Just a few days ago I posted on Elizabeth Gaskell's (1810 to 1865-UK) thoroughly wonderful novel Cranford. Oxford World Classics, publisher of the edition I read, has very kindly included in the same volume a short story also set in the mythical town of Cranford (as well as an interesting looking essay I have not yet read "The Last Generation in England"). You can read it online HERE if you do not have the book.
"The Cage at Cranford" (published in Charles Dickens's publication All Year Round) is a totally fun follow up ten years later look at some of the ladies of Cranford. The story is sort of centered on Jessie Brown, who married her love Major Gordan and was in the process transformed from poverty to relative wealth. She and her husband love to travel and are currently in Paris. Mrs Gordon has promised the narrator a present from Paris, the height of high fashion and glamour. Of course all of Cranford is abuzz over this exciting news.
Mrs Gordan has said in a letter that she bought herself a wonderful cage and decided that she will get the narrator one also as they are so much nicer than anything she could get in Cranford or even London. At first everyone is a bit confused then it is decided it must be a cage for a pet bird. How thoughtful!.
The gift is a cage but not quite what was expected. I will leave the rest of the plot untold.
Cranford can also be read online if you like. Read it first then "The Cage of Cranford". If you are like me you will be looking for more Gaskell to read after these two works. I think for now I will read a few of her short stories and would appreciate suggestions in this area.