Dorothea is the more studious of two sisters and marries an older bookish chap, to the consternation of her relatives. Here her sister Celia expresses their concern and her author uses a charming simile to describe erudition as some kind of insidious invasion of dankness.

‘Only I was afraid you would be getting so learned,’ said Celia, regarding Mr Casaubon’s learning as a kind of damp which might in due time saturate a neighbouring body.

 

Source: George Eliot, Middlemarch (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 296

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