Middlemarch HTML version
"'Tis strange to see the humors of these men,
These great aspiring spirits, that should be wise:
. . . . . . . .
For being the nature of great spirits to love
To be where they may be most eminent;
They, rating of themselves so farre above
Us in conceit, with whom they do frequent,
Imagine how we wonder and esteeme
All that they do or say; which makes them strive
To make our admiration more extreme,
Which they suppose they cannot, 'less they give
Notice of their extreme and highest thoughts.
--DANIEL: Tragedy of Philotas.
Mr. Vincy went home from the reading of the will with his point of view
considerably changed in relation to many subjects. He was an open-minded
man, but given to indirect modes of expressing himself: when he was
disappointed in a market for his silk braids, he swore at the groom; when his
brother-in-law Bulstrode had vexed him, he made cutting remarks on Methodism;
and it was now apparent that he regarded Fred's idleness with a sudden increase
of severity, by his throwing an embroidered cap out of the smoking-room on to
"Well, sir," he observed, when that young gentleman was moving off to bed, "I
hope you've made up your mind now to go up next term and pass your
examination. I've taken my resolution, so I advise you to lose no time in taking
Fred made no answer: he was too utterly depressed. Twenty-four hours ago he
had thought that instead of needing to know what he should do, he should by this
time know that he needed to do nothing: that he should hunt in pink, have a first-
rate hunter, ride to cover on a fine hack, and be generally respected for doing so;
moreover, that he should be able at once to pay Mr. Garth, and that Mary could
no longer have any reason for not marrying him. And all this was to have come
without study or other inconvenience, purely by the favor of providence in the
shape of an old gentleman's caprice. But now, at the end of the twenty-four
hours, all those firm expectations were upset. It was "rather hard lines" that while
he was smarting under this disappointment he should be treated as if he could
have helped it. But he went away silently and his mother pleaded for him.
"Don't be hard on the poor boy, Vincy. He'll turn out well yet, though that wicked
man has deceived him. I feel as sure as I sit here, Fred will turn out well--else
why was he brought back from the brink of the grave? And I call it a robbery: it
was like giving him the land, to promise it; and what is promising, if making
everybody believe is not promising? And you see he did leave him ten thousand
pounds, and then took it away again."