'I don't see how you know,' said Catherine, blushing. 'I feel; I am very quick to feel.' 'Perhaps you are mistaken.'
'Ah, well! you ask him, and you will see.'
'I would rather not ask him, if there is any danger of his saying what you think.'
Morris looked at her with an air of mock melancholy. 'It wouldn't give you any pleasure to contradict him?' 'I never contradict him,' said Catherine.
'Will you hear me abused without opening your lips in my defence?'
'My father won't abuse you. He doesn't know you enough.' Morris Townsend gave a loud laugh, and Catherine began to blush again.
'I shall never mention you,' she said, to take refuge from her confusion.
'That is very well; but it is not quite what I should have liked you to say. I should have liked you to say, "If my father doesn't think well of you, what does it matter?"'
'Ah, but it would matter; I couldn't say that!' the girl exclaimed. He looked at her for a moment, smiling a little; and the Doctor, if he had been watching him just then, would have seen a gleam of fine impatience in the sociable softness of his eye. But there was no impatience in his rejoinder - none, at least, save what was expressed in a little appealing sigh.
'Ah, well! then I must not give up the hope of bringing him round.'
He expressed it more frankly to Mrs Penniman later in the evening. But before that he sung two or three songs at Catherine's timid request; not that he flattered himself that this would help to bring her father round. He had a sweet light tenor voice, and, when he had finished, everyone made some exclamation - every one, that is, save Catherine, who remained intensely silent. Mrs Penniman declared that his manner of singing was 'most artistic,' and Doctor Sloper said it was 'very taking - very taking, indeed'; speaking loudly and distinctly, but with a certain dryness.
'He doesn't like me - he doesn't like me at all,' said Morris Townsend, addressing the aunt in the same manner as he had done the niece. 'He thinks I am all wrong.' Unlike her niece, Mrs Penniman asked for no explanation. She only smiled very sweetly, as if she understood everything; and, unlike Catherine too, she made no attempt to contradict him. 'Pray, what does it matter?' she murmured, softly.
'Ah, you say the right thing!' said Morris, greatly to the gratification of Mrs Penniman, who prided herself on always saying the right thing.
The Doctor, the next time he saw his sister Elizabeth, let her know that he had made the acquaintance of Lavinia's protégé.
'Physically,' he said, 'he's uncommonly well set up. As an anatomist, it is really a pleasure to me to see such a beautiful structure; although, if people were all like him, I suppose there would be very little need for doctors.'
'Don't you see anything in people but their bones?' Mrs Almond rejoined. 'What do you think of him as a father?'
'As a father? Thank Heaven, I am not his father!'
'No; but you are Catherine's. Lavinia tells me she is in love.'
'She must get over it. He is not a gentleman.'
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