The End of the Quest
"I have never done you injustice. Please remember me," said Dorothea, repressing a rising sob.
"Why should you say that?" said Will, with irritation. "As if I were not in danger of forgetting everything else."
He really had a movement of anger against her at that moment, and it impelled him to go away without pause. It was all one flash to Dorothea - his last words - his distant bow to her as he reached the door - the sense that he was no longer there. She sank into the chair, and for a few moments sat there like a statue, while images and emotions were hurrying upon her. Joy came first, in spite of the threatening train behind it - joy in the impression that it was really herself whom Will loved and was renouncing, that there was really no other love less permissible, more blameworthy, which honour was hurrying him away from. They were parted all the same, but - Dorothea drew a deep breath and felt her strength return - she could think of him unrestrainedly. At that moment the parting was easy to bear: the first sense of loving and being loved excluded sorrow. It was as if some hard icy pressure had melted, and her consciousness had room to expand; her part was come back to her with larger interpretation. The joy was not the less - perhaps it was the more complete just then - because of the irrevocable parting; for there was no reproach, no contemptuous wonder to imagine in any eye or from any lips. He had acted so as to defy reproach, and make wonder respectful.
George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH