« PreviousContinue »
Sir Humphry Davy? Well, now, Sir Humphry Davy : I dined with him years ago at Cartwright's, and Wordsworth was there too—the poet Wordsworth, you know. Now there was something singular. I was at Cambridge when Wordsworth was there, and I never met him—and I dined with him twenty years afterwards at Cartwright's. There's an oddity in things now. But Davy was there : he was a poet too. Or, as I may say, Wordsworth was poet one, and Davy was poet two. That was true in every sense, you know.
(To Mr Casaubon.)-Get Dorothea to play backgammon with you in the evenings. And shuttlecock, now—I don't know a finer game than shuttlecock for the daytime. I remember it all the fashion. To be . sure, your eyes might not stand that, Casaubon. But you must unbend, you know. Why, you might take to some light study : conchology, now : I always think that must be a light study. Or get Dorothea to read you light things, Smollett — 'Roderick Random,'
Humphrey Clinker :' they are a little broad, but she may read anything now she's married, you know. I remember they made me laugh uncommonlythere's a droll bit about a postilion's breeches. We have no such humour now. I have gone through all these things, but they might be rather new to you.
- There is a lightness about the feminine mind-a touch and go-music, the fine arts, that kind of thing -they should study those up to a certain point, women should; but in a light way, you know. A woman
should be able to sit down and play you or sing you a good old English tune. That is what I like; though I have heard most things—been at the opera in Vienna: Gluck, Mozart, everything of that sort. But I'm a conservative in music-it's not like ideas, you know. I stick to the good old tunes.
Severity is all very well, but it's a great deal easier when you've got somebody to do it for you.
Sir James Chettam.—I am reading the Agricultural Chemistry, because I am going to take one of the farms into my own hands, and see if something cannot be done in setting a good pattern of farming among my tenants. Do you approve of that, Miss Brooke ?
Mr Brooke.—A great mistake, Chettam, going into electrifying your land and that kind of thing, and making a parlour of your cow-house. It won't do. I went into science a great deal myself at one time; but I saw it would not do. It leads to everything; you can let nothing alone. No, no-see that your tenants don't sell their straw, and that kind of thing; and give them draining-tiles, you know. But your fancy-farming will not do—the most expensive sort of whistle you can buy : you may as well keep a pack of hounds.
Dorothea.-Surely it is better to spend money in finding out how men can make the most of the land which supports them all, than in keeping dogs and horses only to gallop over it. It is not a sin to make yourself poor in performing experiments for the good of all.
Mr Brooke.—Young ladies don't understand political economy, you know. I remember when we were all reading Adam Smith. There is a book, now. I took in all the new ideas at one time—human perfectibility, now. But some say, history moves in circles ; and that may be very well argued; I have argued it myself. The fact is, human reason may carry you a little too far-over the hedge, in fact. It carried me a good way at one time; but I saw it would not do. I pulled up; I pulled up in time. But not too hard. I have always been in favour of a little theory :: we must have Thought ; else we shall be landed back in the dark ages.
Mr Brooke.—Burke, now :-when I think of Burke, I can't help wishing somebody had a pocket-borough to give you, Ladislaw. You'd never get elected, you know. And we shall always want talent in the house: reform as we will, we shall always want talent.
Ladislaw.-Pocket-boroughs would be a fine thing if they were always in the right pocket, and there were always a Burke at hand.
Dorothea.—I should wish to have a husband who was above me in judgment and in all knowledge.
Mr Brooke.- Ah ?-I thought you had more of your own opinion than most girls. I thought you liked your own opinion-liked it, you know.
Dorothea.— I cannot imagine myself living without some opinions, but I should wish to have good reasons for them, and a wise man could help me to see which opinions had the best foundation, and would help me to live according to them.
Mr Brooke.-Very true. You couldn't put the thing
better-couldn't put it better, beforehand, you know. But there are oddities in things. Life isn't cast in a mould—not cut out by rule and line, and that sort of thing. I never married myself, and it will be the better for you and yours. The fact is, I never loved any one well enough to put myself into a noose for them. It is a noose, you know. Temper now. There is temper. And a husband likes to be master.
Dorothea.— I know that I must expect trials, uncle. Marriage is a state of higher duties. I never thought of it as mere personal ease.
(To Dorothea.)-You must have a scholar, and that sort of thing? Well, it lies a little in our family. I had it myself—that love of knowledge, and going into everything-a little too much-it took me too far; though that sort of thing doesn't often run in the female line; or it runs underground like the rivers in Greece, you know it comes out in the sons. Clever sons, clever mothers. I went a good deal into that, at one time.
People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbours.
I think we deserve to be beaten out of our beautiful houses with a scourge of small cords—all of us who let tenants live in such sties as we see round us. Life in cottages might be happier than ours, if they were real houses fit for human beings from whom we expect duties and affections.
After all, people may really have in them some vocation which is not quite plain to themselves, may they not? They may seem idle and weak because they are growing. We should be very patient with each other, I think.
-0-There is no sorrow I have thought more about than that-to love what is great, and try to reach it, and yet to fail.
Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.
-0How very beautiful these gems are! It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent. I suppose that is the reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelation of St John. They look like fragments of heaven.
Celia.—0 Dodo, you must keep the cross yourself. Dorothea.—No, no, dear, no.
Celia.— Yes, indeed you must; it would suit you, in your black dress, now. You might wear that.
Dorothea.—Not for the world, not for the world. A cross is the last thing I would wear as a trinket.
Celia.—Then you will think it wicked in me to wear it.
Dorothea.—No, dear, no. Souls have complexions, too: what will suit one will not suit another.
-OSir James Chettam.—Your sister is given to selfmortification, is she not?