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A collection of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Quotes about wisdom, loyalty, justice, happiness, success, parenting and much more.

100 Elizabeth Gaskell’s Quotes That Have Lived On Through Ages

Quick Facts

Also Listed In

Famous As
Novelist

Born On
29 September 1810 AD

Died On
12 November 1865 AD

Born In
Chelsea

Died At Age
55

The Athenaeum beautifully describes Elizabeth Gaskell as "If not the most popular, the most powerful and finished female novelist of an epoch singularly rich in female novelists". Gaskell was an accomplished short story author and English novelist of the Victorian era. Motherhood and family obligations kept her busy throughout her life. However, she was deeply saddened by her only son's death. The incident inspired her to write 'Mary Barton', her first novel in 1848. The novel attracted immense popularity and critical attention from renowned writers like Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens. Elizabeth Gaskell is best known for "The life of Charlotte Bronte" (1857), a biography that was written with dedication and admiration. It expressed Gaskell's impressive narrative skills and the way she penned down firsthand facts in great details. Dickens invited her to write in his personal magazine 'Household Words'. Thereafter, she established herself as a renowned writer with 'Cranford' in 1853. Her notable works include 'North and South' (1854), 'Sylvia's Lover' (1863) and the 'Cranford Chronicles' (1881). Her novels magnificently portrayed the lives of individuals from different social strata, mainly the poor. Elizabeth Gaskell also focused on literature lovers and social historians and gave a detailed description of their ideologies. Unfortunately, her life's longest novel 'Wives and Daughters' was left incomplete with her death. Elizabeth Gaskell’s words have lived on through ages. We have curated some of her famous quotes from her writings and life. Here are some of her wise quotes to show why her words have lived through ages.

But her little white thin hand lay in mine; and we understood each other without words.

- Mr. Harrison's Confessions, Elizabeth Gaskell

As far as one knows of heroines from history. I'm capable of a great jerk, an effort, and then a relaxation—but steady every-day goodness is beyond me. I must be a moral kangaroo!

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

He had never known her value, he thought, till now.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

I shall arm myself with a knife" said Mr. Hale: "the days of eating fruit so primitively as you describe are over with me. I must pare it and quarter it before I can enjoy it.

- Elizabeth Gaskell

I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

It was one of Mrs. Hale's fitful days, when everything was a difficulty and a hardship; and Mr Lennox's appearance took this shape, although secretly she felt complimented by his thinking it worthwhile to call.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

The morning brought more peace if it did not entirely dissipate fear.

- Sylvia's Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell

...at that time of all times for yearning and longing, just before the sharp senses lose their outlines in sleep.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Ay! but mother's words are scarce, and weigh heavy. Father's liker me, and we talk a deal o' rubble; but mother's words are liker to hewn stone. She puts a deal o' meaning in 'em.

- Sylvia's Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell

People admire talent, and talk about their admiration. But they value common sense without talking about it, and often without knowing it.

- Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell

Fools will always break out o' bounds.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Ask , and it shall be given until you. That is no vain or untried promise, Ruth!

- Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell

There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.

- Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell

In a few minutes tea was brought. Very delicate was the china, very old the plate, very thin the bread-and-butter, and very small the lumps of sugar. Sugar was evidently Mrs. Jamieson's favourite economy.

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

If she lives, she shall be my wedded wife. If she dies--mother, I can't speak of what I shall feel if she dies." His voice was choked in his throat.

- Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell

... that kind of patriotism which consists in hating all other nations ...

- Sylvia's Lovers, Elizabeth Gaskell

A little credulity helps one on through life very smoothly — better than always doubting and doubting and seeing difficulties and disagreeables in everything.

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

She is too perfect to be known by fragments. No mean brick shall be a specimen of the building of my palace.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

She never called her son by any name but John; 'love,' and 'dear,' and such like terms, were reserved for Fanny. But her heart gave thanks for him day and night; and she walked proudly among women for his sake.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Nature felt no change, and was ever young.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I only mean, Bessy, there's good and bad in everything in this world; and as you felt the bad up here, I thought it was but fair you should know the bad down there.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Women are queer, unreasoning creatures, and are just as likely as not to love a man who has been throwing away his affection.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

By-and-by they'll find out, tyrants makes liars.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

All sorts of thoughts cross one's mind—it depends upon whether one gives them harbour and encouragement

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

Your husband this morning! Mine tonight! What do you take him for?' 'A man' smiled Cynthia. 'And therefore, if you won't let me call him changeable, I'll coin a word and call him consolable.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

But Mr. Hale resolved that he would not be disturbed by any such nonsensical idea; so he lay awake, determining not to think about it.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

If they came sorrowing, and wanting sympathy in a complicated trouble like the present, then they would be felt as a shadow in all these houses of intimate acquaintances, not friends

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret found that the indifferent, careless conversations of one who, however kind, was not too warm and anxious a sympathizer, did her good.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

It seems strange to think, that what gives us most hope for the future should be called Dolores, said Margaret.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

. . . it seemed to me that where others had prayed before to their God, in their joy or in their agony, was of itself a sacred place.

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

It is the first changes among familiar things that make such a mystery of time to the young, afterwards we lose the sense of the mysterious.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Love me as I am, sweet one, for I shall never be better.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

She freshens me up above a bit. Who'd ha thought that face - as bright and as strong as the angel I dream of - could have known the sorrow she speaks on? I wonder how she'll sin. All on us must sing.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But, surely, if the mind is too long directed to one object only, it will get stiff and rigid, and unable to take in many interests.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I think that if advice is good it's the best comfort.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

How am I to dress up in my finery, and go off and away to smart parties, after the sorrow I have seen today?

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh dear! how she could have loved him if he had but been different, with a difference which she felt, on reflection, to be one that went low—deep down.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh dear! A drunken infidel weaver! said Mr. Hale to himself.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

The meanest thing to which we bid adieu, Loses its meanness in the parting hour.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But fate it a cunning hussy, and builds up her plans as imperceptibly as a bird builds her nest; and with the same kind of unconsidered trifles.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

She never called her son by any name but John; 'love' and 'dear', and such like terms, were reserved for Fanny.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

She had a fierce pleasure in the idea of telling Margaret unwelcome truths, in the shape of performance of duty.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

How different men were to women!

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Only you're right in saying she's too good an opinion of herself to think of you. The saucy jade! I should like to know where she'd find a better!

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

..still to have loved her without return would have lifted you higher than all those, be they who they may, that have ever known her to love.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Yet is was very difficult to seperate her interpretation, and keep it distinct from his meaning.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

If you dare to injure her in the least, I will await you where no policeman can step in between. And God shall judge between us two.

- Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell

Nevertheless, his moustachios are splendid.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But the trees were gorgeous in their autumnal leafiness - the warm odours of flowers and herb came sweet upon the sense.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

One may be clogged with honey and unable to rise and fly.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Look back. Look back at me." Richard Armitage spoke this line in the movie North and South as he watched Miss Hale drive away in a carriage.

- Elizabeth Gaskell

Of all faults the one she most despised in others was the want of bravery; the meanness of heart which leads to untruth.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

It is bad to believe you in error. It would be infinitely worse to have known you a hypocrite.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

He could not - say rather, he would not - deny himself the chance of the pleasure of seeing Margaret. He had no end in this but the present gratification.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But I was right. I think that must be an hereditary quality, for my father says he is scarcely ever wrong.

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

Every mile was redolent of associations, which she would not have missed for the world, but each of which made her cry upon 'the days that are no more' with ineffable longing.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I could wish there were a God, if it were only to ask him to bless thee.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

What other people may think of the rightness or wrongness is nothing in comparison to my own deep knowledge, my innate conviction that it was wrong.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Don’t be afraid,” she said, coldly, “ as far as love may go she may be worthy of you. It must have taken a good deal to overcome her pride. Don’t be afraid, John.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I would far rather have two or three lilies of the valley gathered for me by a person I like, than the most expensive bouquet that could be bought!

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

Similarity of opinion is not always—I think not often—needed for fullness and perfection of love.

- Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell

I do not look on self-indulgent, sensual people as worthy of my hatred; I simply look upon them with contempt for their poorness of character.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret the Churchwoman, her father the Dissenter, Higgins the Infidel, knelt down together. It did them no harm.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Nothing like the act of eating for equalizing men. Dying is nothing to it.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I don't believe there's a man in Milton who knows how to sit still; and it is a great art.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Did I ever say an engagement was an elephant, madam?

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

I dare say there's many a woman makes as sad a mistake as I have done, and only finds it out too late.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

And so she shuddered away from the threat of his enduring love. What did he mean? Had she not the power to daunt him? She would see. It was more daring than became a man to threaten her.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Mr. Thorton love Margaret! Why, Margraret would never think of him, I'm sure! Such a thing has never entered her head." "Entering her heart would do.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I am the mother that bore you, and your sorrow is my agony; and if you don't hate her, i do' Then, mother, you make me love her more. She is unjustly treated by you, and I must make the balance even.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Wearily she went to bed, wearily she arose in four or five hours' time. But with the morning came hope, and a brighter view of things.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh, my Margaret--my Margaret! no one can tell what you are to me! Dead--cold as you lie there you are the only woman I ever loved! Oh, Margaret--Margaret!

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh, I can't describe my home. It is home, and I can't put its charm into words

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

No one loves me, - no one cares for me, but you, mother.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

He is my first olive: let me make a face while I swallow it.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

A girl in love will do a good deal.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

The French girls would tell you, to believe that you were pretty would make you so.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

As she realized what might have been, she grew to be thankful for what was.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Out of the way! We are in the throes of an exceptional emergency! This is no occassion for sport- there is lace at stake!" (Ms. Pole)

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

Come! Poor little heart! Be cheery and brave. We'll be a great deal to one another, if we are thrown off and left desolate.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

He loved her, and would love her; and defy her, and this miserable bodily pain.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Take care. -If you do not speak- I shall claim you as my own in some presumptuous way. -Send me away at once, if I must go; -Margaret!-

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Loyalty and obedience to wisdom and justice are fine; but it is still finer to defy arbitrary power, unjustly and cruelly used--not on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of others more helpless.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Those who are happy and successful themselves are too apt to make light of the misfortunes of others.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life....My precept is, do something, my sister, do good if you can; but at any rate, do something.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I won't say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn't me!

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

I dare not hope. I never was fainthearted before; but I cannot believe such a creature cares for me.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine...

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But the cloud never comes in that quarter of the horizon from which we watch for it.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

But the future must be met, however stern and iron it be.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I'll not listen to reason... reason always means what someone else has got to say.

- Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

He shook hands with Margaret. He knew it was the first time their hands had met, though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

He shrank from hearing Margaret's very name mentioned; he, while he blamed her--while he was jealous of her--while he renounced her--he loved her sorely, in spite of himself.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

A wise parent humors the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and advisor when his absolute rule shall cease.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

There is nothing like wounded affection for giving poignancy to anger.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

Oh, Mr. Thornton, I am not good enough!' 'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret was not a ready lover, but where she loved she loved passionately, and with no small degree of jealousy.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you don't understand me.

- North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.

- Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell