chapter  39
3 Pages

Sylvia's Lovers, ch. 12

The command of vernacular is noteworthy. It is not a faultless rendering of the Yorkshire idiom, but it catches the essential flavour of the local speech ('Charley, my lad! how beest ta? '; 'thee and me will have words'). More important, the sequence of Daniel's comments is so organized as to give a sweeping picture of the party, an instantaneous general impression as it would appear to an outsider, while hinting at background matters which an exclusive concentration on the party would have prevented Mrs. Gaskell from mentioning: Bell Robson, the coming winter, Kinraid's next visit to Haytersbank. Notice how varied the sentences are, how many the subjects touched on, all of them important themes, and as soon as touched on and taken in let drop, while all the time Daniel has been hastily swallowing a 'tumberful of halfand-half grog'. The whole speech is a masterly consummation of the festivity of the party (Daniel is 'a jolly impersonation of Winter') and the scene comes across as vivid and real, the result not of naivety, but of rigorous and mature art.