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Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) was an English novelist, biographer, and short story writer. Her first novel, "Mary Barton", was published anonymously in 1848. The best-known of her remaining novels are "Cranford" (1853), "North and South" (1854), and "Wives and Daughters" (1865). Gaskell became popular for her writing, especially her ghost stories, aided by Charles Dickens, who published her work in his magazine "Household Words". Her supernatural stories are superior examples of the sentimental ghost tale so typical of the Victorian period. They combine a taste for the macabre with a deeply-felt sympathy for the extremes of female experience. "Disappearnces" is one of them.