That (it seems to the Contractor) is the way of looking at it.
The fair enslaver having fallen into one of her gentle sleeps during the last exposition, nobody likes to wake her. Fortunately, she comes awake of herself, and puts the question to the Wandering Chairman. The Wanderer can only speak of the case as if it were his own. If such a young woman as the young woman described, had saved his own life, he would have been very much obliged to her, wouldn't have married her, and would have got her a berth in an Electric Telegraph Office, where young women answer very well.
What does the Genius of the three hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds, no shillings, and nopence, think? He can't say what he thinks, without asking: Had the young woman any money?
'No,' says Lightwood, in an uncompromising voice; 'no money.'
'Madness and moonshine,' is then the compressed verdict of the Genius. 'A man may do anything lawful, for money. But for no money!--Bosh!'
What does Boots say?
Boots says he wouldn't have done it under twenty thousand pound.
What does Brewer say?
Brewer says what Boots says.
What does Buffer say?
Buffer says he knows a man who married a bathing-woman, and bolted.
Lady Tippins fancies she has collected the suffrages of the whole Committee (nobody dreaming of asking the Veneerings for their opinion), when, looking round the table through her eyeglass, she perceives Mr Twemlow with his hand to his forehead.
Good gracious! My Twemlow forgotten! My dearest! My own! What is his vote?
Twemlow has the air of being ill at ease, as he takes his hand from his forehead and replies.
'I am disposed to think,' says he, 'that this is a question of the feelings of a gentleman.'
'A gentleman can have no feelings who contracts such a marriage,' flushes Podsnap.
'Pardon me, sir,' says Twemlow, rather less mildly than usual, 'I don't agree with you. If this gentleman's feelings of gratitude, of respect, of admiration, and affection, induced him (as I presume they did) to marry this lady--'
'This lady!' echoes Podsnap.
'Sir,' returns Twemlow, with his wristbands bristling a little, 'YOU repeat the word; I repeat the word. This lady. What else would you call her, if the gentleman were present?'
This being something in the nature of a poser for Podsnap, he merely waves it away with a speechless wave.
'I say,' resumes Twemlow, 'if such feelings on the part of this gentleman, induced this gentleman to marry this lady, I think he is the greater gentleman for the action, and makes her the greater lady. I beg to say, that when I use the word, gentleman, I use it in the sense in which the degree may be attained by any man. The feelings of a gentleman I hold sacred, and I confess I am not comfortable when they are made the subject of sport or general discussion.'
'I should like to know,' sneers Podsnap, 'whether your noble relation would be of your opinion.'
'Mr Podsnap,' retorts Twemlow, 'permit me. He might be, or he might not be. I cannot say. But, I could not allow even him to dictate to me on a point of great delicacy, on which I feel very strongly.'
Somehow, a canopy of wet blanket seems to descend upon the company, and Lady Tippins was never known to turn so very greedy or so very cross. Mortimer Lightwood alone brightens.