The 1863 novella was first published serially in Charles Dickens's magazine All the Year Round. Ralph Corbet, who comes to Hamley during his vacations and falls in love with Ellinor Wilkins, the daughter of a rich country attorney. Ellinor's sweetness captivates him completely, and the disapproval of his own people confirms him in his attachment, which passes through all the phases of courtship into an avowed and admitted engagement. When her father starts neglecting his business, Mr. Dunster its hired to order his affairs. A dispute leads to a concealed crime and a false accusation of murder…
Elizabeth Gaskell was born in the year 1811; and was brought up by her aunts residing at Knutsford, Cheshire. In 1832 she married William Gaskell, minister of the Unitarian Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester. Her first novel was Mary Barton, a picture of Manchester life among the working classes, which appeared anonymously in 1848. The Moorland Cottage, a simple little Christmas book, followed in 1850. Two years later appeared the novel Ruth. Mrs. Gaskell published some sketches of life in a small country town, which were contributed to Household Words under the title of Cranford. In 1855, the novel North and South appeared, in which she returns to the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire. In 1857 she published a life of Charlotte Brontë. Mrs. Gaskell's death in 1865 was most sudden. She expired instantaneously, while conversing with her daughters, on her return from church. The novel Wives and Daughters was left incomplete by her sudden decease.
The Eclectic Magazine, July 1867 — In A Dark Night's Work we have a story of a deception—a deception so much stranger than fiction that we are inclined to believe it founded on fact.