I fancy my father thought me an odd child and had little fondness for me; though he was very careful in fulfilling what he regarded as a parent's duties. But he was already past the middle of life and I was not his only son. My mother had been his second wife and he was five-and-forty when he married her. He was a firm, unbending, intensely orderly man, in root and stem a banker, but with a flourishing graft of the active landholder, aspiring to county influence: one of those people who are always like themselves from day to day, who are uninfluenced by the weather and neither know melancholy nor high spirits. I held him in great awe and appeared more timid and sensitive in his presence than at other times; a circumstance which, perhaps, helped to confirm him in the intention to educate me on a different plan from the prescriptive one with which he had complied in the case of my elder brother, already a tall youth at Eton. My brother was to be his representative and successor; he must go to Eton and Oxford, for the sake of making connexions, of course: my father was not a man to underrate the bearing of Latin satirists or Greek dramatists on the attainment of an aristocratic position. But intrinsically, he had slight esteem for those dead but sceptred spirits; having qualified himself for forming an independent opinion by reading Potter's Aeschylus and dipping into Francis's Horace. To this negative view he added a positive one, derived from a recent connexion with mining speculations; namely, that scientific education was the really useful training for a younger son. Moreover, it was clear that a shy, sensitive boy like me was not fit to encounter the rough experience of a public school. Mr. Letherall had said so very decidedly. Mr. Letherall was a large man in spectacles, who one day took my small head between his large hands and pressed it here and there in an exploratory, suspicious manner - then placed each of his great thumbs on my temples and pushed me a little way from him and stared at me with glittering spectacles. The contemplation appeared to displease him, for he frowned sternly and said to my father, drawing his thumbs across my eyebrows -'The deficiency is there, sir-there; and here,' he added, touching the upper sides of my head, 'here is the excess. That must be brought out, sir and this must be laid to sleep.'I was in a state of tremor, partly at the vague idea that I was the object of reprobation, partly in the agitation of my first hatred - hatred of this big, spectacled man, who pulled my head about as if he wanted to buy and cheapen it. (The Lifted Veil)
George Eliot