REVIEW: “The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell

Review of Elizabeth Gaskell, “The Old Nurse’s Story”, in Minor Hauntings: Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth, edited by Jen Baker (British Library, 2021): 25-52 — Order here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

The old nurse of the title narrates to her young charges a story of their mother, whose upbringing she also had in her care. Through Gaskell’s deft facility with language we are given a clear picture of the nurse’s class and character; her voice is extremely vivid. The story she tells is one of prejudice, bitterness, and hatred — and, of course, a ghostly child –, and pretty much all of the major characters come across as thoroughly unsympathetic — no mean feat!

(First published in Household Words in 1852.)