Background.

Our Mutual Friend A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.‘ is a quotation from Our Mutual Friend (Book 3, Chapter 9).

Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dickens‘s fourteenth and last completed novel, published between 1864 and 1865.

 

Context.

Quotation said by Lizzie Hexam, talking to Bella Wilfer.

Taken from the following passage in Book 3, Chapter 9) of Our Mutual Friend:

Lizzie put up the pretty brown hair that came tumbling down, owing to the energy with which Bella shook her head; and she remonstrated while thus engaged, ‘My dear!’

‘Oh, it’s all very well to call me your dear,’ said Bella, with a pettish whimper, ‘and I am glad to be called so, though I have slight enough claim to be. But I am such a nasty little thing!’

‘My dear!’ urged Lizzie again.

‘Such a shallow, cold, worldly, Limited little brute!’ said Bella, bringing out her last adjective with culminating force.

‘Do you think,’ inquired Lizzie with her quiet smile, the hair being now secured, ‘that I don’t know better?’

Do you know better though?’ said Bella. ‘Do you really believe you know better? Oh, I should be so glad if you did know better, but I am so very much afraid that I must know best!’

Lizzie asked her, laughing outright, whether she ever saw her own face or heard her own voice?

‘I suppose so,’ returned Bella; ‘I look in the glass often enough, and I chatter like a Magpie.’

‘I have seen your face, and heard your voice, at any rate,’ said Lizzie, ‘and they have tempted me to say to you—with a certainty of not going wrong—what I thought I should never say to any one. Does that look ill?’

‘No, I hope it doesn’t,’ pouted Bella, stopping herself in something between a humoured laugh and a humoured sob.

‘I used once to see pictures in the fire,’ said Lizzie playfully, ‘to please my brother. Shall I tell you what I see down there where the fire is glowing?’

They had risen, and were standing on the hearth, the time being come for separating; each had drawn an arm around the other to take leave.

‘Shall I tell you,’ asked Lizzie, ‘what I see down there?’

‘Limited little b?’ suggested Bella with her eyebrows raised.

A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.

‘Girl’s heart?’ asked Bella, with accompanying eyebrows.

Lizzie nodded. ‘And the figure to which it belongs—’

Is yours,’ suggested Bella.

‘No. Most clearly and distinctly yours.’

So the interview terminated with pleasant words on both sides, and with many reminders on the part of Bella that they were friends, and pledges that she would soon come down into that part of the country again. There with Lizzie returned to her occupation, and Bella ran over to the little inn to rejoin her company.

 

 

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