Three-tailed bashaw

Three-tailed bashaw

In this story, the stepmother isn’t wicked, she’s just stupid and pretentious. And calculating. She has a daughter and a step-daughter and is constantly working out who would be the best (financial and social) match for the two eligible young women. At this point,...
Eagerly-tended refreshments

Eagerly-tended refreshments

You can see the gushing, fawning manner of shopkeepers keen to please the Chief Procurement Officers of the nearby grand home. ‘The housekeeper and steward from the Towers might also be seen coming in to give orders at the various shops; and stopping here and there at...
Kind-hearted termagant

Kind-hearted termagant

Great word ‘termagant’, sadly underused and, referring as it does to bad-tempered women, no doubt politically unacceptable. Here it describes Betty, the servant of the Gibson household.  I like the juxtaposition of ‘termagant’, with all the sour-temper...
OK in bits, but not on the whole

OK in bits, but not on the whole

This is a classic case of ‘damning with faint praise’.  The individual’s component bits just made it to ‘very nice’ but somehow failed to add up to anything other than dullness. ‘It’s difficult to say.  I think he’s very nice in all his bits, but rather dull on the...
A cut above the rest

A cut above the rest

The clear-cut class divide wasn’t as neat and sharp as the speaker’s comments imply.  In fact, there was some fluidity across class bounds in the case of women being attracted to this handsome man, land-agent or not. ‘I never think whether a land-agent is handsome or...
People of education

People of education

Of course, the reproving stepmother has only a social gloss of education, while the girl she criticizes has the deeper learning and the more impressive intellect, and a naturalness that allows her to use colloquialisms. ‘… Proverbs and idioms are never used by people...
Barriers to hope

Barriers to hope

I like this metaphor in which a looming shape in the fog evokes a barrier to hope.  That said, may you be free of looming shapes in the fog and anything standing in the way of hope. ‘It loomed through the fog like a great barrier to hope.’ Source: Elizabeth Gaskell,...
Off the peg thoughts

Off the peg thoughts

A fine metaphor for a mind incapable of original thought or phrasing.  The lady has a stock of ready-made comments to offer on almost any topic, allowing her to appear suitably interested or charmed without actually requiring any comprehension or knowledge on her...

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