An Unpublished Short Story by George Meredith: 'The Friend of an Engaged Couple'

Margaret Harris


Putting into print something long unpublished invites the rebuke that the thing was best left alone.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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