[inscribed to Lady Lytton] As related in her Letters and Journals. Arranged and Edited by her Husband J.W. Cross. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1885. Three-volume errata slip at the end of Vol III. Original mauve-grey cloth decorated in black.
First Edition, published five years after "George Eliot"'s death. Since 1854 Marian (or "Mary Ann") Evans had lived openly with George Henry Lewes, who died in 1878. In May 1880 she married John Walter Cross (20+ years her junior), but five months later, due to a throat infection that took hold shortly after their honeymoon in Venice, she died that December.
This is a very good-plus set, with quite minor shelf-wear and rubbing; most of the original endpapers are cracked in varying degrees. See NCBEL III 906.
The half-title of Vol I is inscribed by the editor/husband, "To Lady Lytton | with kind regards from | J.W. Cross | 23 Jany 1885". Edith Bulwer-Lytton (née Villiers; 1841-1936), Countess of Lytton, was married to Robert, first Earl of Lytton (and was the daughter-in-law of the novelist Bulwer-Lytton); in 1876-1880 Robert was Viceroy of India, and Edith was Vicereine; when Robert resigned that post in 1880, Benjamin Disraeli made him an earl; Robert was then Ambassador to France, and the couple lived in Paris until his sudden death there in 1891; from 1895 until Queen Victoria's death in 1901, and continuing in 1902-1905 for Queen Alexandra, Edith was Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen; after which she retired for many years to the family estate Homewood, in Knebworth Hertfordshire.
Loosely inserted is an inked note, in what appears to be her elderly hand, reading "Kindly return to the Dowager Countess of Lytton, Homewood, Knebworth, March 23, 1924. 3 Vols.". Also, loosely inserted at pp 138-139 of Vol III is a note in similar handwriting "This has been pub= you see" -- on which pages is printed the text of George Eliot's letter to the Lyttons, dated 25 July 1871, offering condolences upon the death of their eldest son Rowland at age six, following an attack of whooping cough. An excerpt from this Eliot letter is "Your brother wrote to me that you had doubts about giving your name. My faith is, that signature is right in the absence of weighty special reasons against it." Apparently Edith and her husband had sought to keep their son's death out of the news, and may therefore have been dismayed to see this letter published, 14 years later, in this book. Item #14838