These six stories originally appeared in periodicals, and Trollope may have drawn upon his experiences as an editor in writing "Mary Gresley," concerning a young woman with literary ambitions, and "The Spotted Dog," chronicling a harried scholar's attempts to work in peace. Christmas stories include "The Mistletoe Bough," a tale of a broken engagement, and "Not If I Know It," relating a family falling-out. Courtship and class distinctions receive wry treatments in "The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne," in which a well-to-do suitor receives his comeuppance, and "The Two Heroines of Plumplington," a tale of romance stymied by parental snobbery.
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