What I Remember, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 369 pages of information about What I Remember, Volume 2.
dangers of life for the average human being!  But in George Eliot’s case I really believe the process was not deleterious.  Her nature was at once stimulated and steadied by Lewes’s boundless faith in her powers, and boundless admiration for their manifestation.  Nor was it a case of sitting like an idol to be praised and incensed.  Her own mental attitude towards Lewes was one of warm admiration.  She thought most highly of his scientific attainments, whether well foundedly or mistakenly I cannot pretend to gauge with accuracy.  But she also admired and enjoyed the sparkling brightness of his talk, and the dramatic vivacity with which he entered into conversation and discussion, grave or gay.  And on these points I may venture to record my opinion that she was quite right.  I always used to think that the touch of Bohemianism about Lewes had a special charm for her.  It must have offered so piquant a contrast with the middle-class surroundings of her early life.  I observed that she listened with great complacency to his talk of theatrical things and people.  Lewes was fond of talking about acting and actors, and in telling stories of celebrated theatrical personages, would imitate—­half involuntarily perhaps—­their voice and manner.  I remember especially his doing this with reference to Macready.

Both of them loved music extremely.  It was a curious, and, to me, rather pathetic study to watch Lewes—­a man naturally self-sufficient (I do not use the word in any odious sense), of a combative turn of intellect, and with scarcely any diffidence in his nature—­so humbly admitting, and even insisting upon, “Polly’s” superiority to himself in every department.  Once when he was walking with my wife in the garden of their house in Surrey, she turned the conversation which had been touching other topics to speak of George Eliot.  “Oh,” said Lewes, stopping short and looking at her with those bright eyes of his, “Your blood be on your own head!  I didn’t begin it; but if you wish to speak of her, I am always ready.”  It was this complete candour, and the genuineness of his admiring love for her, which made its manifestations delightful, and freed them from offence.


I have a great many letters from G.H.  Lewes, and from George Eliot.  Many of the latter are addressed to my wife.  And many, especially of those from Lewes, relating as they do mainly to matters of literary business, though always containing characteristic touches, are not of sufficient general interest to make it worth while to transcribe them for publication.  In no case is there any word in any of them that would make it expedient to withhold them on any other ground.  I might perhaps have introduced them into my narrative as nearly as possible at the times to which chronologically they refer.  But it has seemed to me so probable that there may be many readers who may be glad of an opportunity of seeing these letters without feeling disposed to give their time to the rest of these volumes, that I have thought it best to throw them together in this place.

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What I Remember, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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