One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so rigidly of the spirit of abstraction
, may be shadowed forth, although feebly, in words.
The simplest abstraction
was practically beyond our thinking; and when one did happen to think one, he was hard put to communicate it to his fellows.
such as 'authority,' 'equality,' 'utility,' 'liberty,' 'pleasure,' 'experience,' 'consciousness,' 'chance,' 'substance,' 'matter,' 'atom,' and a heap of other metaphysical and theological terms, are the source of quite as much error and illusion and have as little relation to actual facts as the ideas of Plato.
Who can forget, in the midst of the hilarious scenes he toward the last sought with greater and greater avidity--who can forget, I say, the deep abstractions
and black moods into which he fell?
The word is always concrete and sensible, however abstract its meaning may be, and thus by the help of words we are able to dwell on abstractions
in a way which would otherwise be impossible.
Stelling took no note of these things; he only observed that Tom's faculties failed him before the abstractions
hideously symbolized to him in the pages of the Eton Grammar, and that he was in a state bordering on idiocy with regard to the demonstration that two given triangles must be equal, though he could discern with great promptitude and certainty the fact that they
Certainly--of course I did," he returned, with the sudden testiness of disturbed abstraction
Jennings's well-meant but ill-judged attentions to her, this calmness could not have been maintained; but not a syllable escaped her lips; and the abstraction
of her thoughts preserved her in ignorance of every thing that was passing before her.
One afternoon (I had then been three weeks at Lowood), as I was sitting with a slate in my hand, puzzling over a sum in long division, my eyes, raised in abstraction
to the window, caught sight of a figure just passing: I recognised almost instinctively that gaunt outline; and when, two minutes after, all the school, teachers included, rose en masse, it was not necessary for me to look up in order to ascertain whose entrance they thus greeted.
Yet, no one could have looked at him twice, without looking again: even though the opportunity of observation had not extended to the mournful cadence of his low grave voice, and to the abstraction
that overclouded him fitfully, without any apparent reason.
Miss Skiffins's composure while she did this was one of the most remarkable sights I have ever seen, and if I could have thought the act consistent with abstraction
of mind, I should have deemed that Miss Skiffins performed it mechanically.
No doubt my melancholy abstraction
accounted for that, and perhaps her presence there was to be explained by a London train which I had listlessly observed come in to the town an hour before.