Gaskell is as capable as Jane Austen of skewering shallowness and pretension. I like this breezy ‘general friendly feeling’ being humorously shown for what it is, benign but utter indifference.

‘For Mrs Gibson and Molly he had a general friendly feeling; but he did not care if he never saw them again.’

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters (London: Penguin Classics, 1986 (1866)), p. 468


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