Something I admire in others but cannot pretend to have fully mastered, though am fortunate in not having been required to endure anything close to, let alone beyond, my circumscribed natural limits.

Eliot isn’t talking about physical pain, but her mention of opium when we are living through an epidemic of addiction to opiates, is striking.  She stands for stoicism, but also repeatedly pleas for compassion and kindness.

‘Our highest “calling and election” is to do without opium and live through all our pain with conscious clear-eyed endurance’.   (26 December 1860)

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 31

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