The Lifted Veil by George Eliot


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Lifted Veil, by George Eliot

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Lifted Veil

Author: George Eliot

Release Date: April 20, 2005 [eBook #2165]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1921 Oxford University Press edition by David Price,


Give me no light, great Heaven, but such as turns
To energy of human fellowship;
No powers beyond the growing heritage
That makes completer manhood.


The time of my end approaches. I have lately been subject to attacks of
_angina pectoris_; and in the ordinary course of things, my physician
tells me, I may fairly hope that my life will not be protracted many
months. Unless, then, I am cursed with an exceptional physical
constitution, as I am cursed with an exceptional mental character, I
shall not much longer groan under the wearisome burthen of this earthly
existence. If it were to be otherwise--if I were to live on to the age
most men desire and provide for--I should for once have known whether the
miseries of delusive expectation can outweigh the miseries of true
provision. For I foresee when I shall die, and everything that will
happen in my last moments.

Just a month from this day, on September 20, 1850, I shall be sitting in
this chair, in this study, at ten o'clock at night, longing to die, weary
of incessant insight and foresight, without delusions and without hope.
Just as I am watching a tongue of blue flame rising in the fire, and my
lamp is burning low, the horrible contraction will begin at my chest. I
shall only have time to reach the bell, and pull it violently, before the
sense of suffocation will come. No one will answer my bell. I know why.
My two servants are lovers, and will have quarrelled. My housekeeper
will have rushed out of the house in a fury, two hours before, hoping
that Perry will believe she has gone to drown herself. Perry is alarmed
at last, and is gone out after her. The little scullery-maid is asleep
on a bench: she never answers the bell; it does not wake her. The sense
of suffocation increases: my lamp goes out with a horrible stench: I make
a great effort, and snatch at the bell again. I long for life, and there
is no help. I thirsted for the unknown: the thirst is gone. O God, let
me stay with the known, and be weary of it: I am content. Agony of pain
and suffocation--and all the while the earth, the fields, the pebbly
brook at the bottom of the rookery, the fresh scent after the rain, the
light of the morning through my chamber-window, the warmth of the hearth
after the frosty air--will darkness close over them for ever?

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 3rd Jun 2020, 3:28