“Against great advantages in another, there are no means of defending ourselves except love.
“There is something terrible in the sight of a highly-gifted man lying under obligations to a fool.
“‘No man is a hero to his valet,’ the proverb says. But that is only because it requires a hero to recognize a hero. The valet will probably know how to value the valet-hero.
“Mediocrity has no greater consolation than in the thought that genius is not immortal.
“The greatest men are connected with their own century always through some weakness.
“One is apt to regard people as more dangerous than they are.
“Fools and modest people are alike innocuous. It is only your half-fools and your half-wise who are really and truly dangerous.
“There is no better deliverance from the world than through art; and a man can form no surer bond with it than through art.
“Alike in the moment of our highest fortune and our deepest necessity, we require the artist.
“The business of art is with the difficult and the good.
“To see the difficult easily handled, gives us the feeling of the impossible.
“Difficulties increase the nearer we are to our end.
“Sowing is not so difficult as reaping.”
The very serious discomfort which this visit had caused to Charlotte was in some way compensated to her through the fuller insight which it had enabled her to gain into her daughter’s character. In this, her knowledge of the world was of no slight service to her. It was not the first time that so singular a character had come across her, although she had never seen any in which the unusual features were so largely developed; and she had had experience enough to show her that such persons, after having felt the discipline of life, after having gone through something of it, and been in intercourse with older people, may come out at last really charming and amiable; the selfishness may soften and eager restless activity find a definite direction for itself. And therefore, as a mother, Charlotte was able to endure the appearance of symptoms which for others might perhaps have been unpleasing, from a sense that where strangers only desire to enjoy, or at least not to have their taste offended, the business of parents is rather to hope.
After her daughter’s departure, however, she had to be pained in a singular and unlooked-for manner, in finding that, not so much through what there really was objectionable in her behavior, as through what was good and praiseworthy in it, she had left an ill report of herself behind her. Luciana seemed to have prescribed it as a rule to herself not only to be merry with the merry, but miserable with the miserable; and in order to give full swing to the spirit of contradiction in her, often to make the happy, uncomfortable, and the sad, cheerful. In