'We will do our best, ma'am, answered the girls heartily, and trooped away with their work-baskets, feeling that though they might never be Harriet Martineaus, Elizabeth Brownings, or George Eliots, they might become noble, useful, and independent women, and earn for themselves some sweet title from the grateful lips of the poor, better than any a queen could bestow.
Just obey Grandma and don't ever undertake such a big enterprise as that without asking me beforehand. Why, I'm ASHAMED that you should have gone to the Clarkes' and the Fosters' and the Eliots' on such an errand! Really, Marjorie, you ought to have known better." "But, Grandma, I thought you would be pleased, and it would make you a happy surprise." "I am surprised, but not at all pleased.
He did not know, but said he could show me a house around the corner where a family of Eliots lived. Then I walked on to Nuneaton. A charming walk it was; past quaint old houses, some with straw-thatched roofs, others tile roses clambering over the doors and flowering hedgerows white with hawthorn-flowers.
Tony's wife resumed her knitting with a stifled sigh until the next customer should come. A low growl caused her to look up apprehensively. Tony himself stood beetle-browed and huge in the small doorway. "Get up from there," he muttered, "and open two dozen oysters right away; the Eliots want 'em." His English was unaccented. It was long since he had seen Italy.
She recalled with a smile his contempt of the Austins and the Eliots, those most materialistic writers, he would say, whose interest in humanity and whose knowledge of it is limited to social habits and customs. But St. Teresa he placed among the highest writers, among the great visionaries. "Her desire sings," he said, "like the sea and the winds, and it breaks like fire about God's feet."
So the town was named Quincy, and brother-in-law Cranch was appointed its first postmaster. Shortly after, the Boston "Centinel" contained a sarcastic article over the signature, "Old Subscriber," concerning the distribution of official patronage among kinsmen, and the Eliots and the Everetts gossiped over their back fences.
The crackling of shells went on behind, and a stifled sob arose as a bit of sharp edge cut into the thin, worn fingers that clasped the knife. "Hurry up there, will you?" growled the black brows; "the Eliots are sending for the oysters." She deftly strained and counted them, and, after wiping her fingers, resumed her seat, and took up the endless crochet work, with her usual stifled sigh.
On his way he passed a house no less pretentious than that of the Eliots; it was the home of Lemuel Hayden, whose only son, Bernard, had been compelled to leave Oakdale because of his jealous efforts and lying and plotting to injure Ben Stone, whom he bitterly hated.
Herbert Spencer was "the most unending ass in Christendom." "Scribbling Sands and Eliots" were unfit to tie Mrs. Carlyle's shoe-strings. Editing Keats was "currying dead dog." Ruskin could only point out the correggiosity of Correggio.
To be angry with such a sentence as 'scribbling Sands and Eliots, not fit to compare with my incomparable Jeannie, is at once inhuman and ridiculous. This is the language of the heart, not of the head. It is no more criticism than is the trumpeting of a wounded elephant zoology.