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Mrs. Humphry Ward

Book Overview: 

Mary Augusta Ward was a very popular author at the end of the 19th century. The arrival of Marcella was discussed a lot in the London news papers. This popular novel tells about Marcella Boyce, a beauty of the 1880s, who thinks she truly believes in the values of socialism. A 21-year-old art student, she lives in a boarding house in Kensington until her father inherits Mellor Park, the family estate which is located in the Midlands. She unwillingly leaving her studies, all the things she loves and wants to do, and her friends, and starts her new life at Mellor Park, determined to help the poor people she sees around her. Then Aldous Raeburn, Tory candidate for Parliament and heir to Lord Maxwell's estate, falls in love with her. But Marcella is torn between her "love of power" and her "power to love." But she'll have to learn in the hard way that high morals are apt to clash with reality.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . onpleasant—but she transgressed," said Mrs. Jellison, nodding mysteriously, triumphant however in the unimpeachable delicacy of her language, and looking round the circle for approval.

"What do you say?" asked Marcella, innocently. "What did Mercy Moss do?"

Mrs. Jellison's eyes danced with malice and mischief, but her mouth shut like a vice. Patton leaned forward on his stick, shaken with a sort of inward explosion; his plaintive wife laughed under her breath till she must needs sigh because laughter tired her old bones. Mrs. Brunt gurgled gently. And finally Mrs. Jellison was carried away.

"Oh, my goodness me, don't you make me tell tales o' Mercy Moss!" she said at last, dashing the water out of her eyes with an excited tremulous hand. "She's bin dead and gone these forty year—married and buried mos' respeckable—it 'ud be a burning shame to bring up tales agen her now. Them as tittle-tattles about dead . . . Read More