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By Publio Ovidio Nasone, a cura di Nino Scivoletto

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64). Gaskell received her payment (the first half of the £100 due to her) two days later, on 7 December, but financial matters continued to be prominent in her relations with future publishers. Her joky and much-quoted account to Tottie Fox of how, after she had received £20 for ‘Lizzie Leigh’ in early 1850, ‘W[illia]m has composedly buttoned it up in his pocket’ (Letters, p. 113) is sometimes taken as an indication both of William’s patriarchal control over his wife and her willingness to give up her earnings to him.

In July 1843, the Gaskells spent their first holiday at Silverdale, near Morecambe Bay, a location which became a favourite vacation retreat over a period of fifteen years or more. At Silverdale they stayed in a converted tower, adjoining a farmhouse and overlooking the Bay and Lancashire coastline; the area was prettily rural and a perfect place in which Gaskell could write without unwelcome interruptions (though they did have various friends to stay here, William usually preferred the company of his family only and his wife was glad of the unaccustomed peace).

Coincidentally, Gaskell’s first meeting with Charlotte Brontë was also in the Lake District, at Briery Close, near Ambleside, the residence of their mutual friends Sir James and Lady Kay-Shuttleworth. Gaskell’s first taste of the foreign occurred in late 1841, when she and William went to Belgium and Germany, leaving the two girls behind with an aunt. The only extant account of this trip, a breathlessly enthusiastic letter to her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, makes it clear that for Gaskell the combination of romantic and historical association with the curious customs of a foreign culture was the greatest attraction.

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