Some past/present/future snippets:

It is not pleasant to give up a rat-catching when you have set your mind on it. But if Tom had told his strongest feeling at that moment, he would have said, I’d do just the same again.” That was his usual mode of viewing his past actions; whereas Maggie was always wishing she had done something different. (Pt. 1 Ch. VI)

While the possible troubles of Maggie’s future were occupying her father’s mind, she herself was tasting only the bitterness of the present. Childhood has no forebodings; but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrows. (Pt. 1 Ch. IX)

Since the centuries when St Ogg with his boat and the Virgin Mother at the prow had been seen on the wide water, so many memolries had been left behind, and had gradually vanished like the receding hill-tops! And the present time was like the level plain where men lose their belief in volcanoes and earthquakes, thinking to-morrow will be as yesterday, and the giant forces that used to shake the earth are for ever laid to sleep. (Pt. 1 Ch. XII)

There is no sense of ease like the ease we felt in those scenes where we were born, where objects became dear to us before we had known the labour of choice, and where the outer world seemed only an extension of our personality: we accepted and loved it as we accepted our own sense of existence and our limbs. Very commonplace, even ugly, that furniture of our early home might look if it were put up to auction; an improved taste in upholstery scorns it; and is not the striving after something better and better in our surroundings, the grand characteristic that distinguishes man from the brute–or, to satisfy a scrupulous accuracy of definition, that distinguishes the British man from the foreign brute? But heaven knows where that striving might lead us, if our affections had not a trick of twining round those old inferior things–if the loves and sanctities of our life had no deep immovable roots in memory.

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