An Unpublished Short Story by George Meredith: 'The Friend of an Engaged Couple'

Margaret Harris

Abstract


Putting into print something long unpublished invites the rebuke that the thing was best left alone. It might be alleged that such a rebuke is warranted in respect of Meredith's short story, "The Friend of an Engaged Couple," which is undeniably slight. However, it was written at a time of great activity in Meredith's career - the manuscript is dated 1862 - and has connections with his other work at the time. Moreover, it appears that Samuel Lucas, editor of Once a Week, saw sufficient merit in the piece to accept it for publication, if a pencilled "Yes. S.L." on the first page of the manuscript can be assumed to be Lucas' note. But the story did not come out in Once a Week, perhaps because Lucas would not accommodate Meredith's requests for a generous rate of payment.

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