It is because you have not a mind large enough to see that there is anything better than your own conduct and your own petty aims.
In natural science, I have understood, there is nothing petty to the mind that has a large vision of relations, and to which every single object suggests a vast sum of conditions.
"She’s very tender and affectionate, and so simple,—without the airs and petty contrivances other women have."
In poor Maggie’s highly-strung, hungry nature,—just come away from a third-rate schoolroom, with all its jarring sounds and petty round of tasks,—these apparently trivial causes had the effect of rousing and exalting her imagination in a way that was mysterious to herself.
He had little hope that Maggie would ever return the strong feeling he had for her; and it must be better for Maggie’s future life, when these petty family obstacles to her freedom had disappeared, that the present should not be entirely sacrificed, and that she should have some opportunity of culture,—some interchange with a mind above the vulgar level of those she was now condemned to live with.