give me the pleasure of seeing you under happier auspices than those of your former
visit.--I am, dear madam, yours sincerely, M. G. Lewes." The receipt of this kind and
candid letter gave me much pleasure; and, although on the strength of that, I cannot boast
of being a correspendent of that great woman, I was able to say that I had seen and talked
with her, and that she considered me a competent critic of her work. Mrs. Oliphant says
that George Eliot's life impelled her to make an involuntary confession--"How have I
been handicapped in life? Should I have done better if I had been kept, like her, in a
mental green-house and taken care of? I have always had to think of other people and to
plan everything for my own pleasure, it is true, very often, but always in subjection to the
necessity which bound me to them. To bring up the boys--my own and Frank's--for the
service of God was better than to write a fine novel, if it had been in my power to do so."
The heart knows its own bitterness. There might have been some points in which George
Eliot might have envied Mrs. Oliphant.