"If a cynical sprite were present, riding on one of the motes in that dusty room, he may have made himself merry at the illusions of the little minister who brought so much conscience to bear on the production of so slight an effect.I confess to smiling myself…but I never smiled at Mr Lyon’s trustful energy without falling to penitence and veneration immediately after. For what we call illusions are often, in truth, a wider vision of past and present realities – a willing movement of a man’s soul with the larger sweep of the world’s forces – a movement towards a more assured end than the chances of a single life. We see human heroism broken into units and say, this unit did little – might as well not have been. But in this way we might break up a great army into units; in this way we might break the sunlight into fragments, and think that this and the other might be cheaply parted with. Let us rather raise a monument to the soldiers whose brave hearts only kept the ranks unbroken, and met death – a monument to the faithful who were not famous, and who are precious as the continuity of the sunbeams is precious, though some of them fall unseen and on barrenness."
Quote from the 1866 novel Felix Holt, the Radical by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans)