Yates was a British journalist, novelist, and dramatist born in Edinburgh to the actor and theatre manager Frederick Henry Yates and was educated at Highgate School in London from 1840-1846. His first career was a clerk in the General Post Office, before entering journalism, working on the Court Journal and then Daily News.
All such conflicts of feeling had the effect of narrowing the sphere of her life, of concentrating her whole attention on, and intensifying her absorption in, her husband. A lassitude which her own good sense told her was dangerous began to take possession of her. They were better off now - she did not rightly know how, or how much, for she had gradually lapsed from her previous customary active overseeing of Routh's affairs, and had been content to take money as he gave it.