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This Spinning World (43 stories from far and wide), Jim Potts; ISBN 978-1-912788-02-6

I am pleased to say that my book has now been published and is available from Colenso Books (write to colensobooks@gmail.com ) and...

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Corfu: On Keeping a Piano Tuned on Corfu (Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South)



Corfu in North and South

"They had been talking about wedding dresses, and wedding ceremonies; and Captain Lennox, and what he had told Edith about her future life at Corfu, where his regiment was stationed; and the difficulty of keeping a piano in good tune (a difficulty which Edith seemed to consider as one of the most formidable that could befall her in her married life)".

"Mrs. Shaw enjoyed the romance of the present engagement rather more than her daughter. Not but that Edith was very thoroughly and properly in love; still she would certainly have preferred a good house in Belgravia, to all the picturesqueness of the life which Captain Lennox described at Corfu. The very parts which made Margaret glow as she listened, Edith pretended to shiver and shudder at; partly for the pleasure she had in being coaxed out of her dislike by her fond lover, and partly because anything of a gipsy or make-shift life was really distasteful to her".

Chapter 8

"She lost herself in dismal thought: but at last she determined to take her mind away from the present; and suddenly remembered that she had a letter from Edith which she had only half read in the bustle of the morning. It was to tell of their arrival at Corfu; their voyage along the Mediterranean — their music, and dancing on board ship; the gay new life opening upon her; her house with its trellised balcony, and its views over white cliffs and deep blue sea.

Edith wrote fluently and well, if not graphically. She could not only seize the salient and characteristic points of a scene, but she could enumerate enough of indiscriminate particulars for Margaret to make it out for herself. Captain Lennox and another lately married officer shared a villa, high up on the beautiful precipitous rocks overhanging the sea. Their days, late as it was in the year, seemed spent in boating or land picnics; all out-of-doors, pleasure-seeking and glad, Edith's life seemed like the deep vault of blue sky above her, free — utterly free from fleck or cloud. Her husband had to attend drill, and she, the most musical officer's wife there, had to copy the new and popular tunes out of the most recent English music, for the benefit of the bandmaster; those seemed their most severe and arduous duties.

She expressed an affectionate hope that, if the regiment stopped another year at Corfu, Margaret might come out and pay her a long visit".

Chapter 42:

"Well! I suppose we must have Mrs. Shaw; she's come back to England, isn't she?"

"Yes, sir, she's come back; but I don't think she will like to leave Mrs. Lennox at such an interesting time," said Dixon, who did not much approve of a stranger entering the household, to share with her in her ruling care of Margaret.

"Interesting time be — " Mr. Bell restricted himself to coughing over the end of his sentence. "She could be content to be at Venice or Naples, or some of those Popish places, at the last 'interesting time', which took place in Corfu, I think.

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