Page:Gaskell - North and South, vol. I, 1855.djvu/144

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CHAPTER XI.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

"There's iron, they say, in all our blood, And a grain or two perhaps is good ; But his, he makes me harshly feel, Has got a little too much of steel." Anon.

" Margaret ! " said Mr. Hale, as he returned from showing his guest downstairs ; " I could not help watching your face with some anxiety, when Mr. Thornton made his confession of having heen a shop-boy. I knew it all along from Mr. Bell ; so I was aware of what was coming ; but I half expected to see you get up and leave the room." " Oh, papa ! you don't mean that you thought me so silly ? I really liked that account of himself better than anything else he said. Everything else revolted me, from its hardness; but he spoke about himself so simply — with so little of the pretence that makes the vulgarity of shop-people, and with such tender respect for his mother, that I was less likely to leave the room then than when he was boasting about Milton, as if there was not such another place in the world; or quietly professing to despise people for careless, wasteful improvidence, without ever seem-