After reading 915 pages, and after finishing the last ones just few minutes ago , what a pity that I have to go to sleep without knowing what will happen to Molly and Roger. I’m sure Mrs Gaskell would have written such a touching finale for such a great novel. I‘ve read somewhere – and I’m convinced it is true – that she was thinking of writing something like the end of her North and South: Roger would come back after six months and his proposal to Molly would start with his giving her the dried rose he had carefully and lovingly kept all that time and which Molly herself had given to him before his departure. Just then, Molly would understand that the time of her full, long-wished for, happiness had come. Romantic story!
Only that …
On November 12th, 1865 , with only a few pages to be written, Mrs. Gaskell was sitting round the fire after tea with her daughters in the country house in Hampshire which she had just bought in readiness for her husband's retirement. Suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, she fell forward and died of a heart attack. Whether she had previous attacks we do not know - if she had, she said nothing about them. She was 55. Sad story!
Again. What a pity we can’t read the beautiful scene she had in mind to close this long , amusing, well-written novel which had been published in the Cornhill Magazine as a serial from August 1864 to January 1866.
To know more about the plot, click HERE.
Parents & Children
Only in Wives & Daughters we have several examples, which are all different but equally meant to show how important, in a character’s life , filial or parental love can be, how much these bonds affect an individual’s growing up, the formation of his/her personality and his/her frame of mind.
Cynthia and Osborne are spoilt by the wrong type of bond with their parents: too little love for the first and too much of it for the latter have made them very little responsible and rather selfish people. Roger, though always misjudged and not very much loved by his parents, comes to be an extraordinarily good man (though not always wise, i.e. his love for Cynthia).
We find many other examples:
1. Molly and her father
2. Mrs Hamley / Osborne
3. Mr Hamley /Osborne
3. Mrs Kirkpatrick and Cynthia
4. Aimée and her little boy, Roger
Mrs Gaskell is not new to this sensitive approach to human basic love bonds. She had described John (the father) and Mary’s (the daughter)very exclusive relationship in MARY BARTON (1848) without saving us her reproach for some negative aspects:
After Mrs Barton’s death “ Between the father and the daughter there existed in full force that mysterious bond which unites those who have been loved by one who is now dead and gone. While he was harsh and silent to others, he humoured Mary with tender love; she had more of her own way than is common in any rank with girls of her age. Part of this was the necessity of the case; for of course all the money went thrugh her hands, and the household arrangements were guided by her will and pleasure. But part was her father's indulgence, for he left her, with full trust in her unusual sense and spirit, to choose her own associates, and her own times for seeing them." (p. 23)
In NORTH AND SOUTH (1855) Margaret’s deep love for her unfortunate father matches with John Thornton’s strong attachment to his overbearing mother.