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Marcella (Virago Modern Classics)

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Mary Augusta Ward (nee Arnold; June 11, 1851 - March 26, 1920), was a British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs Humphry Ward.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 9th 1984 by Virago Press Ltd (first published 1894)
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Mary Augusta Ward was a British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs Humphry Ward. She was born as Mary Augusta Arnold in Hobart, Tasmania, but she and her family left for England in July 1856, when she was five years old. In April 1872 she married Mr Humphry Ward.
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“One of the things that most tormented him indeed in this recent existence was a perpetual pricking sense of the contrast between this small world of his ancestral possessions and traditions, with all its ceremonial and feudal usage, and the great rushing world outside it of action and of thought. Do what he would, he could not un-king himself within the limits of the Maxwell estate. To the people living upon it he was the man of most importance within their ken, was inevitably their potentate and earthly providence. He confessed that there was a real need of him, if he did his duty. But on this need the class-practice of generations had built up a deference, a sharpness of class-distinction, which any modern must find more and more irksome in proportion to his modernness. What was in Aldous's mind, as he stood with drawn brows looking out over the view which showed him most of his domain, was a sort of hot impatience of being made day by day, in a hundred foolish ways, to play at greatness.

Yet, as we know, he was no democrat by conviction, had no comforting faith in what seemed to him the rule of a multitudinous ignorance. Still every sane man of to-day knows, at any rate, that the world has taken the road of democracy, and that the key to the future, for good or ill, lies not in the revolts and speculations of the cultivated few, but in the men and movements that can seize the many. Aldous's temper was despondently critical towards the majority of these, perhaps; he had, constitutionally, little of that poet's sympathy with the crowd, as such, which had given Hallin his power. But, at any rate, they filled the human stage—these men and movements—and his mind as a beholder. Beside the great world-spectacle perpetually in his eye and thought, the small old-world pomps and feudalisms of his own existence had a way of looking ridiculous to him. He constantly felt himself absurd. It was ludicrously clear to him, for instance, that in this kingdom he had inherited it would be thought a huge condescension on his part if he were to ask the secretary of a trades union to dine with him at the Court. Whereas, in his own honest opinion, the secretary had a far more important and interesting post in the universe than he.”
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