Gilbert Markham Quotes in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
I have not yet said that a boy should be ought to rush into the snares of life—or even willfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it; I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountainside, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.
Well then, it must be that you think they are both weakened and prone to err, and the slightest error, the merest shadow of pollution will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished—his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience,
while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others.
Then you must fall each into your proper place. You’ll do your business, and she, if she’s worthy of you, will do hers; but it's your business to please yourself, and hers to please you.
You’re not fit to associate with ladies and gentlemen, like us, that have nothing to do but to run snooking about to our neighbours’ houses, peeping into their private corners; and scenting out their secrets, and picking holes in their coats, when we don't find them ready made to our hands—you don’t understand such refined sources of enjoyment.
“It gives me little consolation to think I shall next behold you as a disembodied spirit, or an altered being, with a frame perfect and glorious, but not like this! —and a heart, perhaps, entirely estranged from me.”
“No, Gilbert, there is perfect love in Heaven!”
“So perfect, I suppose, that it soars above distinctions, and you will have no closer sympathy with me than with any one of the ten thousand angels and the innumerable multitude of happy spirits round us.”