Alice Helps was the eldest daughter of Sir Arthur Helps, who was a lifelong friend of Eliot's partner, G. H. Lewes. For the first five years of Eliot's "marriage" to Lewes, he spent part of his holidays with the Helps family, but George Eliot was not invited. After Eliot became a famous novelist, many people who once shunned her warmed considerably. Alice Helps came to view George Eliot as a maternal figure and friend.
George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett, https://georgeeliotarchive.org
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