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19. CHAPTER XIX.
Instead of resuming his investigation of South's brain, which perhaps was not so interesting under the microscope as might have been expected from the importance of that organ in life, Fitzpiers reclined and ruminated on the interview. Grace's curious susceptibility to his presence, though it was as if the currents of her life were disturbed rather than attracted by him, added a special interest to her general charm. Fitzpiers was in a distinct degree scientific, being ready and zealous to interrogate all physical manifestations, but primarily he was an idealist. He believed that behind the imperfect lay the perfect; that rare things were to be discovered amid a bulk of commonplace; that results in a new and untried case might be different from those in other cases where the conditions had been precisely similar. Regarding his own personality as one of unbounded possibilities, because it was his own--notwithstanding that the factors of his life had worked out a sorry product for thousands--he saw nothing but what was regular in his discovery at Hintock of an altogether exceptional being of the other sex, who for nobody else would have had any existence.
One habit of Fitzpiers's--commoner in dreamers of more advanced age than in men of his years--was that of talking to himself. He paced round his room with a selective tread upon the more prominent blooms of the carpet, and murmured, "This phenomenal girl will be the light of my life while I am at Hintock; and the special beauty of the situation is that our attitude and relations to each other will be purely spiritual. Socially we can never be intimate. Anything like matrimonial intentions towards her, charming as she is, would be absurd. They would spoil the ethereal character of my regard. And, indeed, I have other aims on the practical side of my life."
Fitzpiers bestowed a regulation thought on the advantageous marriage he was bound to make with a woman of family as good as his own, and of purse much longer. But as an object of contemplation for the present, as objective spirit rather than corporeal presence, Grace Melbury would serve to keep his soul alive, and to relieve the monotony of his days.
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