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Chapter 21
Dr. Sloper very soon imparted his conviction to Mrs. Almond, in the same terms
in which he had announced it to himself. "She's going to stick, by Jove! she's
going to stick."
"Do you mean that she is going to marry him?" Mrs. Almond inquired.
"I don't know that; but she is not going to break down. She is going to drag out
the engagement, in the hope of making me relent."
"And shall you not relent?"
"Shall a geometrical proposition relent? I am not so superficial."
"Doesn't geometry treat of surfaces?" asked Mrs. Almond, who, as we know, was
clever, smiling.
"Yes; but it treats of them profoundly. Catherine and her young man are my
surfaces; I have taken their measure."
"You speak as if it surprised you."
"It is immense; there will be a great deal to observe."
"You are shockingly cold-blooded!" said Mrs. Almond.
"I need to be with all this hot blood about me. Young Townsend indeed is cool; I
must allow him that merit."
"I can't judge him," Mrs. Almond answered; "but I am not at all surprised at
"I confess I am a little; she must have been so deucedly divided and bothered."
"Say it amuses you outright! I don't see why it should be such a joke that your
daughter adores you."
"It is the point where the adoration stops that I find it interesting to fix."
"It stops where the other sentiment begins."
"Not at all--that would be simple enough. The two things are extremely mixed up,
and the mixture is extremely odd. It will produce some third element, and that's
what I am waiting to see. I wait with suspense--with positive excitement; and that
is a sort of emotion that I didn't suppose Catherine would ever provide for me. I
am really very much obliged to her."
"She will cling," said Mrs. Almond; "she will certainly cling."
"Yes; as I say, she will stick."
"Cling is prettier. That's what those very simple natures always do, and nothing
could be simpler than Catherine. She doesn't take many impressions; but when
she takes one she keeps it. She is like a copper kettle that receives a dent; you
may polish up the kettle, but you can't efface the mark."
"We must try and polish up Catherine," said the Doctor. "I will take her to
"She won't forget him in Europe."
"He will forget her, then."
Mrs. Almond looked grave. "Should you really like that?"
"Extremely!" said the Doctor.
Mrs. Penniman, meanwhile, lost little time in putting herself again in
communication with Morris Townsend. She requested him to favour her with