Monday, March 10, 2008

Wives and Daughters Part 1

These are just a few quotes and scenes from the first video of Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865). Our family has had frequent discussions about Molly and the other characters in the story. We also enjoy listening to a free download of the story online.

My favorite character is Mr. Gibson, as an ideal father. He is the country doctor. Molly has an idyllic life, even though her mother died, because she loves her father so much and she trusts him completely with her future. Mr. Gibson says "Her happiness means more to me than anything." She's a "good girl, who is always ready to do what anyone asks of her," as Mr. Hamley, a family friend, says.

Although Molly really is a good girl, and has already lost her mother, she begins to suffer losses, one right after the other. Shortly after the story begins, her father sends her to stay with the Hamleys, a family Mr. Gibson likes, who has two sons. Obviously he hopes she will become interested in one of them. She says, "I was never away without you, Papa." She is thrust into the home of another family, a family that has conflicts and sorrows.

After that, her father decides to remarry. The revelation sends her into a state of grief. "I never thought he would want to marry again. He had me," she told Roger. "You don't know what we were to each other!"

Later, her new mother decides to redecorate her room, and disposes of all the old furniture and things in it. Here is another loss. Molly faces one loss after another in her comfortable life, yet she will eventually have more than enough, emotionally and materially.

The opening scene is a favorite of children in my house: Molly watches a caterpillar. As she grows up, this scene becomes more significant, in connection with someone else in her life.

Nearly 10 years old, Molly falls asleep near a huge tree at The Towers where she was invited to a garden party for children. Near the end of the story, the grown-up Molly finds solace at the roots of that great tree, once again.

Every frame of this movie could be a painting. Here, Molly sits above the barn, with a view down the road toward the village.

"She really is the loveliest girl! Do you think I have a chance with her?" Mr. Cox, one of the doctor's apprentices, watches Molly walking outside, from the doctor's surgery.

"This is a motherless girl of barely 17, and that is not what you are here for." Mr. Gibson then ships Mr. Cox, one of the apprentices in his practice, off the premises almost immediately upon discovering that he has written a love note without his permission, to his daughter, Molly.

...and prepares to ship Molly off to the Hamly's at "Hamly House," to become acquainted with his two favorite young men, Roger and Osbourne Hamley. "I was never away without you," she says, feeling puzzled.

This is my favorite picture of Roger, for it looks like a scene from the 19th century; a painting, if you will.

"I am sure you have thought, as I have, the difficulties of being a young woman growing up without a mother..." Molly interrupts: "You're going to be married again."

Lady Harriet advises Molly to "be a good girl and suffer yourself to be led, and you'll find your new Mama the sweetest person."

"Try to walk half a mile a day," instructed Dr. Gibson. "Such a pleasure being told what to do, for a change," said Lady Cumner.

Molly tells Roger, who tries to encourage her to think the best of the match, "I'll try....but as for the happiness you speak of, well, I shall never be happy again

I like this lemon chiffon colored dress with the white lace collar, and the sage green shawl. Here, the Miss Brownings tell Molly that Roger came by and left a hornet's nest as a gift for her. "I wouldn't touch the horrid thing! Either you or he or both of you must be crazy."

"What have you done with my things? They were my mother's!"

I did not make exact quotes in some cases but you can get the idea. Please add yours from Volume One only. I couldn't find pictures for some of my favorite scenes, one being Roger and Molly walking home to lunch while he tries to console her sadness at prospect of her father remarrying.


Anonymous said...

Just want everyone to know there is an update over at The Pleasant Times blog, for all you Bumpfrie fans.

Anonymous said...

I love Wives and Daughters and have read the book several times. I'm very glad you are introducing it to your readers.
I respectfully disagree that Dr. Gibson wanted Molly to become interested in either of the Hamley sons. He was in my opinion, trying to remove her from Mr. Cox's influence because HE wasn't ready for her to be grown up and getting married.

He also recognized he hadn't really prepared her for that phase of her life. It was his realization that she would be better with a "Mother-figure" to guide her through the proprieties of maidenhood that lead to his (ill-matched) marriage to Mrs. Hyacinth Gibson nee Claire.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I watched this movie last fall and I rave reviewed it to all of my friends. I think the movie's library circulation increased hugely on that alone - there was a waiting list for it a while afterwards, lol!

My husband was not certain if he would like it or not, but was drawn in. He liked the North & South production by the same author as well. I surprised him with several interesting, but not tacky movies this last fall. I need to get to work on that again.


Michelle said...

I just added to our Netflix rental list! Looking forward to seeing it!

Cherish the Home said...

I just watched this again last week, it's one of my favorites. (o:

Anonymous said...

Yay! Lots of screenshots! A costume drama pictured on the internet is the best of two eras combined. I just love all those pretty dresses. Mr. Preston's horse is pretty, too. :)

One of my favorite parts in the beginning of W&D is when Dr. Gibson, Molly, and the apprentices are gathered round the dinner table, and Dr. Gibson decides to tease Cox a bit. I don't remember the exact lines, either, but here's an approximation.
"Molly," says Dr.Gibson, "Mr. Cox was arguing for kill or cure--and look, Mr. Cox, at how you've shocked poor Mr. Winn. Mr. Winn disapproves of homicide."
Winn looks cluelessly at his master, not shocked at all.
"You must realize," Dr. Gibson continues, "that it is our duty to keep good-paying patients alive as long as possible."
"Papa," says Molly, "you go to visit poor Mrs. I-forget-her-name every day, and she has the most expensive medicine."
"Well," says Dr. Gibson, "even *I* can't live up to my precepts all the time."


-Christine from Arizona

Lydia said...

I enjoyed seeing Mr. Winn so startled by the comment, and Mr. Cox saying, "Indeed,I do not, sir!"

And the mile high cake on a pedestal dish that Molly brought in..I thought for a moment that maybe they didn't get to eat much of it (It looked delicious) when Mr. Gibson said, "Back to your slavery, gentlemen" and waved them away from the table.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen the movie! I have read the book many times and can't say enough nice things about it--it reads beautifully aloud as well (and perhaps was serialized in a women's magazine when it was new) so it makes an interesting read all around. I will look for the movie version. I am always hesitant to see what "they" have done to my favorite books, but this one looks like a success!

Sherry said...

This looks like such a lovely movie, I will really have to try to get a hold of it.

Thank you so much for adding me to your blogroll.

RedeemedandCrowned said...

Wow, these are beautiful pictures of the show/film. Do you know where it was taped? It looks like somewhere in Europe, maybe even Ireland. It's gorgeous and I would LOVE to travel there!

Rebecca said...

This is, hands down, my favorite book and movie. The costumes, the music, everything is so beautiful. As much as I like the movie for bringing it to life, I prefer the book.

Lydia said...


You can just type in "Wives and Daughters DVD" and it comes up on several places, including Amazon. The cheapest way I've found to get it is to go to the store that sells DVD's--we have one here. It is not a rental place, but a place full of videos. You ask at the counter to order W and D and you pay half of the cost, about 15.00 or maybe 20. Then in a week or two they call you and you pick it up, paying the other half. It makes it much easier to get it and you do not pay the postage.