English, Department of



Peter A. Brier

Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 43 (2012)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


I cannot be easy without writing a word or two this morning for I am conscious that I made myself more disagreeable than nature obliges me to be by my hard quips to you. They were not warrantable by anything but a strong personal and impersonal interest in that sensitive being of yours, which holds what may be very precious things in its keeping. And even with that warrant it will be a proof of your fondness if you quite forgive me.

You look wretched - and I have now so much of that subtle misery which can be explained to nobody, that I cannot help thinking of you as a sharer in that sort of suffering since you tell me there is nothing more severaly [sic] comprehensible as a moment (?) of melancholy.

We hungry, quick-wincing creatures who are always seeking our food with wounded tentacles, must simply accept life as a misfortune to our primary and direct self, and make up our minds that all our joy must come of working ourselves powerfully into the lives of other beings, or else giving ourselves up to be possessed by them. We may grumble and say that rosy and comfortable dejection is better than those sublime heights - but then we never shall be rosy and comfortable, some good is to be got by weary struggle, and by that alone.

That is not to tell you what you don't know already, 0 Rabbi, but it is simply the discourse of a fellow Houywhynm (spelling improved) who is bearing the yoke with you. We tell each other that the day is fine, & that the north east wind is biting.

You need not answer if you have nothing to say, which is a rare privilege in this world.