John Halifax was only a boy when his parents died. He inherited from them an innate good breeding, a fine intelligence, a copy of the New Testament, and nothing else ; not that a boy of his calibre needed anything else. The uprightness and honesty of his character, coupled with his quick wits and eagerness to learn, took him in the course of twenty years from poverty to affluence and earned for him the respect of all honourable men. He began his career very humbly as a worker in a tannery ; but he educated himself, and was promoted to the clerical staff. In his early twenties he invested his small savings in a woollen milly and amassed a moderate fortune. Trouble was never long absent from his life. His beloved elder daughter was born blind, and died at the age of eleven from small-pox, contracted from some homeless outcasts whom her father had housed; hostile neighbours cut off the water power from his mills, and nearly ruined him; one of his sons left home as the result of a quarrel, and was not seen again for many years; but John Halifax, sustained by the love of his devoted wife, met all disaster in the spirit of a true Christian gentleman. Mrs. Craik's novel, " John Halifax, Gentleman," is one of the sweetest idylls in English literature.