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A Simple Story by Mrs. Inchbald

A SIMPLE STORY

BY

MRS. INCHBALD

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

G. L. STRACHEY

LONDON HENRY FROWDE 1908

OXFORD: HORACE HART PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

PREFACE

VOLUME I I-CHAPTER I 5 I-CHAPTER II 8 I-CHAPTER III 13 I-CHAPTER IV 14 I-CHAPTER V 17 I-CHAPTER VI 22 I-CHAPTER VII 25 I-CHAPTER VIII 31 I-CHAPTER IX 34 I-CHAPTER X 38 I-CHAPTER XI 42 I-CHAPTER XII 47 I-CHAPTER XIII 53 I-CHAPTER XIV 57 I-CHAPTER XV 63 I-CHAPTER XVI 69 I-CHAPTER XVII 78

VOLUME II II-CHAPTER I 85 II-CHAPTER II 90 II-CHAPTER III 94 II-CHAPTER IV 102 II-CHAPTER V 112 II-CHAPTER VI 117 II-CHAPTER VII 121 II-CHAPTER VIII 131 II-CHAPTER IX 138 II-CHAPTER X 146 II-CHAPTER XI 153 II-CHAPTER XII 164

VOLUME III III-CHAPTER I 173 III-CHAPTER II 177 III-CHAPTER III 179 III-CHAPTER IV 187 III-CHAPTER V 188 III-CHAPTER VI 194 III-CHAPTER VII 201 III-CHAPTER VIII 204 III-CHAPTER IX 205 III-CHAPTER X 214 III-CHAPTER XI 218 III-CHAPTER XII 227 III-CHAPTER XIII 233 III-CHAPTER XIV 244

VOLUME IV IV-CHAPTER I 247 IV-CHAPTER II 250 IV-CHAPTER III 255 IV-CHAPTER IV 261 IV-CHAPTER V 266 IV-CHAPTER VI 270 IV-CHAPTER VII 277 IV-CHAPTER VIII 283 IV-CHAPTER IX 285 IV-CHAPTER X 288 IV-CHAPTER XI 291 IV-CHAPTER XII 293

INTRODUCTION

_A Simple Story_ is one of those books which, for some reason or other, have failed to come down to us, as they deserved, along the current of time, but have drifted into a literary backwater where only the professional critic or the curious discoverer can find them out. "The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy;" and nowhere more blindly than in the republic of letters. If we were to inquire how it has happened that the true value of Mrs. Inchbald's achievement has passed out of general recognition, perhaps the answer to our question would be found to lie in the extreme difficulty with which the mass of readers detect and appreciate mere quality in literature. Their judgment is swayed by a hundred side-considerations which have nothing to do with art, but happen easily to impress the imagination, or to fit in with the fashion of the hour. The reputation of Mrs. Inchbald's contemporary, Fanny Burney, is a case in point. Every one has heard of Fanny Burney's novels, and _Evelina_ is still widely read. Yet it is impossible to doubt that, so far as quality alone is concerned, _Evelina_ deserves to be ranked considerably below _A Simple Story._ But its writer was the familiar friend of the greatest spirits of her age; she was the author of one of the best of diaries; and her work was immediately and immensely popular. Thus it has happened that the name of Fanny Burney has maintained its place upon the roll of English novelists, while that of Mrs. Inchbald is forgotten.


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