`Perhaps I do,' said Philip, rather sadly, `but I think of too many things - sow all sorts of seeds, and get no great harvest from any one of them. I'm cursed with susceptibility in every direction, and effective faculty in none. I care for painting and music - I care for classic literature, and mediaeval literature and modern literature - I flutter all ways, and fly in none.'

`But surely that is a happiness to have so many tastes - to enjoy so many beautiful things - when they are within your reach,' said Maggie, musingly. `It always seemed to me a sort of clever stupidity only to have one sort of talent - almost like a carrier-pigeon.'

`It might be a happiness to have many tastes if I were like other men,' said Philip, bitterly. `I might get some power and distinction by mere mediocrity, as they do - at least I should get those middling satisfactions which make men contented to do without great ones. I might think society at St Ogg's agreeable then. But nothing could make life worth the purchase-money of pain to me but some faculty that would lift me above the dead level of provincial existence. Yes - there is one thing: a passion answers as well as a faculty.'

Maggie did not hear the last words: she was struggling against the consciousness that Philip's words had set her own discontent vibrating again as it used to do.

`I understand what you mean,' she said, `though I know so much less that you do. I used to think I could never bear life if it kept on being the same every day, and I must always be doing things of no consequence, and never know anything greater. But, dear Philip, I think we are only like children, that some one who is wiser is taking care of. Is it not right to resign ourselves entirely, whatever may be denied us? I have found great peace in that for the last two on three years - even joy in subduing my own will.'

`Yes, Maggie,' said Philip, vehemently, `and you are shutting yourself up in a narrow self-delusive fanaticism which is only a way of escaping pain by starving into dulness all the highest powers of your nature. Joy and peace are not resignation: resignation is the willing endurance of a pain that is not allayed - that you don't expect to be allayed. Stupefaction is not resignation: and it is stupefaction to remain in ignorance - to shut up all the avenues by which the life of your fellow-men might become known to you. I am not resigned: I am not sure that life is long enough to learn that lesson. You are not resigned: you are only trying to stupefy yourself.'

Maggie's lips trembled; she felt there was some truth in what Philip said, and yet there was a deeper consciousness that for any immediate application it had to her conduct it was no better than falsity. Her double impression corresponded to the double impulse of the speaker. Philip seriously believed what he said, but he said it with vehemence because it made an argument against the resolution that opposed his wishes. But Maggie's face, made more child-like by the gathering tears, touched him with a tenderer, less egoistic feeling. He took her hand and said gently--

`Don't let us think of such things in this short half hour, Maggie. Let us only care about being together... we shall be friends in spite of separation... we shall always think of each other. I shall be glad to live as long as you are alive, because I shall think there may always come a time when I can - when you will let me help you in some way.'

`What a dear, good brother you would have been Philip,' said Maggie, smiling through the haze of tears. `I think you would have made as much fuss about me, and been as pleased for me to love you, as would have satisfied even me. You would have loved me well enough to bear with me, and forgive me everything. That was what I always longed that Tom should do. I was never satisfied with a little of anything. That is why it is better for me to do without earthly happiness altogether... I never felt that I had enough music - I wanted more instruments playing together - I wanted voices to be fuller and deeper. Do you ever sing now, Philip?' she added abruptly, as if she had forgotten what went before.

`Yes,' he said, `every day, almost. But my voice is only middling - like everything else in me.'

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