"If you want to whip me, uncle, you may do it. I don't much mind." Put in this form, it was impossible to carry out his intentions; and so Mr. Benson told the lad he might go-that he would speak to him another time. Leonard went away, more subdued in spirit than if he had been whipped. Sally lingered for a moment. She stopped to add: "I think it's for them without sin to throw stones at a poor child, and cut up good laburnum branches to whip him. I only do as my betters do, when I call Leonard's mother Mrs. Denbigh." The moment she had said this she was sorry; it was an ungenerous advantage after the enemy had acknowledged himself defeated. Mr. Benson dropped his head upon his hands, and hid his face, and sighed deeply. -Chapter XIX: "After Five Years" As interest in 19th-century English literature by women has been reinvigorated by a resurgence in popularity of the works of Jane Austen, readers are rediscovering a writer whose fiction, once widely beloved, fell by the wayside. British novelist ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)-whose books were sometimes initially credited to, simply, "Mrs. Gaskell"-is now recognized as having created some of the most complex and progressive depictions of women in the literature of the age, and is today justly celebrated for her precocious use of the regional dialect and slang of England's industrial North. Ruth-Gaskell's third novel, first published in three volumes in 1853-is notable as one of the rare instances in the fiction of the era of a positive portrayal of unwed motherhood and for its thematic condemnation of the social stigma of illegitimacy. The tale of a young woman seduced and abandoned by her lover, then taken in and protected by a kindly minister and his sister, it is remarkably progressive for the period. Friend and literary companion to the likes of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bront-the latter of whom Gaskell wrote an acclaimed 1857 biography-Gaskell is today being restored to her rightful place alongside them. This charming replica volume is an excellent opportunity for 21st-century fans of British literature to embrace one of its most unjustly forgotten authors.