Novels [of George Eliot], Volume 2

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Fields, Osgood, & Company, 1870

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Page 22 - We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it — if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass — the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows — the same redbreasts that we used to call " God's birds," because they did no harm to the precious crops.
Page 22 - These familiar flowers, these well-remembered bird-notes, this sky with its fitful brightness, these furrowed and grassy fields, each with a sort of personality given to it by the capricious hedgerows — such things as these are the mother tongue of our imagination, the language that is laden with all the subtle inextricable associations the fleeting hours of our childhood left behind them.
Page 161 - I share with you this sense of oppressive narrowness; but it is necessary that we should feel it, if we care to understand how it acted on the lives of Tom and Maggie — how it has acted on young natures in many generations, that in the onward tendency of human things have risen above the mental level of the generation before them, to which they have been nevertheless tied by the strongest fibres of their hearts.
Page 297 - ... growing insight and sympathy. And the man of maxims is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a readymade patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality — without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardlyearned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide...
Page 161 - In natural science, I have understood, there is nothing petty to the mind that has a large vision of relations, and to which every single object suggests a vast sum of conditions. It is surely the same with the observation of human life.
Page 81 - Tom's brain, being peculiarly impervious to etymology and demonstrations, was peculiarly in need of being ploughed and harrowed by these patent implements. It was his favorite metaphor, that the classics and geometry constituted that culture of the mind which prepared it for the reception of any subsequent crop.
Page 341 - There are so many things wrong and difficult in the world, that no man can be great — he can hardly keep himself from wickedness — unless he gives up thinking much about pleasure or rewards, and gets strength to endure what is hard and painful.
Page 6 - I'll tell you what that means. It's a dreadful picture, isn't it ? But I can't help looking at it. That old woman in the water's a witch — they've put her in to find out whether she's a witch or no, and if she swims she's a witch, and if she's drowned — and killed, you know — she's innocent, and not a witch, but only a poor silly old woman. But what good would it do her then, you know, when she was drowned?

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