Daniel Deronda HTML version

Chapter 22
We please our fancy with ideal webs
Of innovation, but our life meanwhile
Is in the loom, where busy passion plies
The shuttle to and fro, and gives our deeds
The accustomed pattern.
Gwendolen's note, coming "pat betwixt too early and too late," was put into
Klesmer's hands just when he was leaving Quetcham, and in order to meet her
appeal to his kindness he, with some inconvenience to himself spent the night at
Wanchester. There were reasons why he would not remain at Quetcham.
That magnificent mansion, fitted with regard to the greatest expense, had in fact
became too hot for him, its owners having, like some great politicians, been
astonished at an insurrection against the established order of things, which we
plain people after the event can perceive to have been prepared under their very
There were as usual many guests in the house, and among them one in whom
Miss Arrowpoint foresaw a new pretender to her hand: a political man of good
family who confidently expected a peerage, and felt on public grounds that he
required a larger fortune to support the title properly. Heiresses vary, and
persons interested in one of them beforehand are prepared to find that she is too
yellow or too red, tall and toppling or short and square, violent and capricious or
moony and insipid; but in every case it is taken for granted that she will consider
herself an appendage to her fortune, and marry where others think her fortunes
ought to go. Nature, however, not only accommodates herself ill to our favorite
practices by making "only children" daughters, but also now and then endows the
misplaced daughter with a clear head and a strong will. The Arrowpoints had
already felt some anxiety owing to these endowments of their Catherine. She
would not accept the view of her social duty which required her to marry a needy
nobleman or a commoner on the ladder toward nobility; and they were not
without uneasiness concerning her persistence in declining suitable offers. As to
the possibility of her being in love with Klesmer they were not at all uneasy--a
very common sort of blindness. For in general mortals have a great power of
being astonished at the presence of an effect toward which they have done
everything, and at the absence of an effect toward which they had done nothing
but desire it. Parents are astonished at the ignorance of their sons, though they
have used the most time-honored and expensive means of securing it; husbands
and wives are mutually astonished at the loss of affection which they have taken
no pains to keep; and all of us in our turn are apt to be astonished that our
neighbors do not admire us. In this way it happens that the truth seems highly