Daniel Deronda HTML version

Chapter 4
"Gorgibus.-- * * * Je te dis que le mariage est une chose sainte et sacrée: et que
c'est faire en honnêtes gens, que de débuter par là.
"Madelon.--Mon Dieu! que si tout le monde vous ressemblait, un roman serait
bientôt fini! La belle chose que ce serait, si d'abord Cyrus épousait Mandane, et
qu'Aronce de plain-pied fût marié à Clélie! * * * Laissez-nous faire à loisir le tissu
de notre roman, et n'en pressez pas tant la conclusion."
MOLIÈRE. Les Précieuses Ridicules.
It would be a little hard to blame the rector of Pennicote that in the course of
looking at things from every point of view, he looked at Gwendolen as a girl likely
to make a brilliant marriage. Why should he be expected to differ from his
contemporaries in this matter, and wish his niece a worse end of her charming
maidenhood than they would approve as the best possible? It is rather to be set
down to his credit that his feelings on the subject were entirely good-natured.
And in considering the relation of means to ends, it would have been mere folly
to have been guided by the exceptional and idylic--to have recommended that
Gwendolen should wear a gown as shabby as Griselda's in order that a marquis
might fall in love with her, or to have insisted that since a fair maiden was to be
sought, she should keep herself out of the way. Mr. Gascoigne's calculations
were of the kind called rational, and he did not even think of getting a too frisky
horse in order that Gwendolen might be threatened with an accident and be
rescued by a man of property. He wished his niece well, and he meant her to be
seen to advantage in the best society of the neighborhood.
Her uncle's intention fell in perfectly with Gwendolen's own wishes. But let no one
suppose that she also contemplated a brilliant marriage as the direct end of her
witching the world with her grace on horseback, or with any other
accomplishment. That she was to be married some time or other she would have
felt obliged to admit; and that her marriage would not be of a middling kind, such
as most girls were contented with, she felt quietly, unargumentatively sure. But
her thoughts never dwelt on marriage as the fulfillment of her ambition; the
dramas in which she imagined herself a heroine were not wrought up to that
close. To be very much sued or hopelessly sighed for as a bride was indeed an
indispensable and agreeable guarantee of womanly power; but to become a wife
and wear all the domestic fetters of that condition, was on the whole a vexatious
necessity. Her observation of matrimony had inclined her to think it rather a
dreary state in which a woman could not do what she liked, had more children
than were desirable, was consequently dull, and became irrevocably immersed in
humdrum. Of course marriage was social promotion; she could not look forward
to a single life; but promotions have sometimes to be taken with bitter herbs--a
peerage will not quite do instead of leadership to the man who meant to lead;