chapter  3
62 Pages

William Hale White and the Problems of Deliverance

WRITINGtohisfriend,SophiaPartridge,inr8g7,HaleWhite toldher:'IbelongtotheTennyson-Carlyle-Ruskinepoch. WhenIwasaboy,thesemenweretheappointedchannels throughwhichthenewlifewaspouredintome....'Ayear laterhewrotetoherthathewasgladtofindthathisfeelingfor GeorgeEliot'haslostnoneofitsintensity,andthat,asawhole, whatIthoughtofherfive-and-thirtyyearsagoiswhatIthink ofhernow'.1Andhepayseloquenttributetoherinalate essay,protestingatLeslieStephen'sdaringtocallher'eminentlyrespectable'.Shewasnothingofthesort,HaleWhite retorts,becauseshewasquiteincapableofmentalcompromise: 'Sheneverterminatedinquirytillshehadgoneasfarasher powerfulintellectpermittedhertogo,andsheneverrefusedto actuponherinvestigation.Ifshedidnotoutragetheworldby indecency,itwasnotbecauseshewas"respectable",butbecauseshehadnotdeducedindecencyasthefinaloutcomeof thinkingorthehighestachievementofart.'2