How he could dare to link his supreme littleness with consummate perfection; to freight the miserable barque of his fortunes with so precious a cargo; to encounter the feeling and there is no escape for it "I must drag that woman down, not alone into obscurity, but into all the sordid meanness of a small condition, that never can emerge into anything better."
So is this stuff," Galen answered, poking at the mixture with a bronze spoon. "Every man must choose his own way in a crisis. Some one's star has fallen. Commodus'? I think not. That star blazed out of obscurity, and Commodus is not obscure. Mine? I am unimportant; I shall make no splendor in the heavens when my hour comes. Marcia's? Is she obscure? Yours?
I quote the first paragraph of this introduction because it emphasizes this. The quotation is taken from the English translation of the work as published in London in 1678. Curiously enough, seeing the obscurity surrounding Valentine himself, we do not know for sure who made the translation.
Few but such as those whose lot has fallen on such barren places would venture in; but for a moment let us see what is there. But the dark misery within hides itself in thick obscurity.
After the setting of the moon the night had become a void of blackness, but it was a void in which shadows crowded, all dark but some more inkily solid than others and of these shadows some were forests, some precipices, and some chasms lying trap-like between. Dorothy Harper and the mule she rode were moving somewhere through this world of sooty obscurity.
Why did he not give it up; retire into obscurity again, since the Law would not acknowledge him? cry several. That is where they mistake. For him there was no giving of it up! Prime ministers have governed countries, Pitt, Pombal, Choiseul; and their word was a law while it held: but this Prime Minister was one that could not get resigned.
Ray could hear Jacques tossing things about in the obscurity of the milk-room, but plainly finding no guns, and as plainly getting colder every minute. Something must be done at once. He clutched a flat-iron in each hand, screwed his courage to the sticking point, and dropped to the floor. As he flung the door wide open, he heard the rasping of the lynx's claws on the boards behind him.
Most likely, in silence, in sad isolation somewhere, in remote obscurity; trying if, in an evil ungoverned time, he cannot at least govern himself. The Real Captain undiscoverable; the Phantasm Captain everywhere very conspicuous: it is thought Phantasm Captains, aided by ballot-boxes, are the true method, after all. They are much the pleasantest for the time being!
In the next passage, given as emended by the folio, we have what appears to me one bad and one decidedly good alteration from the usual reading, which, in all the editions given hitherto, has left the meaning barely perceptible through the confusion and obscurity of the expression. The folio says, "He being thus loaded."
"When a boy at school I got heartily sick of the 'Mike' and the 'Jerry' and the even worse 'Tom and Jerry' that my young friends delighted in; so as soon as possible I sought obscurity and peace in 'M. J. Much to my surprise and annoyance the initials proved to be little better, for they became at once the biggest sort of whet to people's curiosity.