Chapter 21

Washington Square - Chapter 21

Doctor Sloper very soon imparted his conviction to Mrs Almond in the same terms in which he had announced it to himself.' She's going to stick, by love! she's going to stick.'

'Do you mean that she's going to marry him?' Mrs Almond inquired.

'I don't know that; but she is not going to break down. She is going to drag out the engagement, in the hope of making me relent.'

'And shall you not relent?'

'Shall a geometrical proposition relent? I am not so superficial.'

'Doesn't geometry treat of surfaces?' asked Mrs Almond, who, as we know, was clever, smiling.

'Yes, but it treats of them profoundly. Catherine and her young man are my surfaces; I have taken their measure.'

'You speak as if it surprised you.'

'It is immense; there will be a great deal to observe.'

'You are shockingly cold-blooded!' said Mrs Almond.

'I need to be, with all this hot blood about me. Young Townsend, indeed, is cool; I must allow him that merit.'

'I can't judge him,' Mrs Almond answered;' but I am not surprised at Catherine.'

'I confess I am a little; she must have been so deucedly divided and bothered.'

'Say it amuses you outright. I don't see why it should be such a joke that your daughter adores you.'

'It is the point where the adoration stops that I find it interesting to fix.'

'It stops where the other sentiment begins.'

'Not at all; that would be simple enough. The two things are extremely mixed up, and the mixture is extremely odd. It will produce some third element, and that's what I'm waiting to see. I wait with suspense - with positive excitement; and that is a sort of emotion that I didn't suppose Catherine would ever provide for me. I am really very much obliged to her.'

'She will cling,' said Mrs Almond;' she will certainly cling.'

'Yes, as I say, she will stick.'

'Cling is prettier. That's what those very simple natures always do, and nothing could be simpler than Catherine. She doesn't take many impressions; but when she takes one, she keeps it. She is like a copper kettle that receives a dent: you may polish up the kettle, but you can't efface the mark.'

'We must try and polish up Catherine,' said the Doctor.' I will take her to Europe!'

'She won't forget him in Europe.'

'He will forget her, then.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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