Then came Miss Jenkyns – Deborah, as she liked Miss Matty to call her, her father having once said that the Hebrew name ought to be so pronounced. I secretly think she took the Hebrew prophetess for a model in character.

(Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford, 1851)


“It’s the silliest name I’ve ever heard, but it’s hers and I must call her by it . . . . And the worst is, she’s gone and perpetuated her own affected name by having her daughter called after her. Cynthia!”

(Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, 1866)


“How singular it is,” said he, “that the name of Ruth is so seldom chosen by those good people who go to the Bible before they christen their children. It is a very pretty name, I think.”

(Elizabeth Gaskell, Ruth, 1853