A wry response to the observation by his future brother-in-law regarding Mr. Casaubon’s suitability for marriage.  The old dry-as-dust scholar-curmudgeon having one foot in the grave, seems to view marriage to a glowing young woman as a means to extricate it.

‘What business has an old bachelor like that to marry?’ said Sir James. ‘He has one foot in the grave.’

‘He means to draw it out again, I suppose.’

 

Source: George Eliot, Middlemarch (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 56

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