Friday, October 25, 2013


I had all sorts of visions of things getting done today, and then came down sick as a dog last night. Gang aft agley. There's no particular reason to think there any historical connection between the two following passages, but I thought the juxtaposition was quite interesting, nonetheless.

An affection so amiable was advancing each in the opinion of all who had hearts to value anything good. Henry Crawford was as much struck with it as any. He honoured the warm–hearted, blunt fondness of the young sailor, which led him to say, with his hands stretched towards Fanny’s head, “Do you know, I begin to like that queer fashion already, though when I first heard of such things being done in England, I could not believe it; and when Mrs. Brown, and the other women at the Commissioner’s at Gibraltar, appeared in the same trim, I thought they were mad; but Fanny can reconcile me to anything”; and saw, with lively admiration, the glow of Fanny’s cheek, the brightness of her eye, the deep interest, the absorbed attention, while her brother was describing any of the imminent hazards, or terrific scenes, which such a period at sea must supply.

It was a picture which Henry Crawford had moral taste enough to value. Fanny’s attractions increased—increased twofold; for the sensibility which beautified her complexion and illumined her countenance was an attraction in itself. He was no longer in doubt of the capabilities of her heart. She had feeling, genuine feeling. It would be something to be loved by such a girl, to excite the first ardours of her young unsophisticated mind! She interested him more than he had foreseen. A fortnight was not enough. His stay became indefinite.
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Chapter 24 (published 1814)

Considered as a principle of action, a cultivated moral taste, while it provides an effectual security against the grossness necessarily connected with many vices, cherishes a temper of mind friendly to all that is amiable, or generous, or elevated in our nature. When separated, however, as it sometimes is, from a strong sense of duty, it can scarcely fail to prove a fallacious guide; the influence of fashion, and of other casual associations, tending perpetually to lead it astray. This is more particularly remarkable in men to whom the gratifications of taste in general form the principal object of pursuit, and whose habits of life encourage them to look no higher for their rule of conduct than the way of the world.
Dugald Stewart, The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, p. 266 (published 1828)

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