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2014/15 Group Reads - Archives > Wives and Daughters - Ch. 11-15

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message 1: by Silver (new)


message 2: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments Poor Molly. She really deserved better than to have this new "mamma" foisted on her.

message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (tewks) When I start to get annoyed at Clare for being so demanding and bossy, I remember that Mr. Gibson married her in order to get someone to look after his daughter. I suppose there's nothing wrong with a "practical" marriage, but really one should make a tiny effort to get to know one's spouse beforehand.

message 4: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments Yes, Lauren, one should. He was to some extent acting on misinformation about Claire's behavior years earlier on the ocsion of Molly's visit to the Towers. Molly took responsibility for oversleeping, and never told anyone that Claire had agreed to wake her up if she overslept. Molly generally spoke well of others, and she gave her father the impression that Claire had been kind to her. Her father assumed that Molly liked Clair, on this very thin and dated evidence.

message 5: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Yes, at the beginning of that scene, I very much liked Clare, for taking card of Molly. But later on, and especially now I'm reading about the preparations for the wedding, I dislike her more and more. I can understand why she would like to marry and be secure. What I can't understand is how she behaves to her daughter. Yes, to be able to work as a single mother, you have to send your daughter to school, I can see that. But now she will be able to take her home, she dreads it! And she doesn't even wants her at her own wedding!
Being married myself for only 2 years (after living together for 15 years), I don't understand that! At my wedding I wanted to have my kids (then 2 and 5 years old- now 5 and 8, next month) around me the whole day! They belong with us!

message 6: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) well, of course it should have been 'taking care of Molly'..., not 'card'.

message 7: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments Claire and her daughter, Cynthia, clearly are not close. Claire seems to be deliberately keeping Cynthia at a distance. Cynthia is beautiful. Claire seems increasingly petty as the book goes on. Claire may actually be petty enough to not want her beautiful daughter to "outshine" her at her wedding.

message 8: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
I read this some time ago but I seem to remember there was comment about how pretentious the name Cynthia was, though pretty common today. Certainly it's a contrast to the plain old English Molly.

message 9: by Emma (new)

Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments I really enjoy the scene where Mr Gibson tells the Miss Brownings that he is planning to marry, and the flutter of hope and anxiety that it arouses in Miss Phoebe before she learns who he is thinking of. Then, to conceal her thoughts, she says Mrs Kirkpatrick is a very elegant, pretty woman: to which her sister retorts, "What has her elegance or prettiness to do with the affair? Did you ever know a widower marry again for such trifles as these?"
Yet, ironically, we know that it was Mrs Kirkpatrick's elegance and refinement that bounced Mr Gibson into popping the question so quickly. This seems to be something he's half-aware of, as he glosses over his exact motives when he's talking to the Miss Brownings. I like the sense of unspoken thoughts on all sides in this scene.

message 10: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Emma wrote: "I really enjoy the scene where Mr Gibson tells the Miss Brownings that he is planning to marry, and the flutter of hope and anxiety that it arouses in Miss Phoebe before she learns who he is thinki..."

Yes, and I also like and admire the Miss Brownings for putting those thoughts and hopes so soon aside as to be of assistance to their old friends' widower and daughter. I think Molly (and Elizabeth Gaskell) likes them very much as well. Just as the squire and his family, who are so very much themselves - nothing grand, just people. Whereas the gentry in Hollingword is so very refined and very far 'above' the other people around them. Well, of course there also is a difference in 'standing' between them.

message 11: by Emma (last edited Feb 15, 2014 07:05AM) (new)

Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments You're right, Elsbeth, the Brownings and the Hamleys are much more approachable than the Cumnors. While Lady Cumnor means well, she obviously doesn't think very deeply about those in a different social circle to herself.

As for Lady Harriet, chapter 14 is called "Molly Finds Herself Patronized" with good reason. Lady Harriet's interest in Molly seems almost as much to amuse herself as to help Molly. She says "You are a little wild creature, and I want to tame you," as if Molly is her pet. Her attitude to the Hollingford villagers is summed up when she casually refers to the Miss Brownings as "Pecksy and Flapsy" (characters from a children's book of 1794, by Sarah Trimmer): funny, but disrespectful. Actually I think Lady Harriet is an interesting character, although I don't quite know what to make of her.

message 12: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments So many great comments!

I agree that Lady Harriet has potential and I hope that Molly will ultimately benefit from the "patronage." And also from the influence of the Hamleys. I have great fears for her well-being now that Clare is her new "mamma."

Chapter 15 made me wild. Poor Molly has gone to so much trouble to make things nice for their return, only to have her efforts overlooked. And, then, to have her father insist that she call that vain, selfish, silly creature by the name of her own beloved mother, was insufferable. I do not think she will be able to look to him for protection from the stings and hurts and callousness and disrespect she is likely to endure from the narcissistic Clare Kirkpatrick, now that she is under her "care."

message 13: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) I'm just glad for Molly that she has so many people around her who really car for her; like the Hamleys and the Brownings. And her father, but of course he is away a lot and can't take her side if she has an argument with her stepmother. She might even try very hard to avoid arguments with her new 'mamma', just for his sake. Clare evolves more and more as a very selfish character, I think. Whereas she seems very likeable at the very beginning, when she takes care of little Molly (which changes very soon after, when she forgets to wake her and when she eats all foot which was meant for Molly).
I'm very curious about Cynthia - I hope she is a nice character, maybe a friend for her new sister? But I'm afraid she may take after her mother and be another selfish character in the house... We shall see.

message 14: by Hedi (last edited Feb 16, 2014 04:55AM) (new)

Hedi | 978 comments To me Clare Kirkpatrick is becoming rather annoying and irritating.
She does not seem to have a close relationship with and love for her daughter. She is - I think - not really open with regards to her financial affairs, e.g. she does not return the money she received from Mr Gibson to get Cynthia in time for the wedding and she has to use the 100 pounds from Lord Cunmor for paying off current debts instead of saving that money for the future.

I have already read on, so I have to be a little cautious of spoilers so I think I will not dwell on Clare much more for now.

The Brownings are truly kind and the misunderstanding of the proposal reminded me of a similar scene in the Cranford BBC series. Despite the probably disappointment they are willing to take care of Molly and all the renovations of the house.
I think Mr. Gibson wants to spend about 100 pounds on the renovations. That sounds like a lot of money considering that many people had to live on such an income a whole year in those days. What did you think about that?

Similar to David Copperfield I think Mr Gibson has already started to regret his marriage unconsciously in the one or other moment. This is an issue if you marry someone without really knowing that person's character:

"He had made up his mind before his marriage to yield in trifles, and be firm in greater things. But the differences of opinion about trifles arose every day, and were perhaps more annoying than if they had related to things of more consequence. Molly knew her father's looks as well as she knew her alphabet; his wife did not; and being an unperceptive person, except when her own interests were dependent upon another person's humour, never found out how he was worried by all the small daily concessions which he made to her will or her whims. He never allowed himself to put any regret into shape, even in his own mind; he repeatedly reminded himself of his wife's good qualities, and comforted himself by thinking they should work together better as time rolled on; but he was very angry at a bachelor great-uncle of Mr. Coxe's, who, ..."

I think his anger about his wife is projected here to the bachelor great-uncle of Mr. Coxe's. Imagine this would have happened before the event of Mr. Coxe's letter. Mr. Gibson would have never taken the decision to marry and would have avoided his current situation.

message 15: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1871 comments Mod
I agree that Clare is becoming more disagreeable as the book progresses.I am also intrigued by the developing relationship between Molly and Roger. While she has been "primed" to favour Osbourne by all his parents talk about his intellect and his poetry, in fact Roger is the one she consults on her discomfort with Clare and in chapter 11 they begin a series of conversations about Molly's fears and unhappiness about her father's new relationship, and Roger also begins to guide her reading.

I also wondered about the relationship between Clare and her daughter-I caught the impression that Cynthia is a beauty and Clare feels a sort of competitiveness towards her-and there was something in her attitude towards Mr. Preston and his obvious interest in Cynthia which made me wonder if at one point he had paid attention to both mother and daughter.

Finally, I quite liked Lady Harriet-I think she had been careless in her gentle mockery of the Misses Brownings, but when Molly called her on this she was genuinely sorry and in fact paid a visit to them (humorously catching them unawares and entirely unprepared) and does them the honour of staying and visiting with them even when she realizes that Molly isn't there. There was a lovely Cranfordesque touch to that scene with all the concern about being found lounging without ones proper cap and not being dressed as one would have planned knowing that an Earl's daughter was going to call.

Sadly, in chapter 15 we see that the arrival of the new bride is going to be the end of peace and comfort in the Gibson home-Clare is going to insist on having her way, getting rid of old servants who don't immediately fall into her way of doing things, changing meal hours to suit her social schedule and generally putting her own needs and wants above those of anyone else.

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