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so frequently alone with him, and keep you so continually at his
side? Mary and I had both concluded he wished you to marry
him.’ ‘He does-he has asked me to be his wife.’ Diana clapped her
hands. ‘That is just what we hoped and thought! And you will
marry him, Jane, won’t you? And then he will stay in England.’
‘Far from that, Diana; his sole idea in proposing to me is to procure
a fitting fellow-labourer in his Indian toils.’

‘What! He wishes you to go to India?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Madness!’ she
exclaimed. ‘You would not live three months there, I am certain.
You never shall go: you have not consented, have you, Jane?’ ‘I
have refused to marry him-’ ‘And have consequently displeased
him?’ she suggested.

‘Deeply: he will never forgive me, I fear: yet I offered to
accompany him as his sister.’ ‘It was frantic folly to do so, Jane.
Think of the task you undertook-one of incessant fatigue, where
fatigue kills even the strong, and you are weak. St. Johnyou know
him-would urge you to impossibilities: with him there would be
no permission to rest during the hot hours; and unfortunately, I
have noticed, whatever he exacts, you force yourself to perform. I
am astonished you found courage to refuse his hand. You do not
love him then, Jane?’ ‘Not as a husband.’ ‘Yet he is a handsome
fellow.’ ‘And I am so plain, you see, Die. We should never suit.’
‘Plain! You? Not at all. You are much too pretty, as well as too
good, to be grilled alive in Calcutta.’ And again she earnestly
conjured me to give up all thoughts of going out with her brother.
‘I must indeed,’ I said; ‘for when just now I repeated the offer of
serving him for a deacon, he expressed himself shocked at my
want of decency. He seemed to think I had committed an
impropriety in proposing to accompany him unmarried:as if I had
not from the first hoped to find in him a brother, and habitually
regarded him as such.’ ‘What makes you say he does not love you,
Jane?’ ‘You should hear himself on the subject. He has again and
again explained that it is not himself, but his office he wishes to
mate. He has told me I am formed for labour-not for love: which is
true, no doubt. But, in my opinion, if I am not formed for love, it
follows that I am not formed for marriage. Would it not be strange,
Die, to be chained for life to a man who regarded one but as a
useful tool?’ ‘Insupportable-unnatural-out of the question!’ ‘And
then,’ I continued, ‘though I have only sisterly affection for him
now, yet, if forced to be his wife, I can imagine the possibility of
conceiving an inevitable, strange, torturing kind of love for him,
because he is so talented; and there is often a certain heroic
grandeur in his look, manner, and conversation. In that case, my
lot would become unspeakably wretched. He would not want me
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