Ethel Churchill (or The Two Brides)

novel by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Ethel Churchill (or The Two Brides) is a novel by Letitia Elizabeth Landon published in 1837.
Ethel's lover, Norbourne Courtenaye is constrained upon to marry his cousin, Constance, in order to save his mother's honour. However, although the novel deals with her distress at this, it is more about her friend Henrietta's struggle to deal with her loveless marriage to Lord Marchmont. Another factor in the story is struggling poet, Walter Maynard, who loves Ethel but is beloved by Henrietta. When Henrietta discovers Walter has acted secretary for the letters her husband has discovered from her lover, Sir George Kingston, she murders both husband and lover and loses her reason. Ethel's fate is better, for Constance dies and in the end she able to forgive Norbourne and become his wife.

Volume I. edit

Preface edit

Chapter 1 edit

  • ... what is life.
    A gulf of troubled waters—where the soul,
    Like a vexed bark, is tossed upon the waves,
    Of pain and pleasure, by the wavering breath
    Of passions.
    • Adapted from a passage in 'The Ancestress' from The Venetian Bracelet (1829)
      • No more I hold
        A blind and terrible fatality
        Is paramount upon this weary life—
        This gulf of troubled billows—where the soul,
        Like a vex'd bark, is toss'd upon the waves
        Of pain and pleasure by the warring breath
        Of passions, which are winds that bear it on,
        And only to destruction.
  • Methinks that we have known some former state
    More glorious than our present; and the heart
    Is haunted by dim memories—shadows left
    By past felicity.
    • Compare the original passage in 'The History of the Lyre', quoted in The Venetian Bracelet (1829)
  • [From Sir Jasper Meredith]: Human enjoyment is all too dearly atoned.
  • There are in existence two periods when we shrink from any great vicissitude—early youth and old age. In the middle of life, we are indifferent to change ; for we have discovered that nothing is, in the end, so good or so bad as it at first appeared. We know, moreover, how to accommodate ourselves to circumstances ; and enough of exertion is still left in us to cope with the event. But age is heart-wearied and tempest-torn : it is the crumbling cenotaph of fear and hope ! Wherefore should there be turmoil for the few, and evening hours, when all they covet is repose ? They see their shadow fall upon the grave ; and need but to be at rest beneath! Youth is not less averse from change ; but that is from exaggeration of its consequences, for all seems to the young so important, and so fatal. They are timid, because they know not what they fear; hopeful, because they know not what they expect. Despite their gayety of confidence, they yet dread the first plunge into life's unfathomed deep.
  • Who, in after life, can help smiling at the fancies in which early anticipation revelled ; how absurd, how impossible, do they not now appear! Yet, in such mockery lurks much of bitterness : the laugh rings hollow from many a disappointment, and many a mortification.
  • Who shall place a bound to human folly, when both the inflicter and the endurer of torture have deemed that pain is acceptable in the sight of God ?
  • [From Sir Jasper]: I like a cat because it does not disguise its selfishness with any flattering hypocrisies. Its attachment is not to yourself, but to your house. Let it but have food, and a warm lair among the embers, and it heeds not at whose expense. Then it has the spirit to resent aggression. You shall beat your dog, and he will fawn upon you; but a cat never forgives : it has no tender mercies, and it torments before it destroys its prey.

Chapters 2-3 edit

Chapter 2

  • There was an evil in Pandora's box
    Beyond all other ones, yet it came forth
    In guise so lovely, that men crowded round
    And sought it as the dearest of all treasure. ... The evil's name was Love.

Chapter 3

  • We do not know how much we love,
    Until we come to leave ;
    An aged tree, a common flower,
    Are things o'er which we grieve.
  • Farewell's a bitter word to say. 

  • He was of those whose sensitive organisation, and inborn talent, constitute that genius which holds ordinary maxims at defiance. No education can confer—no circumstances check it; and even to account for it, we need, with the ancients, to believe in inspiration.

Chapter 4-5 edit

Chapter 4

  • O ! never another dream can be
    Like that early dream of ours,
    When the fairy, Hope, lay down like a child,
    And slept amid opening flowers.
  • [From Henrietta]: A man in love is a nonentity for the time—he is nothing ; and nature, that is, my nature, abhors a vacuum.
  • But there is something in parting that softens the heart;—it is as if we had never felt how unutterably dear a beloved object could be, till we are about to lose it for ever.

Chapter 5

  • Is not the lark companion of the spring?
    And should not Hope — that sky-lark of the heart—
    Bear, with her sunny song, youth company ?
  • [From Walter Maynard]: Poetry is the immortality of earth : where shall we look for our noblest thoughts, and our tenderest feelings, but in its eternal pages ?
  • [Of poets]: They gather from sorrow its sweetest emotions ; they repeat of hope but its noblest visions; they look on nature with an earnest love, which wins the power of making her hidden beauty visible; and they reproduce the passionate, the true, and the beautiful. Alas ! they themselves are not what they paint; the low want subdues the lofty will ; the small and present vanity interferes with the far and glorious aim : but still it is something to have looked beyond the common sphere where they were fated to struggle. They paid in themselves the bitter penalty of not realising their own ideal ; but mankind have to be thankful for the generous legacy of thought and harmony bequeathed by those who were among earth's proscribed and miserable. Fame is bought by happiness.

Chapter 6 edit

  • Fear dwells around the absent—and our love
    For such grows all too anxious, too much filled
    With vain regrets, and fond inquietudes :
    We know not love till those we love depart.
  • There is to age something so enlivening in the company of youth, unconsciously it shares the cheerfulness it witnesses, and hopes with the hopes around, in that sympathy which is the kindliest part of our nature.
  • Vanity ! guiding power, 'tis thine to rule
    Statesman and vestryman—the knave or fool.
    The Macedonian crossed Hydaspes' wave,
    Fierce as the storm, and gloomy as the grave.
    Urged by the thought, what would Athenians say,
    When next they gathered on a market-day ?
    And the same spirit that induced his toil,
    Leads on the cook, to stew, and roast, and boil :
    Whether the spice be mixed—the flag unfurled—
    Each deems their task the glory of the world.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: What a duty to one's self it is to be young, vain, and pretty ! but the middle quality is the most important. Vanity is a cloak that wraps us up comfortably, and a drapery which sets us off to the best advantage ; and its great merit is, that it suits itself to every sort of circumstance.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: Chloe believed that he had immortalised himself by a representation of the war of the Titans against the gods. Unfortunately, they were higher than even the room ; and Lord Marchmont refused to comply with the wishes of the artiste, and to take down his splendidly painted ceiling to admit of the dessert.
  • Which was the true philosopher ?—the sage
    Who to the sorrows and the crimes of life
    Gave tears—or he who laughed at all he saw ?
  • It (London) is the most real place in the world ; you will inevitably be brought to your level.
  • The first step towards establishing pretensions of any kind, is to believe firmly in them yourself: faith is very catching, and half the beauty-reputations of which I hear have originated with the possessors.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague within Lady Marchmont’s letters]: Friendship is just an innocent delusion, to round a period in a moral essay.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague within Lady Marchmont’s letters]: All men are rascals to women, and all women rascals to each other.
  • [PS to a Lady Marchmont letter]: Lord Marchmont, whenever he sees me writing, sends you a message of equal length and civility. Once named, it will do for always. You can keep it by you like a stock of frozen provision.

Chapters 7-9 edit

Chapter 7

  • Hard are life's early steps; and but that youth
    Is buoyant, confident, and strong in hope,
    Men would behold its threshold, and despair.
  • A great sorrow forgets every thing but itself; but little sorrows exaggerate themselves and each other.

Chapter 9

  • ... I have a respect for family pride. If it be a prejudice, it is prejudice in its most picturesque shape ; but I hold that it is connected with some of the noblest feelings in our nature.
  • Green trees and blue skies are very well in their way ; I believe indispensable to painters, and useful to poets :
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: Statesmen and philosophers too, often talk a great deal of nonsense. Half of what are called our finest sentiments originate in the necessity of rounding a sentence.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: Youth is prone to admire ; but it is odd how, in a few years, we discover the defects of our demigods.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: I do not often give advice ; first, because it is a bad habit that of giving any thing ; and, secondly, because I always think of the ambassador’s answer to Oliver's declaration, 'that if the court of Spain cut off his head, he would send them the heads of every Spaniard in his dominions.’ 'Yes, please your highness,' returned the diplomatist, 'but among them all there may not be one to fit my shoulders.' In like manner, with all our choice of other people’s experience, there is never any that suits us but our own.

Chapter 10 edit

  • But dreams, which fill the waking eye
    With deeper spells than sleep,
    When hours unnumbered pass us by ;
    From such we wake and weep.
    We wake, but not to sleep again,
    The heart has lost its youth ;
    The morning light that wakes us then,
    Cold, calm, and stern, is truth.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: Talents of this high and imaginative order, seem to me rather given to benefit others than their possessor. Their harvest is in the future, not the present. Their brains produce the golden ore, which commoner hands mould to the daily purposes of life."
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: As little do I think that your country pursuits deserve to engross your time. Life was given for something better than sitting after fish, walking after birds, and riding after hares.”
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: Wit only gains you the reputation of being hardhearted, which it is very well to be in reality, but not to have the reputation of being. It shocks people's little innocent prejudices, and these I always respect when I can. Indeed, the only character I ever found of any use to man, was that of having no character at all.

Chapter 11 edit

  • No two people are more different in outward seeming, than a man sometimes grows to differ from himself.
  • … there are no weaknesses which we so thoroughly despise as those to which ourselves have yielded; and no faults strike us so forcibly as our own, when they are past.
  • Moreover, the habits of business are the most enduring of any; …
  • To me there is no season so lovely as the autumn. There is a gayety about the spring with which I have no anything for its perpetual revival of leaf and bloom is too great a contrast to the inner world, where so many feelings lie barren, and so many hopes withered. There is an activity about it, from which the wearied spirits shrink; and a joyousness, which but makes you turn more sadly upon yourself; but about autumn there is a tender melancholy inexpressibly soothing ; decay is around, but such is in your own heart. There is a languor in the air which encourages your own, and the poetry of memory is in every drooping flower and falling leaf. The very magnificence of its Assyrian array is touched with the light of imagination : even while you watch it, it passes away as your brightest hopes have done before.

Chapter 12 edit

  • I do not ask to offer thee
    A timid love like mine ;
    I lay it, as the rose is laid,
    On some immortal shrine.
  • Love is a new intelligence entered into the being ; it is the softest, but the most subtle light ; in all experience it deceives itself; but how many truths does it teach,—how much knowledge does it impart ! It makes us alive to a thousand feelings, of whose very existence, till then, we had not dreamed. The poet's page has a new magic : we comprehend all that had before seemed graceful exaggeration ; we now find that poetry falls short of what it seeks to express ; and we take a new delight in the musical language that seems made for tenderness.
  • Even into philosophy is carried the deeper truth of the heart—and how many inconsistencies are at once understood ! We grow more indulgent, more pitying ; and one sweet weakness of our own leads to so much indulgence for others. We doubt, however, whether the term weakness be not misapplied in this case. If there be one emotion that redeems our humanity by stirring all that is generous and unselfish within us, that awakens all the poetry of our nature, and that makes us believe in that heaven of which it bears the likeness, it is love : love, spiritual, devoted, and eternal ; love, that softens the shadow of the valley of death, to welcome us after to its own and immortal home.
  • Nothing can compensate to a woman for the want of exterior attraction. There is a nameless fascination about beauty, which seems, like all fairy gifts, crowded into one. It wins without an effort, and obtains credit for possessing every thing else. How many mortifications, from its very cradle, has the unpleasing exterior to endure !

For this listed character has done unspeakable suffering by and for bad and good reasons, decision,as well as donated yet unwanted choices thrusted upon him. All seasons considered if the kitchen was being utilized he cooped with the heat williling and unwilling and it was not his favorite activity. As long as your watching the Truman show I must offer the critics to allow there 3rd eye to pay attention there times more than they were demanded but will settle for twice as much as they was able to. "Projection?" "subjection?"

Chapter 13 edit

  • What mockeries are our most firm resolves !
    To will is ours, but not to execute.
    We map our future like some unknown coast,
    And say, " Here is an harbour, here a rock —
    The one we will attain, the other shun :"
    And we do neither.
  • There is nothing to which you so soon become accustomed as to the presence of the beloved one ; the gentle chain of habit easily becomes a sweet necessity.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: If a young man has his way to make in the world, a wife is a dead weight upon his hands. Indeed, I have looked upon the fable of Sisyphus as an allegory, and that his wife was the stone which so perpetually rolled back upon his hands, effectually retarding his weary progress up-hill.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: The next thing that a young man loses, after his heart, is his hearing.
  • I believe all the good that is sometimes said of human nature when I remember the feelings of youth; and it is this principle explains why men whose "hearts are dry as summer's dust," often delight in the society of the very young. The sympathy is awakened by memory.

Chapter 14-15 edit

Chapter 14

  • Life has dark secrets ; and the hearts are few
    That treasure not some sorrow from the world—
    A sorrow silent, gloomy, and unknown,
    Yet colouring the future from the past.
    … for time is terrible,
    Avenging, and betraying.
  • The future has a more subtle sympathy with the present than our imperfect nature can analyse. Who has not felt that nameless shadow upon the spirit, which indicates the coming trouble as surely as the over-hanging cloud foretells the thunderstorm ? The external world is full of signs ; and so is the internal, if we knew but how to trace them. There is the weight on the air before the tempest; there is the weight on the heart as the coming evil approaches.
  • The wind, amid the green leaves and the breathing flowers, goes its way in music ; it is the sweet and mystic song of universal nature. But it enters into our dwellings, and it learns there the accent of pain ; it breathes what it bears away—the sigh that tells, even in the midnight hours, of unrest, and the voice of lamentation that speaks but in solitude. These echoes accumulate, and the house that has stood for years retains within its walls complaints long since lost in air: but the wind, that heard, recalls them ; and there is a strange likeness to humanity in its murmurs, as it howls mournfully along the vaulted ceiling, or shrieks through the winding passages.

Chapter 15

  • Alas ! why should our lot in life be made,
    Before we know that life ? Experience comes,
    But comes too late. If I could now recall
    All that I now regret, how different
    Would be my choice !

Chapter 16 edit

  • Existence is full of strange contrasts. The wheel of life whirls round, and leaves us scarcely time to know where we are before we find ourselves in a totally different position. The material is always much the same,—pride, vanity, deceit, and selfishness ; but it is worked up into very different shapes.
  • There has always been to me something inexpressibly touching in the single taper burning through the long and lonely hours of silence and sleep. It must mark some weary vigil ; one, perhaps, by the sick couch, where rests the pale face on which we dread every moment to look our last. How the very heart suspends its beating in the hushed stillness of the sick chamber ! what a history of hopes fears, and cares, are in its hours! How does love then feel its utter fondness and its helplessness! How is the more active business of the outward world forgotten in the deep interest of the hushed world in those darkened walls !—a look, a tone, a breath, is there of vital importance. With what tender care the cup is raised to the feverish lip ; with what intense anxiety the colour is watched on the wasted cheek ! How are the pulses counted on the thin hand, and sometimes in vain !
  • In the country, an open window lets in at once the fair face of heaven : the sunshine has its own cheerfulness ; the green bough flings on the floor its pleasant shade; and the spirit sees, at a glance, the field and the hedge where the hawthorn is in bloom. Not so in a town : there smoke enters at the casement ; and we look out upon the darkened wall, and the narrow street, where the very atmosphere is dull and coarse. Its gloomy influence is on all.
  • A history of how and where works of imagination have been produced, would be more extraordinary than even the works themselves.
  • The life of the most successful writer has rarely been other than of toil and privation; and here I cannot but notice a singularly absurd "popular fancy," that genius and industry are incompatible. The one is inherent in the other. A mind so constituted has a restlessness in its powers, which forces them into activity.
  • The poet's life is one of want and suffering, and often of mortification—mortification, too, that comes terribly home ; but far be it from me to say, that it has not its own exceeding great reward.

Chapter 17 edit

  • A pretty, rainbow sort of life enough ;
    Filled up with vanities and gay caprice :
    Such life is like the garden at Versailles,
    Where all is artificial ; and the stream
    Is held in marble basins, or sent up
    Amid the fretted air, in waterfalls ;
    Fantastic, sparkling ; and the element,
    The mighty element, a moment's toy ;
    And, like all toys, ephemeral.
  • Pleasure lasts forever, but enjoyment does not : the reason is, that the one lies around, and perpetually renews itself; but the other lies within, and exhausts itself.
  • Friends began to drop in. One came with intelligence of a sale, where the most divine things in the world were to be had for nothing, or next to it—that next to it, by-the-by, is usually a very sufficient difference.
  • It was a lovely day ; for, say what they will, England does see the sunshine sometimes. Indeed, I think that our climate is an injured angel : has it not the charm of change, and what charm can be greater ?
  • [From the Duke of Wharton]: For my part, I hold that the connubial system of this country is a complete mistake. The only happy marriages I ever heard of are those in some Eastern story I once read, where the king marries a new wife every night, and cuts off her head in the morning.
  • After all, wit is something like sunshine in a frost—very sharp, very bright, but very cold and uncomfortable.
  • [From the Duke of Wharton]: I am not sure that I like to be reminded of any thing. Let me exist intensely in the present—the past and future should be omitted from my life by express desire.
  • [From Lord Hervey]: I do not dislike the past, present, nor future. Like woman, they have all behaved very well to me. The past has given me a great deal of pleasure; the present is with you ; and as to the future, such is the force of example, that I doubt not it will do by me as its predecessors have done.
  • [From the Duke of Wharton]: I hope that you have heard the proposed alteration in the commandments at the last political meeting at Houghton ? Hanbury suggested that the 'not' should, in future, be omitted; but Doddington objected, as people might leave off doing wrong if it became a duty. At all events, they would not steal, covet, and bear false witness against their neighbour, with half the relish that they do at present.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: Ah, we make laws, and we follow customs. By the first we cut off our own pleasures; and by the second, make ourselves answerable for the follies of others.

Chapters 18-20 edit

Chapter 19

  • Love is aspiring, yet is humble, too:
    It doth exalt another o'er itself,
    With sweet heart homage, which delights to raise
    That which it worships ; yet is fain to win
    The idol to its lone and lowly home
    Of deep affection.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: I see no great good in being remembered : I would fain concentrate existence in the present. I would forget in order to enjoy. As to memory, it only reminds me that I am growing older every day ; and as to hope, it only puts one out of conceit with possession.

Chapter 20

  • Yet wherefore pause upon our way ?
    Tis best to hurry on ;
    For half the dangers that we fear,
    We face them, and they're gone.
  • In the little, as in the great things of life, are to be found the type and sign of our immortality. Every hope that looks forward is pledge of the hereafter to which it refers. Who rests content with the present ? None. We have all deep within us a craving for the future. In childhood we anticipate youth ; in youth manhood ; in manhood old age ; and to what does that turn, but to a world beyond our own ? From the very first, the strong belief is nursed within us ; we look forward and forward, till that which was desire grows faith. The to come is the universal heritage of mankind ; and he claims but a small part of his portion who looks not beyond the grave.
  • [From Lord Norbourne, to himself]: Youth would be a delightful time, if it were not so singularly absurd; and if the consequences of its vain hopes, and foolish beliefs, did not remain long after themselves had passed away.
  • [From Lord Norbourne, to himself]: This is worse than foolish, of all follies that we can commit, the greatest is to hesitate.

Chapter 21 edit

  • Bring from the east, bring from the west,
    Flowers for the hair, gems for the vest ;
    Bring the rich silks that are shining with gold,
    Wrought in rich broidery on every fold,
    Bring ye the perfumes that breathe on the rose,
    Such as the summer of Egypt bestows ;
    Bring the white pearls from the depths of the sea —
    They are fair like the neck where their lustre will be.
    Such are the offerings that now will be brought,
    But can they bring peace to the turmoil of thought ?
    Can they one moment of quiet bestow
    To the human heart, feverish and beating, below ?
  • It is wretchedness to kneel by the grave of the departed, who have taken with them the verdure from the earth, and the glory from the sky ; who have left home and heart alike desolate : but then the soul asserts its diviner portion, looks afar off through the valley of the shadow of tears, and is intensely conscious that here is but its trial, and beyond is its triumph. The love that dwells with the dead has a sanctity in its sorrow ; for love, above all things, asserts that we are immortal. But wretchedness takes no form, varied as are its many modes in this our weary existence, like that where the hand is given, and the heart is far away—where the love vowed at the altar is not that which lies crushed, yet not quenched, within the hidden soul. Hope brings no comfort ; for there were cruelty and crime in its promises: memory has no solace ; it can,at best, only crave oblivion—and oblivion of what ? Of all life's sweet dreams, and deepest feelings. Yet, what slight things must, with a sting like that of the adder, bring back the past—too dear, and yet too bitter ! a word, a look, a tone, may be enough to wrong every pulse with the agony of a vain and forbidden regret.
  • Deep and bitter is the grief that shrinks from words, even with those the most loved and trusted ;

Chapters 22-25 edit

Chapter 25

  • A feather on the wind, a straw on the stream—such are, indeed, the emblems of humanity. We resolve, and our resolutions melt away with a word and a look : we are the toys of an emotion. … We are rarely wrong when we act from impulse. By that I do not mean every rash, and wayward, and selfish fantasy ; but by allowing its natural course to the first warm and generous feeling that springs up in the heart. Second thoughts are more worldly, more cold, and calculate on some advantage.
  • Half the misery in the world arises from want of sympathy. We do not assist each other as we might do, because we rarely pause to ask, do they need our assistance ? And this works out the moral of suffering: we need to suffer, that we may learn to pity.

Chapters 26-28 edit

Chapter 26

  • There is in life no blessing like affection :
    It soothes, it hallows, elevates, subdues,
    And bringeth down to earth its native heaven.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: Well, enthusiasm is the divine particle in our composition : with it we are great, generous, and true ; without it, we are little, false, and mean.

Chapter 27

  • Mind, dangerous and glorious gift!
    Too much thy native heaven has left
    Its nature in thee, for thy light
    To be content with earthly home.
    It hath another, and its sight
    Will too much to that other roam ;
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: {Of England} Our weather and our government are equally bad—at least every one say that they are.
  • Wealth is to luxury what marble is to the palace—it must be there, as the first material ; but taste, and taste only, can direct its after use.
  • … with all the appliances of cheerfulness, with all the means of wit, the chief portion of the "table-talk" turned upon individual and general grievances. Each person was the most injured individual under the sun.

Chapter 28

  • Life's best gifts are bought dearly. Wealth is won
    By years of toil, and often comes too late:
    With pleasure comes satiety ; and pomp
    Is compassed round with vexing vanities :
    And genius, earth's most glorious gift, that lasts
    When all beside is perished in the dust—
    How bitter is the suffering it endures !
    How dark the penalty that it exacts !
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: Alas, for human nature ! even grief must take an attitude before it can hope for sympathy. I now understand on what principles our widows wear weeds, and our judges wigs. The imposing external appearance is every thing in this world.

Chapters 29-30 edit

Chapter 29

  • Not in a close and bounded atmosphere
    Does life put forth its noblest and its best;
    'Tis from the mountain's top that we look forth,
    And see how small the world is at our feet.
    There the free winds sweep with unfettered wing;
    There the sun rises first, and flings the last,
    The purple glories of the summer eve;
    There does the eagle build his mighty nest;
    And there the snow stains not its purity.
    When we descend, the vapour gathers round,
    And the path narrows : small and worthless things
    Obstruct our way; and, in ourselves, we feel
    The strong compulsion of their influence.
    We grow like those with whom we daily blend :
    To yield is to resemble.

Chapter 30

  • I believe that, to the young, suspense is the most intolerable suffering. Active misery always brings with it its own power of endurance. What a common expression it is to hear,—"Well, if I had known what I had to go through beforehand, I should never have believed it possible that I could have done it.” But it is a dreadful thing to be left alone with your imagination, to have to fancy the worst, and yet not know what that worst may be; and this, in early youth, has a degree of acute anguish that after years cannot know. As we advance in life, we find all things here too utterly worthless to grieve over them as we once could grieve : we grow cold and careless ; the dust, to which we are hastening, has entered into the heart.
  • For nothing like the weary step
    Betrays the weary heart.

Chapter 31 edit

  • For Hope say Fear—Hope is a timid thing,
    Fearful, and weak, and born in suffering;
    At least, such hope as human life can bring.
  • [From Sir Jasper Meredith to Ethel]: {Of love} I look upon it as the greatest calamity to which our nature is subject. What is it but having our happiness taken out of our own hands, and delivered, bound and bartered, into that of another.
  • But what is the ordinary history of the heart ? We yield to some strong and sudden impulse. One sweet face sheds its own loveliness over earth. A subtle pleasure, unknown before, enters into the commonest thing. We gaze on the stars, and dream of an existence spiritual and lovely as their own, far removed from all lower cares, from all the meaner and baser portion of our ordinary path. The face of nature has grown fairer than of old ; a thousand graceful phantasies are linked with every leaf and flower. The odour that comes from the violet with the last sobs of a spring shower, is more fragrant from recalling the faint breathing of one beloved mouth. We turn the poet's page, now, to find a thousand hidden meanings, only to be detected by a passionate sympathy; for poetry is the language set apart for love.

Chapter 32-33 edit

Chapter 32

  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: Moral essays are only a series of mistakes: our first duty to ourselves, is to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. Now, to accomplish that, we must cultivate all our bad qualities : I can assure you I am quite alarmed when I discover any good symptoms. … I laugh at most things; and that is the reason why people in general do not understand me. A person who wishes to be popular, should never laugh at any thing. A jest startles people from that tranquil dulness in which they love to indulge : they do not like it till age has worn off the joke's edge. … I am persuaded, if all gay badinage were prefaced by an explanation, it would be infinitely better received.

Chapter 33

  • [Of doubt]
    I tell thee death were far more merciful
    Than such a blow. It is death to the heart;
    Death to its first affections, its sweet hopes;
    The young religion of its guileless faith.
  • I do not think that life has a suspense more sickening than that of expecting a letter which does not come.

Chapter 34 edit

  • How strangely do the common domestic events, things of constant and hourly recurrence, jar upon the over-excited nerves ! It seems to mock our inward misery to see all but the pulses of our own beating heart, go on so calmly and uniformly. There is an exaggeration in sorrow, which would fain demand universal sympathy : it does not find it, and the sorrow sinks the deeper.
  • Terrible, indeed, is such sleep ; but more terrible its awaking. At first we rouse forgetful ; but conscious of something, we know not what. The head is raised with a sudden start, only to drop heavily on the pillow from whence rest is banished in an instant. The eyes close again, but not to sleep ; we seek only to shut out the light from which we sicken. But the inward sorrow rises only the more distinct : all is remembered, not a pang is spared ; and the very rest given to the body only renders its sense of suffering more acute. Misery has many bitter moments ; but, I believe, the first awakening after any great sorrow is the one of its most utter agony. How will it ever be possible to get through the long, the coming day ? I envy those who have never asked the question.

Chapter 35 edit

  • Life is but like a journey during night.
    We toil through gloomy paths of the unknown ;
    Heavy the footsteps are with pitfalls round;
    And few and faint the stars that guide our way :
    But, at the last, comes morning ; glorious
    Shines forth the light of day, and so will shine
    The heaven which is our future and our home.
  • [From Sir Jasper Meredith]: In all this wide world there is nothing but suffering: the child cries in its cradle ; it but begins as it will continue. In all ranks there is the same overpowering misery : the poor man has all the higher faculties of his being absorbed in a perpetual struggle with cold and hunger: a step higher, and pretence comes to aggravate poverty; dig we cannot, and to beg we are ashamed. Go on into what are called the higher classes, and there we find ambition the fever of the soul, and jealousy its canker. There are pleasures ; but there is no relish for them ; and luxuries which have become wearisome as wants. The feelings are either dull in selfish apathy, that excludes enjoyment; or unduly keen, till a look or word is torture.
  • We begin life—how buoyant, how hopeful ! difficulties but bring out a healthful exertion, and obstacles stimulate by the resources they call into action. This cannot, and does not last : it is not lassitude so much as discouragement that gains upon us : we feel how little we have done of all we once thought that we could do ; and still more, how little that we have done has answered its intention.
  • The very essence of a poetical mind is irritable, passionate, and yet tender, susceptible, and keenly alive to that opinion which is the element of its existence. These may be faults ; but they are faults by which themselves suffer most, and without which they could not produce their creations. Can you bid the leopard leave his spots, and yet be beautiful ?
  • But I, also, gaze beyond, in all the earnest humility of hope. I believe that the mind is imperishable ; and is also the worthiest offering to the Creator. Whatever of thought, of feeling, or of faculties, I may ever have possessed, look to the grave as to an altar, from whence they will arise purified and exalted unto heaven.

Volume II. edit

Chapter 1 edit

  • [From Lady Marchmont’s Letters to Sir Jasper]: No person can have a greater respect for words than myself ; they can do every thing but what is impossible : and there is an extraordinary excitement in a crowd, which lives in no description that I ever yet read. It is strange the influence we exercise over each other. What is tame and cold with the few, becomes passion shared with the many.
  • It is, after all, full dress that is the test of the gentlewoman. Common people are frightened at an unusual toilette ; they think that finer clothes deserve finer manners, forgetting that any manner, to be good, must be that of every day.

Chapter 2 edit

  • Life's smallest miseries are, perhaps, its worst:
    Great sufferings have great strength : there is a pride
    In the bold energy that braves the worst
  • The lover may tremble while waiting for the mistress on whose lip hangs the heart's doom, but I doubt whether he feels equal anxiety with the young author waiting the fiat of his publisher.
  • {Of Curl, a publisher} Reputation, feelings, or even chastisement, were as nothing in the balance weighed against his interest ; life was to him only a long sum ; his ledger was his Bible, and his religion, profit.
  • [From Curl]: You reason too much ; all young people are so fond of reasons, as if reasons were of any use. … It is your duty to write what will sell, and I tell you reasons are unmarketable commodities.
  • [From Curl]: I don't, myself, dislike a fine phrase now and then ; but fine words, like fine clothes, don't do to wear every day : you would soon find yourself without any to wear.
  • [From Curl]: Englishmen like to have a few sentiments ready for after-dinner use, in case of a speech. You must, also, add a dozen or so sarcasms, and say a little more about bribery and corruption. Above all, be sure that your jokes are obvious ones, and I know the thing will be a hit!

Chapters 3-6 edit

Chapter 3

  • [From Mr Lintot, another publisher]: Paper and printing are terrible things ; I wish books could do without them …
  • The fanciful fables of fairy land are but allegories of the young poet's mind when the sweet spell is upon him. Some slight thing calls up the visionary world, and all the outward and actual is for the time forgotten. It is a fever ethereal and lovely ; but, like all other fevers, leaving behind weakness and exhaustion. I believe there is nothing that causes so strong a sensation of physical fatigue as the exercise of the imagination. The pulses beat too rapidly ; and how cold, how depressed, is the reaction !

Chapter 4

  • Give a strong mind the advantage of habit, and its dominion over the weak one is absolute.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: There is candour, at least, in borrowing from the wit of others, it frankly admits that we have none of our own.

Chapter 5

  • There is nothing in this world so sensitive as affection. It feels its own happiness too much not to tremble for its reality ; and starts, ever and anon, from its own delicious consciousness, to ask, Is it not, indeed, a dream ? A word and a look are enough either to repress or to encourage. Nothing is a trifle in love, for all is seen through an exaggerated medium …

Chapter 6

  • Could we but turn upon ourselves the eyes
    With which we look on others, life would pass
    In one perpetual blush and smile.

Chapter 7 edit

  • Ah! there are memories that will not vanish;
    Thoughts of the past we have no power to banish. 

  • [From Lord Norbourne]: I have heard much of the beauty of truth ; but it is a beauty no one likes to look upon. To find it out, is only to find that you have been duped in every possible manner; and to hear it, is only to have a friend give way to his temper, and say something disagreeable to you.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: Why, there remain avarice and business. I exceedingly regret that I do not, cannot force myself to love money. It is the most secure source of enjoyment of which our nature is capable. It is tangible and present ; it is subject to no imaginary miseries; it goes on increasing ; it is a joy for ever. It exercises both bodily and mental faculties in its acquisition ; it is satisfaction to the past, and encouragement to the future.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: … the miser, like the poet, must be born. It is not to be acquired without an original vocation.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: A woman always exaggerates to herself as she talks. Silence is the first step to forgetfulness.
  • After all, there is nothing like business for enabling us to get through our weary existence. The intellect cannot sustain its sunshine flight long ; the flagging wing drops to the earth. Pleasure palls, and idleness is "Many gathered miseries in one name ; " but business gets over the hours without counting them. It may be very tired at the end, still it has brought the day to a close sooner than any thing else.

Chapter 8-9 edit

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

  • It is a fearful stake the poet casts,
    When he comes forth from his sweet solitude
    Of hopes, and songs, and visionary things,
    To ask the iron verdict of the world.
    For never was there poet but he craved
    The golden sunshine of secure renown.

Chapter 10 edit

  • All things are symbols ; and we find,
    In morning's lovely prime,
    The actual history of the mind
    In its own early time:
  • Day belongs to the earthlier deities — the stern, the harsh, and the cold. Gnomes are the spirits of daily hours. Toil, thought, and strife, beset us : we have to work, to quarrel, and to struggle : we have to take our neighbours in ; or, at least, to avoid their doing so by us. We are false, designing, and cautious ; for, after all, the doom of Ishmael is the doom of the whole race of men. His hand against every one, and every one's hand against him. Talk of general benevolence and philanthropy — nonsense! We all in our hearts hate each other; and good cause have we for so doing. But night comes in with a more genial spirit : we have done our worst and our bitterest ; and we need a small space to indulge any little bit of cordiality that may be left in us. A thousand gay phantasms float in on the sunny south, which has left the far-off vineyards of its birth. The taverns of our ancestors would ill bear contrasting with the clubs of to-day ; but many a gay midnight was past in the former : — midnights, whose mirth has descended even to us ; half the jests, whose gaiety is still contagious; half the epigrams, whose point is yet felt, were born of those brief and brilliant hours.
  • [From Lavinia Fenton to Norbourne Courtenaye]: At present I have only a soubrette's part, with an apron and pockets, and a ballad ; but, as I said before, luck's all in this world, and I have every requisite for being lucky. I have a handsome face, a good voice, I care for nothing and nobody ; and when I am a duchess, which I have quite set my mind on being, I will be very grateful to you for having patronised my first benefit, which I shall rely upon your doing.
  • It is a strange thing, but so it is, that very brilliant spirits are almost always the result of mental suffering, like the fever produced by a wound. I sometimes doubt tears, I oftener doubt lamentations ; but I never yet doubt the existence of that misery which flushes the cheek and kindles the eye, and which makes the lip mock, with sparkling words, the dark and hidden world within.
  • There is something in intense suffering that seeks concealment, something that is fain to belie itself. In Cooper's novel of the "Bravo," Jacques conceals himself and his boat, by lying where the moonlight fell dazzling on the water. We do the same with any great despair, we shroud it in a glittering atmosphere of smiles and jests ; but the smiles are sneers, and the jests are sarcasms. There is always a vein of bitterness runs through these feverish spirits, they are the very delirium of sorrow seeking to escape from itself, and which cannot. Suspense and agony are hidden by the moonshine.

Chapters 11-12 edit

Chapter 11

  • It is curious to note how gradually the flowers warm into the rich colours and aromatic breath of summer. First, comes the snow-drop, formed from the snows, which give it name ; fair, but cold and scentless : then comes the primrose, with its faint soft hues, and its faint soft perfume — an allegory of actual existence, where the tenderest and most fragile natures are often those selected to bear the coldest weather, and the most bleak exposure.

Chapter 12

  • These are the spiders of society;
    They weave their petty webs of lies and sneers,
    And lie themselves in ambush for the spoil,
    The web seems fair, and glitters in the sun,
    And the poor victim winds him in the toil
    Before he dreams of danger or of death.
  • A woman's character is developed by the affections : when once they come into action, how rapidly are the latent qualities called forth, and in how brief a time what a wonderful change is wrought !
  • … and, alas ! for human nature, envy will always delight in inflicting mortification.
  • What would women do, if headachs were abolished? They are the universal feminine resource.

Chapters 13-15 edit

Chapter 13

  • She had that charming laugh which, like a song,
    The song of a spring-bird, wakes suddenly
    When we least look for it. It lingered long
    Upon the ear, one of the sweet things we
    Treasure unconsciously. As steals along
    A stream in sunshine, stole its melody,
    As musical as it was light and wild,
    The buoyant spirit of some fairy child ;
    Yet mingled with soft sighs, that might express
    The depth and truth of earnest tenderness.
  • [From Lady Marchmont]: I am very vain, for I cultivate my vanity on a principle, and cannot understand why we should neglect such a source of gratification. I take all the admiration I can on the same principle that kings take taxes : I look upon it as my right.

Chapter 15

  • Why, what a history is on the rose !
    A history beyond all other flowers ;
    But never more, in garden or in grove,
    Will the white queen reign paramount again.
    She must content her with remembered things,
    When her pale leaves were badge for knight and earl ;
    Pledge of a loyalty which was as pure,
    As free from stain, as those white depths her leaves
    Unfolded to the earliest breath of June.
  • Mr. Trevanion was one of those talkers, who are too much engrossed with their own subject matter to have much attention to bestow elsewhere ; with them silence is attention. Ethel's wandering eye, and lip, tremulous with its effort to speak, would never have attracted his notice. To his utter astonishment, she interrupted a parenthesis, as brilliant as the rocket which it depicted, by saying, — "Mr. Trevanion, I do not know what you will think of my boldness, but I must speak to you."

Chapters 16-19 edit

Chapter 16

  • The altar, 'tis of death ! for there are laid
    The sacrifice of all youth's sweetest hopes.
    It is a dreadful thing for woman's lip
    To swear the heart away ; yet know that heart
    Annuls the vow while speaking, and shrinks back
    From the dark future that it dares not face.
    The service read above the open grave
    Is far less terrible than that which seals
    The vow that binds the victim, not the will;
    For in the grave is rest.

Chapter 17

  • [From Constance Courtenaye]: I see clearly that society is as much a science as astronomy ; and, also, that, like poetry, one must be born with a genius for it.

Chapter 18

  • As all of beauty, save her blush, were there;
    And, like light clouds floating around each room,
    The censers sent their breathings of perfume;
    And scented waters mingled with the breath
    Of flowers that died as they rejoiced in death.

Chapter 20 edit

  • I confess I have a great disdain for the west end of the town. It belongs to the small, the petty, and the present. From Hyde Park Corner to Charing Cross, all is utterly uninteresting : then history begins.
  • ... the green solitude of the Temple garden is the very place ... We leave the crowded street behind : we linger for a moment beside the little fountain, … It is, I believe, our only fountain, and all the associations of a fountain are poetical. It carries us to the East, and the stately halls of the caliphs rise on the mind's eye ; and we think over the thousand and one stories which made our childhood so happy, and stored up a world of unconscious poetry for our future years: or else it conjures up the graceful old Italian histories of moonlight festivals, when the red wine was cooled, and the lute echoed by the soft sound of falling waters. We leave the world of reality behind us for that of romance. That little fountain keeps, with its music, the entrance, as if to lull all more busy cares before we enter that quiet garden. Once entered in, how much lies around to subdue the troubled present with the mighty past! The river is below, with its banks haunted by memory.
  • The imaginative temperament is full of vivid creations, of fanciful imagery, and sudden thoughts, all of which are impelled by their nature to communication ; and to find that this communication interests or amuses, is a powerful stimulus. The vanity is at once encouraged and gratified ; while the present small triumph is too readily taken as earnest for a greater one. The vanity I speak of, is vanity of the highest and best kind ; it belongs to the class of our most ethereal emotions ; it asks "golden opinions from all ranks of men," because it is keenly susceptible, and has an even feminine craving for sympathy ; it asks not so much praise as appreciation; it is generous and self-devoted : still it is vanity. There is also in mental exertion an absolute necessity for re-action : how often do the thoughts, long confined to one subject, crave, as it were, to spring out of themselves, or to run off in any opposite direction !
  • To see much of mankind sickens the philosopher and the poet; only in solitude can he continue to work for their benefit, or to crave for their sympathy.

Chapter 21 edit

  • Alas! that ever
    Praise should have been what praise has been to me—
    The opiate of the mind !
  • At first, all is poetry with the young poet ; his heart is full of emotions eagerly struggling for utterance ; every thing suggests the exercise of his own sweet art. A leaf, a flower, the star far off in the serene midnight, a look, a word, are enough for a poem. Gradually this profusion exhausts itself, the mind grows less fanciful, and poetry is rather a power than a passion. Feelings have hardened into thoughts, and the sensations of others are no longer almost as if they had been matter of experience. The world has become real, and we have become real along with it. Our own knowledge is now the material where with we work ; and we have gathered a stock of recollections, bitter and pleasant, which now furnish the subjects that we once created : but these do not come at the moment's notice, like our former fantasies : we must be in the mood ; and such mood comes but seldom to our worn and saddened spirits. Still, the "vision and the faculty divine" are never quite extinguished ; the spiritual fire rises when all around is night, and the sad and tender emotion finds its old accustomed resource in music.
  • Faint and more faint amid the world of dreams,
    That which once my all, thy image seems,
    Pale as a star that in the morning gleams.

Chapter 22-23 edit

Chapter 22

  • These are the things that fret away the heart
    Cold, careless trifles ; but not felt the less
    For mingling with the hourly acts of life.

Chapter 23

  • How often, in this cold and bitter world,
    Is the warm heart thrown back upon itself!
    Cold, careless, are we of another's grief;
    We wrap ourselves in sullen selfishness.
  • [From Lord Marchmont]: Are you aware that I have, for a week past, been in the opposition ? But I own it is too much to expect that women should understand these matters.

Chapter 24 edit

  • Love is a thing of frail and delicate growth ;
    Soon checked, soon fostered ; feeble, and yet strong :
    It will endure much, suffer long, and bear
    What would weigh down an angel's wing to earth,
    And yet mount heavenward ; but not the less
    It dieth of a word, a look, a thought ;
    And when it dies, it dies without a sign
    To tell how fair it was in happier hours ;
    It leaves behind reproaches and regrets.
    And bitterness within affection's well,
    For which there is no healing.
  • Unbroken worldly prosperity has a natural tendency to harden the sympathies : when life comes so easily to ourselves, it is difficult to fancy it going hardly with others. Without any permanent object for exertion of any kind, we are apt soon to sink into habits of indolent indulgence, and such are inevitably selfish.
  • ... vanity is like a creeping plant, which begins by turning its lithe foliage round a single window, and ends by covering the whole edifice :
  • There is not a more bitter pang than that which accompanies the desire to befriend, and the inability of so doing.
  • This is one of the most unpleasant lessons that experience gives; and one, moreover, that it is perpetually giving; namely, that what we fancied was liking for ourselves, was in reality, the result of , calculation, or of amusement. We fancied we were liked, when we were only useful or entertaining.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: A lover's quarrel is made up of jealousies, doubts, hopes, fears, and all sorts of fantastic fancies : a matrimonial dispute, on the contrary, is composed of familiar and ordinary matter, a sort of ventilator to the temper !
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: It is very odd that quarrels, which are so pleasant in love, should be so odious in marriage. I believe it is that, in the first instance, they may have consequences ; in the last, they have none : your lover may fear to lose you ; your husband can only hope, and hope in vain : the lover dreads that every quarrel may be the last; the husband knows he may go on quarrelling to eternity !
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague ]: Lawgivers were never more mistaken than when they ordained that the conjugal tie should last through life for better and worse ; the last injunction being strictly complied with. There should be septennial marriages, as well as septennial parliaments! … In life it is the irrevocable that is terrible : while there is change, there is hope. We should keep each other in much better order if, at the end of seven years, there were to be a reckoning of grievances. It would be a good moral lesson to many a husband, to come down on the seventh anniversary and find his tea not made, and his muffin not buttered. These are the things that come home to a man's feelings !

Chapter 25 edit

  • How much of change lies in a little space !
    How soon the spirits leave their youth behind !
    The early green forsakes the bough ; the flowers,
    Nature's more fairy-like and fragile ones,
    Droop on the way-side, and the later leaves
    Have artifice and culture — so the heart :
    How soon its soft spring hours take darker hues !
    And hopes, that were like rainbows, melt in shade ;
    While the fair future, ah ! how fair it seemed !
    Grows dark and actual.
  • The room itself was large and dark, and had that peculiar air of discomfort which belongs to "ready furnished apartments :" every thing looks as if it had been bought at a sale, and there is an equal want of harmony both in the proportions and colours. … All the associations are those of poverty ; and of all human evils, poverty is the one whose suffering is the most easily understood : even those who have never known it, can comprehend its wretchedness. Hunger, cold, and mortification, the disunion of families ; the separation of those the most fondly attached ; youth bowed by premature toil ; age wasting the little strength yet remaining : — these are the familiar objects which surround poverty.
  • Both had a great deal to say, and yet the conversation languished ; but we have all felt this after a long absence : confidence is a habit, and requires to be renewed. We have lost the custom of telling every thing; and we begin to fear that what we have to tell is scarcely worth being told. We have formed new acquaintances ; we have entered into other amusements; we feel that our tastes are altered; and we require a little while to see if the change be mutual.
  • It merely shews, after all, that affection is a habit.

Chapters 26-27 edit

Chapter 26

  • Ah, tell me not that memory
    Sheds gladness o'er the past,
    What is recalled by faded flowers,
    Save that they did not last?
    Were it not better to forget,
    Than but remember and regret ?
  • The serious things of life are its keenest mockeries. The things set apart for laughter are not half so absurd as those marked out for tears.

Chapter 27

  • Why, life must mock itself to mark how small
    Are the distinctions of its various pride.
    ‘Tis strange how we delight in the unreal;
    The fanciful and the fantastic make
    One half our triumphs. Not in mighty things —
    The glorious offerings of our mind to fate —
    Do we ask homage to our vanities,
    One half so much as from the false and vain :
    The petty trifles that the social world
    Has fancied into grandeur.
  • When a woman has once made up her mind to be imprudent, she is very imprudent indeed ; …
  • Still, it must be confessed, that when the sad-coloured satin was arranged in rich folds, and the Mechlin lace (it was a little fortune in itself) hung to her satisfaction, she looked as perfect a specimen of an old lady as England could have produced.

Chapter 28 edit

  • [From Lady Marchmont]: I am always the most seemingly lively when I am the least so in reality ; and I talk nonsense when I have not courage to talk sense. I make a noise, like children, because I am frightened at finding myself in the dark — that worst of darkness, the darkness of the heart.
  • Real feeling is shy of expression;
  • [From Lady Marchmont]: Universal conquest should be the motto of our sex. Every woman should try to make every man she sees in love with her.
  • [From Lady Marchmont]: Vanity is the real lever with which Archimedes said he could move the earth ;

Chapter 29 edit

  • The presence of perpetual change
    Is ever on the earth;
    To-day is only as the soil
    That gives to-morrow birth.
  • England may be deficient in public gardens, but where are there so many private ones, each the delight of their master, and the household that have planted their shrubs, and watered their flowers? What little worlds of affection and comfort are bounded by the neat quickset-hedge, quiet and still as the nest of some singing-bird !
  • Our whole nature must change ; we must be less susceptible, less dependent on "blind accident," before we can shake off hopes and fears, which are almost superstitions.
  • For a wonder, two ladies were actually punctual to an appointment : …
  • A woman's first look is at the dress of her friend, and her second word is of jt.
  • There is something peculiarly lovely in the almond-blossom ; it brings the warmth of the rose on the last cold airs of winter, a rich and glowing wreath, when all beside is desolate : so frail, too, and so delicate, like a fairy emblem of those sweet and gentle virtues whose existence is first known in an hour of adversity.

Chapter 30 edit

  • This is the charm of poetry : it comes
    On sad perturbed moments ; and its thoughts,
    Like pearls amid the troubled waters, gleam.
    That which we garnered in our eager youth,
    Becomes a long delight in after years:
    The mind is strengthened, and the heart refreshed
    By some old memory of gifted words,
    That bring sweet feelings, answering to our own,
    Or dreams that waken some more lofty mood
    Than dwelleth with the commonplace of life.
  • [From Lady Marchmont]: A swan always gives the idea of a court-lady, — stately in her grace, ruffling in her bravery, and conscious of the floating plumes that mark her pretensions. The peacock is a coquette ; it turns in the sunshine, it looks round as if to ask the conscious air of its purple and gold ; but the swan sails on in majestic tranquillity, it sees the fair image of its perfect grace on the waters below, and is content …

Chapter 31 edit

  • Disbelief in excellence is the worst soil in which the mind can work ; we must believe, before we can hope.
  • The political creed, of which expediency is the alpha and the omega, can never know the generous purpose, or the high result.
  • Power is a debt to the people :
  • Ignorance, far more than idleness, is the mother of all the vices ; and how recent has been the ad mission, that knowledge should be the portion of all ? The destinies of the future lie in judicious education; an education that must be universal, to be beneficial.
  • Give the children of the poor that portion of education which will enable them to know their own resources ; which will cultivate in them an onward-looking hope, and give them rational amusement in their leisure hours : this, and this only, will work out that moral revolution, which is the legislator's noblest purpose. One great evil of highly civilised society is, the immense distance between the rich and the poor ; it leads, on either side, to a hardened selfishness. Where we know little, we care little ; but the fact once admitted, that there can be neither politically nor morally a good which is not universal, that we cannot reform for a time, or for a class, but for all and for the whole, and our very interests will draw us together in one wide bond of sympathy.
  • Nothing can be permitted to the few ; rights and advantages were sent for all …

Chapters 32-34 edit

Chapter 32

  • Only by looking up, can we see heaven.

Chapter 33

  • The tears started, but pride repressed them ; or, rather, pride is no name for the sensitive and shrinking feeling which trembles even at compassion for its misery.

Chapter 34

  • Confidence is inseparable from human nature. Never was temper so reserved but it has its moments of unbending — moments when the full heart unlocks its secret fountains, and tells of emotions unsuspected, and thoughts hitherto concealed by the guarded brow and practised lip. Now, of all times and places calculated for confidence, there is no time like evening ; no place like sitting over the fire.
  • Much may be said in favour of a long walk on a summer twilight ; the heart opens to the soft influences of the lovely hour; but those very influences distract us from ourselves. The eye is caught by the presence of the beautiful : the violets, half hidden in the long grass ; a branch of hawthorn, heavy with its fragrant load ; a cloud, on which the crimson shadow lingers to the last: — these are too fair to be passed by unnoticed ; they take us from our discourse with a half unconscious delight. Moreover, before the calm and subduing aspect of nature, human cares feel their own vanity. The lulling music of leaves, stirred only by the gentle wind, enters into the soul ; and the sweet, deep drawn, breath brings its own tranquillity.
  • A friend is never alarmed for us in the right place.

Chapters 35-36 edit

Chapter 35

  • I believe
    The grave exalts, not separates, the ties
    That hold us in affection to our kind.
    I will look down from yonder pitying sky,
    Watching and waiting those I loved on earth
    Anxious in heaven, until they too are there.
  • It is strange the difference between the hair of the living and the dead : the one so soft, so fragrant, and falling ; the other so harsh, so scentless, and so straight. In nothing is the presence of mortality more strongly marked.
  • [From Constance’s letter]: Nothing but love can answer to love ; no affection, no kindness, no care, can supply its place : it is its own sweet want.

Chapter 36

  • Age is a dreary thing when left alone :
    It needs the sunshine brought by fresher years;
    It lives its youth again while seeing youth,
    And childhood brings its childhood back again.

Chapters 37-39 edit

Chapter 37

  • Mere prettiness needs the becoming, but beauty asks nothing but itself.

Chapter 38

  • It is well that the body sometimes sinks beneath the mind ; …

Chapter 39

  • How awful is the presence of the dead !
    The hours rebuked, stand silent at their side
    Passions are hushed before that stern repose ;
    Two, and two only, sad exceptions share—
    Sorrow and love,—and these are paramount.
  • Ah ! the tender and solemn farewell beside the bed of death is, indeed, a consolation to the survivor! There is nothing so soothing as to know that the last earthly wish has been confided to your fulfilment, the last expressions of earthly affection have been your own. The eyes closing to their last cold sleep, rested upon you, and were glad to rest; and your prayers were the latest music in the weary ear. It is some comfort to think that you sacrificed even your own sorrow in the beloved presence; and the thousand sad, slight offices, are remembered with such melancholy tenderness.

Chapters 40-41 edit

Chapter 40

  • Alas ! the worst part of a heavy sorrow, is the despondency which it leaves behind !

Chapter 41

  • Tis a fair tree, the almond-tree : there Spring
    Shews the first promise of her rosy wreath;
    Or ere the green leaves venture from the bud,
    Those fragile blossoms light the winter bough
    With delicate colours, heralding the rose.
    Whose own Aurora they might seem to be.
    What lurks beneath their faint and lovely red ?
    What the dark spirit in those fairy flowers ?
    Tis death !

Volume III. edit

Chaptes 1 edit

  • And yet it is a wasted heart :
    It is a wasted mind
    That seeks not in the inner world
    Its happiness to find ;
    For happiness is like the bird
    That broods above its nest,
    And finds beneath its folded wings,
    Life's dearest, and its best.
  • Youth has one delightful time, when hope walks, like an angel, at its side, and all things have their freshness and their charm. There appears so much to enjoy, that the only question is, what to enjoy first ?
  • It is strange what society will endure from its idols.

Chapters 2-3 edit

Chapter 2

  • Now, nothing is more provoking to a woman than a lover's infidelity ; it is a wrong which leaves her without even the satisfaction of revenge. His very infidelity shows that she has lost her power ; and without power, where is revenge ?
  • ... no woman likes anybody but herself to depreciate a lover; it is personally an ill compliment.

Chapter 3

  • Life is so little in its vanities,
    So mean, and looking to such worthless aim,
    Truly the dust, of which we are a part,
    Predominates amid mortality.
    Great crimes have something of nobility;
    Mighty their warning, vast is their remorse :
    But these small faults, that make one-half of life
    Belong to lowest natures and reduce
    To their own wretched level nobler things.

Chapter 4 edit

  • Life is so little in its vanities,
    So mean, and looking to such worthless aim,
    Truly the dust, of which we are a part,
    Predominates amid mortality.
    Great crimes have something of nobility;
    Mighty their warning, vast is their remorse :
    But these small faults, that make one-half of life
    Belong to lowest natures and reduce
    To their own wretched level nobler things.
  • Ah, we never know how dearly we loved our friends until the grave has closed over them.
  • [From Lady Marchmont]: We contradict each other; still more do we contradict ourselves. It seems to me as if there were a perpetual warfare going on between the outward and the inner world. Nothing is really what it appears to be ; and this is what discourages me more than I can express—the not knowing to what I may trust, and my utter inability to discern between that which is; and that which only seems.
  • [From Lord Norbourne in reply]: Half the misery in this life originates in its falsehood. We conceal our thoughts and our feelings, till, even to ourselves, they become confused ; and half our time is spent in fretting and feverish attempts to disentangle the webs we have woven : and the strange thing is, that all this dissimulation is unnecessary ; we should have done far better without it.
  • [From Lord Norbourne]: … what have I done for you to presuppose such a want of gallantry, as to imagine that I would attempt to guess a lady's secret before she thought proper to communicate it ?

Chapter 5 edit

  • Few, save the poor, feel for the poor;
    The rich know not, how hard
    It is to be of needful food
    And needful rest debarred.
    • Quoted from the author's poem 'the Widow's Mite' in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1836
  • There is no denying that there are "royal roads" through existence for the upper classes; for them, at least, the highways are macadamized, swept, and watered. They are surrounded not only by luxuries, but by pleasures, which, at all events to the young, must have the zest of novelty. It seems to me the veriest fallacy to say that the lots in life are weighed out in equal balances : the difference is very great—to the examiner, sad ; and to the sufferer, bitter ! Before we talk of equality of pain, which is, in nine cases out often, only a selfish and indolent excuse for neglect, let us contrast a high and a low position together. On one side is protection, instruction, and pleasure ; on the other is neglect, ignorance and hardship. Here, wants are invented to become luxuries ; there, “hunger swallows all in one low want." Among the rich, body and mind are cultivated with equal watchfulness ; among the poor, the body is left to disease and to decrepitude, and the mind to void and destruction. I grant that I speak of the two extremes ; but it is the worst ill of social existence that there should be such extremes.
  • The child of the rich man sleeps in the silken cradle, his little cries are hushed by the nurse, whose only duty is to watch the progress of that tiny frame. The least illness, and the physician bestows on the infant heir the knowledge of a life ; for every single patient benefits by all his predecessors. The child becomes a boy : Eton or Westminster, Oxford or Cambridge, have garnered for his sake the wisdom of centuries : he is launched into public life, and there are friends and connexions on either hand, as stepping-stones in his way. He arrives at old age : the armchair is ready, and the old port has been long in the cellars of his country-house to share its strength with its master. He dies ; his very coffin is comfortable ; the very vault of his ancestors is sheltered ; a funeral sermon is preached in his honour ; and escutcheon and marble tablet do their best to preserve his memory.
  • Take the reverse of the picture. The infancy of the poor child is one of cries, too often of blows ; natural affection has given way before the iron pressure of want. The old proverb, that, "When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window," is true in a far more general sense than the one in which it is generally applied. They have the floor for a bed ; the scant and mouldering remnant of food for dinner ; the cold hearth, where the wind blows in the snow ;—these physical sufferings react on the moral world, they deaden and embitter the sweetest of our feelings. The parent half loves, half loathes, the child that takes the bread from his own mouth ; and the child looks on that as tyranny, which is only misery. It learns to fear before it learns to love.
  • Suppose such a childhood past : it has escaped disease; no chance chill has distorted the youthful limbs, they have, at least, health to begin life. The poor man has nothing more than his strength. God's best gifts lie dormant within him : the chances are that he cannot read even the holy page, that, at least, holds out the hope of a less miserable world. He has not that mental cultivation which alone teaches us what are our resources, and how to husband or to exert them. He knows only how to labour, and that not in the most serviceable manner to himself. He does not, even when he can, which is rare enough, lay by for the future, because he has never been accustomed to reflect. Life has for him no future. Perhaps he takes to drinking ; and it is easy, with half-a-dozen different kinds of French wines on the table, the claret purple beside the golden sherry, to say a thousand true and excellent things on the crime of excess. If the gentleman refrains, it is from a moral restraint the poor man has never been taught to exercise ; and what does the poor man drink to avoid—cold, hunger, perhaps bodily pain—always bodily weariness ?
  • Old age comes on feeble, and often premature, when his place of refuge is a straw pallet, where, if his family keep him, it is an act of Roman virtue, the very devotion of duty and affection ; for even the old man's morsel must be taken from their own. But the workhouse is the ordinary resting-place before the grave ; and there human selfishness takes its most revolting aspect ; there life has not left one illusion, one affection : all is harsh, cold, revolting, and unnatural. The difference that began in the cradle continues to the tomb. The bare coffin, a few boards hastily nailed together, is flung into the earth ; the service is hurried over, the ground trodden down, and the next day the children are playing upon the new grave, whose tenant is already forgotten. So much for the equality of human existence.
    • These rather long passages are given in full - one may pick from them as one chooses.
  • Villas are, I believe, a delightful invention of the Romans, who set very seriously about enjoying the world they had conquered. … The climate and the scenery of England are admirably adapted to the perfection of a villa. The great charm of our landscapes is their colouring—so quiet, yet so refreshing. The fine old trees, and the fine old tree standing by itself, are peculiar to our fields ; the rich sweep of grass so vividly green, the prodigality of garden flowers, and a sky whose intense blue owes the depth of its purple to the white clouds which float above in broken masses,—all these belong to a style of natural beauty which is entirely English.

Chapters 6-7 edit

Chapter 6

  • Nothing more strongly marks the insufficiency of luxuries than the ease with which people grow accustomed to them; they are rather known by their want than by their presence. The word "blasé" has been coined expressly for the use of the upper classes.
  • … the absurdity of your husband comes too close for laughter, it may reflect a little on yourself—at all events on your taste for choosing him.

Chapter 7

  • It matters not its history—Love has wings,
    Like lightning, swift and fatal : and it springs,
    Like a wild flower, where it is least expected;
    Existing whether cherished or rejected.
  • [From Sir George Kingston]: Poets lay it down as a rule, that deities are not to extricate a hero from his embarrassment unless there remain no human method of extricating him.

Chapters 8-11 edit

Chapter 8

  • Not to the present is our hour confined,
    The great and shadowy future is assigned
    To be the glorious empire of the mind.

    The past was once the future and it wrought
    In the high presence of on-looking thought;
    All that we have, was by its efforts brought.

    To-day creates to-morrow, and the tree
    Of good or ill grows in past hours, what we
    Make for the future— certain is to be.

Chapter 10

  • I never could enter into the passion for china; it is an affection born of ostentation. Those stiff shepherdesses ; those ill-shaped teapots ; those monsters, which take every shape but a graceful one ; those little, round cups make no appeal to my imagination; they suggest nothing but ideas of trade ; they are redolent of the auction-room. Moreover, I detest bargains ; the bargain can only be one, because either the first purchaser is dead, or ruined. He has left either heirs or creditors, each equally greedy, careless, and impatient or, if these toys be disposed of during a lifetime, such sale only tells a common tale of, first extravagance, then want ; fancies indulged thoughtlessly, to end miserably. A bargain is a social evil ; one man's loss, tempting another man's cupidity.

Chapter 11

  • … of all duties, forgetfulness is the hardest to fulfil. The very effort to forget teaches us to remember.

Chapter 12 edit

  • Of all habits, that of writing down your thoughts and feelings, is one of the most difficult to abandon.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s journal]: Really, being in love appears a pleasant state of existence ; it is always agreeable to know that there is another thinking of you, whether you think of them or not. I like the idea of there being one individual leaving your room who will bear away every look you have given, every word you have said,—it gives importance to them in your own eyes ; and yet I have often marvelled what people see in each other. Even as a book is read through, people are talked through.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s journal]: There are some people who ought never to dream of commonplacing the ideal with themselves. The world of the heart is essentially ideal : it collects all poetry,—innate and acquired ; it is fastidious, dreaming, and delicate; and is a question of taste as well as of feeling ; and it is to this world that love belongs. It should be kept as far apart from lower life as that mysterious world of stars and clouds on which I am now gazing.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s journal]: … I hate the word "ought"—it always implies something dull, cold, and commonplace. The "ought nots" of life are its pleasantest things.

Chapter 13 edit

  • Amid the many contrasts produced by our forced unions of nature and art, there is no contrast so strange as that between the exterior and the internal world of society.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: We might have had hearts in our cradles ; but, as I don't pretend to remember mine, I cannot say. Perhaps at sixteen, too, there is a sort of imagination of one ; but it is a phantom which flits at the cockcrowing of reality. We soon learn, 'That the worth of any thing is just as much as it will bring :’ and we value a lover by the estimate of others, not by our own. Our own suffrage is nothing.
  • [From Lady Mary Wortley Montague]: Love is society’s Alexander the Great, only intent on making conquests ; and we care for no captives but those who follow the track of our triumphs in chains."
  • —one woman—always knows how to plague another;
  • It is said that ridicule is the test of truth : it is never applied, but when we wish to deceive ourselves ; when, if we cannot exclude the light, we are fain to draw a curtain before it. The sneer springs out of the wish to deny ; and wretched must be the state of that mind which desires to take refuge in doubt! But the instinct of right and wrong is immutable ; all other voices may be silenced, but not that in ourselves.

Chapter 14 edit

  • [From Walter Maynard]: … the epigrams uttered over champagne are like the wreaths the Egyptians flung on the Nile, they float away, the gods alone know whither.
  • I have been writing all my life, and even now I do not understand the faculty of composition ; but this I do know, that the history of the circumstances under which most books are written would be a frightful picture of human suffering. How often is the pen taken up when the hand is unsteady with recent sickness, and bodily pain is struggled against, and sometimes in vain ! How often is the page written hurriedly and anxiously,—the mind fevered the while by the consciousness that it is not doing justice to its powers!

Chapter 15 edit

  • Sooner or later a woman must inevitably despise the man who takes money from her. Before a man can do this, there must be those radical defects of character to which even kindness cannot always be blind. He must be a moral coward, because he exposes her to those annoyances which he has not courage enough to face himself; he must be mean, because he submits to an obligation from the inferior and the weak; and he must be ungrateful, because ingratitude is the necessary consequence of receiving favours of which we are ashamed. Money is the great breaker-up of love and friendship ;
  • The affection of family ties has the character on it of childhood in which it was formed ; it is free, open, confiding; it has none of the delicacy of friendship, or the romance of sentiment : you know that success ought to be in common, and that you have but one interest.

Chapter 16 edit

  • But in ourself is Fate's worst minister:
    There is no wretchedness like self-reproach.
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s journal]: What a mistake to build our hopes on the external vanities of life! circumstance is nothing. How worthless, now appears to me, all that once seemed the chief objects of existence! our happiness lies within.
  • … nothing can supply the place of strong, undeviating principle. There is but one wrong, and one right ;
  • We may, we ought, to be merciful to others ; to ourselves, we should be only just.

Chapter 17 edit

  • [From Norbourne Courtenaye]: … all great discoveries have been the result of single endeavour.
  • [From Norbourne Courtenaye]: You cannot doubt that influence: from our veriest infancy we feed upon the thoughts of the dead ; even your own strong and original mind has been cultivated by others. I never enter a library without being grateful to those whose moral existence has formed my own. Our sages, our poets, have left a world behind, formed of all that is good, beautiful, and true in our own. Not a life but owes to them some of its happiest hours ; they are our favourites, our old, familiar friends.

Chapter 18 edit

  • [From Walter Maynard]: What a folly are our own exertions ; every thing depends upon a lucky chance in this world !
  • Walter was wrong ; but I own I tremble at the fatality which sometimes seems to hang over our slightest actions. How often do we find ourselves involved in sudden misery and unhappiness, by circumstances over which we have no control ! and we ask bitterly ; "What have I done to deserve this ?" Not in this world will be the answer!

Chapter 19 edit

  • Change is the universal prescription for a wounded spirit. " It will do you so much good," is the constant remark. Perhaps it may; but how reluctant is any one who is suffering mentally, to try it! There is an irritation about secret and subdued sorrow, which peculiarly unfits you for exertion ; you are discontented with all that is around you, and yet you shrink from alteration ; it is too much trouble ; you do not feel in yourself even energy enough for the ordinary demands of life.
  • I believe that one great reason why the suffering of the mind is so often followed by suffering of the body is, that we are so indifferent about it, that we do not care to take even those ordinary precautions which are taken almost unconsciously in general. There is nothing in life worth attention, not even ourselves.
  • To find that you have been deceived, where you trusted so entirely ; trifled with, where all your deepest and sweetest emotions had been called into life, is the most acute—the most enduring sorrow of which that life is capable.

Chapters 20-22 edit

Chapter 21

  • We might have been !—these are but common words,
    And yet they make the sum of life's bewailing;
  • [From Lady Marchmont’s journal]: Will the time ever come, when men will feel that the mind and the heart must work in concert, and that we must look around and afar for our happiness ; that our great mistake has been, the narrow circle to which we are content to limit good ?

Chapter 22

  • … if there be one torture which the demons, who delight in human misery, might, rejoice to inflict, it is the anxious suspense of love acting upon an imaginative temperament. It is extraordinary the power of creation with which the mind seems suddenly endowed, and only to suppose the worst. Death, sickness, crime, misfortune,—these are the images which start upon the solitude made fearful with their presence.

Chapters 23-25 edit

Chapter 23

  • Life is made up of vanities — so small,
    So mean, the common history of the day, —
    That mockery seems the sole philosophy.
    Then some stern truth starts up — cold, sudden, strange;
    And we are taught what life is by despair : —
    The toys, the trifles, and the petty cares,
    Melt into nothingness — we know their worth ;
    The heart avenges every careless thought,
    And makes us feel that fate is terrible.
  • Who ever said one-half of all that seemed in absence so easy to say ?
  • But there always is in my mind something at once ludicrous and mournful in a crowd congregated for the purpose of amusement. What discontent, what vanity, move the complicated wheels of the social machine! There are many pleasures that one can comprehend, and even go the length of admitting, that they are worth some trouble in endeavouring to obtain; but the mania of filling your house with guests of whom you know little, and for whom you care nothing, is only less incomprehensible than why they should be at the trouble of coming to you.

Chapter 26 edit

  • It is a weary and a bitter hour
    When first the real disturbs the poet's world,
    And he distrusts the future. Not for that
    Should cold despondency weigh down the soul
    It is a glorious gift, bright poetry,
    And should be thankfully and nobly used.
    Let it look up to heaven !
  • Few know the demands made by the imagination on those who are once its masters and its victims. Its exercise is so feverish, and so exciting ; the cheek burns, the pulse beats aloud, the whole frame trembles with eagerness during the progress of composition. For the time you are what you create. The exhaustion of this process is not felt till some other species of exertion makes its demand on the already overwrought frame, the overstrained nerves begin to discover that they have been wound to the utmost. There is no strength left to bear life's other emotions.
  • There are times when the poet marvels how he ever wrote, and feels as if he never could write again.
  • [From Lavinia Fenton]: The lover and the physician are each popular from the same cause—we talk to them of nothing but ourselves; I dare say that was the origin of confession—egotism, under the fine name of religion.
  • [From Lavinia Fenton]: I lay it down as a rule, the truth of which all experience confirms, that every man behaves as ill as he possibly can to every woman, under every possible circumstance ! … What man has the slightest scruple as to gaining the confidence ; making himself not only necessary to her happiness, but that very happiness itself; and then sacrificing her to vanity, caprice, or any slight motive, that would not be held valid for one moment in any other matter !

Chapters 27-30 edit

Chapter 27

  • It is a fearful trust, the trust of love.
    In fear, not hope, should woman's heart receive
    A guest so terrible.

Chapter 29

  • Where is the heart that has not bowed
    A slave, eternal Love, to thee?
    Look on the cold, the gay, the proud,
    And is there one among them free !

Chapter 30

  • 'Tis a strange mystery, the power of words !
    Life is in them, and death. A word can send
    The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek,
    Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn
    The current cold and deadly to the heart.
    Anger and fear are in them ; grief and joy
    Are on their sound ; yet slight, impalpable:—
    A word is but a breath of passing air.

Chapters 31-33 edit

Chapter 31

  • The moonlight falleth lovely over earth ;
    And strange, indeed, must be the mind of man
    That can resist its beautiful reproach.
    How can hate work like fever in the soul
    With such entire tranquillity around?
    Evil must be our nature to refuse
    Such gentle intercession.
  • I can understand the feeling of the duellist when really fierce and bitter—there are injuries only to be washed out in blood ; but I have always thought, that the seconds must, or ought, to feel very uncomfortable. They stand by in cold blood to watch the glittering steel, whose shimmer may every moment be quenched in blood. If the eye be dropped for an instant, the next it may look on death, and death in its most fearful shape—one human being dying by the rage, the evil passion, or the unforgivable fault of another.

Chapter 32

  • God, in thy mercy, keep us with thy hand !
    Dark are the thoughts that strive within the heart,
    When evil passions rise like sudden storms,
    Fearful and fierce ! Let us not act those thoughts ;
    Leave not our course to our unguided will.
    Left to ourselves, all crime is possible,
    And those who seemed the most removed from guilt,
    Have sunk the deepest !

Chapter 33

  • Ah ! sad it is to see the deck
    Dismasted of some noble wreck ;
    And sad to see the marble stone
    Defaced, and with gray moss o'ergrown;
    And sad to see the broken lute
    For ever to its music mute.
    But what is lute, or fallen tower,
    Or ship sunk in its proudest hour,
    To awe and majesty combined
    In their worst shape — the ruined mind ?

Chapter 34 edit

  • It is an awful thing how we forget
    The sacred ties that bind us each to each.
    Our pleasures might admonish us, and say,
    Tremble at that delight which is unshared;
    Its selfishness must be its punishment.
    All have their sorrows, and how strange it seems
    They do not soften more the general heart :
    Sorrows should be those universal links
    That draw all life together.
  • I believe there is not a woman in the world that would hesitate to part with the most costly toy in her possession, to save but an annoyance from the object she loved …
  • There is something fearfully wrong in what we call our highly civilized state of society, when poverty can be permitted to take the ghastly shapes of suffering that it does. It is enough, if we did but think, to make the heart sick, when we know the misery, the abject misery, which surrounds us in this vast city ; and we might tremble to consider how much might be prevented—prevented both by individual and by general exertion.
  • Charity is a calm, severe duty; it must be intellectual, to be advantageous. It is a strange mistake that it should ever be considered a merit; its fulfilment is only what we owe to each other, and is a debt never paid to its full extent.
  • It is a most difficult art to give; for if, in giving, we also give the habit of dependence, our gift has been that of an evil spirit, which always proves fatal. What we should seek to give are, habits, not only of industry, but of prudence: to look forward, is the first great lesson of human improvement. In the assistance hitherto offered to those in need, the self-respect of the obliged has been too much forgotten : we have degraded, where we should have encouraged. The remedy lies with time, and with knowledge ; but there must be much to redress in the social system, which has luxury at one extreme, and starvation at the other.

Chapter 35 edit

  • [Chapter title]:{of death} The Usual Destiny of the Imagination
  • There is an awe about death, even in the face the most familiar to us; it has already taken its likeness from the hereafter, so dreadful and so dark.

Chapter 36 edit

  • It is a mood whose "profitless dejection” there are few among us but what have known. It is the result of the overstrained nerves, the worn-out frame—something of bodily weakness must mingle with it. We turn away from the future, we are too desponding to look forward. Every sorrow of the past seems to rise up, not only as a recollection of suffering, but as if each were an omen of what is to come. We feel as if even to wish were a folly ; or, worse, a tempting of fate. We have no confidence in our own good fortune; it seems as if the mere fact of wishing were enough to have that wish denied. A fretful discontent gnaws at the heart, the worse for being ashamed to confess it.
  • nd this is the dearest privilege of the poet—to soothe the sorrowing, and to excite the languid hour ; to renovate exhausted nature, by awakening it with the spiritual and the elevated ; and bringing around our common hours shadows from those more divine.
  • [From Ethel Churchill]: Good heavens  ! what a precious thing love is ! what a gift of all hope, all happiness, into the power of another !—and yet, how often is it bestowed in vain ! wasted, utterly and cruelly wasted !
  • If ever we forgive another's celebrity, it is when it fulfils our own prophecy.

Chapter 39 edit

  • That is love
    Which chooseth from a thousand only one
    To be the object of that tenderness
    Natural to every heart; which can resign
    Its own best happiness for one dear sake;
    Can bear with absence ; hath no part in hope,
    For hope is somewhat selfish : love is not,
    And doth prefer another to itself.
    • Quoted from 'The History of The Lyre'
  • How many beautiful creations, how many glorious dreams went with him to the tomb ! but the unfulfilled destiny of genius is a mystery whose solution is not of earth. It is but one of those many voices wandering in this wilderness of ours that tell us, not here is our lot appointed to finish. We are here but for a space and a season ; for a task and a trial, and of the end no man knoweth. The earthly immortality of the mind is but a type of the heavenly immortality of the soul.

Chapter 40 The End