In all ages it hath been a favorite text that a potent love hath the nature of an
isolated fatality, whereto the mind's opinions and wonted resolves are altogether
alien; as, for example, Daphnis his frenzy, wherein it had little availed him to
have been convinced of Heraclitus his doctrine; or the philtre-bred passion of
Tristan, who, though he had been as deep as Duns Scotus, would have had his
reasoning marred by that cup too much; or Romeo in his sudden taking for Juliet,
wherein any objections he might have held against Ptolemy had made little
difference to his discourse under the balcony. Yet all love is not such, even
though potent; nay, this passion hath as large scope as any for allying itself with
every operation of the soul: so that it shall acknowledge an effect from the
imagined light of unproven firmaments, and have its scale set to the grander
orbits of what hath been and shall be.
Deronda, on his return to town, could assure Sir Hugo of his having lodged in
Grandcourt's mind a distinct understanding that he could get fifty thousand
pounds by giving up a prospect which was probably distant, and not absolutely
certain; but he had no further sign of Grandcourt's disposition in the matter than
that he was evidently inclined to keep up friendly communications.
"And what did you think of the future bride on a nearer survey?" said Sir Hugo.
"I thought better of her than I did in Leubronn. Roulette was not a good setting for
her; it brought out something of the demon. At Dinlow she seemed much more
womanly and attractive--less hard and self-possessed. I thought her mouth and
eyes had quite a different expression."
"Don't flirt with her too much, Dan," said Sir Hugo, meaning to be agreeably
playful. "If you make Grandcourt savage when they come to the Abbey at
Christmas, it will interfere with my affairs."
"I can stay in town, sir."
"No, no. Lady Mallinger and the children can't do without you at Christmas. Only
don't make mischief--unless you can get up a duel, and manage to shoot
Grandcourt, which might be worth a little inconvenience."
"I don't think you ever saw me flirt," said Deronda, not amused.
"Oh, haven't I, though?" said Sir Hugo, provokingly. "You are always looking
tenderly at the women, and talking to them in a Jesuitical way. You are a
dangerous young fellow--a kind of Lovelace who will make the Clarissas run after
you instead of you running after them."