If Mr. Tulliver had ever seriously injured or thwarted the attorney, Wakem would not have refused him the distinction of being a special object of his vindictiveness.
It was very cruel for Philip that he should be shrunk from, because of an unjustifiable vindictiveness toward his father,—poor Philip, whom some people would shrink from only because he was deformed.
Such things give a completeness to prosperity, and contribute elements of agreeable consciousness that are not dreamed of by that short-sighted, overheated vindictiveness which goes out its way to wreak itself in direct injury.
Maggie took the opposite view very strongly, and it was a direct consequence of this difference of opinion that when her mother was in the act of brushing out the reluctant black crop Maggie suddenly rushed from under her hands and dipped her head in a basin of water standing near, in the vindictive determination that there should be no more chance of curls that day.
In a mind charged with an eager purpose and an unsatisfied vindictiveness, there is no room for new feelings; Mr. Tulliver did not want spiritual consolation—he wanted to shake off the degradation of debt, and to have his revenge.
It was still possible, even in that later time of anti-Catholic preaching, for people to hold many pagan ideas, and believe themselves good church-people, notwithstanding; so we need hardly feel any surprise at the fact that Mr. Tulliver, though a regular church-goer, recorded his vindictiveness on the fly-leaf of his Bible.
Wakem was not without this parenthetic vindictiveness toward the uncomplimentary miller; and now Mrs. Tulliver had put the notion into his head, it presented itself to him as a pleasure to do the very thing that would cause Mr. Tulliver the most deadly mortification,— and a pleasure of a complex kind, not made up of crude malice, but mingling with it the relish of self-approbation.
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punishments...essentially vindictive in their nature