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Diana of the Crossways — Volume 5

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144 pages
The Project Gutenberg Etext of Diana of the Crossways, v5, by George Meredith #75 in our series by GeorgeMeredithCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg file.We encourage you to keep this file, exactly as it is, on your own disk, thereby keeping an electronic path open forfuture readers.Please do not remove this.This header should be the first thing seen when anyone starts to view the etext. Do not change or edit it withoutwritten permission. The words are carefully chosen to provide users with the information they need to understandwhat they may and may not do with the etext. To encourage this, we have moved most of the information to the end,rather than having it all here at the beginning.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These Etexts Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get etexts, and further information, is included below. We need yourdonations.The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with EIN [Employee IdentificationNumber] 64-6221541 Find out about how to make a donation at the bottom of this file.Title: Diana of the Crossways, v5Author: George MeredithEdition: 10Language: EnglishRelease Date: September, 2003 [Etext ...
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The Project Gutenberg Etext of Diana of theCrossways, v5, by George Meredith #75 in ourseries by George MeredithCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg file.We encourage you to keep this file, exactly as it is,on your own disk, thereby keeping an electronicpath open for future readers.Please do not remove this.This header should be the first thing seen whenanyone starts to view the etext. Do not change oredit it without written permission. The words arecarefully chosen to provide users with theinformation they need to understand what theymay and may not do with the etext. To encouragethis, we have moved most of the information to theend, rather than having it all here at the beginning.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****Etexts Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These Etexts Were Prepared By Thousands ofVolunteers!*****
Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to getetexts, and further information, is included below.We need your donations.The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundationis a 501(c)(3) organization with EIN [EmployeeIdentification Number] 64-6221541 Find out abouthow to make a donation at the bottom of this file.Title: Diana of the Crossways, v5Author: George MeredithEdition: 10Language: EnglishRelease Date: September, 2003 [Etext #4469][Yes, we are more than one year ahead ofschedule][This file was first posted on February 12, 2002]The Project Gutenberg Etext of Diana of theCrossways, v5, by Meredith*********This file should be named gm75v10.txt orgm75v10.zip*********Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a newNUMBER, gm75v11.txtVERSIONS based on separate sources get newLETTER, gm75v10a.txt
This etext was produced by David Widger<widger@cecomet.net>Project Gutenberg Etexts are often created fromseveral printed editions, all of which are confirmedas Public Domain in the US unless a copyrightnotice is included. Thus, we usually do not keepetexts in compliance with any particular paperedition.The "legal small print" and other information aboutthis book may now be found at the end of this file.Please read this important information, as it givesyou specific rights and tells you about restrictionsin how the file may be used.[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, orpointers, at the end of the file for those who maywish to sample the author's ideas before makingan entire meal of them. D.W.]DIANA OF THE
CROSSWAYSBy George Meredith1897BOOK 5.XXXVI. IS CONCLUSIVE AS TO THEHEARTLESSNESS OF WOMEN WITH BRAINSXXXVII. AN EXHIBITION OF SOME CHAMPIONSOF THE STRICKEN LADY XXXVIII.CONVALESCENCE OF A HEALTHY MINDDISTRAUGHT XXXIX. OF NATURE WITH ONEOF HER CULTIVATED DAUGHTERS AND ASHORT EXCURSION IN ANTI-CLIMAX XL. INWHICH WE SEE NATURE MAKING OF AWOMAN A MAID AGAIN, AND A THRICEWHIMSICAL XLI. CONTAINS A REVELATION OFTHE ORIGIN OF THE TIGRESS IN DIANA XLII.THE PENULTIMATE : SHOWING A FINALSTRUGGLE FOR LIBERTY AND RUN INTOHARNESS XLIII. NUPTIAL CHAPTER: AND OFHOW A BARELY WILLING WOMAN WAS LEDTO BLOOM WITH NUPTIAL SENTIMENTCHAPTER XXXVI
IS CONCLUSIVE AS TO THE HEARTLESSNESSOF WOMEN WITH BRAINSHymenaeal rumours are those which might bebacked to run a victorious race with the tale of evilfortune; and clearly for the reason that man'slivelier half is ever alert to speed them. They travelwith an astonishing celerity over the land, likeflames of the dry beacon-faggots of old time inannouncement of the invader or a conquest,gathering as they go: wherein, to say nothing oftheir vastly wider range, they surpass the electricwires. Man's nuptial half is kindlingly concerned inthe launch of a new couple; it is the business of thefair sex: and man himself (very strangely, butnature quickens him still) lends a not unfavouringeye to the preparations of the matrimonial vesselfor its oily descent into the tides, where billows willsoon be rising, captain and mate soon discussingthe fateful question of who is commander. Weconsent, it appears, to hope again for mankind;here is another chance! Or else, assuming thehappiness of the pair, that pomp of ceremonial,contrasted with the little wind-blown candle theycarry between them, catches at our weaker fibres.After so many ships have foundered, some keelup, like poisoned fish, at the first drink of water, itis a gallant spectacle, let us avow; and either theworld perpetuating it is heroical or natureincorrigible in the species. Marriages areunceasing. Friends do it, and enemies; theunknown contractors of this engagement, orarmistice, inspire an interest. It certainly is both
exciting and comforting to hear that man andwoman are ready to join in a mutual affirmative,say Yes together again. It sounds like the end ofthe war.The proclamation of the proximate marriage of ayoung Minister of State and the greatest heiress ofher day; notoriously 'The young Minister of State'of a famous book written by the beautiful, nowwrithing, woman madly enamoured of him—andthe heiress whose dowry could purchase a Duchy;this was a note to make the gossips of Englandleap from their beds at the midnight hour and wagtongues in the market-place. It did away with thepolitical hubbub over the Tonans article, and let itnoise abroad like nonsense. The Hon. Percy Dacierespouses Miss Asper; and she rescues him fromthe snares of a siren, he her from the toils of thePapists. She would have gone over to them, shewas going when, luckily for the Protestant Faith,Percy Dacier intervened with his proposal. Townand country buzzed the news; and while thatdreary League trumpeted about the business ofthe nation, a people suddenly become Orientalchattered of nothing but the blissful union to becelebrated in princely state, with every musicalaccessory, short of Operatic.Lady Wathin was an active agent in thisexcitement. The excellent woman enjoyedmarriages of High Life: which, as there ispresumably wealth to support them, are manifestlyunder sanction: and a marriage that she couldconsider one of her own contrivance, had a
delicate flavour of a marriage in the family; notquite equal to the seeing a dear daughter of hernumerous progeny conducted to the altar, butexcelling it in the pomp that bids the heavens open.She and no other spread the tidings of MissAsper's debating upon the step to Rome at thevery instant of Percy Dacier's declaration of hislove; and it was a beautiful struggle, that of thehalf-dedicated nun and her deep-rooted earthlypassion, love prevailing! She sent word to LadyDunstane: 'You know the interest I have alwaystaken in dear Constance Aspen' etc.; inviting her tocome on a visit a week before the end of themonth, that she might join in the ceremony of awedding 'likely to be the grandest of our time.'Pitiful though it was, to think of the bridal pairhaving but eight or ten days at the outside, for ahoneymoon, the beauty of their 'mutual devotion toduty' was urged by Lady Wathin upon all hearers.Lady Dunstane declined the invitation. She waitedto hear from her friend, and the days went by; shecould only sorrow for her poor Tony, divining herstate. However little of wrong in the circumstances,they imposed a silence on her decent mind, and noconceivable shape of writing would transmitcondolences. She waited, with a dull heartache: byno means grieving at Dacier's engagement to theheiress; until Redworth animated her, as thebearer of rather startling intelligence, indirectlyrelating to the soul she loved. An accident in thestreet had befallen Mr. Warwick. Redworth wantedto know whether Diana should be told of it, thoughhe had no particulars to give; and somewhat to his
disappointment, Lady Dunstane said she wouldwrite. She delayed, thinking the accident might notbe serious; and the information of it to Diana surelywould be so. Next day at noon her visitor was LadyWathin, evidently perturbed and anxious to saymore than she dared: but she received noassistance. After beating the air in every direction,especially dwelling on the fond reciprocal affectionof the two devoted lovers, to be united within threedays' time, Lady Wathin said at last: 'And is it notshocking! I talk of a marriage and am appalled by adeath. That poor man died last night in thehospital. I mean poor Mr. Warwick. He wasrecovering, getting strong and well, and he wasknocked down at a street-crossing and died lastnight. It is a warning to us!''Mr. Redworth happened to hear of it at his Club,near which the accident occurred, and he called atthe hospital. Mr. Warwick was then alive,' saidLady Dunstane; adding: 'Well, if prevention isbetter than cure, as we hear! Accidents are thespecific for averting the maladies of age, which area certain crop!'Lady Wathin's eyelids worked and her lips shut fastat the cold-hearted remark void of meaning.She sighed. 'So ends a life of misery, my dear!''You are compassionate.''I hope so. But . . . Indeed I must speak, if you willlet me. I think of the living.'
Lady Dunstane widened her eyes. 'Of Mrs.Warwick?''She has now the freedom she desired. I think ofothers. Forgive me, but Constance Asper is to meas a daughter. I have perhaps no grounds for anyapprehension. Love so ardent, so sincere, wasnever shown by bridegroom elect: and it is notextraordinary to those acquainted with dearConstance. But—one may be a worshipped saintand experience defection. The terrible stories onehears of a power of fascination almost . . . !' LadyWathin hung for the word.'Infernal,' said Lady Dunstane, whose brows hadbeen bent inquiringly. 'Have no fear. The freedomyou allude to will not be used to interfere with anyentertainment in prospect. It was freedom myfriend desired. Now that her jewel is restored toher, she is not the person to throw it away, besure. And pray, drop the subject.''One may rely . . . you think?''Oh! Oh!'''This release coming just before the wedding . . . !'I should hardly suppose the man to be the puppetyou depict, or indicate.''It is because men—so many—are not puppetsthat one is conscious of alarm.''Your previous remark,' said Lady Dunstane,
'sounded superstitious. Your present one has anantipodal basis. But, as for your alarm, check it:and spare me further. My friend has acknowledgedpowers. Considering that, she does not use them,you should learn to respect her.'Lady Wathin bowed stiffly. She refused to partakeof lunch, having, she said, satisfied her conscienceby the performance of a duty and arranged withher flyman to catch a train. Her cousin LadyDunstane smiled loftily at everything she uttered,and she felt that if a woman like this Mrs. Warwickcould put division between blood-relatives, shecould do worse, and was to be dreaded up to thehour of the nuptials.'I meant no harm in coming,' she said, at theshaking of hands.'No, no; I understand,' said her hostess: 'you arehen-hearted over your adopted brood. Thesituation is perceptible and your intentioncreditable.'As one of the good women of the world, LadyWathin in departing was indignant at the tone anddialect of a younger woman not modestlyconcealing her possession of the larger brain.Brains in women she both dreaded and detested;she believed them to be devilish. Here wereinstances:—they had driven poor Sir Lukin to evilcourses, and that poor Mr. Warwick straight underthe wheels of a cab. Sir Lukin's name was trottingin public with a naughty Mrs. Fryar-Gunnett's: Mrs.
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