Middlemarch (Chapter V, page 1 of 11)


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"Hard students are commonly troubled with gowts, catarrhs,
rheums, cachexia, bradypepsia, bad eyes, stone, and collick,
crudities, oppilations, vertigo, winds, consumptions, and
all such diseases as come by over-much sitting: they are
most part lean, dry, ill-colored . . . and all through
immoderate pains and extraordinary studies. If you will not
believe the truth of this, look upon great Tostatus and
Thomas Aquainas' works; and tell me whether those men took
pains."--BURTON'S Anatomy of Melancholy, P. I, s. 2.


This was Mr. Casaubon's letter.


MY DEAR MISS BROOKE,--I have your guardian's permission to address you
on a subject than which I have none more at heart. I am not, I trust,
mistaken in the recognition of some deeper correspondence than that of
date in the fact that a consciousness of need in my own life had arisen
contemporaneously with the possibility of my becoming acquainted with
you. For in the first hour of meeting you, I had an impression of your
eminent and perhaps exclusive fitness to supply that need (connected, I
may say, with such activity of the affections as even the
preoccupations of a work too special to be abdicated could not
uninterruptedly dissimulate); and each succeeding opportunity for
observation has given the impression an added depth by convincing me
more emphatically of that fitness which I had preconceived, and thus
evoking more decisively those affections to which I have but now
referred. Our conversations have, I think, made sufficiently clear to
you the tenor of my life and purposes: a tenor unsuited, I am aware, to
the commoner order of minds. But I have discerned in you an elevation
of thought and a capability of devotedness, which I had hitherto not
conceived to be compatible either with the early bloom of youth or with
those graces of sex that may be said at once to win and to confer
distinction when combined, as they notably are in you, with the mental
qualities above indicated. It was, I confess, beyond my hope to meet
with this rare combination of elements both solid and attractive,
adapted to supply aid in graver labors and to cast a charm over vacant
hours; and but for the event of my introduction to you (which, let me
again say, I trust not to be superficially coincident with
foreshadowing needs, but providentially related thereto as stages
towards the completion of a life's plan), I should presumably have gone
on to the last without any attempt to lighten my solitariness by a
matrimonial union.

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