Saturday, 19 November 2011

A lost ideal

George Eliot

A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amid the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly aquaintance with all neighbours, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit of the blood.

George Eliot - Daniel Deronda


rogerh said...

Beautiful writing, but I cannot read Eliot without memories of my rural childhood coming back. The estate pews in church - sit behind 'the family', the village school without an 11+ pass in 10 years, fear of the estate bailiff who could and did turn people out of tied cottages. The cramped feel of village life, the petty snobberies, the old maids who missed the 1918 man-grab.

To be true there was beauty too, the familiar woods and banks and knowing the cows by name. The 'big house' at Christmas. But Ms Eliot knew what to do - get out as fast as possible.

rogerh said...

Silly me, Mr eliot, Ms Evans.

Sam Vega said...

I tried applying this to my home town of Luton, and now have a lot more insight into why I am so messed up!

A K Haart said...

rogerh - I've never lived in a village. We were once warned off the idea by someone who mentioned exactly those issues you raise, although they missed out the 1918 man-grab.

SV - I don't think the quote applies to anywhere bigger than a small town which is what we tend to prefer.