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The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot

on the dangers of thinking aloud "Miss Lucy's called the bell o' St Ogg's, they say: that a cur'ous word," observed Mr Pullet, on whom the mysteries of etymology sometimes fell with an oppressive weight.
on popular fear The Catholics, bad harvests, and the mysterious fluctuations of trade were the three evils mankind had to fear: even the flood had not been great of late years.
on conjugal bliss The economising of a gardener's wages might perhaps have induced Mrs Glegg to wink at this folly, if it were possible for a healthy female mind even to simulate respect for a husband's hobby.

Mr Glegg, being of a reflective turn, and no longer occupied with wool, had much wondering meditation on the peculiar constitution of the female mind as unfolded to him in his domestic life; and yet he thought Mrs Glegg's household ways a model for her sex: it struck him as a pitiable irregularity in other women if they did not roll up their table-napkins with the same tightness and emphasis as Mrs Glegg did, if their pastry had a less leathery consistence, and their damson cheese a less venerable hardness than hers: nay, even the peculiar compination of grocery and drug-like odours in Mrs Glegg's private cupboard impressed him as the only right thing in the way of cupboard smells.
on perspective Mr Glegg paused from his porridge and looked up--not with any new amazement, but simply with that quiet, habitual wonder with which we regard constant mysteries.
on living beyond one's means In those less-favoured days, it is no fable that there were other clergymen beisdes Mr Stelling who had narrow intellects and large wants, and whose income, by a logical confusion to which Fortune, being a female as well as blindfold, is peculiarly liable, was proportioned not to their wants but to their intellect--with which income has clearly no inherent relation. The problem these gentlemen had to solve was to readjuct the proportion between their wants and their income; and since wants are not easily starved to death, the simpler method appeared to be--to raise their income.
on appearances Gentlemen with broad chests and ambitious intentions do sometimes disappoint their friends by failing to carry the world before them.
on the residue of tragedy it is that these Rhine castles thrill me with a sense of poetry: they belong to the grand life of humanity, and raise up for me the vision of an epoch. But these dead-tinted, hollow-eyed angular skeletons of the villages on the Rhone oppress me with the feeling that human life--very much of it--is a narrow, ugly, grovelling existence, which even calamity does not elevate, but rather tends to exhibit in all its bare vulgarity of conception; and I have a cruel conviction that the lives these ruins are the traces of, were part of a gross sum of obscure vitality, that will be swept into the same oblivion with the generations of ants and beavers.
on the expectations of women It's no mischief much while she's a little un, but an over-'cute [acute, clever] woman's no better nor a long-tailed sheep--she'll fetch none the bigger price for that.

I should like to know what is the proper function of women, if it is not to make reasons for husbands to stay at home, and still stronger reasons for bachelors to go out. If this goes on much longer, the bonds of society will be dissolved.
on english weather The next morning was very wet: the sort of morning on which male neighbours who have no imperative occupation at home are likely to pay their fair friends an illimitable visit. The rain, which has been endurable enough for the walk or ride one way, is sure to become so heavy, and at the same time so certain to clear up by-and-by, that nothing but an open quarrel can abbreviate the visit: latent detestation will not do at all. And if people happen to be lovers, what can be so delightful, in England, as a rainy morning? English sunshine is dubious; bonnets are never quite secure; and if you sit down on the grass, it may lead to catarrhs. But the rain is to be depended on.