Ah, it's nice to be back. I was good and didn't cheat on my internet fast all week, although I was dying to read Brandon's post comparing Casanova and Don Juan after Darwin mentioned it to me.
Still, I took great advantage of my copious internet-free time on Tuesday to
The old unhappy feeling pervaded my life. It was deepened, if it were changed at all; but it was as undefined as ever. and addressed me like a strain of sorrowful music faintly heard in the night. I loved my wife dearly, and I was happy; but the happiness I had vaguely anticipated, once, was not the happiness I enjoyed, and there was always something wanting.What sadness in these words, and (to my mind) how much better not to marry than to live with such "disparity in marriage" as "unsuitability of mind and purpose". Dickens doesn't choose to trace the course of such a marriage through the long slog of years, but I shudder to contemplate it.
...What I missed, I still regarded -- always regarded -- as something that had been a dream of youthful fancy; that was incapable of realisation; that I was now discovering to be so, with some natural pain, as all men do. But that it would have been better for me if my wife could have helped me more, and shared the many thoughts in which I had no partner; and that this might have been; I knew.
"The first mistaken impulse of an undisciplined heart." These words of Mrs. Strong's were constantly recurring to me, at that time; were almost always present to my mind. ...For I knew, now, that my own heart was undisciplined when it first loved Dora; that if it had been disciplined, it never could have felt, when we were married, what it had felt in its secret existence.
"There can be no disparity in marriage, like unsuitability of mind and purpose." Those words I remembered too. I had endeavoured to adapt Dora to myself, and found it impracticable. It remained for me to adapt myself to Dora; to share with her what I could, and be happy; to bear on my own shoulders what I must, and still be happy. This was the discipline to which I tried to bring my heart, when I began to think.