Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 20 (1989)
In May 1869 George Eliot received what she described as "a really noble letter from the American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe full of admiration of Silas Marner The Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede" and although they never met, there seems to have been some deep affinity of feeling between these two eminent women that drew them closely together in spite of diversity of intellectual tastes.
In reply to that first letter George Eliot wrote; - "Letters are necessarily narrow and fragmentary, and when one writes on wide subjects, are likely to create more misunderstanding than illumination. But I have little anxiety in writing to you, dear friend and fellow labourer; for you have had longer experience than I as a writer, and fuller experience as a woman, since you have born children and known a mother's history from the beginning. I trust your quick and long taught mind as an interpreter little liable to mistake me.
When you say "We live in an orange grove, and are planting more and when I think you must have abundant family love to cheer you, it seems to me that you must have a paradise about you. But no list of circumstance will make a paradise. Nevertheless, I must believe that the joyous, tender humour of your books clings about your more immediate life, and makes some of that sunshine for yourself, which you have given to us."