He was surprised to find this young woman — who though but a milkmaid had just that touch of rarity about her which might make her the envied of her housemates — shaping such sad imaginings. She was expressing in her own native phrases — assisted a little by her Sixth Standard training — feelings which might almost have been called those of the age — the ache of modernism. The perception arrested him less when he reflected that what are called advanced ideas are really in great part but the latest fashion in definition — a more accurate expression, by words in logy and ism, of sensations which men and women have vaguely grasped for centuries.

Still, it was strange that they should have come to her while yet so young; more than strange; it was impressive, interesting, pathetic. Not guessing the cause, there was nothing to remind him that experience is as to intensity, and not as to duration. Tess’s corporeal blight had been her mental harvest.

—Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles