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that has accrued to them.’ ‘To you, you mean.’ ‘I have intimated
my view of the case: I am incapable of taking any other. I am not
brutally selfish, blindly unjust, or fiendishly ungrateful. Besides, I
am resolved I will have a home and connections. I like Moor
House, and I will live at Moor House; I like Diana and Mary, and I
will attach myself for life to Diana and Mary. It would please and
benefit me to have five thousand pounds; it would torment and
oppress me to have twenty thousand; which, moreover, could
never be mine in justice, though it might in law. I abandon to you,
then, what is absolutely superfluous to me. Let there be no
opposition, and no discussion about it; let us agree amongst each
other, and decide the point at once.’

‘This is acting on first impulses; you must take days to consider
such a matter, ere your word can be regarded as valid.’ ‘Oh! if all
you doubt is my sincerity, I am easy: you see the justice of the
case?’ ‘I do see a certain justice; but it is contrary to all custom.
Besides, the entire fortune is your right: my uncle gained it by his
own efforts; he was free to leave it to whom he would: he left it to
you. After all, justice permits you to keep it: you may, with a clear
conscience, consider it absolutely your own.’ ‘With me,’ said I, ‘it is
fully as much a matter of feeling as of conscience: I must indulge
my feelings; I so seldom have had an opportunity of doing so.
Were you to argue, object, and annoy me for a year, I could not
forego the delicious pleasure of which I have caught a glimpse-
that of repaying, in part, a mighty obligation, and winning to
myself life-long friends.’ ‘You think so now,’ rejoined St. John,
‘because you do not know what it is to possess, nor consequently to
enjoy wealth: you cannot form a notion of the importance twenty
thousand pounds would give you; of the place it would enable you
to take in society; of the prospects it would open to you: you
cannot-’ ‘And you,’ I interrupted, ‘cannot at all imagine the craving
I have for fraternal and sisterly love. I never had a home, I never
had brothers or sisters; I must and will have them now: you are not
reluctant to admit me and own me, are you?’

‘Jane, I will be your brother-my sisters will be your sisters-
without stipulating for this sacrifice of your just rights.’ ‘Brother?
Yes; at the distance of a thousand leagues! Sisters? Yes; slaving
amongst strangers! I, wealthy-gorged with gold I never earned
and do not merit! You, penniless! Famous equality and
fraternisation! Close union! Intimate attachment!’ ‘But, Jane, your
aspirations after family ties and domestic happiness may be
realised otherwise than by the means you contemplate: you may
marry.’ ‘Nonsense, again! Marry! I don’t want to marry, and never
shall marry.’ ‘That is saying too much: such hazardous affirmations
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