Zionism: Israeli Flag

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot's Zionist Novel - 1876

home Web Definitions issues site map history Timeline documents  links photo gallery contact help Zionism

Daniel Deronda - George Eliot's Zionist Novel - 1876

Daniel_Deronda MAIN

"I suppose there is some understanding between you and Deronda about that thing you have on your wrist. If you have anything to say to him, say it. But don't carry on a telegraphing which other people are supposed not to see. It's damnably vulgar."

"You can know all about the necklace," said Gwendolen, her angry pride resisting the nightmare of fear.

"I don't want to know. Keep to yourself whatever you like." Grandcourt paused between each sentence, and in each his speech seemed to become more preternaturally distinct in its inward tones. "What I care to know I shall know without your telling me. Only you will please to behave as becomes my wife. And not make a spectacle of yourself."

"Do you object to my talking to Mr. Deronda?"

"I don't care two straws about Deronda, or any other conceited hanger-on. You may talk to him as much as you like. He is not going to take my place. You are my wife. And you will either fill your place properly--to the world and to me--or you will go to the devil."

"I never intended anything but to fill my place properly," said Gwendolen, with bitterest mortification in her soul.

"You put that thing on your wrist, and hid it from me till you wanted him to see it. Only fools go into that deaf and dumb talk, and think they're secret. You will understand that you are not to compromise yourself. Behave with dignity. That's all I have to say."

With that last word Grandcourt rose, turned his back to the fire and looked down on her. She was mute. There was no reproach that she dared to fling back at him in return for these insulting admonitions, and the very reason she felt them to be insulting was that their purport went with the most absolute dictate of her pride. What she would least like to incur was the making a fool of herself and being compromised. It was futile and irrelevant to try and explain that Deronda too had only been a monitor-- the strongest of all monitors. Grandcourt was contemptuous, not jealous; contemptuously certain of all the subjection he cared for. Why could she not rebel and defy him? She longed to do it. But she might as well have tried to defy the texture of her nerves and the palpitation of her heart. Her husband had a ghostly army at his back, that could close round her wherever she might turn. She sat in her splendid attire, like a white image of helplessness, and he seemed to gratify himself with looking at her. She could not even make a passionate exclamation, or throw up her arms, as she would have done in her maiden days. The sense of his scorn kept her still.

"Shall I ring?" he said, after what seemed to her a long while. She moved her head in assent, and after ringing he went to his dressing-room.

Certain words were gnawing within her. "The wrong you have done me will be your own curse." As he closed the door, the bitter tears rose, and the gnawing words provoked an answer: "Why did you put your fangs into me and not into him?" It was uttered in a whisper, as the tears came up silently. But she immediately pressed her handkerchief against her eyes, and checked her tendency to sob.

The next day, recovered from the shuddering fit of this evening scene, she determined to use the charter which Grandcourt had scornfully given her, and to talk as much as she liked with Deronda; but no opportunities occurred, and any little devices she could imagine for creating them were rejected by her pride, which was now doubly active. Not toward Deronda himself--she was singularly free from alarm lest he should think her openness wanting in dignity: it was part of his power over her that she believed him free from all misunderstanding as to the way in which she appealed to him; or rather, that he should misunderstand her had never entered into her mind. But the last morning came, and still she had never been able to take up the dropped thread of their talk, and she was without devices. She and Grandcourt were to leave at three o'clock. It was too irritating that after a walk in the grounds had been planned in Deronda's hearing, he did not present himself to join in it. Grandcourt was gone with Sir Hugo to King's Topping, to see the old manor-house; others of the gentlemen were shooting; she was condemned to go and see the decoy and the waterfowl, and everything else that she least wanted to see, with the ladies, with old Lord Pentreath and his anecdotes, with Mr. Vandernoodt and his admiring manners. The irritation became too strong for her; without premeditation, she took advantage of the winding road to linger a little out of sight, and then set off back to the house, almost running when she was safe from observation. She entered by a side door, and the library was on her left hand; Deronda, she knew, was often there; why might she not turn in there as well as into any other room in the house? She had been taken there expressly to see the illuminated family tree, and other remarkable things--what more natural than that she should like to look in again? The thing most to be feared was that the room would be empty of Deronda, for the door was ajar. She pushed it gently, and looked round it. He was there, writing busily at a distant table, with his back toward the door (in fact, Sir Hugo had asked him to answer some constituents' letters which had become pressing). An enormous log fire, with the scent of Russia from the books, made the great room as warmly odorous as a private chapel in which the censors have been swinging. It seemed too daring to go in--too rude to speak and interrupt him; yet she went in on the noiseless carpet, and stood still for two or three minutes, till Deronda, having finished a letter, pushed it aside for signature, and threw himself back to consider whether there were anything else for him to do, or whether he could walk out for the chance of meeting the party which included Gwendolen, when he heard her voice saying, "Mr. Deronda."

It was certainly startling. He rose hastily, turned round, and pushed away his chair with a strong expression of surprise.

"Am I wrong to come in?" said Gwendolen.

"I thought you were far on your walk," said Deronda.

"I turned back," said Gwendolen.

"Do you intend to go out again? I could join you now, if you would allow me."

"No; I want to say something, and I can't stay long," said Gwendolen, speaking quickly in a subdued tone, while she walked forward and rested her arms and muff on the back of the chair he had pushed away from him. "I want to tell you that it is really so--I can't help feeling remorse for having injured others. That was what I meant when I said that I had done worse than gamble again and pawn the necklace again--something more injurious, as you called it. And I can't alter it. I am punished, but I can't alter it. You said I could do many things. Tell me again. What should you do--what should you feel if you were in my place?"

The hurried directness with which she spoke--the absence of all her little airs, as if she were only concerned to use the time in getting an answer that would guide her, made her appeal unspeakably touching.

Deronda said,--"I should feel something of what you feel--deep sorrow."

"But what would you try to do?" said Gwendolen, with urgent quickness.

"Order my life so as to make any possible amends, and keep away from doing any sort of injury again," said Deronda, catching her sense that the time for speech was brief.

"But I can't--I can't; I must go on," said Gwendolen, in a passionate loud whisper. "I have thrust out others--I have made my gain out of their loss --tried to make it--tried. And I must go on. I can't alter it."

It was impossible to answer this instantaneously. Her words had confirmed his conjecture, and the situation of all concerned rose in swift images before him. His feeling for those who had been thrust out sanctioned her remorse; he could not try to nullify it, yet his heart was full of pity for her. But as soon as he could he answered--taking up her last words--

"That is the bitterest of all--to wear the yoke of our own wrong-doing. But if you submitted to that as men submit to maiming or life-long incurable disease?--and made the unalterable wrong a reason for more effort toward a good, that may do something to counterbalance the evil? One who has committed irremediable errors may be scourged by that consciousness into a higher course than is common. There are many examples. Feeling what it is to have spoiled one life may well make us long to save other lives from being spoiled."

Daniel_Deronda BACK

Daniel_Deronda NEXT

Page 130

A Brief History of Christian Zionism

British Zionism

The Bible and Zionism

Lovers of Zion - A history of Christian Zionism

Zionism and Israel

History of Zionism and the Creation of Israel   

Zionism and its Impact

Maps of Israel

Zionist Quotes

Please link to our Sister Web site     Zionism and Israel Pages 

Israel-Palestina - (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine,Zionism... Israël-Palestina Informatie-gids Israël, Palestijnen en Midden-Oosten conflict... Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a European perspective - Dutch and English.

ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log    Zionism & Israel News  Israel: like this, as if History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew  Zionism and its Impact Israel Christian Zionism Site Map