1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Russell Mitford

Margaret Oliphant, in The Literary History of England (1882) 2:385-86.



She was the daughter of a foolish prodigal, an attractive and dashing fine gentleman, a sort of man, fortunately, more common in novels than in life, who wasted his daughter's money and lived upon her affection, shutting her out from everything in life but his own service. She, always cheerful, tender, and patient, contentedly resigned comfort and tranquility, as well as fortune and position, in order that he should have everything he wanted, and when their money was spent, worked for him with heroic devotion. The story would be a beautiful one if it were not too painful to see one life thus sacrificed to the caprices of another. Filial devotion is heavenly, but it rouses a sort of moral indignation when we see how greatness is the occasion of developing unutterable meanness on the other side. This, however, is a view of self-sacrifice which it is very painful to be forced to take, and which, let us thank Heaven, is always an unpopular view.