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Celia.—I think she is. She likes giving up.
Dorothea.-If that were true, Celia, my giving-up would be self-indulgence, not self-mortification.
Dorothea (speaking of a tiny Maltese puppy).-It is painful to me to see these creatures that are bred merely as pets.
Sir James Chettam. -Oh, why?
Dorothea.--I believe all the petting that is given them does not make them happy. They are too helpless: their lives are too frail. A weasel or a mouse that gets its own living is more interesting. I like to think that the animals about us have souls something like our own, and either carry on their own little affairs or can be companions to us, like Monk here. Those creatures are parasitic.
Celia.—How very ugly Mr Casaubon is !
Dorothea.-Celia ! He is one of the most distinguished-looking men I ever saw. He is remarkably like the portrait of Locke. He has the same deep eye-sockets.
Celia.—Had Locke those two white moles with hairs on them ?
Dorothea.—Oh, I daresay! when people of a certain sort looked at him.
Celia.—Mr Casaubon is so sallow.
Dorothea.-All the better. I suppose you admire a man with the complexion of a cochon de lait.
Celia.—Dodo! I never heard you make such a comparison before.
Dorothea.-Why should I make it before the occasion came ? It is a good comparison : the match is perfect.
Celia.—I wonder you show temper, Dorothea. Dorothea.—It is so painful in you, Celia, that you
will look at human beings as if they were merely animals with a toilette, and never see the great soul in a man's face.
Celia.—Has Mr Casaubon a great soul?
Celia.—Is any one else coming to dine besides Mr Casaubon ?
Dorothea.-Not that I know of.
Celia.— I hope there is some one else. Then I shall not hear him eat his soup so.
Dorothea. — What is there remarkable about his soup-eating?
Celia.-Really, Dodo, can't you hear how he scrapes his spoon ? And he always blinks before he speaks. I don't know whether Locke blinked, but I'm sure I am sorry for those who sat opposite to him if he did.
Dorothea.— Celia, pray don't make any more observations of that kind.
Celia.—Why not? They are quite true.
Dorothea.—Many things are true which only the commonest minds observe.
Celia.—Then I think the commonest minds must be rather useful. I think it is a pity Mr Casaubon's mother had not a commoner mind : she might have taught him better.
I have always been thinking of the different ways in which Christianity is taught, and whenever I find one way that makes it a wider blessing than any other, I cling to that as the truest—I mean that which takes in the most good of all kinds, and brings in the most people as sharers in it. It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.
Mr Farebrother. There is the terrible Nemesis following on some errors, that it is always possible for those who like it to interpret them into a crime : there is no proof in favour of the man outside his own consciousness and assertion.
Dorothea.—Oh, how cruel! And would you not like to be the one person who believed in that man's innocence, if the rest of the world belied him ? Besides, there is a man's character beforehand to speak for him.
Mr Farebrother. But, my dear Mrs Casaubon, character is not cut in marble—it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do.
Dorothea.—Then it may be rescued and healed.
Dorothea.—There are comparatively few paintings that I can really enjoy. At first when I enter a room where the walls are covered with frescoes, or with rare pictures, I feel a kind of awe-like a child present at great ceremonies where there are grand robes and processions; I feel myself in the presence of some higher life than my own. But when I begin to examine the pictures one by one, the life goes out of them, or else is something violent and strange to me.
It must be my own dulness. I am seeing so much all at once, and not understanding half of it. That always makes one feel stupid. It is painful to be told that anything is very fine and not be able to feel that it is fine-something like being blind, while people talk of the sky.
Ladislaw.-Oh, there is a great deal in the feeling for art which must be acquired. Art is an old language with a great many artificial affected styles, and
sometimes the chief pleasure one gets out of knowing them is the mere sense of knowing. I enjoy the art of all sorts here immensely; but I suppose if I could pick my enjoyment to pieces I should find it made up of many different threads. There is something in daubing a little one's self, and having an idea of the process.
Ladislaw.—You seem not to care about cameos.
Dorothea.—No, frankly, I don't think them a great object in life.
Ladislaw.—I fear you are a heretic about art generally. How is that? I should have expected you to be very sensitive to the beautiful everywhere.
Dorothea.- I suppose I am dull about many things. I should like to make life beautiful-I mean everybody's life. And then all this immense expense of art, that seems somehow to lie outside life and make it no better for the world, pains one. It spoils my enjoyment of anything when I am made to think that most people are shut out from it.
Ladislaw.— I call that the fanaticism of sympathy. You might say the same of landscape, of poetry, of all refinement. If you carried it out you ought to be miserable in your own goodness, and turn evil that you might have no advantage over others. The best piety is to enjoy—when you can. You are doing the most then to save the earth's character as an agreeable planet. And enjoyment radiates. It is of no use to try and take care of all the world; that is being taken care of when you feel delight-in art or in anything else. Would you turn all the youth of the world into a tragic chorus, wailing and moralising over misery ? I suspect that you have some false belief in the virtues of misery, and want to make your life a martyrdom.
Dorothea.- Indeed you mistake me. I am not a sad melancholy creature. I am never unhappy long together. I am angry and naughty — not like Celia: I have a great outburst, and then all seems glorious again. I cannot help believing in glorious things in a blind sort of way. I should be quite willing to enjoy the art here, but there is so much that I don't know the reason of—so much that seems to me a consecration of ugliness rather than beauty. The painting and sculpture may be wonderful, but the feeling is often low and brutal, and sometimes even ridiculous. Here and there I see what takes me at once as noble -something that I might compare with the Alban Mountains or the sunset from the Pincian Hill; but that makes it the greater pity that there is so little of the best kind among all that mass of things over which men have toiled so.
Ladislaw.–Of course there is always a great deal of poor work : the rarer things want that soil to grow in.
Dorothea.-0 dear, I see it must be very difficult to do anything good. I have often felt since I have been in Rome that most of our lives would look much uglier and more bungling than the pictures, if they could be put on the wall.
Dorothea.—It is very difficult to be learned; it seems as if people were worn out on the way to great thoughts, and can never enjoy them because they are too tired.
Ladislaw.- If a man has a capacity forgreat thoughts, he is likely to overtake them before he is decrepit. But it is quite true that the best minds have been sometimes overstrained in working out their ideas.
Dorothea.—You correct me. I expressed myself ill.