Day before yesterday felt decadently like an English novel because we had a leisurely lunch on a patio overlooking a garden with visiting relatives, and lots of light conversation. Less like the two English novels I’ve read in as many months, however, than many other English novels. Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot have much in common. There are landed gentry among the major characters, but the stories are mainly about middle class women and their struggles with the class system, male domination, and victorian moral attitudes. Both are fine, poignant novels, although you need to get past a great deal of religious content in Ruth, but it was worth it. Some terrific characters in Floss, just as real and funny as life can be.