Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh, Cranford!

As someone with a degree in Victorian literature, it amazes me that I had never read Cranford until last summer. I can't possibly convey how funny this book is. Could.Not.Stop.Laughing.

And now it's to be on PBS. My expectations are high.

First, the preview of this weekend's Masterpiece Theatre:

Imelda Staunton! Judi Dench! Julia Sawalha!* Michael Gambon! Website!!

And there's knitting! Lots of it (among other yarny crafts):
  • page 14-15: "It was very good of Miss Jenkyns to do this ; for I had seen that, a little before, she had been a good deal annoyed by Miss Jessie Brown's unguarded admission (apropos of Shetland wool) that she had an uncle, her mother's brother, who was a shopkeeper in Edinburgh. Miss Jenkyns tried to drown this confession by a terrible cough ... But Miss Jessie Brown (who had no tact, as we all agreed the next morning) would repeat the information, and assure Miss Pole she could easily get her the identical Shetland wool required, 'through my uncle, who has the best assortment of Shetland goods of any one in Edinbro'."
  • page 21: "Miss Pole and Miss Jessie Brown had set up a kind of intimacy on the strength of the Shetland wool and the new knitting stitches ; so it happened that when I went to visit Miss Pole I saw more of the Browns than I had done while staying with Miss Jenkyns, who had never got over what she called Captain Brown's disparaging remarks upon Dr. Johnson as a writer of light and agreeable fiction."
  • page 23: "There was Miss Pole, who was becoming as much absorbed in crochet as she had been once in knitting, and the burden of whose letter was something like, ' But don't you forget the white worsted at Flint's ' of the old song ; for at the end of every sentence of news came a fresh direction as to some crochet commission which I was to execute for her."
  • page 38: "She took up some knitting of Miss Matty's 39 and began to be very busy, though I could see how she trembled all over."
  • page 44-45: ":There was all the more time for me to hear old-world stories from Miss Pole, while she sat knitting, and I making my father's shirts."
  • page 65: "she afterwards said it was because she had got to a difficult part of her crochet, and wanted to count her stitches without having to talk."
  • page 77: "In the winter afternoons she would sit knitting for two or three hours — she could do this in the dark, or by firelight — and when I asked if I might not ring for candles to finish stitching my wristbands, she told me to ' keep blind man's holiday.'"
  • page 138: "Carlo lay on the worsted -worked rug, and ungraciously barked at us as we entered."
  • page 155: "So Miss Matty dozed, and I knitted."
  • page 186: "I met Lady Glenmire and Miss Pole setting out on a long walk to find some old woman who was famous in the neighbourhood for her skill in knitting woollen stockings."
  • page 187: "They had been perplexed about the exact path which they were to take across the fields in order to find the knitting old woman, and had stopped to inquire at a little wayside public-house, standing on the high road to London, about three miles from Cranford."
  • page 194: "I found Miss Matty covering her penny ball — the ball that she used to roll under her bed — with gay- coloured worsted in rainbow stripes. ' My dear/ said she, ' my heart is sad for that little careworn child. Although her father is a conjuror, she looks as if she had never had a good game of play in her life. I used to make very pretty balls in this way when I was a girl, and I thought I would try if I could not make this one smart and take it to Phoebe this afternoon."
  • page 208: "We were sitting — Miss Matty and I — much as usual, she in the blue chintz easy-chair, with her back to the light, and her knitting in her hand, I reading aloud the Si. James's Chronicle."
  • page 245: "She had also once been able to trace out patterns very nicely for muslin embroidery, by dint of placing a piece of silver-paper over the design to be copied, and holding both against the window-pane while she marked the scollop and eyelet-holes. But that was her nearest approach to the accomplishment of drawing, and I did not think it would go very far. Then again, as to the branches of a solid English education — fancy work and the use of the globes — such as the mistress of the Ladies' 'Seminary, to which all the tradespeople in Cranford sent their daughters, professed to teach. Miss Matty's eyes were failing her, and I doubted if she could discover the number of threads in a worsted -work pattern, or rightly appreciate the different shades required for Queen Adelaide's face in the loyal woolwork now fashionable in Cranford."
  • page 274: "It was warm May weather, so only the little half-door was closed ; and Miss Matty sat behind her counter, knitting an elaborate pair of garters ; elaborate they seemed to me, but the difficult stitch was no weight upon her mind, for she was singing in a low voice to herself as her needles went rapidly in and out. I call it singing, but I daresay a musician would not use that word to the tuneless yet sweet humming of the low, worn voice. I found out from the words, far more than from the attempt at the tune, that it was the Old Hundredth she was crooning to herself ; but the quiet continuous sound told of content, and gave me a pleasant feeling, as I stood in the street just outside the door, quite in harmony with that soft May morning. I went in. At first she did not catch who it was, and stood up as if to serve me ; but in another minute watchful pussy had clutched her knitting, which was dropped in eager joy at seeing me."



*gold star to anyone who recognizes her (besides my sister) w/o resorting to IMDB.

**sorry for all the exclamation points, but I'm really excited about this series.


Anna McClurg said...

Hah! I didn't realize Julia Sawalha was in this one! Wow, she's really grown up since Pride and Prejudice. I love it how you can spot all the familiar BBC faces in these costume dramas. I definitely can't wait for this one!

Tempest ina Pot of Tea said...

Saffy from abfab OR Lydia from A&E Pride and Prejudice

Kara said...

I was going to try to answer without reading the other 2 comments, but it's hard to do that. :)

Anyway, Ab Fab! & the BBC Pride & Prejudice!

Tempest ina Pot of Tea said...

She was also the voice of Ginger in Chicken Run.