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'That I am sure of,' she answered, with uncommon fervour. 'If I am
sure of anything, of course, you know, I am sure of that.'
Mrs. Steerforth appeared to me to regret having been a little
nettled; for she presently said, in a kind tone:
'Well, my dear Rosa, we have not heard what it is that you want to
be satisfied about?'
'That I want to be satisfied about?' she replied, with provoking
coldness. 'Oh! It was only whether people, who are like each
other in their moral constitution - is that the phrase?'
'It's as good a phrase as another,' said Steerforth.
'Thank you: - whether people, who are like each other in their
moral constitution, are in greater danger than people not so
circumstanced, supposing any serious cause of variance to arise
between them, of being divided angrily and deeply?'
'I should say yes,' said Steerforth.
'Should you?' she retorted. 'Dear me! Supposing then, for
instance - any unlikely thing will do for a supposition - that you
and your mother were to have a serious quarrel.'
'My dear Rosa,' interposed Mrs. Steerforth, laughing
good-naturedly, 'suggest some other supposition! James and I know
our duty to each other better, I pray Heaven!'
'Oh!' said Miss Dartle, nodding her head thoughtfully. 'To be
sure. That would prevent it? Why, of course it would. Exactly.
Now, I am glad I have been so foolish as to put the case, for it is
so very good to know that your duty to each other would prevent it!
Thank you very much.'
One other little circumstance connected with Miss Dartle I must not
omit; for I had reason to remember it thereafter, when all the
irremediable past was rendered plain. During the whole of this
day, but especially from this period of it, Steerforth exerted
himself with his utmost skill, and that was with his utmost ease,
to charm this singular creature into a pleasant and pleased
companion. That he should succeed, was no matter of surprise to
me. That she should struggle against the fascinating influence of