Culture notesThe BBC drama North and South, first screened in 2004, is based on an 1855 novel of the same title by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s about a young woman who moves to the north of England after her father leaves his work with the church, and how their family struggles to adjust to the local customs there. It stars British actors Daniela Denby-Ashe (Margaret) and Richard Armitage (John Thornton).
What do you know about what your country was like in the nineteenth century?
Would you like to have lived during this time?
If you could choose any period in history to visit, when would you visit?
The drama involves a family saga and romance.
saga: /ˈsɑːɡə/ a long story about events over a period of many years. E.g. a family saga.
set something + adverb/preposition to place the action of a play, novel or film/ movie in a particular place, time, etc. E.g. The novel is set in London in the 1960s.
John Thornton thought he had seen Margaret with a secret lover. At the end, he learns that the man was her brother.
4 John Thornton
5 John Thornton
North and South
Mr H=Mr Hale MH=Margaret Hale H=Housekeeper
F=Frederick Hale JT=Mr Thornton Hi=Higgins
Mr H: Margaret, are you expecting a letter?
MH: No. Yes. Father I’ve got something I have to tell you. I’ve
written to Frederick. I know that I shouldn’t have.
Mr H: Because of your mother and you think he needs to come
MH: Please say I did the right thing father. Is the danger to
Frederick so very great?
Mr H: Oh yes my dear, I’m afraid it is.
HO: Who’d come visiting at this hour? I’ll get the master.
MH: No, I’ll go.
F: Is Mr Hale in?
MH: Frederick! Fred … Frederick, oh!
MH: She’s still alive. She’s as ill as she could be but she lives.
Mr H: My boy! You’ve come home.
F: I don’t see why I should have to run away before the funeral.
I’ve a good mind to face it out and stand trial.
Mr H: No, you must go Fred.
MH: You must leave tomorrow by the night train.
F: Only a few minutes more. I don’t know when I’ll see you
again. Who was that?
MH: Mr Thornton. Go! Go!
F: God bless you Margaret. Goodbye.
MH: Father is waiting in the sitting room. Mr Thornton …
T: Do you not realise the risk that you take in being so
indiscreet? Have you no explanation for your behaviour that
night at the station? You must imagine what I must think.
MH: Mr Thornton please, I’m aware of what you must think of
me. I know how it must have appeared, being with a stranger
so late at night. The man you saw me with, he … the secret
is another person’s, and I cannot explain it without doing him
Mr H: Is that you John? Come on up.
T: I’ve not the slightest wish to pry into the gentleman’s secrets.
I’m only concerned as your father’s friend. I hope you realise
that any foolish passion for you on my part is entirely over.
Hi: I said have you heard aught about Miss Margaret?
JT: Still here?
Hi: Just because it’s the last shift master doesn’t mean we
shouldn’t finish the job well.
JT: I’m nobody’s master anymore Higgins.
Hi: Anyway I was asking about Miss Margaret. Have you heard
how she’s doing?
JT: She’s well, she’s in London. I’ll not see her again.
Hi: Thought she might have gone to Spain.
JT: Spain, why would she go there?
Hi: Well, to see her brother now he’s her only family.
JT: Her brother? She doesn’t have a brother.
Hi: Him that were over when the mother were dying. Kept it a
secret they did.
JT: Why wouldn’t Mr Hale tell me that he had a son?
Hi: Something to do with the law. He found himself on the
wrong side of the navy, in real danger he was.
JT: It was her brother.
pry (into something) /praɪ/ to try to find out information about other people's private lives in a way that is annoying or rude. Sp. fisgonear. E.g. I'm sick of you prying into my personal life! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry. She tried to keep the children away from the prying eyes of the world's media.
aught: /ɔːt/ anything. E.g. Let us see if aught can be done for her.