What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE HOME OF GEORGE ELIOT
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo Station. L. and S.W. Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Haslemere (1 mile by road from Shottermill village). =Distance from London.=–43 miles. =Average Time.=–From 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 7s. 2d. 4s. 6d. 3s. 7d. Return 12s. 6d. 8s. 0d. 6s. 8d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–At Haslemere–"White Horse Hotel," “Swan Hotel,” etc. “Oakland’s Mansion Private Hotel.”
This lovely little village, on the slopes of Hindhead, with its breezy uplands, its hills covered with Scotch firs and its undulating tracts of land, so beautiful in the autumn with the glorious purple heather, was much beloved by George Eliot, known to the whole world as the writer of Adam Bede and the Mill on the Floss. In 1871, while Middlemarchwas appearing in parts, George Eliot, who as Mr. Lewes said, “never seemed at home except under a broad sweep of sky,” spent part of the spring and summer at Brookbank,–an old-fashioned gabled cottage in the village (close to the church) with delightful lattice-paned windows,–belonging to a Mrs. Gilchrist. At this time George Eliot was in a delicate state of health and scarcely equal to finishing her new story. One cannot call it a novel, for it had no plot. It was simply a remarkable picture of provincial life in the first half of the nineteenth century. George Eliot greatly enjoyed her quiet life at Shottermill, although many of her friends thought it incomprehensible that she could endure such a secluded life. One can scarcely read her graphic description of the sweet beauty of a Warwickshire lane, with its hedgerows all radiant in summer beauty, without feeling how much this remarkable woman loved it all, and in some degree one may understand how restful were the village surroundings. They led a most uneventful life, but occasionally would pay a visit to Tennyson, whose house at Aldworth was only 3 miles off. George Eliot rarely went out in the daytime, but sometimes she would go to see some cottagers and have a chat with them. A farmer’s wife was greatly astonished at her knowledge of butter-making, and of the growth of fruit and vegetables, little imagining that in her early days, after her mother’s death, the great authoress had managed the dairy in her own home at Griff House.
George Eliot’s cottage at Shottermill, near Haslemere.]