The Egoist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 555 pages of information about The Egoist.
will not forgive”; and De Craye’s “Oh, he’s human”:  and the silence of Clara and De Craye’s hearty cry, “Flitch shall be a gentleman’s coachman in his old seat or I haven’t a tongue!” to which there was a negative of Clara’s head:  and it then struck Laetitia that this young betrothed lady, whose alienated heart acknowledged no lord an hour earlier, had met her match, and, as the observer would have said, her destiny.  She judged of the alarming possibility by the recent revelation to herself of Miss Middleton’s character, and by Clara’s having spoken to a man as well (to Vernon), and previously.  That a young lady should speak on the subject of the inner holies to a man, though he were Vernon Whitford, was incredible to Laetitia; but it had to be accepted as one of the dread facts of our inexplicable life, which drag our bodies at their wheels and leave our minds exclaiming.  Then, if Clara could speak to Vernon, which Laetitia would not have done for a mighty bribe, she could speak to De Craye, Laetitia thought deductively:  this being the logic of untrained heads opposed to the proceeding whereby their condemnatory deduction hangs.—­Clara must have spoken to De Craye!

Laetitia remembered how winning and prevailing Miss Middleton could be in her confidences.  A gentleman hearing her might forget his duty to his friend, she thought, for she had been strangely swayed by Clara:  ideas of Sir Willoughby that she had never before imagined herself to entertain had been sown in her, she thought; not asking herself whether the searchingness of the young lady had struck them and bidden them rise from where they lay imbedded.  Very gentle women take in that manner impressions of persons, especially of the worshipped person, wounding them; like the new fortifications with embankments of soft earth, where explosive missiles bury themselves harmlessly until they are plucked out; and it may be a reason why those injured ladies outlive a Clara Middleton similarly battered.

Vernon less than Laetitia took into account that Clara was in a state of fever, scarcely reasonable.  Her confidences to him he had excused, as a piece of conduct, in sympathy with her position.  He had not been greatly astonished by the circumstances confided; and, on the whole, as she was excited and unhappy, he excused her thoroughly; he could have extolled her:  it was natural that she should come to him, brave in her to speak so frankly, a compliment that she should condescend to treat him as a friend.  Her position excused her widely.  But she was not excused for making a confidential friend of De Craye.  There was a difference.

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The Egoist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.