Middlemarch (Chapter VII, page 1 of 6)


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"Piacer e popone
Vuol la sua stagione."
--Italian Proverb.


Mr. Casaubon, as might be expected, spent a great deal of his time at
the Grange in these weeks, and the hindrance which courtship occasioned
to the progress of his great work--the Key to all
Mythologies--naturally made him look forward the more eagerly to the
happy termination of courtship. But he had deliberately incurred the
hindrance, having made up his mind that it was now time for him to
adorn his life with the graces of female companionship, to irradiate
the gloom which fatigue was apt to hang over the intervals of studious
labor with the play of female fancy, and to secure in this, his
culminating age, the solace of female tendance for his declining years.
Hence he determined to abandon himself to the stream of feeling, and
perhaps was surprised to find what an exceedingly shallow rill it was.
As in droughty regions baptism by immersion could only be performed
symbolically, Mr. Casaubon found that sprinkling was the utmost
approach to a plunge which his stream would afford him; and he
concluded that the poets had much exaggerated the force of masculine
passion. Nevertheless, he observed with pleasure that Miss Brooke
showed an ardent submissive affection which promised to fulfil his most
agreeable previsions of marriage. It had once or twice crossed his
mind that possibly there was some deficiency in Dorothea to account for
the moderation of his abandonment; but he was unable to discern the
deficiency, or to figure to himself a woman who would have pleased him
better; so that there was clearly no reason to fall back upon but the
exaggerations of human tradition.

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