Moppet's Reviews > Marcella

Marcella by Mary Augusta Ward
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's review
Apr 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 19th-century, classics, country-house, victorian-novels, 1890s, new-woman
Read from December 05 to 20, 2011


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Quotes Moppet Liked

Mary Augusta Ward
“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.”
Mary Augusta Ward, Marcella

Reading Progress

04/21/2011 page 18
3.0% "After a recap of Marcella's childhood the story is about to start as she goes down to breakfast in the 18th century Chinese room. May look a bit like the Chinese room at Temple Newsam:"
05/19/2011 page 56
10.0% ""When money matters at home and abroad, when the anxieties of his wife and the altered manners of his acquaintance in and out of the House of Commons grew more than usually disagreeable, a certain little chorus girl came upon the scene and served to make both money and repentance scarcer even than they were before." British politics and sleaze - they go together like Devon scones and clotted cream." 2 comments

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