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of his estate. His efficiency in attending to this business led others to engage him, until he had all the work a busy man could do. As a man's opinions are apt to be biased by his business interests, we are not surprised to learn that this middle-class Englishman was a pronounced Tory. “I was accustomed,” says his distinguished daughter, “to hear him utter the word 'Government' in a tone that charged it with awe and made it a part of my effective religion.” It is usually said that her father is the prototype of Adam Bede and of Mr. Garth in Middlemarch. We must not infer, however, that in these two men the novelist has given us a literal picture of her father. The mother

of the future novelist was Christiana Pearson, the second wife of Robert Evans. Of her it is said that she had “a considerable dash of Mrs. Poyser in her veins."

The childhood days of Mary Evans were not dissimilar from those of any Warwickshire child living in a prosperous household a hundred years ago.

There were three children in the family, Christiana, Isaac, and Mary Ann. When Mary Ann, the youngest in the group, was four years old, the family moved to Griff, a charming red brick, ivy-covered house on the Arbury estate.” That she always felt the need of loving someone with dependent devotion is illustrated by her history from the cradle to the grave; in her maturity, shortly after the loss of Mr. Lewes, she surprised her friends by marrying Mr. Cross. In her childhood she lavished the affection of her whole heart upon her brother with something of the intensity described in The Mill on the Floss in the relationship between Maggie and Tom.

Schooldays. — As a child she read Æsop's Fables and Joe Miller, and what is more to the purpose, Waverley. Among her favorite books were De Foe's History of the Devil, Pilgrim's Progress, and Rasselas. She attended school at Attleboro, Nuneaton, and Coventry. At Coventry she had excellent teachers in French, German, and music. Her teachers knew that they were dealing with an unusually intelligent girl. Her schooldays were not prolonged. It is remarkable that this young girl, whose writings

created the highest type of the intellectual novel, ended her schooldays at the age of sixteen. To be keenly alive, intellectually curious, is better than to have an accumulation of facts. Too many minds seem to emerge from formal instruction in a dazed or numbed condition. George Eliot's training was not of the best; her household duties, for she was taken from school to manage her father's household, prevented that freedom for study and that elasticity of mind unburdened by drudgery that are needed for the best results, but she did maintain an eager curiosity that made life and learning one. When nineteen years of age she had gathered together

an assemblage of disjointed specimens of history, ancient and modern; scraps of poetry picked up from Shakspere, Cowper, Wordsworth, and Milton; newspaper topics; morsels of Addison and Bacon, Latin verbs, geometry, entomology, and chemistry; reviews and metaphysics — all arrested and petrified and smothered by the fast thickening everyday accession of actual events, relative anxieties, and household cares and vexations."

It is also interesting to note that at this stage of her development she had serious objections to the reading of novels. Why should we read fiction when there is so little time for the acquisition of real knowledge? Study history; waste no time on things that have never happened. Such is the youthful opinion of one of the great masters of fiction. Her mind found its nutriment in such serious reading as Milner's Church History and Taylor's Ancient Christianity and the Oxford Tracts.

New Home and New Friends. - When George Eliot was twenty-one and her father sixty-one they moved from Griff to Coventry. This change in residence had a very important influence upon her life, for she passed from the seclusion of the country into town life. Coventry was not a literary center, but for a small place it was rich in persons whose interests were intellectual. There was Charles Bray, a ribbon manufacturer, who had published The Philosophy of Necessity, and whose wife was the sister of Charles Hennell, the writer of an Enquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity. Both Bray and Hennell had a

strong influence upon the mind of George Eliot, and both were skeptics in their religious beliefs. So decidedly was George Eliot influenced that she shocked her conservative father by telling him that she would no longer go to church. This led to a serious disagreement, and the father resolved to abandon the Coventry home and take up his residence with his married daughter. George Eliot planned to go to Leamington and support herself by teaching. But fortunately a reconciliation took place, the daughter agreeing to go to church, and for the next seven years, until the father's death in 1849, they lived together at Coventry. “What shall I be without him?” she said. “It will seem as if part of my moral nature were gone." This does not mean, however, that she and her father had reached a common opinion in regard to religious belief; it simply means that she loved her father.

Her first literary work of importance was the translation of Strauss's Life of Jesus. This engaged her energies for two years, from 1844 to 1846. This is not an orthodox life of Jesus, and George Eliot's heterodoxy, in bloom before the translation was begun, was undoubtedly nourished by her laborious task in translating Strauss. This work was ended with a joy that finds expression in her letters of that period. That her work was well done is the opinion of a reviewer who soon after the appearance of the book wrote in the Prospective:

"A faithful, elegant, and scholarlike translation. Whoever reads these volumes ... must be pleased with the easy, perspicuous, idiomatic, and harmonious force of the English style.”

After the death of her father she was fortunately able to join the Brays, her best friends, in a trip to the Continent. In July she reached Geneva, where she stayed for eight months, the Brays in the meantime having returned to England. While in Geneva she studied French and mathematics.

Westminster Review. — In September, 1851, George Eliot became the assistant editor of The Westminster Review, of which Chapman was the editor. Her new position was especially valu

able in that it brought her into association with some of the brightest minds of the century. Among those who became contributors and whom she met were Herbert Spencer, J. S. Mill, Carlyle, Froude, James Martineau, Francis Newman, and W. E. Forster.

“Her editorial work (writes Leslie Stephen] seems to have been absorbing and dispiriting. It was too much like Aogging a dead horse. The public declined to care for the admirable articles addressed to them, and showed no very keen hankering after sound philosophy.”

George Henry Lewes. - It was while she was undergoing the drudgery of the assistant editorship of the Review that there came into her life an influence that was to change her career. This influence was George Henry Lewes, at this time the literary editor of the Leader. Lewes was a versatile genius. I believe it was Thackeray who said, in view of the many things that Lewes could do, that he should not be surprised to see Lewes riding in Piccadilly on a white elephant. He had written a play, a novel, and criticisms upon German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Greek literature. His Biographical History of Philosophy, Life of Goethe, and a book on physiology show the variety, if not the depth, of his attainments. In conversation he was brilliantly attractive; in person he was described by Douglas Jerrold as the "ugliest man in London," a distinction which he have deserved. Whatever his physical characteristics may have been, his personal charm was such as to make him a very attract

!

may not

ive man.

The relationship between George Eliot and George Henry Lewes has occasioned much discussion. The facts are these: Lewes had married in 1840, but his wife, because of an infatuation for another man, had twice deserted him. With a magnanimity that is to be admired, Lewes forgave the first offense and received the erring wife into his home. She ran away a second time to cast her lot with her paramour. It was after these events that Lewes met George Eliot, loved her, asked her to live with him as his wife, although a divorce at the time was impos

sible. To this she agreed, and they left England for a visit to Germany. Her friends were shocked, and the public condemned the couple. George Eliot never regretted her decision, and always maintained her relationship with Mr. Lewes was the result of a wise decision. She always spoke and wrote of Mr. Lewes in the highest terms, and on his side we hear the highest expressions of love and devotion.

No moralist can defend the step taken by these violators of public opinion. There is a Kantian doctrine or principle that teaches that the test of conduct is, “If my individual act were made universal, what would be the result ?" Tested by that rule,

? George Eliot's conduct must appear reprehensible. In an editorial on this subject a charitable critic wrote:

George Eliot preached the doctrine of renunciation — the doctrine of self-sacrifice - the doctrine of breaking the neck of inclination, though stiff as steel, under the foot of duty; but it was not given to her to give a transcendent example of this Christian virtue in her own life.”

Becomes a Writer of Fiction. -- George Eliot has given us her own account of how she became a writer of fiction.

“September, 1856, made a new era in my life, for it was then I began to write fiction. It had always been a vague dream of mine that some time or other I might write a novel; and my shadowy conception of what the novel was to be, varied, of course, from one epoch of my life to another. But I never went further toward the actual writing of the novel than an introductory chapter describing a Staffordshire village and the life of the neighboring farm-houses; and as the years passed on I lost any hope that I should ever be able to write a novel.

It was through the encouragement of Mr. Lewes that she began her first story. He told her, “You must write a story." One morning while in a dreamy doze there came into her mind the title The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton. “What a capital title !” exclaimed Mr. Lewes. As she was writing he would say, “It may be a failure - it may be that you are unable

“ to write fiction. Or, perhaps, it may be just good enough to warrant your trying again." Or he thought it might turn out to be a masterpiece, But his leading impression was that while the

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