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Daniel Deronda

George Eliot's Zionist Novel - 1876

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Daniel Deronda - George Eliot's Zionist Novel - 1876

Daniel_Deronda MAIN

"Not till after Sir Hugo has come."

"But we shall all go to England?"

"As soon as possible," said Deronda, not wishing to enter into particulars.

Gwendolen looked toward the window again with an expression which seemed like a gradual awakening to new thoughts. The twilight was perceptibly deepening, but Deronda could see a movement in her eyes and hands such as accompanies a return of perception in one who has been stunned.

"You will always be with Sir Hugo now!" she said presently, looking at him. "You will always live at the Abbey--or else at Diplow?"

"I am quite uncertain where I shall live," said Deronda, coloring.

She was warned by his changed color that she had spoken too rashly, and fell silent. After a little while she began, again looking away--

"It is impossible to think how my life will go on. I think now it would be better for me to be poor and obliged to work."

"New promptings will come as the days pass. When you are among your friends again, you will discern new duties," said Deronda. "Make it a task now to get as well and calm--as much like yourself as you can, before--" He hesitated.

"Before my mother comes," said Gwendolen. "Ah! I must be changed. I have not looked at myself. Should you have known me," she added, turning toward him, "if you had met me now?--should you have known me for the one you saw at Leubronn?"

"Yes, I should have known you," said Deronda, mournfully. "The outside change is not great. I should have seen at once that it was you, and that you had gone through some great sorrow."

"Don't wish now that you had never seen me; don't wish that," said Gwendolen, imploringly, while the tears gathered.

"I should despise myself for wishing it," said Deronda. "How could I know what I was wishing? We must find our duties in what comes to us, not in what we imagine might have been. If I took to foolish wishing of that sort, I should wish--not that I had never seen you, but that I had been able to save you from this."

"You have saved me from worse," said Gwendolen, in a sobbing voice. "I should have been worse if it had not been for you. If you had not been good, I should have been more wicked than I am."

"It will be better for me to go now," said Deronda, worn in spirit by the perpetual strain of this scene. "Remember what we said of your task--to get well and calm before other friends come."

He rose as he spoke, and she gave him her hand submissively. But when he had left her she sank on her knees, in hysterical crying. The distance between them was too great. She was a banished soul--beholding a possible life which she had sinned herself away from.

She was found in this way, crushed on the floor. Such grief seemed natural in a poor lady whose husband had been drowned in her presence.

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