A life spent largely among books, and in the exercise of a literary profession, has very obvious drawbacks, as a subject-matter, when one comes to write about it.
I wanted to show how a man of sensitive and noble character, born for religion, comes to throw off the orthodoxies of his day and moment, and to go out into the wilderness where all is experiment, and spiritual life begins again.
In this choice, as I look back over more than half a century, I can only follow - and trust - the same sort of instinct that one follows in the art of fiction.
We believed that growth through Local Government, and perhaps through some special machinery for bringing the wishes and influence of women of all classes to bear on Parliament, other than the Parliamentary vote, was the real line of progress.
I loved nearly all my teachers; but it was not till I went home to live at Oxford, in 1867, that I awoke intellectually to a hundred interests and influences that begin much earlier nowadays to affect any clever child.
My grandmother made her home at Fox How under the shelter of the fells, with her four daughters, the youngest of whom was only eight when their father died.
But no man has a monopoly of conscience.
English girls' schools today providing the higher education are, so far as my knowledge goes, worthily representative of that astonishing rise in the intellectual standards of women which has taken place in the last half-century.
But the mind travels far - and mysteriously - in sleep.
For after my marriage I had made various attempts to write fiction. They were clearly failures.
It became plain very soon after our marriage that ours was to be a literary partnership.