There & Back by George MacDonald

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FATHER, CHILD, AND NURSE. It would be but stirring a muddy pool to inquire—not what motives induced, but what forces compelled sir Wilton Lestrange to marry a woman nobody knew. It is enough to say that these forces were mainly ignoble, as manifested by their intermittent character and final cessation. The mésalliance occasioned not a little surprise, and quite as much annoyance, among the county families,—failing, however, to remind any that certain of their own grandmothers had been no better known to the small world than lady Lestrange. It caused yet more surprise, though less annoyance, in the clubs to which sir Wilton had hitherto been indebted for help to forget his duties: they set him down as a greater idiot than his friends had hitherto imagined him. For had he not been dragged to the altar by a woman whose manners and breeding were hardly on the level of a villa in St. John’s Wood? Did any one know whence she sprang, or even the name which sir Wilton had displaced with his own? But sir Wilton himself was not proud of his lady; and if the thing had been any business of theirs, it would have made no difference to him; he would none the less have let them pine in their ignorance. Did not his mother, a lady less dignified than eccentric, out of pure curiosity beg enlightenment concerning her origin, and receive for answer from the high-minded baronet, "Madam, the woman is my wife!"—after which the prudent dowager asked no more questions, but treated her daughter-in-law with neither better nor worse than civility. Sir Wilton, in fact, soon came to owe his wife a grudge that he had married her, and none the less that at the time he felt himself of a generosity more than human in bestowing upon her his name. Creation itself, had he ever thought of it, would have seemed to him a small thing beside such a gift! That Robina Armour, after experience of his first advances, should have at last consented to marry sir Wilton Lestrange, was in no sense in her favour, although after a fashion she was in love with him—in love, that is, with the gentleman of her own imagining whom she saw in the baronet; while the baronet, on his part, was what he called in love with what he called the woman. As he was overcome by her beauty, so was she by his rank—an idol at whose clay feet is cast many a spiritual birthright—and as mean a deity as any of man’s device. But the blacksmith’s daughter was in many respects, notwithstanding, a woman of good sense, with much real refinement, and a genuine regard for rectitude. Although sir Wilton had never loved her with what was best in him, it was not in spite of what was best in him that he fell in love with her. Had his better nature been awake, it would have justified the bond, and been strengthened by it. Lady Lestrange’s father was a good blacksmith, occasionally drunk in his youth, but persistently sober now in his middle age; a long-headed fellow, with reach and quality in the prudence which had long ceased to appear to him the highest of virtues. At one period he had accounted it the prime duty of existence to take care of oneself; and so much of this belief had he communicated to his younger daughter, that she deported herself so that sir Wilton married her—with the result that, when Death knocked at her door, she welcomed him to her heart. The first cry of her child, it is true, made her recall the welcome, but she had to go with him, notwithstanding, when the child was but an hour old
 

About George MacDonald

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George MacDonald, December 10, 1824 - September 18. 1905 George MacDonald was born on December 10, 1824 in Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He attended University in Aberdeen in 1840 and then went on to Highbury College in 1848 where he studied to be a Congregational Minister, receiving his M. A. His first appointment was in Arundel, but he was forced to resign form the position in 1853. He became a lecturer in English Literature at Kings College in London before finally focusing all of his attention on writing and living off the charity of friends and pupils. In 1955, MacDonald wrote his first important original work, a long religious poem entitled "Within and Without." Three years later in 1858, he wrote "Phantastes," his first contribution to the fantasy genre. It was influenced by both the English and Germanic Romantic writers and religious poets of the Renaissance. MacDonald is perhaps best known for his fantasy children's books, although he wrote fantasy books for adults as well. His most well known children's book is "At the Back of the North Wind," which was surprisingly a favorite of Mark Twain's children. In 1863, MacDonald published "David Eiginbrod, the first of a dozen novels that were set in Scotland and based on the lives of rural Scots. It was these series of novels that gained MacDonald worldwide fame and brought money to the foundering MacDonald family. MacDonald was a friend and confident of Lewis Carroll and John Ruskin. He exchanged letters with Mark Twain, and met Walt Whitman and many other American writers on his trips to America. MacDonald also inspired his later compatriots, such as C. S. Lewis, with his blend of fantasy and Christianity. George MacDonald died in Ashtead, Surrey, England, on September 18. 1905. His body is buried in Bordighea, Italy, a place he spent most of his later years in.
 
Published July 29, 2009 by Library of Alexandria. 466 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, History, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

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