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Chapter 15
He had been puzzled by the way that Catherine carried herself; her attitude at
this sentimental crisis seemed to him unnaturally passive. She had not spoken to
him again after that scene in the library, the day before his interview with Morris;
and a week had elapsed without making any change in her manner. There was
nothing in it that appealed for pity, and he was even a little disappointed at her
not giving him an opportunity to make up for his harshness by some
manifestation of liberality which should operate as a compensation. He thought a
little of offering to take her for a tour in Europe; but he was determined to do this
only in case she should seem mutely to reproach him. He had an idea that she
would display a talent for mute reproaches, and he was surprised at not finding
himself exposed to these silent batteries. She said nothing, either tacitly or
explicitly, and as she was never very talkative, there was now no especial
eloquence in her reserve. And poor Catherine was not sulky--a style of behaviour
for which she had too little histrionic talent; she was simply very patient. Of
course she was thinking over her situation, and she was apparently doing so in a
deliberate and unimpassioned manner, with a view of making the best of it.
"She will do as I have bidden her," said the Doctor, and he made the further
reflexion that his daughter was not a woman of a great spirit. I know not whether
he had hoped for a little more resistance for the sake of a little more
entertainment; but he said to himself, as he had said before, that though it might
have its momentary alarms, paternity was, after all, not an exciting vocation.
Catherine, meanwhile, had made a discovery of a very different sort; it had
become vivid to her that there was a great excitement in trying to be a good
daughter. She had an entirely new feeling, which may be described as a state of
expectant suspense about her own actions. She watched herself as she would
have watched another person, and wondered what she would do. It was as if this
other person, who was both herself and not herself, had suddenly sprung into
being, inspiring her with a natural curiosity as to the performance of untested
"I am glad I have such a good daughter," said her father, kissing her, after the
lapse of several days.
"I am trying to be good," she answered, turning away, with a conscience not
altogether clear.
"If there is anything you would like to say to me, you know you must not hesitate.
You needn't feel obliged to be so quiet. I shouldn't care that Mr. Townsend
should be a frequent topic of conversation, but whenever you have anything
particular to say about him I shall be very glad to hear it."
"Thank you," said Catherine; "I have nothing particular at present."
He never asked her whether she had seen Morris again, because he was sure
that if this had been the case she would tell him. She had, in fact, not seen him,
she had only written him a long letter. The letter at least was long for her; and, it
may be added, that it was long for Morris; it consisted of five pages, in a
remarkably neat and handsome hand. Catherine's handwriting was beautiful, and