Friday, 15 February 2019

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1855)


After watching the BBC version of North & South multiple times and enjoying it so much, I decided it was time to read the novel.
What the movie doesn’t portray, due to obvious time constraints, is the depth of thought and exploration of character that Gaskell put into her work. Nuances, pertinent quotations at the beginning of each chapter, descriptions of landscape and people, the thought processes of the various characters etc. went by the wayside in the translation from book to movie. In some ways the movie and book were totally different experiences; almost two different stories, but in other ways they complemented each other.



If you’ve read Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell’s first book, it’s almost a foreshadowing of North & South as it takes place in an industrial town for the most part and deals with the social problems that surfaced in that setting.

Margaret Hale and her parents leave their beloved village in the south of England to live in the industrial north when her father gives up his role of vicar after struggling with a matter of conscience.
Their new life in Milton (a fictional town akin to Manchester) brings them into contact with mill owners and workers and they are caught up in the tension between the two.
The movie focuses on the relationship between Margaret and Mr. John Thornton, an abrasive, driven,  mill owner who had worked hard to rise from impoverished circumstances to his current position.
They meet when the Hales rent a house from him and over time Thornton comes to love her and declares himself. Margaret scorns him at first but over a period of time she begins to appreciate and understand him and see him differently.

The book shows a much better development of this relationship than the movie. I enjoyed this conversation between the two of them early on in their relationship after Margaret asked Thornton if he thought a certain man, Mr. Morison, was a gentleman:

‘I am not quite the person to decide on another’s gentlemanliness, Miss Hale. I mean, I don’t quite understand your application of the word. But I should say that this Morison is no true man. I don’t know who he is; I merely judge him from Mr. Horsfall’s account.’

‘I suspect my “gentleman” includes your “true man.”’

‘And a great deal more, you would imply. I differ from you. A man is to me a higher and a completer being than a gentleman.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Margaret. ‘We must understand the words differently.’

‘I take it that “gentleman” is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but when we speak of him as “a man,” we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men, but in relation to himself - to life - to time - to eternity. A cast-away lonely as Robinson Crusoe - a prisoner immured in a dungeon for life - nay, even a saint in Patmos, has his endurance, his strength, his faith, best described by being spoken of as “a man.” I am rather weary of this word “gentlemanly,” which seems to me to be often inappropriately used, and often, too, with such exaggerated distortion of meaning, while the full simplicity of the noun “man,” and the adjective “manly” are unacknowledged - that I am induced to class it with the cant of the day.’

Mr. Hale tutored John, who not having had opportunity for a proper education in his youth, now sought to study the Classics. The two men became good friends and Mr. Hale thought highly of his student but realised that his daughter didn’t. In a conversation regarding this Margaret said:

‘He is a man of great strength of character — of unusual intellect, considering the few advantages he has had.’

And Mr. Hales very astute answer, which I think is a wonderful observation about intellect generally:

‘Not so few. He has led a practical life from a very early age; has been called upon to exercise judgment and self-control. All that develops one part of the intellect. To be sure, he needs some of the knowledge of the past, which gives the truest basis for conjecture as to the future; but he knows this need - he perceives it, and that is something. You are quite prejudiced against Mr. Thornton, Margaret.’




Hard times come upon John Thornton and he is tempted to speculate. His father had done so and when his attempts failed he had committed suicide leaving his wife to bring up John and his younger sister on her own. This had left a profound mark on John. His success as a self-made man and his moral character as to how he conducted his business dealings was something he was rightly proud of.
One night he was very low as he contemplated his future. I loved this conversation he had with his mother who was not very endearing in the movie but redeemed herself here:

‘I have so worked and planned. I have discovered new powers in my situation too late — and now all is over. I am too old to begin again with the same heart. It is hard, mother.’

He turned away from her, and covered his face with his hands.

‘I can’t think,’ said she, with gloomy defiance in her tone, ‘how it comes about. Here is my boy - good son, just man, tender heart - and he fails in all he sets his mind upon: he finds a woman to love, and she cares no more for his affection than if he had been any common man; he labours, and his labour comes to nought...
‘I sometimes have wondered where justice was gone to, and now I don’t believe there is such a thing in the world...’

‘Mother!’ said he, holding her gently in his arms, ‘who has sent me my lot in life, both of good and of evil?’

She shook her head. She would have nothing to do with religion just then.

‘Mother,’ he went on, seeing that she would not speak, ‘I, too, have been rebellious; but I am striving to be so no longer. Help me, as you helped me when I was a child. Then you said many good words - when my father died, and we were sometimes sorely short of comforts - which we shall never be now; you said brave, noble, trustful words then, mother, which I have never forgotten, though they may have lain dormant. Speak to me again in the old way, mother. Do not let us have to think that the world has too much hardened our hearts. If you would say the old good words, it would make me feel something of the pious simplicity of my childhood. I say them to myself, but they would come differently from you, remembering all the cares and trials you have had to bear.’

‘I have had a many,’ said she, sobbing, ‘but none so sore as this. To see you cast down from your rightful place! I could say it for myself, John, but not for you. Not for you! God has seen fit to be very hard on you, very.’
She shook with the sobs that come so convulsively when an old person weeps. The silence around her struck her at last; and she quieted herself to listen. No sound. She looked. Her son sat by the table, his arms thrown half across it, his head bent face downwards.

‘Oh, John!’ she said, and she lifted his face up. Such a strange, pallid look of gloom was on it, that for a moment it struck her that this look was the forerunner of death; but, as the rigidity melted out of the countenance and the natural colour returned, and she saw that he was himself once again, all worldly mortification sank to nothing before the consciousness of the great blessing that he himself by his simple existence was to her. She thanked God for this, and this alone, with a fervour that swept away all rebellious feelings from her mind.

It was passages like the one above that gave an entirely different aspect on the character of both mother and son, aspects that the movie didn't portray in any depth. In fact, John Thornton seemed to be quite an irreligious man.

Another character that the movie didn’t really show to advantage was that of Henry Lennox, Margaret’s other suitor. He is shown to be jealous and full of rivalry towards Thornton but he actually helped Margaret and John in the end by bowing out and allowing them to meet on their own. He realised that he would never win Margaret and had the decency not to begrudge another who could. I thought he got a bit of a raw deal in the film.

The more I read Gaskell’s work, the more I appreciate her literary skill and her ability to craft a rich & satisfying story, as may be seen if you compare even two of her books, say Cranford and North & South.
In North and South Elizabeth Gaskell’s Christian beliefs were woven into the story very naturally along with some very thoughtful themes on the nature of man and character traits: rich and poor, masters and workers, men and women, social problems, class structure, trade unions, family life, pride and humility, prejudice and understanding...this is an excellent read and the movie is lovely even if it only deals with a small portion of the whole. I totally recommend both!

Ebooks Adelaide has a free, well done Kindle version.

North & South is my choice for no. 8) A Novel with a Christian Theme in the 2019 Christian Greats Challenge.

#christiangreats





Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Summer Smorgasborg: Nature Study, Notebooks & Mother Culture


It's summer in our part of the world and it's been pretty intense weather-wise. Bush/nature walks have been non-existent except for the occasional park early in the morning but we have had some nature finds around our garden.
Birdlife has been raucous with a few new visitors some of which I'm still trying to identify. We hear the birds here but getting a good look at them through the trees isn't easy.
I was excited to spot a lyrebird in a tree as I was sitting outside. That's a first for me.


A very brief spell of rain was most welcome - that was one time I got to go out walking:



“That best portion of a good man’s life, 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts 
Of kindness and of love.”

Wordsworth

'There are always two ways of understanding other people's words, acts, and motives; and human nature is so contradictory that both ways may be equally right; the difference is in the construction we put upon other people's thoughts...
Of all the causes of unhappiness, perhaps few bring about more distress in the world than the habit, which even good people allow themselves in, of putting an ungentle construction upon the ways and words of the people they live with...
Kindness which is simple thinks none of these things, nor does it put evil constructions upon the thoughts that others may think in the given circumstances.'

Ourselves: Kindness in Construction.

I think, if for no other reason, this is something we need to nip in the bud so that our children don't pick up our habit in this area. Or if we don't have that inclination ourselves, it stills helps to point it out as something to be avoided.







Moozle's Nature Notebook:









These two book are our mainstays. Australian Nature Studies is used as a reference while Nature Studies in Australia by William Gillies is a book Moozle reads each week.







Lots of these around at the moment: Eastern Water Dragon





Stick Insect (Phasmatodea)





Architecture Notebook & LEGO model of the Eiffel Tower - Moozle did this in the holidays. So good when their 'lessons' extend into their free time just because that's what they love to do.





Christmas bush leaves and flowers ravaged by the native birds and dropped on the sandstone capping on our verandah:





Summer Sunset from upstairs looking out over the bush:




Some cuttings left to grow roots on our laundry window sill: Nodding violet & fuchsia:





A late afternoon trip to the beach for dinner after a stinking hot day:





And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us...







Our Natural History book by James Herriot is the second book in this series of memoirs and contains 'Let Sleeping Vets Lie' and 'Vet in Harness.' 
Called out at 2 a.m. on a freezing Yorkshire night to look at a ewe that had given birth earlier in the day, he has to strip off his overcoat & jacket to examine her:

‘There’s another lamb in here,’ I said. ‘It’s laid wrong or it would have been born with its mate this afternoon. ‘ Even as I spoke my fingers had righted the presentation and I drew the little creature gently out and deposited him on the grass. I hadn’t expected him to be alive after his delayed entry but as he made contact with the cold ground his limbs gave a convulsive twitch and almost immediately I felt his ribs heaving under my hand.
For a moment I forgot the knife-like wind in the thrill which I always found in new life, the thrill that was always fresh, warm.

Herriot's memoirs are a delightful  mix of humour, nature study, relationships, and life as a young vet. I've been reading them aloud and they are a lovely way to include some natural history.






Eastern Coast of Australia, Sydney area:







Friday, 1 February 2019

The Classics Club: A New List




I joined The Classics Club five years ago with the intention of reading 50 books in five years. I managed to read and review 71 books in that time so now I'm starting again.
So here we go with some of the books I'd like to read in the next five years. I'm adding some 'modern classics' in - books that were written in the last 25 years and including some that I've already read years ago and want to re-visit.

Novels

Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (1927)
Strong Poison (1930) re-read
Have His Carcase (1932)
Gaudy Night (1935) re-read
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden (1969)

The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge (1960)
The Castle on the Hill (1942)

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1949)

The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1924)

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (1956)
Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
Perelandra (1943)
That Hideous Strength
(1945)

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R. Tolkien (1937-1949)

War & Peace
by Leo Tolstoy (1869)
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
(1866)

The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy (1878)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)

Dr Zhivago by Boris Paternak (1957)

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)
Ruth (1853)
North & South  (1855) 
The Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857)
Wives & Daughters (1864)

Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1852) re-read
Hard Times (1854) re-read

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) 

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811) re-read

John Macnab by John Buchan (1924)

The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (1943)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

Under the Yoke by Ivan Vazov (1888)

Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar by Jules Verne (1876)

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875)

Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871-1872)

Villette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847) re-read

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (1848) re-read

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini (1922)
Scaramouche (1921) re-read

Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute (1955)
Pastoral (1944)
Landfall (1940)
No Highway (1948)



 Non-Fiction

The Gulag Archipelago
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1958-1968; in progress)

Mere Christianity
by C.S. Lewis (1952)
The Four Loves (1960)

The Goshawk by T.H. White (1951)

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (1908)


Modern Classics

The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara (1974)

How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer (1976) re-read


Educational Classics


Norms & Nobility by David Hicks (1981)

Towards a Philosophy of  Education by Charlotte Mason (1925) re-read
Ourselves (in progress)







Sunday, 20 January 2019

Reading, Thinking, & Domesticity #5




Sometimes it's helpful having your birthday at the end of the year. It acts like a 'pause and reflect' moment before heading into a new year. On my birthday in December, my husband gave me a card with a list of things that happened in 2018:

*  Our third child got married
*  Our second grandchild (a boy this time) was born
*  Our first grandchild turned 1 & we started looking after her one day a week
*  One of our sons completed his plumbing apprenticeship
*  Another son had a major job change
*  Moozle, our youngest, became a teenager & had her Grade 7 Cello exam which she passed with honours
*  We did some home renovations and slept on camp mattresses on a tiled floor for 10 weeks. I ended up with a compressed nerve in my neck and had to have a few weeks of physio.
*  Moozle and I did a 1,600 km (1000 mile) round road trip together

He didn't write it on the card but this happened just before Christmas:

*  After having worked as a contractor for over two years with a company they decided to put my husband 'officially in the system.' This required a police check.
Said police check came back and he was called into the HR office and told to leave immediately as the police check showed a list of serious criminal offences dating back about 7 years, including time spent in prison.
My husband asked for details, said he'd never been to court (except to serve on a jury!) let alone prison, but they refused to give him any information.
He was told he could only appeal via the third party company who conducted the police check. This company sent him emails, which he didn't get because the company he works for locked him out of their system.
Eventually he received a copy of the report and it showed he was working at his present employment while supposedly serving a prison term! Mmmm. Knee jerk reaction from HR who didn't bother reading the report properly.
Ten days later, with no pay during that time, after much to-ing and fro-ing with his employer and the third party who had conducted the police check, he received word that he didn't have a criminal  record after all. No apology or acknowledgement from the third party that he had been falsely accused.

And, yes, he was compensated - well, his company paid him for the time he had off, humbly apologised etc. Most of his fellow workers were appalled and angry and a couple of them knew of others in similar circumstances & they weren't surprised.

This was a very interesting experience in light of our current climate here with the Government's latest Encryption Laws and privacy. We were privy to the details of another man's criminal record, and my husband was automatically deemed to be guilty and had no right to offer a defence to his employer.
It also made us realise how difficult it must be for anyone trying to find work after serving time in gaol.
Francis Schaeffer wrote these words in 1976 and I think they are relevant even more today:

'I believe the majority of the silent majority, young and old will sustain the loss of liberties without raising their voices as long as their own life-styles are not threatened. And since personal peace and affluence are so often the only values that count with the majority, politicians know that to be elected they must promise these things. Politics has largely become not a matter of ideals - increasingly men and women are not stirred by the values of liberty and truth - but of supplying a constituency with a frosting of personal peace and affluence. They know that voices will not be raised as long as people have these things, or at least an illusion of them.' 

World Watch List - a list of the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians. India has recently made it into the top ten on this list.

Children & dumbed down reading:

'50 years ago, parents read things to children that children could not read themselves, that were not directed primarily at the senses, and that contained deep formal and material lessons for the children...But it has never been a good thing to indulge the senses as an end in themselves. The senses have always tried to dominate the intellect and to distract us from what matters more.'

A Culture of Reading has some excellent reading suggestions.

An newspaper article I read last month:


Listening

Nicholas Clifford, Professor Emeritus at Middlebury Liberal Arts College in Vermont, USA, is a Librivox narrator I've listened to and I've enjoyed everything he's done. Fortunately, he has 79 solo recordings, many of them classics.  






The Vanishing Man by R. Austin Freeman (1862-1943) is an interesting mystery/crime novel with a focus on Ancient Egyptian artifacts and practices.
Many of Freeman's books feature the medical/legal forensic investigator, Dr John Thorndyke.  The Vanishing Man was published in 1911 and was also published as The Eye of Osiris.

My ongoing Hexie Quilt project that's taking me forever. Making progress, though.




Sisters



Friday, 11 January 2019

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)




Subtitled A Tale of Manchester Life, Mary Barton is the story of working class poverty in the industrial city of Manchester during the early to mid 1800’s. It was Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel and in the preface she writes:

'Three years ago I became anxious (from circumstances that need not be more fully alluded to) to employ myself in writing a work of fiction.'

The circumstances she referred to was the death of her infant son from Scarlet Fever and her husband's encouragement to turn to writing to distract her from her grief as she’d previously had some work published in a magazine. And so out of her own grief comes this powerful first-hand account of the poverty-striken inhabitants of Manchester, the first Industrial City.

'I had always felt a deep sympathy with the care-worn men, who looked as if doomed to struggle through their lives in strange alternations between work and want; tossed to and fro by circumstances, apparently in even a greater degree than other men...
I saw that they were sore and irritable against the rich, the even tenor of whose seemingly happy lives appeared to increase the anguish caused by the lottery-like nature of their own.'

There are some similarities to North and South which was published about six years later: the agitations between the factory workers and the mill owners, the setting of industrial Manchester where she herself lived, and a romance, but Mary Barton is much bleaker and focuses on the plight of the working class during the depressed times of the ‘hungry forties.’
Mary’s life starts off quite well, with her father, John, in work and the family reasonably provided for, but tragedy enters their lives when Aunt Esther, her mother’s sister, disappears. The shock contributes to the death of Mary’s mother and with her death, John Barton’s life takes a downward turn.

'One of the good influences over John Barton’s life had departed that night. One of the ties which bound him down to the gentle humanities of earth was loosened, and henceforward the neighbours all remarked he was a changed man. His gloom and his sternness became habitual instead of occasional.'

'He would bear it all, he said to himself. And he did bear it, but not meekly; that was too much to expect. Real meekness of character is called out by experience of kindness. And few had been kind to him.'

Mary, who is a real beauty, catches the eye of the son of a rich mill owner and he pursues her. She is so caught up with the idea of a better life and becoming a lady that she spurns her childhood friend, Jem, who has his heart set on marrying her. The rich young man is infatuated with Mary but he has no plans for marriage. This situation echoes that of her Aunt Esther, although Mary does not yet know the circumstances of her Aunt's disappearance.

'Herself, a day, an hour ago; and herself now. For we have every one of us felt how a very few minutes of the months and years called life, will sometimes suffice to place all time past and future in an entirely new light; will make us see the vanity or the criminality of the bye-gone, and so change the aspect of the coming time, that we look with loathing on the very thing we have most desired. A few moments may change our character for life, by giving a totally different direction to our aims and energies.' 

John Barton becomes a Chartist and spokesman for the trade union and becomes more bitter as time goes on and he witnesses the suffering of his fellow workers and their families.

'So class distrusted class, and their want of mutual confidence wrought sorrow to both. The masters would not be bullied, and compelled to reveal why they felt it wisest and best to offer only such low wages; they would not be made to tell that they were even sacrificing capital to obtain a decisive victory over the continental manufacturers. And the workmen sat silent and stern with folded hands, refusing to work for such pay. There was a strike in Manchester.'

Mrs Gaskell was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and tackled many of the same issues that he did, but her characters were portrayed unsentimentally with balance, realism, sympathy, and without satire.
She was also a contemporary of Friedrich Engels (the co-author of The Communist Manifesto) who also wrote about the conditions of the working class during his 1842-1844 stay in Manchester.
The two authors had very different responses to the situation as may be seen in the story of Mary Barton.

As I mentioned earlier, Mary Barton is a bleak story. There are multiple deaths due to poverty, poor choices which lead to dire consequences, a murder mystery and a court-room scene. I was beginning to think everything was going to finish tragically, but it ended well. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it kept me hooked throughout. Do yourself a favour and listen to the superb and authentic rendering by Tony Foster at Librivox. 
This is part of the summary I found at LibriVox:

'Tony Foster is a resident of Manchester and a near-neighbour of Mrs Gaskell (allowing for their separation in time). His superb narration renders the native speech of her characters with an authenticity which ideally conveys the spirit of this book. A truly moving experience awaits everyone who gives ear to this 'Tale of Manchester Life'.


Mary Barton is available for Kindle and the book can be found here.

For information on Elizabeth Gaskell see the Timeline of her life and other areas of interest.

This is my choice for the Classic by a Woman in the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge.









Monday, 7 January 2019

Christian Greats Challenge Book Reviews Page



Link up your book reviews for each of the ten categories below and leave a comment to let everyone know you’ve linked.🙂





Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (1927)




An elderly lady suffering from cancer dies suddenly but her young doctor is suspicious. His patient was a tough old lady and he had given her another six months to live and here she is, dead, only days after his prognosis. He refuses to sign the death certificate with but no evidence of foul play after an autopsy, he is left looking like a fool.
Three years later, the doctor chances to overhear Lord Peter Wimsey and his good friend, Detective-Inspector Parker of Scotland Yard,  discussing a similar case as they sat at an adjacent table in a restaurant. The doctor interrupts their conversation to introduce himself and tell them of his own experience.
Lord Peter, of course, is immediately interested.

‘Do you know,’ he said, suddenly, ‘I’m feeling rather interested by this case. I have a sensation of internal gloating which assures me that there is something to be investigated. That feeling has never failed me yet - I trust it never will.’

And so Wimsey gets involved in the affair, enlisting the reluctant Parker of whom he says,
‘He’s the one who really does the work. I make imbecile suggestions and he does the work of elaborately disproving them.’

Evidence of foul play begins to show itself once Wimsey gets involved with the death of the old lady's maid and then an attempt is made on Wimsey's life. However, although there is a suspect, there doesn't appear to be a motive.
The banter between Wimsey and Parker, who later marries Wimsey’s sister Mary, is very entertaining. Parker is conservative and formulaic whereas Wimsey is as his name implies - whimsical.

Wimsey wants to introduce Parker to ‘a friend of his,’ ‘- rather an experiment...quite comfortably fixed in a little flat in Pimlico...’
Much to Parker’s surprise, Miss Climpson was not a love interest but a middle-aged single lady with Edwardian-styled iron-grey hair, covered by a net, who would have made a very good lawyer but had never had the education or the opportunity.
She was a kind of ‘inquiry agent’ for Wimsey: his ears and his tongue. Wimsey believed Miss Climpson to be ‘a manifestation of the wasteful way in which this country is run,’ and that women like her who are ‘providentially fitted’ for work carried out by 'ill-equipped policemen’ are allowed to go to waste.

So far I’ve read seven out of fifteen of Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books. Unnatural Death is the third in the series and although it’s not her best it’s still a jolly good read.
Sayers doesn’t write down to her readers. Her characters and plots are rich and full of detail with frequent allusions to literature and sundry interests leaving the reader with a knowledge of such diverse topics as advertising, bell-ringing, Shakespeare, and architecture.

I chose this book for No. 9 of my Christian Greats Challenge: A Good Old Detective or Mystery Novel Mystery. J.I Packer called this type of novel, 'stories of a kind that would never have existed without the Christian gospel. Culturally, they are Christian fairy tales, with savior heroes.'

Towards the end of this book, Wimsey is looking for Miss Climpson and stops at the church she attends during the week to see if she is there. Not finding her, on impulse he asks the priest, Mr Tregold, for advice on a moral problem, a ‘hypothetical case,’ that involved killing a person who was going to die, who was in awful pain, kept under morphia etc.

‘I know you’d call it a sin, of course, but why is it so very dreadful? It doesn't do the person any harm, does it?'

‘I think,’ said Mr Tredgold, ‘that the sin - I won’t use that word - the damage to Society, the wrongness of the thing lies much more in the harm it does the killer than in anything it can do to the person who is killed. Especially, of course, if the killing is to the killer’s own advantage...’

The Lord Peter Wimsey crime series are in print and available here.