it.

    He had not an ounce of superfluous flesh on his bones, and leanness goes a great way towards gentility.


    More Elizabeth Gaskell Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Suffering - Mind - Woman - Time - People - Sense & Perception - Grief - World - Present - Courage - Future - Childhood - Wisdom & Knowledge - Facts - Duty - Identity - Power - Dependence - View All Elizabeth Gaskell Quotations

    More Elizabeth Gaskell Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - North and South

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