Page:Gaskell - North and South, vol. I, 1855.djvu/99

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CHAPTER VII.

NEW SCENES AND FACES.

"Mist clogs the sunshine, Smoky dwai'f houses Have we round on every side." Matthew Arnold.

The next afternoon, about twenty miles from Milton-Northern, they entered on the little branch railway that led to Heston. Heston itself was one long straggling street, running parallel to the sea- shore. It had a character of its own, as different from the little bathing-places in the south of England as they again from those of the continent. To use a Scotch word, every thing looked more " purposelike." The country carts had more iron, and less wood and leather about the horse-gear; the people in the streets, although on pleasure bent, had yet a busy mind. The colours looked grayer — more enduring, not so gay and pretty. There were no smock-frocks, even among the country folk ; they retarded motion, and were apt to catch on machmery, and so the habit of wearing them had died out. In such towns in the south of England, Margaret had seen the shopmen, when not employed in their business, lounging a little at their doors, enjoying the fresh