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Chapter 26
If she had disturbed her niece's temper--she began from this moment forward to
talk a good deal about Catherine's temper, an article which up to that time had
never been mentioned in connexion with our heroine--Catherine had opportunity,
on the morrow, to recover her serenity. Mrs. Penniman had given her a message
from Morris Townsend, to the effect that he would come and welcome her home
on the day after her arrival. He came in the afternoon; but, as may be imagined,
he was not on this occasion made free of Dr. Sloper's study. He had been
coming and going, for the past year, so comfortably and irresponsibly, that he
had a certain sense of being wronged by finding himself reminded that he must
now limit his horizon to the front parlour, which was Catherine's particular
"I am very glad you have come back," he said; "it makes me very happy to see
you again." And he looked at her, smiling, from head to foot; though it did not
appear, afterwards, that he agreed with Mrs. Penniman (who, womanlike, went
more into details) in thinking her embellished.
To Catherine he appeared resplendent; it was some time before she could
believe again that this beautiful young man was her own exclusive property. They
had a great deal of characteristic lovers' talk--a soft exchange of inquiries and
assurances. In these matters Morris had an excellent grace, which flung a
picturesque interest even over the account of his debut in the commission
business--a subject as to which his companion earnestly questioned him. From
time to time he got up from the sofa where they sat together, and walked about
the room; after which he came back, smiling and passing his hand through his
hair. He was unquiet, as was natural in a young man who has just been reunited
to a long-absent mistress, and Catherine made the reflexion that she had never
seen him so excited. It gave her pleasure, somehow, to note this fact. He asked
her questions about her travels, to some of which she was unable to reply, for
she had forgotten the names of places, and the order of her father's journey. But
for the moment she was so happy, so lifted up by the belief that her troubles at
last were over, that she forgot to be ashamed of her meagre answers. It seemed
to her now that she could marry him without the remnant of a scruple or a single
tremor save those that belonged to joy. Without waiting for him to ask, she told
him that her father had come back in exactly the same state of mind--that he had
not yielded an inch.
"We must not expect it now," she said, "and we must do without it."
Morris sat looking and smiling. "My poor dear girl!" he exclaimed.
"You mustn't pity me," said Catherine; "I don't mind it now--I am used to it."
Morris continued to smile, and then he got up and walked about again. "You had
better let me try him!"
"Try to bring him over? You would only make him worse," Catherine answered