The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 33. Summary
Quite late in her life, a personal happiness for which it is not presumptuous to say that her heart had yearned, came to the gifted woman of whose writings we have briefly spoken, in the form of marriage. In May, 1880, she gave her hand to John Walter Cross, in recognition of a chivalrous devotion measurable only by those who knew him well. But the dream was a short one. On their return from a continental tour on which Cross had fallen ill at Venice, she, in her turn, was prostrated by sickness, and, before the year was out, on 22 December, she passed away. Of no greater woman of letters is the name recorded in English annals, and of none who had made the form of composition finally chosen by her as her own so complete a vehicle of all with which she had charged it. George Eliot’s novels speak to us of her comprehensive wisdom, nurtured by assiduously acquired learning, of her penetrating and luminous wit, furnished with its material by a power of observation to which all the pathetic and all the humorous aspects of human character lay open and of her profound religious conviction of the significance of life and its changes as helping to better the human soul brave and unselfish enough not to sink before them.