The Mill On The Floss
But still... this chapter has caught the dilemma of my current life:
"But I can't give up wishing, said Philip, impatiently. "It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we *must* hunger after them. How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings are deadened? I delight in fine pictures - I long to be able to paint such. I strive and strive, and can't produce what I want. That is pain to me, and always *will* be pain, until my faculties lose their keenness, like aged eyes. Then, there are many other things that I long for" - here Philip hesitated a little, and then said - "things that other men have, and that will always be denied me. My life will have nothing great or beautiful in it - I would rather not have lived."
(Philip, the cripled son of the lawyer that ruined Maggie's family, is clearly in love with Maggie, and the pain of longing for her is all mixed up with the pain of striving to create a work of art as perfect as his imagination. I suspect he rather sees her as his Muse. He later tries to give Maggie a romantic novel, to distract her from her straitened condition, but she espouses the self denial that she has taught herself to keep her from losing her mind.)
"No thank you," said Maggie, putting the book aside with her hand and walking on. "It would make me in love with this world again, as I used to be; it would make me long to see and know many things - it would make me long for a full life."