- ‘They seemed to have no separate existence, but to have made up their minds just to winter through life together‘ is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Our Parish, Chapter 3 (The Four Sisters).
- Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a two-volume collected work in 1836.
This quotation describes the four Willis sisters, who follow each other in everything they do.
The Charles Dickens sketch, The Four Sisters, first appeared in The Evening Chronicle on Thursday, 18 June 1835. The tale describes a story of the four Willis sisters who, having lived together in the parish for thirteen years, suddenly appear to get married. But local speculation grows as to which one, or all, of the sisters have tied the knot to a Mr. Robinson.
Taken from the following passage in the sketch The Four Sisters:
At last, the Miss Willises moved in; and then the ‘calling’ began. The house was the perfection of neatness—so were the four Miss Willises. Everything was formal, stiff, and cold—so were the four Miss Willises. Not a single chair of the whole set was ever seen out of its place—not a single Miss Willis of the whole four was ever seen out of hers. There they always sat, in the same places, doing precisely the same things at the same hour. The eldest Miss Willis used to knit, the second to draw, the two others to play duets on the piano. They seemed to have no separate existence, but to have made up their minds just to winter through life together. They were three long graces in drapery, with the addition, like a school-dinner, of another long grace afterwards—the three fates with another sister—the Siamese twins multiplied by two. The eldest Miss Willis grew bilious—the four Miss Willises grew bilious immediately. The eldest Miss Willis grew ill-tempered and religious—the four Miss Willises were ill-tempered and religious directly. Whatever the eldest did, the others did, and whatever anybody else did, they all disapproved of; and thus they vegetated—living in Polar harmony among themselves, and, as they sometimes went out, or saw company ‘in a quiet-way’ at home, occasionally icing the neighbours. Three years passed over in this way, when an unlooked for and extraordinary phenomenon occurred. The Miss Willises showed symptoms of summer, the frost gradually broke up; a complete thaw took place. Was it possible? one of the four Miss Willises was going to be married!
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