NORTH AND SOUTH has always seemed to me, and seems to me 
more than ever after a careful reperusal, one of the finest of 
modern English fictions. Like the great statue of the famous 
Florentine, it was cast, head and foot, in a single piece - all the metal 
flowing in from the same fire. Human kindness, the sympathetic 
sense of contrasts in which resides the essence of true humour, and 
the burning passion of love - all these, with much else, contributed to 
the current. And yet, so it chanced, the novel was the first which its 
authoress wrote bit by bit; just as, by a curious coincidence, 
Dickens' Hard Times, which preceded Mrs. Gaskell's story in the 
same periodical, and which presents other points of contact with its 
successor, was the first story ever brought out by him in weekly 
instalments. It is well known that the inconveniences of the 
experiment, to which Mrs. Gaskell bears testimony in the Prefatory 
Note to the original edition, were, according to his wont, stated by 
Dickens in the most emphatic of terms. "The difficulty of the space," 
he wrote, after a few weeks' tried, "is CRUSHING. Nobody can have an 
idea of it who has not had an experience of patient fiction - writing 
with some elbow - room always, and open places in perspective. In 
this form, with every kind of regard to the current number, there is 
no such thing. North and South first came out in Household Words, 
where it appeared in the numbers extending from September 2, 
1854, to January 27, 1855. It was first published as a complete 
work (by Messrs. Chapman and Hall), in two volumes, in 1855, and 
went through many subsequent editions. A French translation of it, 
by Mmes. Loreau and H. de 1 'Espigne, was published in 1859, and, 
in a second edition, in 1865.
        Although it was Sylvia's Lovers - a work of after date - which 
Mrs. Gaskell chose for dedication to her husband, he can hardly 
have taken a deeper interest in any of her books than that with 
which he watched, and furthered, the production, first of Mary 
Barton, and then of North and South. Mr. Gaskell's heart, like his 
wife's, was, as has been seen, with the people among whom they 
dwelt; and the best of his remarkable powers were given to his 
ministerial work in Lancashire - the sphere of his life 's labours, 
though not, strictly speaking, his native country. As was written of 
him after his death by one who had long looked up to him as a 
teacher of literature, "much as he liked Nature and everything that 
was beautiful in scenery and in art, he was more at home in cities, 
where he could see and study, and love and guide, the men and 
women with whom he came into contact." He watched and noted 
the thoughts and feelings of the "Darkshire" folk as closely as he 
traced their ways and forms of speech. It was in 1854, the year in 
which the publication of North and South opened, that he brought 
out his two Lectures on the Lancashire Dialect, which were in the 
same year appended to the fifth edition of Mary Barton. He must at 
the same time have been pursuing his favourite study of German 
poetry - and hymnology in particular among whose fruits were the 
translations contributed by him to Miss Catherine Winkworth's 
Lyra Germanica, of which the first series appeared in 1858. 
Reminiscences of this study seem to have found their way into one 
or two of the mottoes prefixed to the chapters of North and South, 
which are borrowed from Mr. Gaskell's favourites, Ruckert, Uhland, 
and Kosegarten,
        In North and South may easily be traced the effects of a 
perfect union of tastes as well as of affections, which made the 
companionship of her - husband and daughter the greatest 
happiness of Mrs. Gaskell's life, and helped to mature in her the 
knowledge of men's and women's hearts - the supreme gift of the 
writer who undertakes to interpret to others the best, though they 
may not b the least common, experiences of human life. This book 
has much to tell of sorrow and suffering; and Miss Edgeworth, had 
she lived to criticise it, might have been excused for complaining of 
the number of its death - beds
 - including those of Mrs. Hale and Mr. Hale, Mr. Bell, Margaret's 
generous guardian, and Bessy, her humble friend and admirer. Yet 
the work is, notwithstanding the product of a happy mind in a 
happy mood - and at times this happiness finds expression in 
passages radiant with beauty, and glorious as testifying to the 
service of Love the Conqueror. Thus the force and charm of the 
personal sentiment with which the story is instinct correspond to 
what may be called its chief purpose (since a novel with a purpose 
it remains)  - the endeavor to commend reconciliation through 
sympathy; and this is the solution applied by it to the problems 
suggested by the nature of the plot and the course of the story. 
Most prominent among these problems - though, as will be seen, 
most felicitously mingled and interfuse with - difficulties or 
contrasts of a wholly uncontroversial sort - is the national question 
as to the relations between masters and men, and the whole social 
condition of the manufacturing population, to which, in North and 
South the authoress of Mary Barton once more addressed herself. If 
she had in the mean time grown older, calmer - and why should we 
not say wiser? - without becoming untrue to herself and her noblest 
instincts, so too the conditions of the national life which affected 
this question had undergone an unmistakable modification. During 
the six years, or thereabouts, which passed between the writing of 
Mary Barton and that of North and South, a change had come over 
the movement for advancing and improving the condition of the 
working population, more especially in the manufacturing districts 
of Lancashire and other parts of the North.
        In the first place, few movements involving the interests and 
affecting the sentiments of large classes of the population are able 
to escape the common fate of being followed by periods of reaction. 
The triumph of the agitation against the Corn Laws, which went to 
the very root of the sufferings of the working - classes, had been 
complete; and the philanthropic activity of Lord Ashley, and those 
who acted with him, had since his return to Parliament in 1847 
been chiefly directed to matters of a less controversial character 
than the practices of the factories and the pits. Moreover, about this 
time the condition of the Irish population, which went on rapidly 
from worse to worse, had begun to absorb a large share of attention 
and munificence. Finally, the revolutionary movements, which 
shook the Continent of Europe in the years 1848 and 1849, though 
they left England virtually unaffected, could not but leave behind 
them in a large part of English society a mingled sense of 
repugnance and relief.  After the failure of the Chartist 
demonstration in London of April, 1848, the cause which it had 
intended to advance seemed for many years dead in this country; 
the Chartist conference held in Manchester early in 1851 was 
attended by the representatives of not more than four localities; 
nor was it till 1855 that another attempt was made in the same 
town to revive the agitation. In general, although notwithstanding 
the gradual collapse of the Whig Government there was no question 
of any permanent acceptance by the nation of a Conservative 
policy, still less of any return to Protectionist principles, yet a 
period of compromise and tranquillity was at hand in home affairs 
and internal legislation, which covered both the building of the 
temple of peace in 1851 and the opening of the gates of war in 
1854. Finally, it must not be overlooked that in the manufacturing 
districts during these years the employed had become more 
accustomed to, and more expert in the use of their readiest and 
most effective weapon of offence, as well as of defence, against 
their employers; and that strikes (though none seems to have been 
attempted on a large scale in Manchester between 1848 and 1854) 
were becoming more frequent in the manufacturing districts at 
        The reaction to which the above and other contemporary 
causes contributed could not but exercise an influence upon that 
group of English writers of prose fiction who had shown so genuine 
and so special an interest in the condition of our working - classes; 
who had insisted so strongly on the justice as well as on the 
expediency of hearing both sides of the questions at issue; and who, 
whether from a national, a humanitarian, or a Christian point of 
view, had pleaded that justice should be done to the needs of the 
employed not less than to the claims of the employers, and that 
masters and men should meet each other as friends, not as foes.
        It so happened that early in the year 1854 Dickens and Mrs. 
Gaskell, with whom his literary relations had of late been so 
intimate, each set out upon the composition of a story of which the 
scene was to be laid in the manufacturing districts, and which, 
under whatever conditions, could not fail to address itself to the 
perennial question of the relations between capital and labour - or, 
better perhaps, for much is involved in the choice -  of phrase, of the 
relations between masters and men. Dickens, though his wondrous 
activity of mind, his breadth of human sympathy, and his hatred of 
social injustice, could not but excite in him an interest in the 
manufacturing districts and their population - to which, as in The 
Chimes and The Old Curiosity Shop, he had already given expression 
more passionate than convincing - possessed no intimate knowledge 
either of the North or of the manufacturing classes in general; 
indeed, neither his upbringing, nor his experience (except 
incidentally) - nor again, his reading and his tastes - had brought him 
into close contact with this particular class of our population. In this 
year, 1854, when he was revolving the story Hard Times, which 
was (though somewhat late) to present the full deliverance of his 
mind on the condition of our manufacturing districts, he travelled 
to Preston, where at the time there was a strike, to catch what he 
could of the spirit of the conflict, and of its influence upon those 
concerned in it. But he was much disappointed with what he saw, or 
rather with what he did not see; and, having ascertained that the 
people "sit at home and mope," went off himself to witness an 
indifferent performance of Hamlet at the theatre. Even genius 
cannot satisfactorily report or reproduce what it only imperfectly 
understands. Dickens' intuitive perception of this truth will not be 
held to derogate from the characteristic candour and generosity of a 
passage in a letter which, four months later, he addressed to Mrs. 
Gaskell, with the general design of whose new story he must by this 
time have become acquainted:
        "I have no intention of striking. The monstrous claims at 
diminution made by a certain class of manufacturers, and the 
extent to which the way is made easy for working - men to slide 
down into discontent under such hands, are within my scheme; but 
I am not going to strike, so don't be afraid of me. But I wish you 
would look at the story yourself, and judge where and how near I 
seem to he approaching what you have in your mind. The first two 
months of it will show that."

        While, from the nature of the case, the publication of the 
successive portions of Hard Times, which appeared in Household 
Words from April 1 to August 12  1854, could not have exercised 
any but a quite incidental influence upon the composition of Mrs. 
Gaskell's story, internal evidence shows the latter to have been 
written in absolute independence of Dickens' work. Thus, while it 
would be impertinent to offer here any general criticism of what 
can hardly be described as the earlier of the two works except by 
reason of their dates of publication, even a comparison between the 
pair seems superfluous. Yet the almost simultaneous treatment, by 
two eminent writers in close mutual touch, of themes which, though 
not identical, in many respects cover each other, is something more 
than a curiosity in literary history, and should not be lost sight of 
by critics desirous of applying a comparative treatment.  Is it going 
too far to say that in Hard Times Dickens, whose creative power had 
then only just passed its zenith, sought to illustrate social 
conceptions fervently cherished by him by means of types drawn 
only in part from spheres within his own intimate knowledge; while 
Mrs. Gaskell sought to harmonise personal and social contrasts in 
conditions of life that came home to her with an intimate and 
familiar force?  However this may have been - and we may be sure 
that no such conclusions were tried by her with her great friend - 
nothing could have been more delightful, and nothing more 
magnanimous, than the spirit in which Dickens applauded every 
stage in the progress of a story which he welcomed as an ornament 
not only to his journal, but to the literature of English fiction. As far 
back as May 3, 1853, when he must have been revolving in his 
mind the first notions of the story for which out of a wealth of 
proposed titles he at last selected the~ name of Hard Times, he 
wrote to her as to the subject, doubtless communicated to him in 
general terms, of her proposed story:
        "The subject is certainly not too serious, so sensibly treated. I 
have no doubt that you may do a great deal of good by pursuing it 
in Household Words. I thoroughly agree in all you say in your note. 
I have similar reasons for giving it some anxious consideration, and 
shall be greatly interested in it. Pray decide to do it. I am sure you 
may rely on being widely understood and sympathised with."

        A month later he had the first portion of the story in his 
hands, and wrote back with cordial warmth:

        "I have read the MS. you have had the kindness to send me, 
with all possible attention and care. I have shut myself up for the 
purpose, and allowed nothing to divide my thoughts. It opens an 
admirable story, is full of character and power, has a strong 
suspended interest in it (the end of which I don't in the least 
foresee), and has the very best marks of your hand upon it. If I had 
more to read, I certainly could not have stopped, but must have 
read on."

        And, in July, when Mrs. Gaskell appears to have consulted him 
as to the name of her story, he, instead of preferring a title which 
would have obscured any suggestion of a competition with his own 
story, unhesitatingly advised:

        "North and South appears to me to be a better name than 
Margaret Hale. It implies more, and is expressive of the opposite 
people brought face to face in the story."
        And, finally, in January, 1855, when the last instalment of the 
story had reached him, he wrote:

        "Let me congratulate you on the conclusion of your story: not 
because it is the end of a task to which you had" [no doubt because 
of the special conditions of publication] "conceived a dislike (for I 
imagine you to have got the better of that delusion by this time), 
but because it is the vigorous and powerful accomplishment of an 
anxious labour. It seems to me you have felt the ground thoroughly 
firm under your feet, and have strided on with a force and purpose 
that must now give you pleasure. I shall still look forward to the 
large sides of paper, and shall soon feel disappointed if they don't 
begin to reappear."

        The scheme (to borrow Dickens' word) of  Mrs. Gaskell's own 
story no doubt conformed itself to a wish, which may have been 
only half conscious though at the same time most genuine on her 
part, to find an opportunity of rectifying whatever 
misapprehensions might have arisen as to the real purpose - for 
purpose there had been - with which she had written Mary Barton. 
Yet her object in sending forth North and South to take its place by 
the side of her early masterpiece was by no means, as has been at 
times loosely suggested, to balance her previous advocacy of the 
claims of one class by showing what was to be said in favour of the 
other. Beyond a doubt, she desired to assert her sincere wish to be 
fair to both masters and men; and in North and South she 
succeeded better in the endeavour than she had in Mary Barton.  
The tones of her censor - in - general themselves were hushed into 
accents of the most complacent, if still self - controlled, satisfaction.

        "It is," wrote Mr. W. R. Greg, "no compliment to say that your 
book has been my constant companion since I saw you; I only 
finished it last night. But I have been in society every day, and 
could only snatch time for a chapter before going to bed at night. 
Last night, however, I was home early and resolved upon a treat; so 
sat up till 1 o'clock, and came to an end, and was sorry when I had 
done it. I find no fault in it, which is a great deal for a critic to say, 
seeing that one inevitably gets the habit of reading in a somewhat 
critical spirit. I do not think it as thorough a work of genius as Mary 
Barton - nor the subject as interesting as Ruth - but I like it better 
than either; and you know how, in spite of my indignation, I 
admired the first. I think you have quite taken the right tone, and 
the spirit and execution of the whole is excellent. The characters are 
all distinct, and kept distinct to the last, and the delineation is most 
delicate and just. Now you are, I know, so used to full and 
unmodified eulogy that I daresay my appreciation will appear faint, 
scanty, and grudging. Indeed it is not so; if you knew how painfully 
scrupulous I am (not as a matter of conscience, but of insuperable 
instinct) in matters of praise to keep within the truth - you would 
read more real admiration in my cold sentences than in the golden 
opinions of more demonstrative ones."
        Like her critic, Mrs. Gaskell in North and South had no other 
desire than that of perfect fairness.  Once more, she accorded the 
recognition which was its due to the heroic element perceptible in 
the conduct of the workmen, when persistently holding out 
together even to the disadvantage of their individual interests - " 
that's what folk call fine and honourable in a soldier, and why not 
in a poor weaver chap?"  On the other hand, she cast no glamour 
round their unreasonableness in thought and in action, and 
exhibited them as clinging to their prejudices even where 
pernicious to themselves - like the men who "didn't like working in 
places where there was a wheel, because they said as how it made 
'em hungry, at after they 'd been used to swallowing fluff, to go 
without it, and that their wage ought to be raised if they were to 
work in such places."  In Nicholas Higgins she drew to the life the 
best kind of Lancashire operative; and the pitifulness of the 
likeness was attested by the great engineer Sir William Fairbairn, 
who knew more than most men of Manchester workshops, and who 
wrote to Mrs. Gaskell:

        "Poor old Higgins, with his weak consumptive daughter, is a 
true picture of a Manchester man. There are many like him in this 
town, and a better sample of independent industry you could not 
have hit upon. Higgins is an excellent representative of a Lancashire 
operative - strictly independent - and is one of the best characters in 
the piece."

        But she depicted with no less force and fidelity the fanaticism 
of unreason in the personage of Higgins' bete noire, the unlucky 
Boucher - whose folly, dealing destruction to his nearest and dearest 
as well as to himself, his comrade was to requite by a self - 
sacrificing care for the suicide's widow and children.
        But the companion picture to that of the working - man typical 
of the best characteristics of his class - the picture of a master who, 
with the roots of his own strength in his native ground, aware of his 
power and jealous of all interference with its legitimate exercise, 
yet comes gradually to realise the whole of his duty towards his 
workmen - this was for the first time deliberately essayed by Mrs. 
Gaskell in North and South. In her first novel old Mr. Carson is, 
towards the end of his career, brought to an insight into the 
significance of all that remains to be done in order to humanise the 
personal relations between employer and employed. In North and 
South the whole course of the story, whose most dramatic scene has 
shown the master and his men face to face in all but internecine 
conflict, makes us understand how its hero, Mr. Thornton, a man of 
true Lancashire metal, possessed of a firm will, a clear head, and a 
true heart, gradually finds for himself the true solution of a 
problem of which he has come to understand the conditions in their 
entirety.  The intuition of Margaret, his soul's love, has from the 
first, in the midst of her ignorance, insisted upon this solution. 
Through her Mr. Thornton comes to know Higgins; through Higgins 
his fellow - workmen; and in the end the simple and self - evident 
conclusion, "God has made us so that we must be mutually 
dependent," is acknowledged true on both sides; and we may look 
forward to this recognition bringing forth fruit, though not always 
in the same amplitude - "some an hundred - fold, some sixty - fold, 
some thirty - fold."
At the same time - and the process illustrates the wonderful 
evolutionary force proper to the ideas of a really creative 
imagination - the theme of Mary Barton, thus enlarged and expanded 
into that of North and South, in the latter novel advances into a 
quite new phase. "The antagonism," it has been well said by a critic 
whom I make no apology for quoting once more, "of which we are 
here called upon to take note, is not so much the antagonism of 
capital and labour, as that between ancient and modern 
civilisations. The agricultural, patriarchal, easy - going, idyllic South 
is opposed to the feverish energy and severe austerity of the North. 
We have here a profound contrast, which has become an essential 
part of English life, and a theme fertile in developments - moral, 
artistic, and economic.  Mrs. Gaskell deserves credit for having so 
clearly seized and so subtly delineated certain aspects at all events 
of this antithesis." And, it may be added, she contrives with 
admirable skill to do justice to both parts of the picture and to show 
the weak spots in the social life of both Northerners and Southrons - 
town folk and country folk. The ways of the manufacturing districts 
of the North are, as might be expected, described with a kindly 
truthfulness with which the most susceptible sensibility could 
hardly find fault, even though time may have softened some of the 
colours, or cast some varied hues over the characteristically 
colourless background of the picture. A single chapter ("Looking 
South") suffices to remind us how the simple life of the southern 
village, as well as the more complicated life of the busy northern 
town, has not only its shortcomings, but its trials and temptations. 
And, ultimately, Margaret, the refined and ardent heroine of the 
tale, after she has in spite of herself learnt to understand the truth 
and tenderness that light up the darkness of the North, has only to 
revisit the southern home, in comparison with which every other 
spot once seemed to her hard and prosaic - looking, in order, even in 
its "old enchanting atmosphere," to see clearly and judge justly.
        The distinguished French critic just cited by me conjectures 
that Mrs. Gaskell "put a good deal of her heart" into the contrast 
which in North and South she endeavoured to depict - a contrast 
which no true painter of English life, from Chaucer to Dickens, has 
failed to introduce into his pictures.  M. Cazamian can hardly be 
wrong in asserting that "the days of her childhood and youth at 
Knutsford, and her schooltime at Stratford - on - Avon, had 
familiarised her with the irresistible attractions of English country - 
life." But his logical conclusion that, "suddenly transplanted, she 
might very well have felt all the repugnance which Manchester 
excites," is rather of the "high priori" kind.  It ignores one of the 
most characteristic of her gifts - a saving gift, one might almost call 
it - which she owed, partly to the varied personal experience of her 
earlier life (not all of which was spent among green hedgerows and 
in "ministers' gardens"), but chiefly to the swiftness of her 
imaginative powers and to the serene catholicity of her humour. 
Thus she could at all times enter, not only quickly but fully, into 
quite different and mutually contrasting aspects of life and its 
surroundings; and I cannot imagine her at any time to have had to 
do battle in her own mind with those prejudices which to Margaret 
Hale were the source, at first of so much pride, and then of so much 
anguish. Thus North and South, among its many distinctive merits, 
possesses that of a fairness of judgment which is the result, not of 
balanced antipathies, but of a most comprehensive sympathy.  The 
personal reminiscences in the book are, to all seeming, few and far 
between.  In Mr. Hale, the high - minded clergyman who, irresolute 
in small things, relinquishes his living and his clerical work for 
conscience' sake, there may be (as has been suggested) 
distinguishable some features of Mrs. Gaskell's father, William 
Stevenson, in his relations to the religious ministry. And the 
character and experiences of Frederick, the exiled "first - born child," 
for whom his poor dying mother yearns with all the strength of her 
weakness, may in some measure, like those of Peter in Cranford, 
have been suggested by the mysterious story of John Stevenson, 
Mrs. Gaskell's own brother. But the figure of Frederick is of 
secondary importance only; and, in the eyes of most readers, good 
Mr. Hale's religious difficulties are likely to occupy a less prominent 
place in the story than they perhaps did in the design of Mrs. 
Gaskell, and certainly in the judgment of Charlotte Bronte.  Writing, 
presumably, of the fine chapter is which Mr. Hale announces his 
decision to his daughter, that staunch conservative Churchwoman 
says in a letter to her friend

        "The subject seems to me difficult; at first I groaned over it: if 
you had any narrowness of views or bitterness of feeling towards 
the Church or her clergy, I should groan over it still; but I think I 
see the ground you are about to take as far as the Church is 
concerned not that of attack on her, but of defence of those who 
conscientiously differ from her and feel it a duty to leave her fold. 
Well - it is good ground, but still rugged for the step of fiction. Stony - 
thorny will it prove at times, I fear."
        Since Mr. Hale's time, it should be remembered, some of the 
outward obstacles to such a course as that pursued by him have 
been removed; and, with the growth of a tolerance which is not due 
to indifference only, has grown an unwillingness to interfere, even 
by a comment which would sometimes not be wholly unwelcome, 
between a sincere thinker and his conclusions.
        The construction of North and South may in my judgment be 
rightly described as almost faultless. There is not an incident in the 
story which does not bear upon its progress. There is no dissipation 
of interest; and the attention of the reader is kept throughout in 
perfect suspense.  Dickens, it will be remembered, could not "in the 
least foresee the ending" of the plot. This ending is most admirably 
devised, though exception might perhaps be taken with a detail or 
two in the way which is found for Mr. Thornton out of his final 
difficulties. The action at large is carried on among a group of 
characters, all of which are kept perfectly distinct from one 
another, and are at the same time thoroughly interesting in 
themselves.  I have already touched on the admirable delineations 
of the working - men, and of Bessy Higgins, with her spiritual 
yearnings for a peace which is not of this world, and her human 
love of change for the sake of change - so that she can ever find an 
excuse for her father's lapses into drinking.  At the other end of the 
social scale are the Lennoxes and Aunt Shaw - the shadows of a 
season, cheerfully limited and entirely contented with their 
limitations.  Of them Henry Lennox, Margaret's first lover, is a 
subtle variety - clever enough for anything, except for an insight into 
his own fatal limitation - self.
        About Margaret, whom there are few heroines to equal in 
fiction - in that of our own times Ethel Newcome alone deserves to 
rank beside her - there is a quite extraordinary charm; and the 
transformation in her on which the story turns is worked out with 
equal power and delicacy. One can almost see her, as poor Bessy 
saw her in a dream, "coming swiftly towards me, wi' yo 'r hair 
blown back wi' the very swiftness o' the motion, a little standing off 
like; and the white shining dress on yo 've getten to wear"; or in the 
moment of anguish, confronted with her real lover and his passion, 
"her head, for all its drooping eyes, thrown a little back, in the old 
proud attitude."  If, after the arrival of the Hales at Milton, 
Margaret's prejudice against "tradesmen" is a little overdone, 
though the talk about "gentlemen', is perfectly natural, there is not 
a false tone or a wrong colour at any subsequent stage of the story 
of the long assay. And thus at the end, after all has seemed over, 
and she and her poor heart have, in the words - surely of St. Francois 
de Sales - read by her, found their only refuge in humble submission 
to the Divine mercy, she is vouchsafed the supreme earthly 
happiness of learning that the love concealed in that heart is 
The character of Thornton, whose nature is the complement of 
Margaret's, is drawn with no less force and consistency. "I belong to 
Teutonic blood," he says; "it is little mingled in this part of England 
to what it is in others: we retain much of their language; we retain 
more of their spirit; we do not look upon life as a time for 
enjoyment, but as a time for action and exertion. Our glory and our 
beauty arise out of our inward strength, which makes us victorious 
over material resistance, and over greater difficulties still."  He is an 
admirable type of the best of the Lancashire master manufacturers 
of his day: upholding the principle of independence for both 
masters and men; hating Parliamentary or other State interference; 
and very much averse from giving reasons where he claims a right 
to give orders. But in the story he interests us for something 
beyond his views of industry or of life, and besides the action into 
which he unhesitatingly translates those views.  It would be 
difficult to find in fiction an equally simple and true picture of a 
strong man under the spell of a great passion - a passion worthy of 
        These two great figures stand in an environment which partly 
enables us to understand them both, partly accentuates particular 
sides of the contrasts which are harmonised between hero and 
heroine. Mrs. Thornton is effective on the whole, but in her 
austerity, a trifle Dickensian - or may one venture to say, stagey? 
When Margaret refuses her son, this rather alarming mother in - law 
in posse "showed her teeth like a dog for the whole length of her 
mouth"; and when she in her turn reproves the young "foreigner" 
with supposed levity of conduct, she describes her son as "this 
Milton manufacturer, his great heart scorned as it was scorned." 
The truth is that the mothers of self - made men, and sometimes of 
other persons of importance, have almost as hard a time of it in 
fiction as some of them have in real life. Mr. Hale, as has already 
been said, belongs to his times, an& is a very attractive example of 
them - more so perhaps than the excellent Mr. Bell, who with his 
common - room wit and his bottle of port for luncheon, would have 
shocked the more delicate idiosyncrasies of even the 
contemporaries of Robert Elsmere.  But how lifelike and clear - cut 
every one of these figures is, including that of Mrs. Hale's own 
maid, Dixon, a perfectly new variety in Mrs. Gaskell's exquisite 
collection of serving - women - aristocratic in her tastes, vulgar in her 
soul, rising quite superior to her unlucky master's theological 
scruples, but not above edifying the listening Milton maid - of - all 
work by her talk about the Harley Street establishment
 - and true of heart withal
        The success of North and South was unequivocal. While, owing 
to the very fact of its fairness of spirit and evenness of judgment, it 
was the last sort of book to create what is called a sensation, it was 
destined to become a favourite of all classes, and of many 
generations, and is unlikely to lose the hold it has gained over the 
lovers of the best kind of fiction. For the commanding interest of 
this inimitable story is truly human; and no art could be more 
triumphant than that with which its varied contrasts are 
harmonised, and its central conflict is ended.

(Provided by Souhei Yamada and Mitsuharu Matsuoka, Nagoya University, Japan, on 17 January 2002.)

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