Quotes from The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot ·  579 pages

Rating: (41.7K votes)


“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“I am not imposed upon by fine words; I can see what actions mean.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Don't judge a book by its cover”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“I desire no future that will break the ties of the past.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Poetry and art and knowledge are sacred and pure.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



“No anguish I have had to bear on your account has been too heavy a price to pay for the new life into which I have entered in loving you.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Those bitter sorrows of childhood!-- when sorrow is all new and strange, when hope has not yet got wings to fly beyond the days and weeks, and the space from summer to summer seems measureless.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Jealousy is never satisfied with anything short of an omniscience that would detect the subtlest fold of the heart.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Her future, she thought, was likely to be worse than her past, for after her years of contented renunciation, she had slipped back into desire and longing; she found joyless days of distasteful occupation harder and harder; she found the image of the intense and varied life she yearned for, and despaired of, becoming more and more importunate.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“She thought it was part of the hardship of her life that there was laid upon her the burthen of larger wants than others seemed to feel – that she had to endure this wide hopeless yearning for that something, whatever it was, that was greatest and best on this earth.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



“Saints and martyrs had never interested Maggie so much as sages and poets.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“If you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not to do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond of it.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“There is something sustaining in the very agitation that accompanies the first shocks of trouble, just as an acute pain is often a stimulus, and produces an excitement which is transient strength. It is in the slow, changed life that follows--in the time when sorrow has become stale, and has no longer an emotive intensity that counteracts its pain--in the time when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness, and trial is a dreary routine--it is then that despair threatens; it is then that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt, and eye and ear are strained after some unlearned secret of our existence, which shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“It was one of those dangerous moments when speech is at once sincere and deceptive - when feeling, rising high above its average depth, leaves flood-marks which are never reached again.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“In books there were people who were always agreeable or tender, and delighted to do things that made one happy, and who did not show their kindness by finding fault. The world outside the books was not a happy one, Maggie felt: it seemed to be a world where people behaved the best to those they did not pretend to love and that did not belong to them. And if life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie? Nothing but poverty and the companionship of her mother’s narrow griefs—perhaps of her father’s heart-cutting childish dependence. There is no hopelessness so sad as that of early youth, when the soul is made up of wants, and has no long memories, no super-added life in the life of others; though we who look on think lightly of such premature despair, as if our vision of the future lightened the blind sufferer’s present.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



“Nature repairs her ravages, but not all. The uptorn trees are not rooted again; the parted hills are left scarred; if there is a new growth, the trees are not the same as the old, and the hills underneath their green vesture bear the marks of the past rending. To the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“What a different result one gets by changing the metaphor!”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“If I got places, sir, it was because I made myself fit for 'em. If you want to slip into a round hole, you must first make a ball of yourself; that's where it is.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“I would rather not be engaged. When people are engaged, they begin to think of being married soon, and I should like everything to go on for a long while just as it is.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows, the same redbreasts that we used to call ‘God’s birds’ because they did no harm to the precious crops. What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



“So deeply inherent is it in this life of ours that men have to suffer for each other's sins, so inevitably diffusive is human suffering, that even justice makes its victims, and we can conceive no retribution that does not spread beyond its mark in pulsations of unmerited pain.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“[She was] a creature full of eager, passionate longings for all that was beautiful and glad; thirsty for all knowledge; with an ear straining after dreamy music that died away and would not come near to her; with a blind unconscious yearning for something that would link together the wonderful impressions of this mysterious life, and give her soul a sense of home in it.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Childhood has no forebodings; but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Her heart went out to him with a stronger movement than ever, at the thought that people would blame him. Maggie hated blame; she had been blamed her whole life, and nothing had come of it but evil tempers.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“I've never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



“But if Maggie had been that young lady, you would probably have known nothing about her: her life would have had so few vicissitudes that it could hardly have been written; for the happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“All people of broad, strong sense have an instinctive repugnance to the men of maxims; because such people early discern that the mysterious complexity of our life is not to be embraced by maxims, and that to lace ourselves up in formulas of that sort is to repress all the divine promptings and inspirations that spring from growing insight and sympathy. And the man of maxims is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a ready-made patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality, without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardly-earned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Let a prejudice be bequeathed, carried in the air, adopted by hearsay, caught in through the eye,–however it may come, these minds will give it a habitation; it is something to assert strongly and bravely, something to fill up the void of spontaneous ideas, something to impose on others with the authority of conscious right; it is at once a staff and a baton.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“Surely there was something taught her by this experience of great need; and she must be learning a secret of human tenderness and long-suffering, that the less erring could hardly know?”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss


“If we only look far enough off for the consequence of our actions, we can always find some point in the combination of results by which those actions can be justified: by adopting the point of view of a Providence who arranges results, or of a philosopher who traces them, we shall find it possible to obtain perfect complacency in choosing to do what is most agreeable to us in the present moment.”
― George Eliot, quote from The Mill on the Floss



About the author

George Eliot
Born place: in South Farm, Arbury Hall, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, The United Kingdom
Born date November 22, 1819
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