A key passage (and one of my favorites) from Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. Cynthia is talking to Molly.
“Nonsense, Molly! You are good. At least, if you are not good, what am I? There’s a rule-of-three sum for you to do! But it’s no use talking; I am not good, and I never shall be now. Perhaps I might be a heroine still, but I shall never be a good woman, I know.”
“But do you think it easier to be a heroine?”
“Yes, as far as one knows of heroines from history. I’m capable of a great jerk, an effort, and then a relaxation–but steady, every-day goodness is beyond me. I must be a moral kangaroo!”