Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Victorian Year #4

This week I continued reading in two Victorian novels: Anthony Trollope's Orley Farm and Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton.

From Orley Farm:
  • Twenty years does not go by without leaving its marks.
  • Civilization, as I take it, consists in efforts made not for oneself but for others.
  • If you have anything to say, we are ready to hear it. If you have anything to show, we are ready to look at it. If you have nothing to say, and nothing to show—” “Ah, but I have; only—” “Only you want us to make it worth your while. We might as well have the truth at once. Is not that about it?
  • “Look here, Mr. Crabwitz; if you think my service is too hard upon you, you had better leave it. But if you take upon yourself to tell me so again, you must leave it. Remember that.”
  • Men will not be talked out of the convictions of their lives. No living orator would convince a grocer that coffee should be sold without chicory; and no amount of eloquence will make an English lawyer think that loyalty to truth should come before loyalty to his client.
  • A man who strives honestly to do good will generally do good, though seldom perhaps as much as he has himself anticipated. 
  • “I wonder why matutinal labour should always be considered as so meritorious. Merely, I take it, because it is disagreeable.” “It proves that the man can make an effort.”
  • Good laws won’t make people honest, nor bad laws dishonest.
 From Mary Barton:
  • Her love for him was a bubble, blown out of vanity; but it looked very real and very bright.
  • "But it's so hard to be patient," pleaded Mary. "Ay, dear; being patient is the hardest work we, any of us, have to do through life, I take it. Waiting is far more difficult than doing. I've known that about my sight, and many a one has known it in watching the sick; but it's one of God's lessons we all must learn, one way or another."
  • I sometimes think I am a child, whom the Lord is hushabying to my long sleep. For when I were a nurse-girl, my missis always telled me to speak very soft and low, and to darken the room that her little one might go to sleep; and now all noises are hushed and still to me, and the bonny earth seems dim and dark, and I know it's my Father lulling me away to my long sleep. I'm very well content; and yo mustn't fret for me.
  • John Barton's overpowering thought, which was to work out his fate on earth, was rich and poor; why are they so separate, so distinct, when God has made them all? It is not His will that their interests are so far apart. Whose doing is it? 
  • The actions of the uneducated seem to me typified in those of Frankenstein, that monster of many human qualities, ungifted with a soul, a knowledge of the difference between good and evil. The people rise up to life; they irritate us, they terrify us, and we become their enemies. Then, in the sorrowful moment of our triumphant power, their eyes gaze on us with mute reproach. Why have we made them what they are; a powerful monster, yet without the inner means for peace and happiness?

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

No comments: