"You see, sir, rich people and theorists - who are usually rich people - think of poverty in the negative, as the lack of riches - as disease might be called the lack of health. But it isn't, sir. Poverty is not the lack of anything, but a positive plague, virulent in itself, contagious as cholera, with filth, criminality, vice and despair as only a few of its symptoms. It is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. It is to be shunned."
I bought one of my sisters the the series Firefly for her birthday. I was over at her house one day last week and we watched a few episodes:
I'd actually never watched Firefly, the short-lived 2002 science fiction show by Joss Whedon before, though my sister has been after me for a while to do so. So far I'm quite enjoying it; the cast is superb. Once we're finished the entire series, I'll probably have more to say about it... I'll no doubt have to check out the follow-up movie, Serenity, as well.
In this chapter, Margaret takes her leave of Milton. Her two years in the factory town have been fraught with many difficulties and sorrows, but have also given her meaningful friendships and acquaintances which have significantly changed her outlook and opinions. Though currently brought low by the sudden loss of her father, Margaret's character has generally been strengthened by her experiences- both good and bad- since her family settled in the North. The arrival of Aunt Shaw reminds us of many of Margaret's original prejudices about Milton and its inhabitants; she finds the town- and the workers- grimy and vulgar, disapproving of the lower classes' free and easy way of talking to whomever they please, however they please. Aunt Shaw is no more approving of Milton's upper class, the nouveau riche, since their elevation has been due to trade, and- in Mrs. Shaw's opinion- money can't buy gentility. As we can recall about Margaret's first weeks in Milton, she originally shared some of these opinions, being genuinely startled when strangers in the street spoke to her, and sometimes offended by the manners and speech of the Thorntons, or Nicholas Higgins. Now however, she is used to- and approves of- the opportunities afforded by industry for people to change their financial and social positions. Also, in a town where the lines between the classes are blurred and flexible, Margaret enjoys friendships with people all over the social spectrum, something her aunt would find unthinkable.
As mentioned, Margaret is at present physically weak and emotionally fragile. She is, however, slowly regaining her strength and spirit, enough so that she is now blaming herself for not being up and about in time to insist that her father's body be transported to Milton for burial next to his wife. Now too late, he has been interred in Oxford, though it must be of some comfort to Margaret to know that at least he was attended by friends- his oldest friend, Mr. Bell and his newest, Mr. Thornton. Both of these men have been greatly affected by Mr. Hale's death, as is Nicholas Higgins when he hears of it. It is a testament to the innate goodness and decency of Mr. Hale's character, weak though it was in some respects, that three men of such differing backgrounds and temperaments would have so much respect and liking for the former clergyman, considered a failure by much of the world. Nicholas Higgins, hostile to God and religion since Bessy took ill, says of him, "there's as good a man gone as ever lived on this earth, let who will be t'other!" and without protest accepts the gift of Mr. Hale's Bible. It is these three men- Nicholas Higgins, John Thornton, and Adam Bell- that Margaret gifts with some of her father's most precious possessions: his books, knowing that they will appreciate and value them for her father's sake. As Margaret regains her strength, we see her begin to push back a little against her aunt's well-meaning but smothering cosseting. She insists on going through her father's books, and then on going to take her leave of the Higgins and Thorntons. Though Margaret gives in to Aunt Shaw's insistence on accompanying her- and travelling in a carriage- there are hints that Margaret is soon going to tire of being overly protected and chaperoned. Over the last couple of years, she has become accustomed to a good deal of independence: for instance, in Milton she generally walks- unaccompanied- wherever she's going without giving it a second thought. It is likely that she will find it unpleasantly restricting to return to London's much more rigid strictures for young women. In addition, due to her mother's illness Margaret was to all intents and purposes de facto mistress of the Hales' house. It will not be easy for her to go back to her Aunt's home and be treated once again as a young girl who must be taken care of.
Fortunately though, if Margaret eventually finds living with Aunt Shaw and the rest of the family too onerous, she does have other options thanks to Mr. Bell. Stymied for the present time in his desire to adopt Margaret and move her to Oxford, Mr. Bell has nevertheless taken steps to ensure she is not powerless should she, when fully recovered, wish to make other plans. By willing his fortune and property to Margaret, Bell has made sure that she is entering her aunt's home not as a poor relation, but as a woman who will be coming into a great deal of money when her godfather dies. In addition, he wisely advises Margaret in his letter to insist on paying rent to her family so that, should she at any time wish to quit their establishment, she will not feel beholden and allow herself to be guilted into remaining.
Margaret visits two homes before leaving Milton: the Higgins' and the Thornton's. Nicholas is not at home when she stops in, but she makes her farewells to Mary and requests- and is given- a small token to remember Bessy by. Though their friendship was cut short by Bessy's death, it was an extremely important one for Margaret. Bessy's patient endurance of her illness and the hardships of her life, and her steadfast faith even in the shadow of death inspire and challenge Margaret to bear her own sorrows and sufferings with fortitude. Margaret's apology to Mrs. Thornton shows us once again how much she has changed over the past couple of years. Previously, it is unlikely that Margaret would have been able to bring herself to do so, after having been unjustly accused and chastised by the blunt-spoken woman. But Margaret's pride has been humbled by the knowledge of her own failings and, conscious of her own need of forgiveness, she is quicker to extend it to others. There is, on the other hand, no discernible lessening in Mrs. Thornton's pride but she does soften towards Margaret and accept her apology, sensing the girl's distressed sincerity. It's true that the fact that Margaret is being removed as a temptation and torment for John contributes to Mrs. Thornton's kindlier attitude, but she is also genuinely touched by Margaret's very obvious grief. Even in her angriest moments, Mrs. Thornton has admired Margaret's indomitable spirit (so lacking in her own daughter) and she is rather shocked- and moved- to see that spirit so crushed.
Supposing him to still be in Oxford, Margaret does not expect to see John, which is why she left her father's book with Dixon to deliver after she has gone to London. When he arrives unexpectedly and learns that Margaret is there to make her good-byes, John says little other than to ask her when she's leaving. As he escorts Margaret and Mrs. Shaw to the carriage, Thornton and Margaret find themselves standing together once again on the front step where they were during the strikers' riot. Remembering that day, John wants nothing more than to declare his love once more to Margaret. But recalling her angry rejection the first time he did so, he restrains himself, sure her response would be the same. Once again we see that, when Thornton feels the most deeply, he is the least able to express it. His parting words to Margaret sound polite and indifferent. Margaret, knowing what he believes about that disastrous night at the train station, has no reason to think that he cares for her any longer and assumes that he has been helpful with her father's funeral due solely to his liking and respect for Mr. Hale. They part, each sure the other is relieved to be doing so. Nicholas Higgins comes to see Margaret before she leaves the following day, which is a comfort to her. He had been waiting until she was well to come, but Thornton told him that she was leaving the following day... for someone who is supposedly indifferent, John certainly manages to keep helping Margaret in small but important ways. She and Nicholas talk of her father and Margaret gives him Mr. Hale's Bible. That he emotionally accepts it shows how much he, too, has changed; he is a much different man from the one who angrily rejected Bessy's talk of God's love. When Margaret gives him money to help with the expense of the Boucher children, Nicholas tries to refuse it, saying that money shouldn't pass between friends. This too shows how much their relationship has changed. When they first met, Margaret regarded Nicholas as Bessy's angry, rude, and sometimes drunk father, to be endured for her sake. Nicholas, for his part, considered Margaret to be a pious miss, and was frequently bitter and sarcastic in his statements to her. Both of them have changed, and Nicholas has lost some of his sharp edges. United through shared grief and common purpose (caring for Boucher's children) the two of them have become fast, if unlikely, friends.
The movie clip below is from The Lady Vanishes, the 1938 mystery directed by Alfred Hitchcock. An elderly woman mysteriously disappears from a moving train, much to the bewilderment of the young lady who had been sitting and talking with her. Adding to her confusion is the fact that everyone else who is travelling in the same car denies that the old woman was ever there.
I had a full day of birthday adventures on Saturday, starting with the Lake & Shore Days parade, which is the small community parade that takes place every year. The "floats" are usually very small, homemade affairs- like the one below- by local businesses and organizations, which is half the fun.
The Trail Association made a good showing, with ATVs, walkers, dogs and horses:
Shout out to the Conservatives; the local Liberals just drove by in a car, waving and the NDPs were no-shows, but the Conservatives got into the spirit of the thing, hopping up and down excitedly in the Tory Dory:
After that, it was off to York Redoubt for a picnic lunch and a fun afternoon walking the trails and poking into the old buildings and tunnels.
After this, I was taken out to dinner and then for ice cream to finish the day off. A good time was had by all.
"The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs." -Thomas a Kempis
Mrs. Shaw is horrified by both the town and the people of Milton. She wants to take Margaret back to London immediately, sure that her niece's health will not improve until she leaves the factory town. She says that they can leave Dixon to handle the packing up. Meanwhile, Mr. Bell has returned to Oxford to make arrangements for Mr. Hale's interment which will take place there. Margaret is recovered enough to feel guilt over this: she feels that if she had not been insensible, she could have arranged to have her father's body brought back to Milton so that he could be buried next to her mother. Mr. Bell writes to her to say that Mr. Thornton came to Oxford for the interment. Edith's husband Captain Lennox is also there and means to go to Milton afterwards to take Margaret and his mother-in-law back to London. Mr. Bell also gives her some financial advice in the letter, assuring her that she need not worry about being dependent on her relations. He says that he has made her sole heiress of his considerable wealth and properties and, anticipating that she will protest this, writes that he has no other family and that she will be making an old man happy.
Though still weak, Margaret insists on going through her father's books. She keeps a few for herself, picks out one more, and then tells Dixon to box the rest up to give to Mr. Bell. The one book she put aside, she asks Dixon to give to Mr. Thornton after she's gone and writes a brief note to accompany it:
Dear Sir- The accompanying book I am sure will be valued by you for the sake of my father, to whom it belonged. Yours sincerely, Margaret Hale
The next morning, Margaret is feeling stronger and tells her disapproving Aunt that she wishes to visit a few friends to say good-bye. Aunt Shaw insists on coming with her, but Margaret talks her into staying in the carriage at the Higgins', knowing she would be shocked by the house and children and ruin the visit. When Margaret arrives, Nicholas is out so she talks a while with Mary, who is distraught at the news that Margaret is leaving. Margaret asks if she can take something to remember Bessy by and, at Mary's tearful assent, chooses the little cup that stood on the table by Bessy's bed. After leaving the Higgins' house, Margaret steels herself to call on Mrs. Thornton, whom she hasn't seen since the disastrous visit during which Mrs. Thornton castigated her behaviour and they exchanged angry words. She and Aunt Shaw are shown into the drawing room and eventually Mrs. Thornton joins them. Her attitude towards Margaret has thawed, as she genuinely regrets the girl's loss of family. Also, as Margaret is going away, she will no longer be- Mrs. Thornton feels- an enticement and distraction for John. When she sees Margaret's pale, drawn face and hears her shaky voice, Mrs. Thornton's manner becomes almost gentle. Margaret introduces her aunt to Mrs. Thornton and then says that she is leaving Milton the following day and wishes to both thank Mrs. Thornton for her kindness and apologise for the angry words she spoke at their last meeting. She also asks that Mrs. Thornton believe that, though she cannot explain her actions, she did not behave in the unseemly fashion which Mrs. Thornton thinks. Disarmed by Margaret's gentle, grief-laden voice and manner, Mrs. Thornton finds herself believing this and, accepting Margaret's apology, says that they will speak no more of it.
At this moment, Mr. Thornton arrives back from Oxford and his mother informs him that Margaret is there to say good-bye. He asks Margaret when she is leaving, and she says the following day. He is silent as Margaret and Aunt Shaw take their leave of his mother, but comes out to hand them into the carriage. As he stands close to Margaret, John is almost overwhelmed by the desire to once again express his love and ask her to stay. Remembering her cold words on the last occasion, however, he steels himself and resolves to let her go. His words of farewell sound indifferent and almost perfunctory. After they leave, however, Thornton tells his mother that he is busy and disappears for the rest of the day. When they get back home, Margaret nearly collapses from exhaustion and is put to bed by her scolding aunt and Dixon. The following morning, Captain Lennox arrives to escort them to London, bringing with him the news that Edith has had a baby boy. Dixon tells Margaret that Nicholas Higgins is in the kitchen, wanting to see her. She immediately goes to meet him; he tells her how sorry he is about her father and says the reason he didn't come sooner to see her was because he figured her aunt wouldn't let him in the door. He also tells her that it was Mr. Thornton who informed him the other day that she would be moving to London and advised him to visit as soon as possible if he wanted to see her. Margaret gives Higgins her father's Bible, saying that Mr. Hale would want him to have it and read it, for his sake. She also gives Nicholas some money, which he refuses to take. She tells him though, that it's not for him but for Boucher's children, asking him to accept it for her sake. He does so and they say their good-byes. Margaret is unhappy to think that they will probably never meet again, but comforted by the thought that at least the Higgins family will remember and miss her as a friend.
“Your impression of him as a respectable man brings to my mind the work of a painter whose pictures show attractively at a distance but unpleasantly up close." ― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come
This quote is from John Bunyan's 1678 work of Christian allegory, The Pilgrim's Progress From This World, To That Which Is To Come. The tale is told as a dream, related by the narrator and is the story of the protagonist's -Christian's- journey from the City of Destruction (the world) to Celestial City (Heaven). In this section, Christian is traveling with his friend Faithful and they meet up with another fellow named Talkative. Faithful is impressed with this new acquaintance, who speaks well and knowledgeably about matters of faith. When he mentions this to Christian, Christian cautions him that fine words don't make a fine person (see the above quote). He says that Talkative is from his hometown and he knows the man's true character: "Deceived! you may be sure of it; remember the proverb, "They say and do not." But the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. He talks of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither prayer nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute in his kind serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion, to all that know him; it can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people that know him, A saint abroad, and a devil at home. His poor family finds it so; he is such a churl, such a railer at and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say it is better to deal with a Turk than with him; for fairer dealing they shall have at their hands. This Talkative (if it be possible) will go beyond them, defraud, beguile, and overreach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in any of them a foolish timorousness, (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience,) he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendations before others. For my part, I am of opinion, that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevent not, the ruin of many more."