A drawing teacher has married one of his students, angering her proud Scottish family.
This is the sole novel of Alexander Smith (1829-1867), who was better known as a poet and essayist than as a novelist. There isn’t much plot, just a collection of comic and pathetic incidents, but the style and characterization are excellent.
“There is little appearance of skill in constructing either story or actors, but there is perhaps the more art in such lack of appearance, and the more success from the absence of all straining after it.” Athenaeum, January 27, 1866
“Two or three characters are skilfully developed; there is not too much strained metaphor, and there is everywhere the thought and language of a man of much refinement and some genius, who aims high, and is studying to make the best use of his power.” Examiner, February 17, 1866
“The story of ‘Alfred Hagart’s Household’ is so simple that it would be dull if not for the skill with which it is told. It offers a picture of quiet family life in which no glaring colour is used, no violent contrasts of light and shade are introduced. There is no striking feature in it which can catch the eye at once; yet it possesses a charm which imparts a tranquil satisfaction to those who read it aright, and aftewards lingers pleasantly on their memory.” London Review, May 5, 1866
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