Mary Russell Mitford, an English authoress, born at Alresford, Hampshire, Dec. 16, 1786, died near Reading, Jan. 10, 1855. She was the daughter of a physician whose pecuniary speculations early involved his family in ruin. Her education was chiefly acquired at a school in Chelsea. At 20 years of age she published three volumes of poems, some of them long narratives in the style of Scott; and about 1812 she adopted literature as a profession, and for several years contributed tales and sket lies to the magazines and annuals. Irvine's "Sketch Hook " first suggested to her the idea of writing sketches of the daily life of the rural population, and her most popular work is "Our Village," the scene of which is the little hamlet of Three Mile Cross, near Reading. These sketches, after being declined by the "New Monthly Magazine," edited by Thomas Campbell, were first published in the " Lady's Magazine" about 1820, and were extended to live volumes or series (1824-32). Among her other prose works are "Country Stories" and oral of the "Edinburgh Tales" published by Mrs. Johnstone in 1845. She also edited three volumes of "Stories of American Life by American Authors." and four of the annual volumes of Finden's "Tableaux." Her dramas, "Julian" (1823), " Foscari" (1826), "Rienzi" (1828), and "Charles the First," were performed with success, "Rienzi" being the most popular.
Her "Charles the First" was prohibited by George Column, the licenser, for it- supposed revolutionary sentiments, but was finally produced at the Coburg theatre in London. She also wrote several dramas which were never acted, and an opera, " Sadak and Kalasrade," the music of which was written by Packer. In 1838 she received a pension. In 1852 appeared her " Recollections of a Literary Life " (3 vols, 12mo), and in 1854 " Ath-erton and other Tales," and a collected edition of her dramatic works in two volumes. For upward of 4o years she lived in a little cottage in Berkshire. About three years before her death she was injured by the overturning of her chaise, and the remainder of her life was passed in much physical suffering. - See "Life of Mary Russell Mitford," edited by the Rev. A. C. L'Estrange (3 vols., London, 1870).
Mite (Acarus domesticus).