Felix Holt the Radical, by George Eliot


Our finest hope is finest memory;

And those who love in age think youth is happy,

Because it has a life to fill with love.

THE very next May, Felix and Esther were married. Every one in those days was married at the parish church, but Mr Lyon was not satisfied without an additional private solemnity, ‘wherein there was no bondage to questionable forms, so that he might have a more enlarged utterance of joy and supplication.’

It was a very simple wedding; but no wedding, even the gayest, ever raised so much interest and debate in Treby Magna. Even very great people, like Sir Maximus and his family, went to the church to look at this bride, who had renounced wealth and chosen to be the wife of a man who said he would always be poor.

Some few shook their heads; could not quite believe it; and thought there was ‘more behind’. But the majority of honest Trebians were affected somewhat in the same way as happy-looking Mr Wace was, who observed to his wife, as they walked from under the churchyard chestnuts, ‘It’s wonderful how things go through you — you don’t know how. I feel somehow as if I believed more in everything that’s good.’

Mrs Holt that day, said she felt herself to be receiving ‘some reward’, implying that justice certainly had much more in reserve. Little Job Tudge had an entirely new suit, of which he fingered every separate brass button in a way that threatened an arithmetical mania; and Mrs Holt had out her best tea-trays and put down her carpet again, with the satisfaction of thinking that there would no more be boys coming in all weathers with dirty shoes.

For Felix and Esther did not take up their abode in Treby Magna; and after a while Mr Lyon left the town too, and joined them where they dwelt. On his resignation the church in Malthouse Yard chose a successor to him whose doctrine was rather higher.

There were other departures from Treby. Mr Jermyn’s establishment was broken up, and he was understood to have gone to reside at a great distance: some said ‘abroad’ that large home of ruined reputations. Mr Johnson continued blond and sufficiently prosperous till he got grey and rather more prosperous. Some persons, who did not think highly of him, held that his prosperity was a fact to be kept in the background, as being dangerous to the morals of the young; judging that it was not altogether creditable to the Divine Providence that anything but virtue should be rewarded by a front and back drawing-room in Bedford Row.

As for Mr Christian, he had no more profitable secrets at his disposal. But he got his thousand pounds from Harold Transome.

The Transome family were absent for some time from Transome Court. The place was kept up and shown to visitors, but not by Denner, who was away with her mistress. After a while the family came back, and Mrs Transome died there. Sir Maximus was at her funeral, and throughout that neighbourhood there was silence about the past.

Uncle Lingon continued to watch over the shooting on the Manor and the covers until that event occurred which he had predicted as a part of Church reform sure to come. Little Treby had a new rector, but others were sorry besides the old pointers.

As to all that wide parish of Treby Magna, it had since prospered as the rest of England has prospered. Doubtless there is more enlightenment now. Whether the farmers are all public-spirited, the shopkeepers nobly independent, the Sproxton men entirely sober and judicious, the Dissenters quite without narrowness or asperity in religion and politics, and the publicans all fit, like Gaius, to be the friends of an apostle — these things I have not heard, not having correspondence in those parts. Whether any presumption may be drawn from the fact that North Loamshire does not yet return a Radical candidate, I leave to the all-wise — I mean the newspapers.

As to the town in which Felix Holt now resides, I will keep that a secret, lest he should be troubled by any visitor having the insufferable motive of curiosity.

I will only say that Esther has never repented. Felix, however, grumbles a little that she has made his life too easy, and that, if it were not for much walking, he should be a sleek dog.

There is a young Felix, who has a great deal more science than his father, but not much more money.

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54