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Chapter 4
1st Gent. Our deeds are fetters that we forge ourselves.
2nd Gent. Ay, truly: but I think it is the world
That brings the iron.
"Sir James seems determined to do everything you wish," said Celia, as they
were driving home from an inspection of the new building-site.
"He is a good creature, and more sensible than any one would imagine," said
Dorothea, inconsiderately.
"You mean that he appears silly."
"No, no," said Dorothea, recollecting herself, and laying her hand on her sister's a
moment, "but he does not talk equally well on all subjects."
"I should think none but disagreeable people do," said Celia, in her usual purring
way. "They must be very dreadful to live with. Only think! at breakfast, and
Dorothea laughed. "O Kitty, you are a wonderful creature!" She pinched Celia's
chin, being in the mood now to think her very winning and lovely--fit hereafter to
be an eternal cherub, and if it were not doctrinally wrong to say so, hardly more
in need of salvation than a squirrel. "Of course people need not be always talking
well. Only one tells the quality of their minds when they try to talk well."
"You mean that Sir James tries and fails."
"I was speaking generally. Why do you catechise me about Sir James? It is not
the object of his life to please me."
"Now, Dodo, can you really believe that?"
"Certainly. He thinks of me as a future sister--that is all." Dorothea had never
hinted this before, waiting, from a certain shyness on such subjects which was
mutual between the sisters, until it should be introduced by some decisive event.
Celia blushed, but said at once--
"Pray do not make that mistake any longer, Dodo. When Tantripp was brushing
my hair the other day, she said that Sir James's man knew from Mrs.
Cadwallader's maid that Sir James was to marry the eldest Miss Brooke."
"How can you let Tantripp talk such gossip to you, Celia?" said Dorothea,
indignantly, not the less angry because details asleep in her memory were now
awakened to confirm the unwelcome revelation. "You must have asked her
questions. It is degrading."
"I see no harm at all in Tantripp's talking to me. It is better to hear what people
say. You see what mistakes you make by taking up notions. I am quite sure that
Sir James means to make you an offer; and he believes that you will accept him,
especially since you have been so pleased with him about the plans. And uncle
too--I know he expects it. Every one can see that Sir James is very much in love
with you."
The revulsion was so strong and painful in Dorothea's mind that the tears welled
up and flowed abundantly. All her dear plans were embittered, and she thought
with disgust of Sir James's conceiving that she recognized him as her lover.
There was vexation too on account of Celia.