George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans
We insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.
What believer sees a disturbing omission or infelicity? The text, whether of prophet or of poet, expands for whatever we can put into it; and even his bad grammar is sublime.
What we call despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.
We are all humiliated by the sudden discovery of a fact which has existed very comfortably and perhaps been staring at us in private while we have been making up our world entirely without it.
We judge other according to results; how else?--not knowing the process by which results are arrived at.
What business has an old bachelor like that to marry?' said Sir James. He has one foot in the grave. He means to draw it out again, I suppose.
What we call the 'just possible' is sometimes true and the thing we find it easier to believe is grossly false.
We are all of us born in moral stupidity, taking the world as an udder to feed our supreme selves
We learn words by rote, but not their meaning; that must be paid for with our life-blood, and printed in the subtle fibres of our nerves.
What can promote innocent mirth, and I may say virtue, more than a good riddle?
When a homemaking aunt scolds a niece for following her evangelistic passion instead of domestic pursuits, her reply is interesting. First, she clarifies that God's individual call on her doesn't condemn those in more conventional roles. Then, she says she can no more ignore the cry of the lost than her aunt can the cry of her child.
We are all of us denying or fulfilling prayers – and men in their careless deeds walk amidst invisible outstretched arms and pleadings made in vain.
We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.
What can still that hunger of the heart which sickens the eye for beauty, and makes sweet-scented ease an oppression?
When a man had deserved his good luck, it was the part of his neighbors to wish him joy.
We are all of us imaginative in some form or other, for images are the brood of desire.
We look at the one little woman's face we love, as we look at the face of our mother earth, and see all sorts of answers to our own yearnings.
What destroys us most effectively is not a malign fate but our own capacity for self-deception and for degrading our own best self.
When a man has seen the woman whom he would have chosen if he had intended to marry speedily, his remaining a bachelor will usually depend on her resolution rather than on his.
These fellow-mortals, every one, must be accepted as they are: you can neither straighten their noses, nor brighten their wit, nor rectify their dispositions; and it is these people — amongst whom your life is passed — that it is needful you should tolerate, pity, and love: it is these more or less ugly, stupid, inconsistent people whose movements of goodness you should be able to admire — for whom you should cherish all possible hopes, all possible patience. And I would not, even if I had the choice, be the clever novelist who could create a world so much better than this, in which we get up in the morning to do our daily work, that you would be likely to turn a harder, colder eye on the dusty streets and the common green fields — on the real breathing men and women, who can be chilled by your indifference or injured by your prejudice; who can be cheered and helped onward by your fellow-feeling, your forbearance, your outspoken, brave justice. So I am content to tell my simple story, without trying to make things seem better than they were; dreading nothing, indeed, but falsity, which, in spite of one's best efforts, there is reason to dread. Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult. The pencil is conscious of a delightful facility in drawing a griffin — the longer the claws, and the larger the wings, the better; but that marvellous facility which we mistook for genius is apt to forsake us when we want to draw a real unexaggerated lion. Examine your words well, and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false, it is a very hard thing to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings — much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth.
Though I am not endowed with an ear to seize those earthly harmonies, which to some devout souls have seemed, as it were, the broken echoes of the heavenly choir--I apprehend that there is a law in music, disobedience whereunto would bring us in our singing to the level of shrieking maniacs or howling beasts.
To many among us neither heaven nor earth has any revelation till some personality touches theirs with a particular influence, subduing them into receptiveness.
Under every guilty secret there is hidden a brood of guilty wishes, whose unwholesome infecting life is cherished by the darkness.
There was a peculiar fascination for Dorothea in this division of property intended for herself, and always regarded by her as excessive. She was blind, you see, to many things obvious to others - likely to tread in the wrong places, as Celia had warned her; yet her blindness to whatever did not lie in her own pure purpose carried her safely by the side of precipices where vision would have been perilous with fear.
These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of.