Reading journal (part 4) with comments and conjectures on Shirley. As always, do not read if you don't like SPOILERS.
I'll start with a quote from Chapter 21:
So, not a new sentiment, then.'Mutual love! My dear, romances are pernicious. You do not read them, I hope?''Sometimes - whenever I can get them, indeed; but romance-writers might know nothing of love, judging by the way in which they treat of it.''Nothing whatever, my dear!' assented Mrs. Pryor eagerly; 'nor of marriage; and the false pictures they give of those subjects cannot be too strongly condemned. They are not like reality: they show you only the green tempting surface of the marsh, and give not one faithful or truthful hint of the slough underneath.'
As you can see I have finally picked up Shirley again, to find lots of things happening: a funny clash between the C of E followers and the other congregations in the neighbourhood and an attempt by the Luddites to storm the mill repelled with lethal force.
Emotionally a lot going on as well: Shirley possibly in love with Mr. Moore but being rather inscrutable about it and Caroline miserably in love with Mr. Moore, but the narrator giving hints that there might be man around who is a better match for her. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of that.
If narrative conventions are to be trusted, Mrs. Pryor will turn out to be Caroline's long lost mama. I hope not.