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The fittest man for a particular post is not always the best fellow or the most agreeable. Sometimes, if you wanted to get a reform, your only way would be to pension off the good fellows whom everybody is fond of, and put them out of the question.
There must be a systole and diastole in all inquiry. A man's mind must be continually expanding and shrinking between the whole human horizon and the horizon of an object-glass.
What we call the 'just possible' is sometimes true, and the thing we find it easier to believe is grossly false.
The most terrible obstacles are such as nobody can see except one's self.
It is curious what patches of hardness and tenderness lie side by side in men's dispositions.
(To Mrs Lydgate.)—Haven't you ambition to want your husband to be something better than a Middlemarch doctor? I shall make you learn my favourite bit from an old poet
'Why should our pride make such a stir to be
What I want, Rosy, is to do worthy the writing,—and to write out myself what I have done. A man must work, to do that, my pet.
Mrs Lydgate.-Do you know, Tertius, I often wish you had not been a medical man.
Lydgate.- Nay, Rosy, don't say that. That is like saying you wish you had married another man.
Mrs Lydgate.- Not at all ; you are clever enough for anything : you might easily have been something else. And your cousins at Quallingham all think that you have sunk below them in your choice of a profession.
Lydgate.—The cousins at Quallingham may go to the devil! It was like their impudence if they said anything of the sort to you.
Mrs Lydgate.—Still, I do not think it is a nice profession, dear.
Lydgate. It is the grandest profession in the world, Rosamond. And to say that you love me without loving the medical man in me, is like saying that you like eating a peach but don't like its flavour. Don't say it again, dear, it pains me.
They say fortune is a woman and capricious. But sometimes she is a good woman, and gives to those who merit.—Mrs Farebrother.
Mrs Farebrother.-I say, keep hold of a few plain truths, and make everything square with them. When I was young, Mr Lydgate, there never was any question about right and wrong. We knew our catechism, and that was enough; we learned our creed and our duty. Every respectable Church person had the same opinions. But now, if you speak out of the Prayerbook itself, you are liable to be contradicted.
Lydgate.-That makes rather a pleasant time of it for those who like to maintain their own point.
Mr Farebrother.-But my mother always gives way.
Mrs Farebrother.-No, no, Camden, you must not lead Mr Lydgate into a mistake about me. I shall never show that disrespect to my parents, to give up what they taught me. Any one may see what comes of turning. If you change once, why not twenty times?
Lydgate.-A man might see good arguments for changing once, and not see them for changing again. Mrs Farebrother.-Excuse me there.
If you go upon arguments, they are never wanting, when a man has no constancy of mind. My father never changed, and he preached plain moral sermons without arguments, and was a good man-few better. When you get me a good man made out of arguments, I will get you a good dinner with reading you the cookery-book. That's my opinion, and I think anybody's stomach will bear ine out.
Mr Farebrother.—About the dinner certainly, mother.
Mrs Farebrother. It is the same thing, the dinner or the man. I am nearly seventy, Mr Lydgate, and I go upon experience. I am not likely to follow new lights, though there are plenty of them. here as elsewhere. "I say, they came in with the mixed stuffs that will neither wash nor wear. It was not so in my youth: a Churchman was a Churchman, and a clergyman, you might be pretty sure, was a gentleman, if nothing else. But now he may be no better than a Dissenter.
What's Bulstrode ?-he's got no land hereabout that
ever I heard tell of. A speckilating fellow! He may come down any day, when the devil leaves off backing him. And that's what his religion means: he wants God A'mighty to come in. That's nonsense! There's one thing I made out pretty clear when I used to go to church-and it's this : God A’mighty sticks to the land. He promises land, and He gives land, and He makes chaps rich with corn and cattle.—Mr Featherstone.
The little waves make the large ones, and are of the same pattern.-Ladislaw.
Obligation may be stretched till it is no better than a brand of slavery stamped on us when we were too young to know its meaning.-Ladislaw.
Ladislaw.—You want to express too much with your painting. And what is a portrait of a woman ? Your painting and Plastik are poor stuff after all. They perturb and dull conceptions instead of raising them. Language is a finer medium.
Naumann.-Yes, for the who can't paint. There you have perfect right. I did not recommend you to paint, my friend.
Ladislaw.—Language gives a fuller image, which is all the better for being vague. After all, the true seeing is within ; and painting stares at you with an insistent imperfection. I feel that especially about representations of women. As if a woman were a mere coloured superficies! You must wait for movement and tone. There is a difference in their very breathing : they change from moment to 'moment.This woman whom you have just seen, for example : how would you paint her voice, pray? But her voice is much diviner than anything you have seen of her.
To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely-ordered variety on the chords of emotion-a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.- Ladislaw.
-0Lydgate.--It's no use your puffing Brooke (in the Pioneer') as a reforming landlord, Ladislaw : they only pick the more holes in his coat in the ‘Trumpet.'
Ladislaw.—No matter; those who read the ‘Pioneer' don't read the ‘Trumpet.' Do you suppose the public reads with a view to its own conversion ? . We should have a witches' brewing with a vengeance then-Mingle, mingle, mingle, mingle, You that mingle may'—and nobody would know which side he was going to take.
Ladislaw.—It's good to have resident members [of Parliament]. Lydgate.—Why?
Ladislaw. They represent the local stupidity better; and they are kept on their best behaviour in the neighbourhood.
Wait for wisdom and conscience in public agentsfiddlestick! The only conscience we can trust to is