Elizabeth Gaskell was born today (September 29th) in 1810. Her novel, North and South is one of my favourite novels, though innate perversity made me detest Margaret Hale purely because she was described as stunningly beautiful. Lol. But she grew on me with her struggles, as did Mr. Thornton who's a more real Mr. Darcy-esque figure with his very real insecurities and his Draconian mother. The setting in a cotton mill town in the throes of the industrial Revolution is sublime, as is the delicately woven thread of the change in her father's beliefs despite being a clergyman. A wonderful read, definitely.
What struck me the most while reading of Elizabeth Gaskell was that 'she thought nothing of walking three miles to help a person in need.' What a wonderful thing to have said about you even centuries later!
And the other thing was that Charlotte Brontë, who was a good friend, hid behind the curtains of the Gaskells' house to avoid visitors who came unexpectedly. She was very shy, apparently. From the bane of unexpected visitors, good Lord deliver us indeed!