List Price: 22.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Herhand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style thanthose in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as herstature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by theside of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible, -orfrom one of our elder poets, -in a paragraph of to-day's newspaper. She was usually spoken ofas being remarkably clever, but with the addition that her sister Celia had more common-sense.Nevertheless, Celia wore scarcely more trimmings; and it was only to close observers that herdress differed from her sister's, and had a shade of coquetry in its arrangements; for MissBrooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. Thepride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactlyaristocratic, were unquestionably "good: " if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers-anything lower than anadmiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentlemanwho served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of allpolitical troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter. Then there was well-bredeconomy, which in those days made show in dress the first item to be deducted from, when anymargin was required for expenses more distinctive of rank. Such reasons would have beenenough to account for plain dress, quite apart from religious feeling; but in Miss Brooke's case, religion alone would have determined it; and Celia mildly acquiesced in all her sister'ssentiments, only infusing them with that common-sense which is able to accept momentousdoctrines without any eccentric agitation. Dorothea knew many passages of Pascal's Penseesand of Jeremy Taylor by heart; and to her the destinies of mankind, seen by the light ofChristianity, made the solicitudes of feminine fashion appear an occupation for Bedlam. Shecould not reconcile the anxieties of a spiritual life involving eternal consequences, with a keeninterest in gimp and artificial protrusions of drapery. Her mind was theoretic, and yearned byits nature after some lofty conception of the world which might frankly include the parish ofTipton and her own rule of conduct there; she was enamoured of intensity and greatness, andrash in embracing whatever seemed to her to have those aspects; likely to seek martyrdom, tomake retractations, and then to incur martyrdom after all in a quarter where she had notsought it. Certainly such elements in the character of a marriageable girl tended to interferewith her lot, and hinder it from being decided according to custom, by good looks, vanity, andmerely canine affection. With all this, she, the elder of the sisters, was not yet twenty, and theyhad both been educated, since they were about twelve years old and had lost their parents, onplans at once narrow and promiscuous, first in an English family and afterwards in a Swiss family at Lausanne, their bachelor uncle and guardian trying in this way to remedy thedisadvantages of their orphaned con.
Independently Published, 9798575300960, 592pp.
Publication Date: December 3, 2020