Scenes of Clerical Life
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George Eliot made her fictional debut when SCENES OF CLERICAL LIFE appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1857. These stories contain Eliot's earliest studies of what became enduring themes in her great novels: the impact of religious controversy and social change in provincial life, and the power of love to transform the lives of individual men and women. 'Adam Bede' was soon to appear and bring George Eliot fame and fortune.
In the meantime the SCENES won acclaim from a discerning readership including Charles Dickens: ' I hope you will excuse my writing to you to express my admiration...The exquisite truth and delicacy, both of the humour and the pathos of those stories, I have never seen the like of.'
were not with him, and she had been long used to make him endure the weight of those moods which she carefully hid from others. They reached the flower-garden, and turned mechanically in at the gate that opened, through a high thick hedge, on an expanse of brilliant colour, which, after the green shades they had passed through, startled the eye like flames. The effect was assisted by an undulation of the ground, which gradually descended from the entrance-gate, and then rose again towards the
neighbours, who wondered greatly that a man with some of the best blood in England in his veins, should be mean enough to economize in his cellar, and reduce his stud to two old coach-horses and a hack, for the sake of riding a hobby, and playing the architect. Their wives did not see so much to blame in the matter of the cellar and stables, but they were eloquent in pity for poor Lady Cheverel, who had to live in no more than three rooms at once, and who must be distracted with noises, and have
dear,’ said Lady Assher, ‘and I will go and see if Sir Christopher is having his walk in the gallery.’ As soon as the door had closed behind the two ladies, Captain Wybrow, standing with his back to the fire, turned towards Caterina, and said in a tone of earnest remonstrance, ‘My dear Caterina, let me beg of you to exercise more control over your feelings; you are really rude to Miss Assher, and I can see that she is quite hurt. Consider how strange your behaviour must appear to her. She will
as if you had a sort of enmity towards me. He would like you to make a friend of me. I assure you we both feel very kindly towards you, and are sorry you should cherish such feelings.’ ‘He is very good,’ said Caterina, bitterly. ‘What feelings did he say I cherished?’ This bitter tone increased Miss Assher’s irritation. There was still a lurking suspicion in her mind, though she would not admit it to herself, that Captain Wybrow had told her a falsehood about his conduct and feelings towards
would be better for me to wait till daylight before I see her, and yet it would be very hard to pass another night in this way.’ Dorcas set down little Bessie, and went away. The three other children, including young Daniel in his smock-frock, were standing opposite to Mr Gilfil, watching him still more shyly now they were without their mother’s countenance. He drew little Bessie towards him, and set her on his knee. She shook her yellow curls out of her eyes, and looked up at him as she said, –