"Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Molly Bawn is the nickname Philip Massereene has given his pretty step-sister Eleanor. Philip, a poor but honest gentleman of Victorian England, owns a small homestead south of London where he lives with his wife, Letitia, and Molly. Molly has a fierce old grandfather who disowned her mother when she married beneath her and who has never seen his granddaughter, but as he becomes ill in his old age he sends for her. In the meantime, however, Molly has fallen in love with Teddy, a friend of her brother. The two cannot marry because Teddy, whose full name is Tedcastle, has an inadequate income. Molly, interrupting her courtship to visit her wealthy but illnatured grandfather, meets her cousin Marcia, a scheming but beautiful girl. One evening soon after Molly's arrival, several neighbors come to visit, including Lady Stafford, who is met at the door by Marcia. Lady Stafford inquires concerning the arrival of the other guests:

"One moment, Marcia. Many people come yet? Tedcastle?"
"Yes, and Captain Mottie, with his devoted attendant, and the Darleys."
"Maudie? Is she as fascinating as ever? I do hope, Marcia, you have got her young man for her this time, as she was simply unbearable last year."
"I have not," laughing: "it is a dead secret, but the fact is, he wouldn't come."
"I like that young man. Though I consider he has sold us shamefully. Any one else?"
"My cousin, Eleanor Massereene."
"The cousin! I am so glad. Anything new is such a relief. And I have heard she is beautiful: is she?"
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," quotes Marcia, in a low tone, and with a motion of her hand towards the open door inside which sits Molly, that sends Lady Stafford up-stairs without further parley.