Cross, John Walter (1840-1924)


Cross, John Walter (1840-1924)


John Walter Cross, who was twenty years younger than George Eliot, met her in Rome on a family holiday in 1869. He enjoyed a close relationship with both Eliot and Lewes as their investment banker and later a surrogate 'nephew,' as they called him. After Lewes' death, Cross was one of the first people outside of the family to be received by Eliot. She relied on Cross, along with Charles Lewes, to help her sort out business matters and to gain control of her income, which had always been held in Lewes's name.
Within the year, Cross and Eliot were reading Dante together constantly and she was signing love letters to him as Beatrice. Eighteen months after Lewes's death, in May, 1880, Eliot and Cross married at St. George’s, Hanover Square. This development shocked most of Eliot’s friends, none of whom were invited to the ceremony. Edith Simcox, who had witnessed jealously the closeness developing, was singularly unsurprised. After the wedding, Cross and Eliot left for a honeymoon trip to Italy. However, Cross suffered from bouts of depression and, while in Venice, according to police reports, threw himself from the window of their hotel into the Grand Canal. He was rescued by gondoliers and with the help of his older brother, whom Eliot had summoned to Venice following the crisis, was able to return to England and to the marriage as if nothing of consequence had happened. A mere seven months after they wed, George Eliot died unexpectedly of kidney failure in December 1880. Cross did his duty by completing George Eliot's biography and then went on to write some articles that were decently received. John Cross never remarried; he died after a long widowerhood at age 84.


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett,


1:lxiii, 5:302, 5:310, 5:4366:154, 6:170, 6:3607:16
8:256, 8:259, 8:270, 8:274, 8:285, 8:296, 8:309, 8:322, 8:342, 8:347


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