"Shall I tell you what I always think of you and the fortune yet to come for you, my love?" said Mrs. Woodcourt. [...] "Why, then, it is that you will marry some one very rich and very worthy, much older--five and twenty years, perhaps--than yourself. And you will be an excellent wife, and much beloved, and very happy."
"That is a good fortune," said I. "But why is it to be mine?"
"My dear," she returned, "there's suitability in it--you are so busy, and so neat, and so peculiarly situated altogether that there's suitability in it, and it will come to pass. And nobody, my love, will congratulate you more sincerely on such a marriage than I shall."
It was curious that this should make me uncomfortable, but I think it did. I know it did. It made me for some part of that night uncomfortable. [...] And after all, what did it matter to me, and why did it matter to me? Why could not I, going up to bed with my basket of keys, stop to sit down by her fire and accommodate myself for a little while to her, at least as well as to anybody else, and not trouble myself about the harmless things she said to me? Impelled towards her, as I certainly was, for I was very anxious that she should like me and was very glad indeed that she did, why should I harp afterwards, with actual distress and pain, on every word she said and weigh it over and over again in twenty scales? Why was it so worrying to me to have her in our house, and confidential to me every night, when I yet felt that it was better and safer somehow that she should be there than anywhere else? These were perplexities and contradictions that I could not account for. At least, if I could--but I shall come to all that by and by, and it is mere idleness to go on about it now. (30.30-37)
What do you make of Esther's weirdly hiding the fact that she and Woodcourt had feelings for each other at this point? Especially since she's writing from a future in which they've been married for seven years and have two kids? Does that long passage about Mrs. Woodcourt's opinions of her sound a little too coy? Shmoop is smelling some kind of narrative rat here, but it's hard to say exactly what it might be.