Few wives were more submissive than Mrs. Tulliver on all points unconnected with her family relations; but she had been a Miss Dodson, and the Dodsons were a very respectable family indeed,—as much looked up to as any in their own parish, or the next to it.
Poor Mrs. Tulliver went submissively downstairs; to be ordered about by a servant was the last remnant of her household dignities,—she would soon have no servant to scold her.
That honest wagoner is thinking of his dinner, getting sadly dry in the oven at this late hour; but he will not touch it till he has fed his horses,—the strong, submissive, meek-eyed beasts, who, I fancy, are looking mild reproach at him from between their blinkers, that he should crack his whip at them in that awful manner as if they needed that hint!
Her mother felt the change in her with a sort of puzzled wonder that Maggie should be "growing up so good"; it was amazing that this once "contrairy" child was become so submissive, so backward to assert her own will.
"Maybe, my dear," said Mrs. Tulliver, submissively.
"But won’t that mar the charming effect of my consistent shabbiness?" said Maggie, seating herself submissively, while Lucy knelt again and unfastened the contemptible butterfly.
She craved that outward help to her better purpose which would come from complete, submissive confession; from being in the presence of those whose looks and words would be a reflection of her own conscience.
Being always on the defensive toward her own sisters, it was natural that she should be keenly conscious of her superiority, even as the weakest Dodson, over a husband’s sister, who, besides being poorly off, and inclined to "hang on" her brother, had the good-natured submissiveness of a large, easy-tempered, untidy, prolific woman, with affection enough in her not only for her own husband and abundant children, but for any number of collateral relations.
She murmured a little that Mr. Tulliver so peremptorily refused to receive anything in repayment from Mr. and Mrs. Moss; but to all his requirements of household economy she was submissive to the point of denying herself the cheapest indulgences of mere flavor; her only rebellion was to smuggle into the kitchen something that would make rather a better supper than usual for Tom.
It is a sordid life, you say, this of the Tullivers and Dodsons, irradiated by no sublime principles, no romantic visions, no active, self-renouncing faith; moved by none of those wild, uncontrollable passions which create the dark shadows of misery and crime; without that primitive, rough simplicity of wants, that hard, submissive, ill-paid toil, that childlike spelling-out of what nature has written, which gives its poetry to peasant life.
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She has become silently submissive.
Harriet kissed her hand in silent and submissive gratitude.