In 19th-century England, a young writer named Mary Ann Evans assumed the pen name George Eliot and began publishing novels that were acclaimed for their realistic character development and compelling plotlines. This quote (originally published with slightly different wording) is from her fourth major work, “Middlemarch,” which is widely considered to be unsurpassed among novels of the Victorian age. The line was picked up and disseminated with slight variations appearing in subsequent publications, but the sentiment remains consistent: To be of service to the people in our lives is one of the most important things we can do with our time.
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