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Chapter 29
"I found that no genius in another could please me. My unfortunate paradoxes
had entirely dried up that source of comfort."--GOLDSMITH.
One morning, some weeks after her arrival at Lowick, Dorothea-- but why always
Dorothea? Was her point of view the only possible one with regard to this
marriage? protest against all our interest, all our effort at understanding being
given to the young skins that look blooming in spite of trouble; for these too will
get faded, and will know the older and more eating griefs which we are helping to
neglect. In spite of the blinking eyes and white moles objectionable to Celia, and
the want of muscular curve which was morally painful to Sir James, Mr.
Casaubon had an intense consciousness within him, and was spiritually a-
hungered like the rest of us. He had done nothing exceptional in marrying--
nothing but what society sanctions, and considers an occasion for wreaths and
bouquets. It had occurred to him that he must not any longer defer his intention
of matrimony, and he had reflected that in taking a wife, a man of good position
should expect and carefully choose a blooming young lady--the younger the
better, because more educable and submissive--of a rank equal to his own, of
religious principles, virtuous disposition, and good understanding. On such a
young lady he would make handsome settlements, and he would neglect no
arrangement for her happiness: in return, he should receive family pleasures and
leave behind him that copy of himself which seemed so urgently required of a
man-- to the sonneteers of the sixteenth century. Times had altered since then,
and no sonneteer had insisted on Mr. Casaubon's leaving a copy of himself;
moreover, he had not yet succeeded in issuing copies of his mythological key;
but he had always intended to acquit himself by marriage, and the sense that he
was fast leaving the years behind him, that the world was getting dimmer and
that he felt lonely, was a reason to him for losing no more time in overtaking
domestic delights before they too were left behind by the years.
And when he had seen Dorothea he believed that he had found even more than
he demanded: she might really be such a helpmate to him as would enable him
to dispense with a hired secretary, an aid which Mr. Casaubon had never yet
employed and had a suspicious dread of. (Mr. Casaubon was nervously
conscious that he was expected to manifest a powerful mind.) Providence, in its
kindness, had supplied him with the wife he needed. A wife, a modest young
lady, with the purely appreciative, unambitious abilities of her sex, is sure to think
her husband's mind powerful. Whether Providence had taken equal care of Miss
Brooke in presenting her with Mr. Casaubon was an idea which could hardly
occur to him. Society never made the preposterous demand that a man should
think as much about his own qualifications for making a charming girl happy as
he thinks of hers for making himself happy. As if a man could choose not only his
wife hut his wife's husband! Or as if he were bound to provide charms for his
posterity in his own person!-- When Dorothea accepted him with effusion, that