Phineas Redux, Chapter XXX (Regrets)
Three years had passed by, and nothing had been done of that which she had intended to do. Three years had passed, which to her, with her desires, were so important. And yet she hardly knew what were her desires, and had never quite defined her intentions. She told herself on this very long journey that the time had now gone by, and that in losing these three years she had now lost everything. And yet,--so she declared to herself now,--the world had done but little for her. Two old men had loved her; one had become her husband, and the other had asked to become so;-- and to both she had done her duty. To both she had been grateful, tender, and self-sacrificing. From the former she had as his widow, taken wealth which she valued greatly; but the wealth alone had given her no happiness. From the latter, and from his family, she had accepted a certain position. Some persons, high in repute and fashion, had known her before, but everybody knew her now. And yet what had all this done for her? Dukes and duchesses, dinner-parties and drawing-rooms,--what did they all amount to? What was it that she wanted?
She was ashamed to tell herself that it was love.
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