Cranford. English village modeled on Knutsford in Cheshire, where Elizabeth Gaskell spent part of her childhood, A country town larger than a village, Cranford is “in possession of the Amazons,” in that its patterns of social life and mores are dictated almost exclusively by widows, spinsters, occasional younger unmarried women visitors, and maid servants. Husbands, if they exist, are away on business all week in the neighboring commercial city of Drumble. However, as Drumble is only twenty miles away by railroad, the creation of a railroad line nearby threatens to destabilize the comfortable routines of morning needlework, afternoon calls, and early evening tea parties followed by serious card playing. None of the women, with the exception of Mary Smith, the youthful narrator and frequent visitor from outside, seems ever to leave the town. However, Cranford is, in fact, large enough to possess an inn and a number of shops, including a millinery establishment and a century-old assembly room attached to the inn, which once held balls and parties of county families but is now rarely used. Mary Smith notes that Cranford’s aging population does not read or walk much, so the settings the reader encounters most often are modest cottage interiors, usually at tea time.
Woodley. Country estate of Thomas Holbrook, whom Miss Matty might have married except for her sister’s disapproval of his modest...
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