The Eustace Diamonds, by Anthony Trollope. 1986 Penguin Classics, New York. First published 1

“But she was absent more than ten minutes. When she was alone she stood before her glass looking at herself, and then she burst into tears. Never before had she been thus polluted. The embrace had disgusted her. It made her odious to herself. And if this, the beginning of it, were so bad, how was she to drink the cup to the bitter dregs? Other girls, she knew, were fond of their lovers—some so fond of them that all moments of absence were moments, if not of pain, at any rate of regret. To her, as she stood there ready to tear herself because of the vileness of her own condition, it now seemed as though no such love as that were possible to her. For the sake of this man who was to be her husband, she hated all men. Was not everything arond her base, and mean, and sordid? She had understood thoroughly the quick divulgings of Mrs. Carbuncle’s tiding, the workings of her aunt’s anxious mind. The man, now that he had been caught, was not to be allowed to escape. But now great would be the boon if he would escape. How should she escape? And yet she knew that she meant to go on and bear it all. Perhaps by study and due practice she might become as were some others—a beast of prey, and nothing more.”

Posted January 23, 2003

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