“Every year I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence that will risk nothing, and which shirking pain, misses happiness as well. No one ever yet was the poorer in the long run for having once in a lifetime 'let out all the length of all the reins'.”
- Mary Cholmondeley
Mary Cholmondeley was an English novelist (1859-1925) who overcame a lack of opportunity, a lack of education and many years of debilitating illness to become one of Victorian England’s most successful writers. For the first thirty years of her life she looked after her sickly mother. Her diary showed that by the age of 18 she was already convinced she would never marry, lacking, she believed, the looks and the charms necessary to attract a suitable mate, and that she believed that she would die at age 66. In 1899, the year that also saw the publication of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, her novel Red Pottage, remained on the best seller list for two years. A satirical novel that is largely forgotten today, it tells the story of a Victorian woman writer who does not marry and is committed to her writing. Mary Cholmondeley died in 1925, aged 66 and unmarried, as she had predicted.
(Compare the above quotation with the lines in the Antonio Banderas film The 13th Warrior, spoken prior to a coming battle:
“Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought, and have not thought; all we ought to have said, and have not said; all we ought to have done, and have not done; I pray thee God for forgiveness.”