'But I have only just begun to talk about it; I must try to make my position intelligible to you. Now, suppose--a quite impossible thing--that Marian inherited some twenty or thirty thousand pounds; I should forthwith ask her to be my wife.'
'I see no reason for sarcasm. It would be a most rational proceeding. I like her very much; but to marry her (supposing she would have me) without money would he a gross absurdity, simply spoiling my career, and leading to all sorts of discontents.'
'No one would suggest that you should marry as things are.'
'No; but please to bear in mind that to obtain money somehow or other--and I see no other way than by marriage--is necessary to me, and that with as little delay as possible. I am not at all likely to get a big editorship for some years to come, and I don't feel disposed to make myself prematurely old by toiling for a few hundreds per annum in the meantime. Now all this I have frankly and fully explained to Marian. I dare say she suspects what I should do if she came into possession of money; there's no harm in that. But she knows perfectly well that, as things are, we remain intellectual friends.'
'Then listen to me, Jasper. If we hear that Marian gets nothing from her uncle, you had better behave honestly, and let her see that you haven't as much interest in her as before.'
'Well, no, it wouldn't. Strictly speaking, my interest in Marian wouldn't suffer at all. I should know that we could be nothing but friends, that's all. Hitherto I haven't known what might come to pass; I don't know yet. So far from following your advice, I shall let Marian understand that, if anything, I am more her friend than ever, seeing that henceforth there can be no ambiguities.'
'I can only tell you that Maud would agree with me in what I have been saying.'
'Then both of you have distorted views.'