Ok, it is incredibly late, but here is the final Cranford recap. I doubt any breath has been bated over it, but sorry if you did wonder where it was.
For once there a happy ending in sight for a Cranford female: Martha has overcome Jem's slightly less than enthusiastic desire for marriage and has snared her man, not that he minds too much about being snared at last.
Mary and Matty welcome them home from the church with a hail of rice and huge grins! Martha leads Jem into the kitchen and begins to bustle around to get Miss Matty's dinner on, not forgetting her pudding, lest Miss Matty fade away. Jem looks distinctly disheartened by this news having had something else far more traditional for newly weds in mind, instead Martha seats the sulky Jem by the corner of the fire to brood attractively.
Mr Carter visits Harry in the stables to gift him a book of poems, but Harry mindful of his new lower position in the household studiously ignores him and continues to shovel the dirty hay into a barrow. Mr Carter quietly withdraws, but slips the book into Harry's pocket for later.
Mary goes to visit Dr Harrison and finds him in dire straits, not only is he waxy faced and dishevelled, Mrs Rose has left him to fend for himself and she's taken all her furniture with her. All Dr Harrison has left is the sewing table (that caused all the trouble), a small chair and an attractive tea set. The cups are so hugh, they're like troughs! Or maybe the cups are a normal size and Lisa Dillon and Simon Woods are small!
Dr Harrison asks after Sophy, only to be ruefully told that she's gone to visit an Aunt, in Shropshire.
Miss Galindo has arrived for work and cheerily bids Mr Carter a good afternoon! Good afternoon!? Either she's late or that's flexi time gone mad. Despite her tardiness, Mr Carter returns her felicitation and gets on with reading his mail, from which he surmises correctly that Miss Galindo has removed the deeds to the estate and allowed Lady Ludlow to mortgage it, against his better judgement and advice. He angrily storms off to hold Lady Ludlow to account and to suggest that there were better ways of economising: selling some land to the railway, or reducing the head count of her staff perhaps, does she really need one man to wind her clocks?
Lady Ludlow in her imperious and aristocratic manner refutes any such idea of economy, truthfully stating that she has a great many clocks, and besides Will Jones, clock winder extraordinaire is mute and would struggle to find another job and would probably end up in the Workhouse. Lady Ludlow, though cold and haughty, is bound by a sense of duty to her staff and tenants, already evinced by her intercession into Job Gregsons' wrongful imprisonment.
Mary and a select few others have been summoned to Miss Forrester's by a missive marked Confidential and posted by hand. The meeting, presided over by a comically formal Miss Pole, is called to order with a small bell and concerns Miss Matty's dire financial predicament. The ladies have come to the decision that they will secretly ease Miss Matty's grim circumstances by each donating a small amount of money that they each can spare. This money is to be presented in such a manner, with the aid of Captain Brown, that it should appear to be Miss Matty's "proper due", and that she should not know that the money came from her friends. Also the Miss Tomkinsons will settle the Mr Godard, the butcher's bill of 10 shillings as they are also customers of his.
Mrs Forrester rushes after Mary at the end of the meeting and tearfully begs Mary not to think badly of her for her small donation, as she has so little to live on and then goes on to recount why she holds Miss Matty in such high regard. When they were both younger and Mrs Forrester's mother was dying, Miss Matty though having just refused Mr Holbrook's offer of marriage, still had the time and compassion to ask after Mrs Forrester's mother and comforted the young Mrs Forrester when she cried. Julia Mackenzie has brought a finely judged comic edge to Mrs Forrester so far and in this scene her heartfelt sorrow, at not being able to contribute more to the Save Miss Matty fund, gushes out.
Dr Morgan has suggested that Dr Harrison, or the Cranford Casanova as I like to think of him, ought to start his practice elsewhere as due to the scandal of, erm Casanovering, or alleged Casanovering, has had his reputation shot to pieces and in a town like Cranford, such scandal is the death knell for any budding medical professionals.
Miss Matty is being lied to by her friends, for her own good, but lied to nevertheless. Miss Matty is presented with the idea that she might set up a school, but has no confidence in Mathematics, French, Accomplishments (?) or the Globes, at which point Captain Brown states that perhaps she ought to go into trade, and Miss Matty thankful that tea is not sticky (as she has a revulsion of residues) aquiesces. But not before asking Mr Johnson if he minds the competition.
Mr Godard is being exhorted to tell Miss Matty that due to an error in the butchery accounts her 10 shillings are no longer outstanding to which the hale fellow that is Mr Godard agrees, adding that Miss Matty was compassionate when his wife died. Caroline, then asks about Mr Godard's twins and upon the utterance of the word "pork", appears to fall madly in lust with the butcher.
Mary has received a letter from Dr Marshland and upon recognising his doctors scrawl comes to the conclusion that he was the mischievous Valentine sender and goes to the Miss Tompkinsons for corroboration.
Having absorbed some of Miss Deborah's resolve and tenacity, Mary now writes a stern letter to Dr Marshland admonishing him for his humourous wickedness and commanding him to resolve the mess that he has created.
When rushing to catch the postman, Mary catches sight of Sophy returning from her Aunt's looking sickly and pale. Though Mary rushes to say hello, Reverend Hutton bundles his unwell daughter onto the carriage and zooms home.
Dr Morgan and his wig have made the diagnosis of love sickness (not a diseased heart as plainly worried Reverend Hutton feared) and claims that it will soon pass as long as the Reverend lavishes not only affection on his daughter, but also plenty of eggs. Reverend Hutton doesn't look very confident of Dr Morgans prescription, but glumly accepts it and walks Dr Morgan out.
Dr Harrison alas has been commanded not to be allowed to see Sophy and the door is shut in his face by the Huttons housekeeper.
Mr Carter comes to call on Miss Galindo, not so much proferring a bunch of flowers, more holding on to them for grim death. Miss Galindo only rescues them by inventing a fear that the flowers will stain Mr Carters spotless cuffs.
This part of the show was when I started to get a bit tearful when rewatching the programme for the screencaps. Mr Carter and Miss Galindo make such a lovely couple, neither in the first flush of youth, but each with an independent mind and cautious heart.
They talk of Lady Ludlow and her obstinance and sense of duty. Mr Carter tells Miss Galindo that the mortgage could have been avoided as he has some money gathering dust and interest in the bank, a fortune amassed by his investment in a cotton mill. The disgust that the mill engendered in him, of young children working in the very dangerous mill, caused him to recoup his investment and now the money lies fallow and he is loath to touch it.
Miss Galindo and Mr Carter understand and cleave to each other, a feeling of solidarity created by their shared concern for Lady Ludlow and the understated attraction of two lonely souls.
Miss Matty has opened her shop and is besieged with customers, though dissuades any customer from purchasing green tea and deftly manipulates a facillating Caroline Tomkinson into buying two pounds of black tea instead, ably assisted by the energetic Mary.
Mary comes to call on Sophy and starts to tell her of Dr Harrison's innocence, when Mary notices that Sophy is burning up with fever and covered in a livid red rash.
Dr Morgan states that Sophy has Typhoid fever and Reverend Hutton is visibly shocked at the news, going so far as to baldly state if Sophy will die, Dr Morgan evades the answer.Dr Marshland has been stirred onto action by Mary's stern letter and has finally appeared to make amends and spends the morning apologising through Dr Harrison's letterbox, not getting a response until he mentions that Sophy is ill and then the door is flung open by a panicked Dr Harrison asking if he is being sent for.
Mr Carter is visiting Captain Brown at the site of the railway to ask if he could possibly supply any building materials for the railway in an effort to ease Lady Ludlow's financial burden, when there is an explosion and both men are injured.
Dr Marshland is explaining that he has confessed all to the Reverend while Dr Harrison perched on a tiny chair is worried that Dr Morgan will mistreat Sophy's typhoid fever.
Then Captain Brown and a badly injured Mr Carter arrive at Dr Harrison's and both he and Dr Marshland spring into action. Miss Galindo has heard about the accident and has run to the surgery, she is asked by Dr Harrison to fetch Mary to assist in the operation on Mr Carter's leg as much ice as she can from Hanbury. Before she rushes off, Mr Carter asks her to come back and to bring a pen a paper also.
Captain Brown has luckily escaped with only a minor eye injury and a bad case of shock, but Dr Marshland applies the stiff drink prescription and he makes a full recovery.
Mr Carter dictates his Last Will and Testament to Miss Galindo who also acts as his witness. She admonishes him for thinking the worst as she steadies Mr Carter's hand while he shakily signs his Will, while fearing the worst herself.
While in the midst of the operation to amputate his damaged leg, Mr Carter's heart gives out and he dies. Lady Ludlow and Miss Galindo are given the bad news by Mary and they both are incredibly affected but portray it wordlessly. Lady Ludlow takes Miss Galindo's hand as much as to give give comfort as to unite them in their grief.
Helen and Lizzie Hutton have run from the Rectory to ask for Dr Harrison's help who immediately agrees to come, pausing only get the leftover ice to treat Sophy.
Dr's Harrison and Marshland arrive at the Rectory only to be refused entry by a furious Reverend. Mrs Rose however speaks up for Dr Harrison and his medical expertise and the Reverend lets the two men through.
They immediately begin work by cooling the room and wrapping Sophy in (very, very fake looking) ice and then a few drops of a potent medicine, which doesn't have much of an effect on Sophy, who stays unconcious throughout, but appears to excite Dr Harrison, who is confident that his treatment has worked.
Harry Gregson reads a poem (Gray's "Elegy Written In a Country Churchyard") from the book of poetry that Mr Carter gave him, which he closes and softly places on Mr Carter's chest. He has come tonight to pay his respects as he fears that he won't be allowed to attend the funeral.
Sophy wakes up to find a pensive and unshaven Dr Harrison sitting beside her bed waiting for her to wake up and she smiles and takes his hand.
Harry is summoned to Lady Ludlows presence, he is mindful of his dirtiness and fears to sit down, but Lady Ludlow tells him to sit as her equal and recounts to him the details of Mr Carter's will.
He is to have £1000 pounds immediately which is to be used for his education and Harry is amazed to learn that he is also to be given the bulk of Mr Carter's fortune, which is upwards of £20000, on the proviso that he lends the money to Lady Ludlow to pay off her mortgage. When the debt is repaid the money should be used to build a school.
The small gathering at Miss Matty's is interrupted by a knock at the door and then Jessie Brown's recital of "On the Banks of Loch Lomond" is joined by a deeper voice gently singing and an astonished Jessie breaks off to greet Major Gordon who has returned from India. He confesses that despite travelling for 3 months he still doesn't know what to say to Jessie. Captain Brown, complete with eyepatch, bluffly comments that he should at least propose again. Ah Captain Brown, even though he was the first to expire in the book, has made it to the end, with most of him intact!
Miss Matty sits serenely observing the happiness of Jessie and Major Gordon and is slightly taken aback to be told that Major Gordon has brought back something for her too.
The door opens and standing there looking tanned (and remarkably like a heartier version of one of my Uncles) is Peter. He proffers the long ago promised Indian muslin for Matty's wedding gown and ruefully admits that he has arrived a little late.
An engagement party is under way for Caroline Tomkinson and Mr Godard the butcher! The table is laden with a lot of meat and the ladies are not slow in steadily filling their plates.
Mrs Rose and Dr Morgan arrive together arm in arm precipitating polite curtseys and gossip inbetween. Miss Pole assailed on all sides by couples, baldly states that she has spinster carved on her bones, but upon being introduced to the handsome Aga Jenkyns is reduced to a girlish flutter.
Dr Harrison it seems has overcome the Reverend's qualms and has been allowed to marry Sophy. They emerge from the church to a shower of rice and congratulations from the entire village (well, the speaking cast anyhow). Sophy has been given the Indian muslin by Miss Matty as it was destined to be worn by a Rectory bride and very lovely she looks too.
The bouquet is thrown and is caught by Harry, who quickly passes it to Dr Morgan who in turn presents it to Mrs Rose. Dr Marshland comments that it was a shame that Harry caught it, to Mary, who laughingly admonishes him.
Miss Matty is complimented on how fine the wedding dress looks, to which she replies: "Such a fine, close weave." And then she contentedly holds Peter's arm a little tighter, finally getting her happy ending.
Sophy and Dr Harrison drive away, waving as they do so and the cast wave back, waving not only to the departing couple, but to us too! Goodbye!