Drop by drop, I poured the profaning bitterness of this world's wisdom into that pure heart and that innocent mind, while every higher and better feeling within me recoiled from my miserable task. It is over now. She has learnt her hard, her inevitable lesson. The simple illusions of her girlhood are gone; and my hand has stripped them off. Better mine than his - that is all my consolation - better mine than his.
Chapter 11, 30th , The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (published 1860).
Oh dear. I just realized how miserable and bitter this excerpt sounds without the context. I think that I'll have to give it to you before you get all upset and decide I'm much too depressing to waste time reading: Marian Halcombe's half sister, teenager Laura Fairlie, is about to be married off to Sir Percival Glyde, a man she does not love, even to the extent of disliking. Laura wants Marian to continue living with her, but Marian knows that whether or not they would have it this way, their lives will soon be changed for better or worse by the arrangement. As they soon find out, it is for much much worse. It's actually become quite upsetting. Like Wuthering Heights but without the big bang that makes you want to keep reading. What I am desperate for now is some definite action on the plot, but it's just not coming. It's definitely not Wilkie's strongest work. I think that The Woman in White is more like a 'getting the hang of it' type of book for him. It obviously has good ideas, but it's not a magnum opus like The Moonstone. Now that's a reall doozy of a book! Not at all like this! Anyway, I suppose that when I read this part (it was maybe a week ago that I actually read it), my thoughts were that the words used really emphasised a dismal abruptness that was very evocative. I also suppose that I want the book to end because I have some ideas for what I'd like to read next! How is your reading life at the moment?