Cornhill Magazine,  10 (1864), 385–408.

Wives and Daughters. An Every-Day Story Ch. 7–9  [3/17]

[Elizabeth C Gaskell]


Novel, Serial


Natural History, Comparative Anatomy, Feeling, Imagination, Universities, Mathematics, Education, Medical Practitioners, Class, Laboratories, Discovery

    Mrs. Hamley assures her husband that their younger son Roger is 'always far too full of his natural history and comparative anatomy, and messes of that sort, to be thinking of falling in love with Venus herself. He has not the sentiment and imagination of Osborne' (389). However, the name of Osborne, the Hamley's favoured elder son, 'only appeared very low down in the mathematical tripos' at Cambridge (391), and his lowly position 'among the junior optimes' is the source of much unhappiness for his parents (393). The widower Mr. Gibson becomes 'far too busy in his profession to have time for mere visits of ceremony' when 'the district of which he may be said to have had medical charge' is hit by 'a bad kind of low fever, which took up all his time and thought'. The pitiful state of Gibson's domestic arrangements are brought home to him by 'an impromptu visit of Lord Hollingford's' (who has recently installed a 'new laboratory at the Towers' [400]), during which the two men 'had a good deal to say to each other about some new scientific discovery, with the details of which Lord Hollingford was well acquainted, while Mr. Gibson was ignorant and deeply interested'. (405–06) Gibson, unable to offer the scientific peer even a proper luncheon, determines to find himself a new wife.


Gaskell 1866

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