Scenes of Clerical Life

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A series of three tales by G. Eliot, published in two volumes 1858, having appeared in Blackwood's Magazine in the previous year.

‘The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton’ is the sketch of a commonplace clergyman, the curate of Shepperton, unpopular with his parishioners, who earns their affection by his misfortune—the death from overwork, childbearing, and general wretchedness of his beautiful gentle wife, Milly.

‘Mr Gilfil's Love‐Story’ is the tale of a man whose nature has been warped by a tragic love experience. Maynard Gilfil was parson at Shepperton before the days of Amos Barton. He had been the ward of Sir Christopher Cheverel and his domestic chaplain, and had fallen deeply in love with Caterina Sastri (Tina), the daughter of an Italian singer, whom the Cheverels had adopted. But the shallow Capt. Anthony Wybrow, the heir of Sir Christopher, won Tina's heart; then, at his uncle's bidding, threw her over for the rich Miss Assher. The strain drove Tina to the verge of lunacy. All this Gilfil had watched with sorrow and unabated love. Tina rallied for a time under his devoted care and finally married him, but died in a few months, leaving Gilfil like a tree lopped of its best branches.

‘Janet's Repentance’ is the story of a conflict between religion and irreligion, and of the influence of a sympathetic human soul. The Revd Edgar Tryan, an earnest Evangelical clergyman, comes to Milby, an industrial town sunk in religious apathy. His endeavour to remedy this condition is vigorously opposed by a group of inhabitants led by Dempster, a hectoring drunken lawyer, whose brutality to his wife drives her to drink. Her husband's ill‐treatment causes her to appeal to Tryan for help, and under his guidance her struggle against the craving for drink begins. Dempster dies after a fall from his gig. The death of Tryan from consumption leaves her bereaved, but strengthened for a life of service.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

George Eliot (1819—1880) novelist

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