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Eliot (1819-1880) was born in Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire. When she was a few months old, her family moved to Griff and into a “cheerful red-brick, ivory-covered house.” There Eliot spent 21 years of her life among people that she later depicted in her novels. She was educated at home and in several schools, and developed a strong evangelical piety at Mrs. Wallington’s School at Neneaton. When her mother died in 1836 she took charge of the family household. In 1841 she moved with her father to Coventry, where she lived with him until his death in 1849.

In Coventry she met Charles Bray and later Charles Hennell, who introduced her to many new religious and political ideas. Eliot moved to London and began working as junior editor of the Westminster Review. Here she became the center of literary circles and met George Henry Lewes, who would be her companion until his death in 1878. Their unconventional union caused some difficulties because Lewes was still married when they met and unable to obtain divorce from his wife.

Eliot’s first collection of tales appeared in 1858 under the pseudonym George Eliot. Her novels followed it. After Lewes’s death she married twenty years younger friend, John Cross, on May 6, 1880. They made a wedding trip to Italy, and returned to London, where she died on the same year on December 22 1880.

“Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.”

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.”

“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”

“When death, the great reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity.”

“We hand folks over to God’s mercy, and show none ourselves.”

“Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.”

“We must not sit still and look for miracles; up and doing, and the Lord will be with thee. Prayer and pains, through faith in Christ Jesus, will do anything.”

“There are many victories worse than a defeat.”

“The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.”

“The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”

“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

“One must be poor to know the luxury of giving!”

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”