Daniel Deronda

By George Eliot; Graham Handley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XL.

"Within the soul a faculty abides, That with interpositions, which would hide And darken, so can deal, that they become Contingencies of pomp; and serve to exalt Her native brightness, as the ample moon, In the deep stillness of a summer even, Rising behind a thick and lofty grove, Burns, like an unconsuming fire of light, In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil Into a substance glorious as her own, Yea, with her own incorporated, by power Capacious and serene."

-- WORDSWORTH: Excursion, B. IV.*

DERONDA came out of the narrow house at Chelsea in a frame of mind that made him long for some good bodily exercise to carry off what he was himself inclined to call the fumes of his temper. He was going towards the city, and the sight of the Chelsea Stairs with the waiting boats at once determined him to avoid the irritating inaction of being driven in a cab, by calling a wherry and taking an oar.

His errand was to go to Ram's book-shop, where he had yesterday arrived too late for Mordecai's mid-day watch, and had been told that he invariably came there again between five and six. Some further acquaintance with this remarkable inmate of the Cohens was particularly desired by Deronda as a preliminary to redeeming his ring: he wished that their conversation should not again end speedily with that drop of Mordecai's interest which was like the removal of a drawbridge, and threatened to shut out any easy communication in future. As he got warmed with the use of the oar, fixing his mind on the errand before him and the ends he wanted to achieve on Mirah's account, he experienced, as was wont with him, a quick change of mental light, shifting his point of view to that of the person whom he had been thinking of hitherto chiefly as serviceable to his own purposes, and was inclined to taunt himself with being not much better than an enlisting sergeant, who never troubles himself with the drama that brings him the needful recruits.

"I suppose if I got from this man the information I am most anxious about," thought Deronda, "I should be contented enough if he felt no disposition to tell me more of himself, or why he seemed to have some expectation from me which was disappointed. The sort of curiosity he

-421-

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