I have nothing but myself to write about, no facts, no theories, no opinions, no adventures, no sentiments, nothing but my own poor barren individualism, of considerable interest to me, but I do not know why I should presume it will be so to you. Egotism is not tiresome, or it ought not to be, if one is sincere about oneself; but it is so hard to be sincere. Well, never mind, I mean to be, and you know me well enough to see through me when I am humbugging.
When a woman's heart is flowing over for the first time with deep and passionate love, she is all love. Every faculty of her soul rushes together in the intensity of the one feeling; thought, reflection, conscience, duty, the past, the future, they are names to her light as the breath which speaks them; her soul is full.
That in these times every serious person should not in his heart have felt some difliculty with the doctrines of the incarnation, I cannot helieve. We are not as we were. When Christianity was first published, the imagination of mankind presented the relation of heaven to earth very differently from what it does now.
Who shall say that those poor peasants were not acting in the spirit we most venerate, most adore; that theirs was not the true heart language which we cannot choose but love? And what has been their reward? They have sent down their name to be the by-word of all after ages; the worst reproach of the worst men a name convertible with atheism and devil-worship.
Minds vary in sensitiveness and in self-power, as bodies do in susceptibility of attraction and repulsion. When, when shall we learn that they are governed by laws as inexorable as physical laws, and that a man can as easily refuse to obey what has power over him as a steel atom can resist the magnet?
High original genius is always ridiculed on its first appearance; most of all by those who have won themselves the highest reputation in working on the established lines. Genius only commands recognition when it has created the taste which is to appreciate it.
It may be from some moral obliquity in myself, or from some strange disease; but for me, and I should think too for every human being in whose breast a human heart is beating, to know that one single creature is in that dreadful place would make a hell of heaven itself. And they have hearts in heaven, for they love there.
That which especially distinguishes a high order of man from a low order of man, that which constitutes human goodness, human nobleness, is surely not the degree of enlightenment with which men pursue their own advantage; but it is self-forgetfulness; it is self-sacrifice; it is the disregard of personal pleasure, personal indulgence, personal advantage, remote or present, because some other line of conduct is more right.
I think Nature, if she interests herself much about her children, must often feel that, like the miserable Frankenstein, with her experimenting among the elements of humanity, she has brought beings into existence who have no business here; who can do none of her work, and endure none of her favours; whose life is only suffering; and whose action is one long protest against the ill foresight which flung them into consciousness.
Life is more than a theory, and love of truth butters no bread: old men who have had to struggle along their way, who know the endless bitterness, the grave moral deterioration which follow an empty exchequer, may well be pardoned for an over-wish to see their sons secured from it; hunger, at least, is a reality...