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Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Hale’

English: Detail of C. E. Brock illustration fo...

English: Detail of C. E. Brock illustration for the 1895 edition of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (Chapter 56) showing Elizabeth Bennet outdoors in “walking dress”, with bonnet and parasol. Français : Détail d’une illustration de C. E. Brock pour l’édition de 1885 de Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women in Jane Austen‘s time took walks.   Elizabeth Bennett walks to Netherfield and her muddy skirt provides an interesting topic of conversation.  I particularly enjoy the A&E film version of Pride and Prejudice because it emphasizes Elizabeth walking.

Jane Fairfax also walks — to get away from an awkward social situation and have time to think — by herself.  I love the BBC Emma with the wonderful Olivia Williams  saying something about the joys of being alone.

Margaret Hale in the BBC North and South is a stalwart walker, although her surroundings are grim — all those tombstones!  Also, I worry about her lungs and wonder how long any of them will live in that polluted environment.  And then there is John Thornton’s walk before he proposes.   Richard Armitage does a great job of expressing his character’s angst, while walking.

Source: richardarmitagenet.com

Georgette Heyer‘s Venetia walks — without a chaperone — and has the good misfortune to run into the hero.

Maria in Sound of Music has one of the most beautiful walking scenes at the beginning of the movie.

I love to walk and if I can’t walk outside, I’ve been known to pace around my house.  But outside is best, and I realize that lately I’ve been cooped up too much.  I need to walk.  Walking helps me to work out my problems and be at peace.

And here’s the quote that prompted this blog post.

“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”  — Noel Coward.

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6.  The cotton industry.   I’ve never been inside a cotton mill during the Industrial Revolution, but having seen BBC’s North and South, I feel as if I now understand it – a little.  At first, the cinematography is beautiful, giving the mill an “enchanted forest” feeling, until Thornton shouts, bringing the viewer abruptly into the harsh reality. 

I also enjoy the interactions with Thornton and the other mill owners, showing the range of business approaches and practices.  The conversation with Mrs. Thornton and a worker, the mother of an ill child, is fascinating.  The mother is grateful that she can bring another child to work to replace the one who is too ill.  All these details bring a depth to the story and the miniseries.  We care more about the characters because we see them at work and understand their struggles.   Although North and South is one of the most satisfying romances I have ever watched, it is much more than a romance.  It opens a door, giving a glimpse of history, showing the individual and societal consequences of industrialization.

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5.  Brendan Coyle.  By now, nearly every PBS/period drama watcher has enjoyed his fine acting in Downton Abbey as the valet.  However, I first noticed him as Nicholas Higgins in North and South.  He was fascinating, from the moment he helped Margaret when she was surrounded by the rough mill workers, to the moment he shook Mr. Thornton’s hand.  He was a passionate “union man,” a loving father, and a good friend.  I liked the way Mr. Coyle portrayed Higgins as a man with strong principles and prejudices, and yet there was often a twinkle in his eye, showing his humor. 

I was so intrigued by his sympathetic acting style, I did some research and found a copy of The Glass Virgin (1995), in which he played the love interest in a marriage of convenience story.  I hoped that he would have more major roles.  I was pleased when he played a happily married father in Lark Rise to Candleford and then I was thrilled to see him in Downton Abbey.  The role of Mr. Bates is ideal for him:  a soldier who was wounded in the war and now is seeking work as a valet; a man with secrets; a man who can’t even hope for love.  Now that’s romance.

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