Then her brain would be busy with wild romances of a flight from home in search of something less sordid and dreary; she would go to some great man—Walter Scott, perhaps—and tell him how wretched and how clever she was, and he would surely do something for her.
It is a sordid life, you say, this of the Tullivers and Dodsons, irradiated by no sublime principles, no romantic visions, no active, self-renouncing faith; moved by none of those wild, uncontrollable passions which create the dark shadows of misery and crime; without that primitive, rough simplicity of wants, that hard, submissive, ill-paid toil, that childlike spelling-out of what nature has written, which gives its poetry to peasant life.
Strange contrast, you may have thought, between the effect produced on us by these dismal remnants of commonplace houses, which in their best days were but the sign of a sordid life, belonging in all its details to our own vulgar era, and the effect produced by those ruins on the castled Rhine, which have crumbled and mellowed into such harmony with the green and rocky steeps that they seem to have a natural fitness, like the mountain-pine; nay, even in the day when they were built…
She wanted some explanation of this hard, real life,—the unhappy-looking father, seated at the dull breakfast-table; the childish, bewildered mother; the little sordid tasks that filled the hours, or the more oppressive emptiness of weary, joyless leisure; the need of some tender, demonstrative love; the cruel sense that Tom didn’t mind what she thought or felt, and that they were no longer playfellows together; the privation of all pleasant things that had come to her more than to…
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I learned the sordid inner workings of the royal court in Modeg from a …. courtesan.
Patrick Rothfuss -- The Name of the Wind
I was considering what she had suggested about our pretending to be other people, like figures in a Western novel, imagining how we could somehow exist outside of this place and time and circumstance, share instead the minute and sordid problems of such folks, the vagaries and ornate dramas of imperfect love.