CHAPTER I. " Since
I 1 can do no good because
a woman 2 , Reach constantly at something that is near it .
The Maid 3 's Tragedy :
BEAUMONT 4 AND
FLETCHER 5 .
Miss Brooke 0 had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress .
Her 0 hand and wrist were so finely formed that
she 0 could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which
the Blessed Virgin 6 appeared to
Italian painters 7 ; and
her 0 profile as well as
her 0 stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from
her 0 plain garments , which by the side of provincial fashion gave
her 0 the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible , -- or from one of , -- in a paragraph of to-day 's newspaper .
She 0 was usually spoken of as being remarkably clever , but with the addition that
Celia 10 had more common-sense .
Celia 10 wore scarcely more trimmings ; and it was only to
close observers 11 that
her 10 dress differed from 's , and had a shade of coquetry in its arrangements ; for
Miss Brooke 0 's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions , in most of which shared .
The pride of being
ladies 12 had something to do with it : the
Brooke 13 connections , though not exactly aristocratic , were unquestionably " good : " if
you 14 inquired backward for a generation or two ,
you 15 would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying
forefathers 16 -- anything lower than
an admiral 17 or a
clergyman 18 ; and there was even
an ancestor 19 discernible as
, but afterwards conformed , and managed to come out of all political troubles as
a Puritan gentleman who served under
Cromwell 20 19
the proprietor of a respectable family estate 19 .
Young women of such birth 21 , living in
a quiet country-house 22 , and attending
a village church 23 hardly larger than
a parlor 24 , naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of
a huckster 25
's daughter 26
Then there was well-bred economy , which in those days made show in dress the first item to be deducted from , when any margin was required for expenses more distinctive of rank .
Such reasons would have been enough to account for plain dress , quite apart from religious feeling ; but in
Miss Brooke 0 's case , religion alone would have determined it ; and
Celia 10 mildly acquiesced in all 's sentiments , only infusing them with that common-sense which is able to accept momentous doctrines without any eccentric agitation .
Dorothea 0 knew many passages of
Pascal 27 's Pensees and of
Jeremy Taylor 28 by heart ; and to
her 0 the destinies of
mankind 29 , seen by the light of Christianity , made the solicitudes of feminine fashion appear an occupation for Bedlam .
She 0 could not reconcile the anxieties of a spiritual life involving eternal consequences , with a keen interest in gimp and artificial protrusions of drapery .
Her 0 mind was theoretic , and yearned by its nature after some lofty conception of
the world 30 which might frankly include
the parish of Tipton 31 and
her 0 own rule of conduct
there 31 ;
she 0 was enamoured of intensity and greatness , and rash in embracing whatever seemed to
her 0 to have those aspects ; likely to seek martyrdom , to make retractations , and then to incur martyrdom after all in a quarter where
she 0 had not sought it .
Certainly such elements in the character of
a marriageable girl 32 tended to interfere with
her 0 lot , and hinder it from being decided according to custom , by good looks , vanity , and merely canine affection .
With all this ,
she 0 ,
, was not yet twenty , and
the elder of
the sisters 21 90
they 21 had both been educated , since
they 21 were about twelve years old and had lost , on plans at once narrow and promiscuous , first in
an English family 34 and afterwards in
a Swiss family at
Lausanne 36 35
trying in this way to remedy the disadvantages of
bachelor uncle and guardian 37
their 21 orphaned condition .
It was hardly a year since
they 21 had come to live at
Tipton Grange 38 with ,
a man nearly sixty 84 , of acquiescent temper , miscellaneous opinions , and uncertain vote .
He 37 had travelled in
his 37 younger years , and was held in this part of
the county 39 to have contracted a too rambling habit of mind .
Mr. Brooke 37 's conclusions were as difficult to predict as the weather : it was only safe to say that
he 37 would act with benevolent intentions , and that
he 37 would spend as little money as possible in carrying them out .
For the most glutinously indefinite minds enclose some hard grains of habit ; and
a man 40 has been seen lax about all
his 40 own interests except the retention of
his 40 snuff-box , concerning which
he 40 was watchful , suspicious , and greedy of clutch .
Mr. Brooke 37 the hereditary strain of Puritan energy was clearly in abeyance ; but in
Dorothea 0 it glowed alike through faults and virtues , turning sometimes into impatience of 's talk or
his 37 way of " letting things be " on
his 37 estate , and making
her 0 long all the more for the time when
she 0 would be of age and have some command of money for generous schemes .
She 0 was regarded as
an heiress 85 ; for not only had
the sisters 21 seven hundred a-year each from , but if
Dorothea 0 married and had
a son 41 ,
that son 41 would inherit
Mr. Brooke 37 's estate , presumably worth about three thousand a-year -- a rental which seemed wealth to
provincial families 42 , still discussing
Mr. Peel 43 's late conduct on the
Catholic 44 question , innocent of future gold-fields , and of that gorgeous plutocracy which has so nobly exalted the necessities of genteel life .
And how should
Dorothea 0 not marry ?
a girl so handsome and with such prospects 0 ?
Nothing could hinder it but
her 0 love of extremes , and
her 0 insistence on regulating life according to notions which might cause
a wary man 45 to hesitate before
he 45 made
her 0 an offer , or even might lead
her 0 at last to refuse all offers .
A young lady of some birth and fortune 0 , who knelt suddenly down on a brick floor by the side of
a sick laborer 46 and prayed fervidly as if
she 0 thought
herself 0 living in the time of
the Apostles 47 -- who had strange whims of fasting like
a Papist 48 , and of sitting up at night to read old theological books !
Such a wife 49 might awaken
you 50 some fine morning with a new scheme for the application of
her 49 income which would interfere with political economy and the keeping of saddle-horses :
a man 51 would naturally think twice before
he 51 risked
himself 51 in such fellowship .
Women 52 were expected to have weak opinions ; but the great safeguard of society and of domestic life was , that opinions were not acted on .
Sane people 53 did what did , so that if
any lunatics 55 were at large , one might know and avoid
them 55 .
The rural opinion about
the new young ladies 21 , even among
the cottagers 56 , was generally in favor of
Celia 10 , as being so amiable and innocent-looking , while
Miss Brooke 0 's large eyes seemed , like
her 0 religion , too unusual and striking .
Dorothea 0 !
her 0 ,
the innocent-looking Celia 10 was knowing and worldly-wise ; so much subtler is a human mind than the outside tissues which make a sort of blazonry or clock-face for it .
Yet those who approached
Dorothea 0 , though prejudiced against
her 0 by this alarming hearsay , found that
she 0 had a charm unaccountably reconcilable with it .
Most men 57 thought
her 0 bewitching when
she 0 was on horseback .
She 0 loved the fresh air and the various aspects of
the country 58 , and when
her 0 eyes and cheeks glowed with mingled pleasure
she 0 looked very little like
a devotee 59 .
Riding was an indulgence which
she 0 allowed
herself 0 in spite of conscientious qualms ;
she 0 felt that
she 0 enjoyed it in a pagan sensuous way , and always looked forward to renouncing it .
She 0 was open , ardent , and not in the least self-admiring ; indeed , it was pretty to see how
her 0 imagination adorned
Celia 10 with attractions altogether superior to
her 0 own , and if
any gentleman 60 appeared to come to
the Grange 38 from some other motive than that of seeing
Mr. Brooke 37 ,
she 0 concluded that
he 60 must be in love with
Celia 10 :
Sir James Chettam 61 , for example , whom
she 0 constantly considered from
Celia 10 's point of view , inwardly debating whether it would be good for
Celia 10 to accept
him 61 .
he 61 should be regarded as would have seemed to
her 0 a ridiculous irrelevance .
Dorothea 0 , with all
her 0 eagerness to know the truths of life , retained very childlike ideas about marriage .
She 0 felt sure that
she 0 would have accepted
the judicious Hooker 63 , if
she 0 had been born in time to save
him 0 from that wretched mistake
he 0 made in matrimony ; or
John Milton 64 when
his 64 blindness had come on ; or
any of the other great men whose odd habits it would have been glorious piety to endure 83 ; but
an amiable handsome baronet 65 , who said " Exactly " to
her 0 remarks even when
she 0 expressed uncertainty , -- how could
he 65 affect
her 0 as
a lover 86 ?
The really delightful marriage must be that where was a sort of
father 68 , and could teach
you 69 even Hebrew , if
you 70 wished it .
These peculiarities of
Dorothea 's character 0 caused
Mr. Brooke 37 to be all the more blamed in neighboring families for not securing
some middle-aged lady 71 as
guide and companion to 87
himself 37 dreaded so much the sort of
superior woman 72 likely to be available for such a position , that
he 37 allowed
himself 37 to be dissuaded by
Dorothea 0 's objections , and was in this case brave enough to defy
the world 30 -- that is to say ,
Mrs. Cadwallader 73 , and
the small group of gentry with whom
the northeast corner of Loamshire 76 75
Miss Brooke 0 presided in 's
household 22 , and did not at all dislike
her 0 new authority , with the homage that belonged to it .
Sir James Chettam 61 was going to dine at the Grange to-day with
, and about whom
another gentleman whom
the girls 21
had never seen 77
Dorothea 0 felt some venerating expectation .
This was the
Reverend Edward Casaubon 77 , noted in
the county 39 as
a man of profound learning 89 , understood for many years to be engaged on a great work concerning religious history ; also as
, and having views of
a man of wealth enough to give lustre to
his 77 own which were to be more clearly ascertained on the publication of
his 77 book .
His 77 very name carried an impressiveness hardly to be measured without a precise chronology of scholarship .
Early in the day
Dorothea 0 had returned from
the infant school 78 which
she 0 had set going in
the village 79 , and was taking
her 0 usual place in
, bent on finishing a plan for
the pretty sitting-room which divided
the bedrooms 81
the sisters 21 80
some buildings 82 ( a kind of work which
she 0 delighted in ) , when
Celia 10 , who had been watching
her 0 with a hesitating desire to propose something , said --