a steadfast bulwark for great interests to rest upon; but, at the fireside, too often a cold column

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 34) | Genius

Quotation: I understood, as by inspiration, the nature of his love for Miss Oliver; I agreed with him that it was but a love of the senses. I comprehended how he should despise himself for the feverish influence it exercised over him; how he should wish to stifle and destroy it; how he should mistrust its ever conducting permanently to his happiness or hers. I saw he was of the material from which nature hews her heroes—Christian and Pagan—her lawgivers, her statesmen, her conquerors: a steadfast bulwark for great interests to rest upon; but, at the fireside, too often a cold cumbrous column, gloomy and out of place.
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Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

Nature => 1. the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization;
To hew => similar with “to shape”

The sentence => I saw he was made of the material with which nature creates Christian and Pagan heroes, lawgivers, statesmen, conquerors: he could be a steadfast bulwark, supporting the cause of benefiting human beings; but , at the fireside, he was too often a cold bulky column, gloomy and not in the proper place.

The essential meaning => I saw he could become…: he was suitable for great causes, not cozy domestic life.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I think you have understood the sentence. St John was suitable for grand things, but would be awkward in a domestic setting.
     
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