Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume 1

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William Blackwood, 1858 - Clergy
4 Reviews
George Eliot's fiction debut work contains three stories of the lives of clergymen, with the aim of disclosing the value hidden in the commonplace. "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton" portrays a character who is hard to like and easy to ridicule. "Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story," brings forth conflicting value systems revolving around a young woman, Caterina, and two men. "Janet's Repentance" is an account of conversion from sinfulness to righteousness achieved through the selfless endeavors of a clergyman.
 

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User Review  - pgchuis - LibraryThing

I found these novellas each quite different. "Amos Barton", the first and shortest was probably my favourite. Everyone in it was resolutely ordinary and nothing really remarkable happened, but it felt ... Read full review

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User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

This was George Eliot's first published work. Unlike her later works it is not a novel but instead three short stories. The first is The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton. Reverend Barton is ... Read full review

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Page 111 - Well," said Mr. Fellowes, filling his glass and looking jocose, "Barton is certainly either the greatest gull in existence, or he has some cunning secret,— some philtre or other to make himself charming in the eyes of a fair lady. It isn't all of us that can make conquests when our ugliness is past its bloom." "The lady seemed to have made a conquest of him at the very outset,
Page 81 - But, my dear madam, it is so very large a majority of your fellow-countrymen that are of this insignificant stamp. At least eighty out of a hundred of your adult male fellow-Britons returned in the last census, are neither extraordinarily silly, nor extraordinarily wicked, nor extraordinarily wise; their eyes are neither deep and liquid with sentiment, nor sparkling with suppressed witticisms...
Page 95 - And now, here is an opportunity for an accomplished writer to apostrophize calumny, to quote Virgil, and to show that he is acquainted with the most ingenious things which have been said on that subject in polite literature. But what is opportunity to the man who can't use it? An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.
Page 18 - I've never been a sinner. From the fust beginning, when I went into service, I al'ys did my duty by my emplyers. I was a good wife as any in the county — never aggravated my husband. The cheese-factor used to say my cheese was al'ys to be depended on. I've known women, as their cheeses swelled a shame to be seen, when their husbands had counted on the cheese-money to make up their rent; and yet they'd three gowns to my one. If I 'm not to be saved, I know a many as are in a bad way. But it's well...
Page 279 - Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms...
Page 40 - The roads are black with coal-dust, the brick bouses dingy with smoke ; and at that time — the time of handloom weavers — every other cottage had a loom at its window, where you might see a pale, sickly-looking man or woman pressing a narrow chest against a board, and doing a sort of tread-mill work with legs and arms.
Page 47 - Fitchett mind. This very morning, the first lesson was the twelfth chapter of Exodus, and Mr. Barton's exposition turned on unleavened bread. Nothing in the world more suited to the simple understanding than instruction through familiar types and symbols! But there is always this danger attending it, that the interest or comprehension of your hearers may stop short precisely at the point where your spiritual interpretation begins. And Mr. Barton this morning succeeded in carrying the pauper imagination...
Page 81 - Amos Barton, whose sad fortunes I have undertaken to relate, was, you perceive, in no respect an ideal or exceptional character, and perhaps I am doing a bold thing to bespeak your sympathy on behalf of a man who was so very far from remarkable...
Page 20 - This allusion to brandy-and-water suggested to Miss Gibbs the introduction of the liquor decanters, now that the tea was cleared away ; for in bucolic society five-and-twenty years ago, the human animal of the male sex was understood to be perpetually athirst, and " something to drink " was as necessary a " condition of thought " as Time and Space. " Now, that cottage preaching, * said Mr.
Page 74 - ... and thereby a moderate fortune, that enabled him to retire, as you see, to study politics, the weather, and the art of conversation at his leisure. Mr. Bridmain, in fact, quadragenarian bachelor as he was, felt extremely well pleased to receive his sister in her widowhood, and to shine in the reflected light of her beauty and title. Every man who is not a monster, a mathematician, or a mad philosopher, is the slave of some woman Or other.

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