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George Eliot

[Mary Anne Evans]

MIDDLEMARCH



To mydear HusbandGeorge Henry Lewesin this nineteenth year of ourblessed union.



PRELUDE



Who thatcares much to know the history of manand how the mysterious mixturebehaves under the varying experiments of Timehas not dweltatleast brieflyon the life of Saint Theresahas not smiled with somegentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth onemorning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brotherto go and seekmartyrdom in the country of the Moors?  Out they toddled fromrugged Avilawide-eyed and helpless-looking as two fawnsbut withhuman heartsalready beating to a national idea; until domesticreality met them in the shape of unclesand turned them back fromtheir great resolve.  That child-pilgrimage was a fit beginning.Theresa's passionateideal nature demanded an epic life: what weremany-volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of abrilliant girl to her?  Her flame quickly burned up that lightfuel; andfed from withinsoared after some illimitablesatisfactionsome object which would never justify wearinesswhichwould reconcile self-despair with the rapturous consciousness of lifebeyond self. She found her epos in the reform of a religious order.

ThatSpanish woman who lived three hundred years agowas certainly notthe last of her kind.  Many Theresas have been born who foundfor themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding offar-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakesthe offspringof a certain spiritual grandeur ill-matched with the meanness ofopportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet andsank unwept into oblivion.  With dim lights and tangledcircumstance they tried to shape their thought and deed in nobleagreement; but after allto common eyes their struggles seemed mereinconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas werehelped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform thefunction of knowledge for the ardently willing soul. Their ardoralternated between a vague ideal and the common yearning ofwomanhood; so that the one was disapproved as extravaganceand theother condemned as a lapse.

Some havefelt that these blundering lives are due to the inconvenientindefiniteness with which the Supreme Power has fashioned the naturesof women: if there were one level of feminine incompetence as strictas the ability to count three and no morethe social lot of womenmight be treated with scientific certitude. Meanwhile theindefiniteness remainsand the limits of variation are really muchwider than any one would imagine from the sameness of women'scoiffure and the favorite love-stories in prose and verse. Here andthere a cygnet is reared uneasily among the ducklings in the brownpondand never finds the living stream in fellowship with its ownoary-footed kind.  Here and there is born a Saint Theresafoundress of nothingwhose loving heart-beats and sobs after anunattained goodness tremble off and are dispersed among hindrancesinstead of centring in some long-recognizable deed.



BOOK I

MISSBROOKE

----

CHAPTERI



  "Since I can do no good because a woman
   Reachconstantly at something that is near it."
   --TheMaid's Tragedy:  BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.



MissBrooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into reliefby poor dress.  Her hand and wrist were so finely formed thatshe could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which theBlessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as wellas her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from herplain garmentswhich by the side of provincial fashion gave her theimpressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible--or from one ofour elder poets--in a paragraph of to-day's newspaper. She wasusually spoken of as being remarkably cleverbut with the additionthat her sister Celia had more common-sense. NeverthelessCelia worescarcely more trimmings; and it was only to close observers that herdress differed from her sister'sand had a shade of coquetry in itsarrangements; for Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixedconditionsin most of which her sister shared. The pride of beingladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connectionsthoughnot exactly aristocraticwere unquestionably "good:" ifyou inquired backward for a generation or twoyou would not find anyyard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers--anything lower than anadmiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible asa Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwellbut afterwardsconformedand managed to come out of all political troubles as theproprietor of a respectable family estate. Young women of such birthliving in a quiet country-houseand attending a village churchhardly larger than a parlornaturally regarded frippery as theambition of a huckster's daughter. Then there was well-bred economywhich in those days made show in dress the first item to be deductedfromwhen any margin was required for expenses more distinctive ofrank.  Such reasons would have been enough to account for plaindressquite apart from religious feeling; but in Miss Brooke's casereligion alone would have determined it; and Celia mildly acquiescedin all her sister's sentimentsonly infusing them with thatcommon-sense which is able to accept momentous doctrines without anyeccentric agitation.  Dorothea knew many passages of Pascal'sPensees and of Jeremy Taylor by heart; and to her the destinies ofmankindseen by the light of Christianitymade the solicitudes offeminine fashion appear an occupation for Bedlam.  She could notreconcile the anxieties of a spiritual life involving eternalconsequenceswith a keen interest in gimp and artificial protrusionsof drapery.  Her mind was theoreticand yearned by its natureafter some lofty conception of the world which might frankly includethe parish of Tipton and her own rule of conduct there; she wasenamoured of intensity and greatnessand rash in embracing whateverseemed to her to have those aspects; likely to seek martyrdomtomake retractationsand then to incur martyrdom after all in aquarter where she had not sought it. Certainly such elements in thecharacter of a marriageable girl tended to interfere with her lotand hinder it from being decided according to customby good looksvanityand merely canine affection. With all thisshethe elder ofthe sisterswas not yet twentyand they had both been educatedsince they were about twelve years old and had lost their parentsonplans at once narrow and promiscuousfirst in an English family andafterwards in a Swiss family at Lausannetheir bachelor uncle andguardian trying in this way to remedy the disadvantages of theirorphaned condition. 

It washardly a year since they had come to live at Tipton Grange with theirunclea man nearly sixtyof acquiescent tempermiscellaneousopinionsand uncertain vote.  He had travelled in his youngeryearsand was held in this part of the county to have contracted atoo rambling habit of mind.  Mr. Brooke's conclusions were asdifficult to predict as the weather: it was only safe to say that hewould act with benevolent intentionsand that he would spend aslittle money as possible in carrying them out.  For the mostglutinously indefinite minds enclose some hard grains of habit; and aman has been seen lax about all his own interests except theretention of his snuff-boxconcerning which he was watchfulsuspiciousand greedy of clutch.

In Mr.Brooke the hereditary strain of Puritan energy was clearly inabeyance; but in his niece Dorothea it glowed alike through faultsand virtuesturning sometimes into impatience of her uncle's talk orhis way of "letting things be" on his estateand makingher long all the more for the time when she would be of age and havesome command of money for generous schemes.  She was regarded asan heiress; for not only had the sisters seven hundred a-year eachfrom their parentsbut if Dorothea married and had a sonthat sonwould inherit Mr. Brooke's estatepresumably worth about threethousand a-year--a rental which seemed wealth to provincial familiesstill discussing Mr. Peel's late conduct on the Catholic questioninnocent of future gold-fieldsand of that gorgeous plutocracy whichhas so nobly exalted the necessities of genteel life.

And howshould Dorothea not marry?--a girl so handsome and with suchprospects?  Nothing could hinder it but her love of extremesand her insistence on regulating life according to notions whichmight cause a wary man to hesitate before he made her an offeroreven might lead her at last to refuse all offers.  A young ladyof some birth and fortunewho knelt suddenly down on a brick floorby the side of a sick laborer and prayed fervidly as if she thoughtherself living in the time of the Apostles--who had strange whims offasting like a Papistand of sitting up at night to read oldtheological books!  Such a wife might awaken you some finemorning with a new scheme for the application of her income whichwould interfere with political economy and the keeping ofsaddle-horses: a man would naturally think twice before he riskedhimself in such fellowship. Women were expected to have weakopinions; but the great safeguard of society and of domestic lifewasthat opinions were not acted on. Sane people did what theirneighbors didso that if any lunatics were at largeone might knowand avoid them.

The ruralopinion about the new young ladieseven among the cottagerswasgenerally in favor of Celiaas being so amiable andinnocent-lookingwhile Miss Brooke's large eyes seemedlike herreligiontoo unusual and striking.  Poor Dorothea! comparedwith herthe innocent-looking Celia was knowing and worldly-wise; somuch subtler is a human mind than the outside tissues which make asort of blazonry or clock-face for it.

Yet thosewho approached Dorotheathough prejudiced against her by thisalarming hearsayfound that she had a charm unaccountablyreconcilable with it.  Most men thought her bewitching when shewas on horseback.  She loved the fresh air and the variousaspects of the countryand when her eyes and cheeks glowed withmingled pleasure she looked very little like a devotee.  Ridingwas an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of conscientiousqualms; she felt that she enjoyed it in a pagan sensuous wayandalways looked forward to renouncing it.

She wasopenardentand not in the least self-admiring; indeedit waspretty to see how her imagination adorned her sister Celia withattractions altogether superior to her ownand if any gentlemanappeared to come to the Grange from some other motive than that ofseeing Mr. Brookeshe concluded that he must be in love with Celia:Sir James Chettamfor examplewhom she constantly considered fromCelia's point of viewinwardly debating whether it would be good forCelia to accept him.  That he should be regarded as a suitor toherself would have seemed to her a ridiculous irrelevance. Dorotheawith all her eagerness to know the truths of liferetained verychildlike ideas about marriage.  She felt sure that she wouldhave accepted the judicious Hookerif she had been born in time tosave him from that wretched mistake he made in matrimony; or JohnMilton when his blindness had come on; or any of the other great menwhose odd habits it would have been glorious piety to endure; but anamiable handsome baronetwho said "Exactly" to her remarkseven when she expressed uncertainty--how could he affect her as alover?  The really delightful marriage must be that where yourhusband was a sort of fatherand could teach you even Hebrewif youwished it.

Thesepeculiarities of Dorothea's character caused Mr. Brooke to be all themore blamed in neighboring families for not securing some middle-agedlady as guide and companion to his nieces. But he himself dreaded somuch the sort of superior woman likely to be available for such apositionthat he allowed himself to be dissuaded by Dorothea'sobjectionsand was in this case brave enough to defy the world--thatis to sayMrs. Cadwallader the Rector's wifeand the small group ofgentry with whom he visited in the northeast corner of Loamshire. So Miss Brooke presided in her uncle's householdand did not at alldislike her new authoritywith the homage that belonged to it.

Sir JamesChettam was going to dine at the Grange to-day with another gentlemanwhom the girls had never seenand about whom Dorothea felt somevenerating expectation.  This was the Reverend Edward Casaubonnoted in the county as a man of profound learningunderstood formany years to be engaged on a great work concerning religioushistory; also as a man of wealth enough to give lustre to his pietyand having views of his own which were to be more clearly ascertainedon the publication of his book.  His very name carried animpressiveness hardly to be measured without a precise chronology ofscholarship.

Early inthe day Dorothea had returned from the infant school which she hadset going in the villageand was taking her usual place in thepretty sitting-room which divided the bedrooms of the sistersbenton finishing a plan for some buildings (a kind of work which shedelighted in)when Celiawho had been watching her with ahesitating desire to propose somethingsaid--

"Dorotheadearif you don't mind--if you are not very busy--suppose we lookedat mamma's jewels to-dayand divided them?  It is exactly sixmonths to-day since uncle gave them to youand you have not lookedat them yet."

Celia'sface had the shadow of a pouting expression in itthe full presenceof the pout being kept back by an habitual awe of Dorothea andprinciple; two associated facts which might show a mysteriouselectricity if you touched them incautiously.  To her reliefDorothea's eyes were full of laughter as she looked up.

"Whata wonderful little almanac you areCelia!  Is it six calendaror six lunar months?"

"Itis the last day of September nowand it was the first of April whenuncle gave them to you.  You knowhe said that he had forgottenthem till then.  I believe you have never thought of them sinceyou locked them up in the cabinet here."

"Welldearwe should never wear themyou know." Dorothea spoke in afull cordial tonehalf caressinghalf explanatory. She had herpencil in her handand was making tiny side-plans on a margin.

Celiacoloredand looked very grave.  "I thinkdearwe arewanting in respect to mamma's memoryto put them by and take nonotice of them.  And" she addedafter hesitating alittlewith a rising sob of mortification"necklaces are quiteusual now; and Madame Poinconwho was stricter in some things eventhan you areused to wear ornaments.  And Christiansgenerally--surely there are women in heaven now who wore jewels."Celia was conscious of some mental strength when she really appliedherself to argument.

"Youwould like to wear them?" exclaimed Dorotheaan air ofastonished discovery animating her whole person with a dramaticaction which she had caught from that very Madame Poincon who worethe ornaments. "Of coursethenlet us have them out.  Whydid you not tell me before?  But the keysthe keys!" Shepressed her hands against the sides of her head and seemed to despairof her memory.

"Theyare here" said Celiawith whom this explanation had been longmeditated and prearranged.

"Prayopen the large drawer of the cabinet and get out the jewel-box."

The casketwas soon open before themand the various jewels spread outmakinga bright parterre on the table.  It was no great collectionbuta few of the ornaments were really of remarkable beautythe finestthat was obvious at first being a necklace of purple amethysts set inexquisite gold workand a pearl cross with five brilliants in it.Dorothea immediately took up the necklace and fastened it round hersister's neckwhere it fitted almost as closely as a bracelet; butthe circle suited the Henrietta-Maria style of Celia's head and neckand she could see that it didin the pier-glass opposite.

"ThereCelia! you can wear that with your Indian muslin. But this cross youmust wear with your dark dresses."

Celia wastrying not to smile with pleasure.  "O Dodoyou must keepthe cross yourself."

"Nonodearno" said Dorotheaputting up her hand with carelessdeprecation.

"Yesindeed you must; it would suit you--in your black dressnow"said Celiainsistingly.  "You MIGHT wear that."

"Notfor the worldnot for the world.  A cross is the last thing Iwould wear as a trinket." Dorothea shuddered slightly.

"Thenyou will think it wicked in me to wear it" said Celiauneasily.

"Nodearno" said Dorotheastroking her sister's cheek. "Soulshave complexions too: what will suit one will not suit another."

"Butyou might like to keep it for mamma's sake."

"NoI have other things of mamma's--her sandal-wood box which I am sofond of--plenty of things.  In factthey are all yoursdear.We need discuss them no longer.  There--take away yourproperty."

Celia felta little hurt.  There was a strong assumption of superiority inthis Puritanic tolerationhardly less trying to the blond flesh ofan unenthusiastic sister than a Puritanic persecution.

"Buthow can I wear ornaments if youwho are the elder sisterwill neverwear them?"

"NayCeliathat is too much to askthat I should wear trinkets to keepyou in countenance.  If I were to put on such a necklace asthatI should feel as if I had been pirouetting.  The worldwould go round with meand I should not know how to walk."

Celia hadunclasped the necklace and drawn it off.  "It would be alittle tight for your neck; something to lie down and hang would suityou better" she saidwith some satisfaction.  Thecomplete unfitness of the necklace from all points of view forDorotheamade Celia happier in taking it.  She was opening somering-boxeswhich disclosed a fine emerald with diamondsand justthen the sun passing beyond a cloud sent a bright gleam over thetable.

"Howvery beautiful these gems are!" said Dorotheaunder a newcurrent of feelingas sudden as the gleam.  "It is strangehow deeply colors seem to penetrate onelike scent I suppose that isthe reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelationof St. John. They look like fragments of heaven.  I think thatemerald is more beautiful than any of them."

"Andthere is a bracelet to match it" said Celia.  "We didnot notice this at first."

"Theyare lovely" said Dorotheaslipping the ring and bracelet onher finely turned finger and wristand holding them towards thewindow on a level with her eyes.  All the while her thought wastrying to justify her delight in the colors by merging them in hermystic religious joy.

"YouWOULD like thoseDorothea" said Celiarather falteringlybeginning to think with wonder that her sister showed some weaknessand also that emeralds would suit her own complexion even better thanpurple amethysts.  "You must keep that ring andbracelet--if nothing else.  But seethese agates are verypretty and quiet."

"Yes! I will keep these--this ring and bracelet" said Dorothea. Thenletting her hand fall on the tableshe said in another tone--"Yetwhat miserable men find such thingsand work at themand sellthem!" She paused againand Celia thought that her sister wasgoing to renounce the ornamentsas in consistency she ought to do.

"YesdearI will keep these" said Dorotheadecidedly.  "Buttake all the rest awayand the casket."

She tookup her pencil without removing the jewelsand still looking atthem.  She thought of often having them by herto feed her eyeat these little fountains of pure color.

"Shallyou wear them in company?" said Celiawho was watching her withreal curiosity as to what she would do.

Dorotheaglanced quickly at her sister.  Across all her imaginativeadornment of those whom she lovedthere darted now and then a keendiscernmentwhich was not without a scorching quality. If MissBrooke ever attained perfect meeknessit would not be for lack ofinward fire.

"Perhaps"she saidrather haughtily.  "I cannot tell to what level Imay sink."

Celiablushedand was unhappy: she saw that she had offended her sisterand dared not say even anything pretty about the gift of theornaments which she put back into the box and carried away. Dorotheatoo was unhappyas she went on with her plan-drawingquestioningthe purity of her own feeling and speech in the scene which had endedwith that little explosion.

Celia'sconsciousness told her that she had not been at all in the wrong: itwas quite natural and justifiable that she should have asked thatquestionand she repeated to herself that Dorothea was inconsistent:either she should have taken her full share of the jewelsorafterwhat she had saidshe should have renounced them altogether.

"I amsure--at leastI trust" thought Celia"that the wearingof a necklace will not interfere with my prayers.  And I do notsee that I should be bound by Dorothea's opinions now we are goinginto societythough of course she herself ought to be bound by them.But Dorothea is not always consistent."

ThusCeliamutely bending over her tapestryuntil she heard her sistercalling her.

"HereKittycome and look at my plan; I shall think I am a greatarchitectif I have not got incompatible stairs and fireplaces."

As Celiabent over the paperDorothea put her cheek against her sister's armcaressingly.  Celia understood the action. Dorothea saw that shehad been in the wrongand Celia pardoned her. Since they couldrememberthere had been a mixture of criticism and awe in theattitude of Celia's mind towards her elder sister. The younger hadalways worn a yoke; but is there any yoked creature without itsprivate opinions?




CHAPTERII



"`Dime;no ves aquel caballero que hacia nosotros viene sobre un caballorucio rodado que trae puesto en la cabeza un yelmo de oro?'
`Loque veo y columbro' respondio Sancho`no es sino un hombre sobre unas no pardo como el mioque trae sobre la cabeza una cosa querelumbra.'
`Pues ese es el yelmo de Mambrino' dijo Don

Quijote."--CERVANTES.

"`Seestthou not yon cavalier who cometh toward us on a dapple-gray steedand weareth a golden helmet?'
`What I see'answered Sancho`isnothing but a man on a gray ass like my ownwho carries somethingshiny on his head.'
`Just so' answered Don Quixote: `and thatresplendent object is the helmet of Mambrino.'"



"SirHumphry Davy?" said Mr. Brookeover the soupin his easysmiling waytaking up Sir James Chettam's remark that he wasstudying Davy's Agricultural Chemistry.  "WellnowSirHumphry Davy; I dined with him years ago at Cartwright'sandWordsworth was there too--the poet Wordsworthyou know.  Nowthere was something singular. I was at Cambridge when Wordsworth wasthereand I never met him--and I dined with him twenty yearsafterwards at Cartwright's. There's an oddity in thingsnow. But Davy was there: he was a poet too. Oras I may sayWordsworthwas poet oneand Davy was poet two. That was true in every senseyou know."

Dorotheafelt a little more uneasy than usual.  In the beginning ofdinnerthe party being small and the room stillthese motes fromthe mass of a magistrate's mind fell too noticeably.  Shewondered how a man like Mr. Casaubon would support such triviality. His mannersshe thoughtwere very dignified; the set of hisiron-gray hair and his deep eye-sockets made him resemble theportrait of Locke. He had the spare form and the pale complexionwhich became a student; as different as possible from the bloomingEnglishman of the red-whiskered type represented by Sir JamesChettam.

"I amreading the Agricultural Chemistry" said this excellentbaronet"because I am going to take one of the farms into myown handsand see if something cannot be done in setting a goodpattern of farming among my tenants.  Do you approve of thatMiss Brooke?"

"Agreat mistakeChettam" interposed Mr. Brooke"going intoelectrifying your land and that kind of thingand making a parlor ofyour cow-house. It won't do.  I went into science a great dealmyself at one time; but I saw it would not do.  It leads toeverything; you can let nothing alone.  Nono--see that yourtenants don't sell their strawand that kind of thing; and give themdraining-tilesyou know.  But your fancy farming will notdo--the most expensive sort of whistle you can buy: you may as wellkeep a pack of hounds."

"Surely"said Dorothea"it is better to spend money in finding out howmen can make the most of the land which supports them allthan inkeeping dogs and horses only to gallop over it.  It is not a sinto make yourself poor in performing experiments for the good of all."

She spokewith more energy than is expected of so young a ladybut Sir Jameshad appealed to her.  He was accustomed to do soand she hadoften thought that she could urge him to many good actions when hewas her brother-in-law.

Mr.Casaubon turned his eyes very markedly on Dorothea while she wasspeakingand seemed to observe her newly.

"Youngladies don't understand political economyyou know" said Mr.Brookesmiling towards Mr. Casaubon.  "I remember when wewere all reading Adam Smith.  THERE is a booknow.  I tookin all the new ideas at one time--human perfectibilitynow. But some sayhistory moves in circles; and that may be very wellargued; I have argued it myself.  The fact ishuman reason maycarry you a little too far--over the hedgein fact.  It carriedme a good way at one time; but I saw it would not do.  I pulledup; I pulled up in time. But not too hard.  I have always beenin favor of a little theory: we must have Thought; else we shall belanded back in the dark ages. But talking of booksthere isSouthey's `Peninsular War.' I am reading that of a morning.  Youknow Southey?"

"No"said Mr. Casaubonnot keeping pace with Mr. Brooke's impetuousreasonand thinking of the book only.  "I have littleleisure for such literature just now.  I have been using up myeyesight on old characters lately; the fact isI want a reader formy evenings; but I am fastidious in voicesand I cannot endurelistening to an imperfect reader.  It is a misfortunein somesenses: I feed too much on the inward sources; I live too much withthe dead. My mind is something like the ghost of an ancientwandering about the world and trying mentally to construct it as itused to bein spite of ruin and confusing changes.  But I findit necessary to use the utmost caution about my eyesight."

This wasthe first time that Mr. Casaubon had spoken at any length. Hedelivered himself with precisionas if he had been called upon tomake a public statement; and the balanced sing-song neatness of hisspeechoccasionally corresponded to by a movement of his headwasthe more conspicuous from its contrast with good Mr. Brooke's scrappyslovenliness.  Dorothea said to herself that Mr. Casaubon wasthe most interesting man she had ever seennot excepting evenMonsieur Liretthe Vaudois clergyman who had given conferences onthe history of the Waldenses.  To reconstruct a past worlddoubtless with a view to the highest purposes of truth--what a workto be in any way present atto assist inthough only as alamp-holder!  This elevating thought lifted her above herannoyance at being twitted with her ignorance of political economythat never-explained science which was thrust as an extinguisher overall her lights.

"Butyou are fond of ridingMiss Brooke" Sir James presently tookan opportunity of saying.  "I should have thought you wouldenter a little into the pleasures of hunting.  I wish you wouldlet me send over a chestnut horse for you to try.  It has beentrained for a lady.  I saw you on Saturday cantering over thehill on a nag not worthy of you.  My groom shall bring Corydonfor you every dayif you will only mention the time."

"Thankyouyou are very good.  I mean to give up riding. I shall notride any more" said Dorotheaurged to this brusque resolutionby a little annoyance that Sir James would be soliciting herattention when she wanted to give it all to Mr. Casaubon.

"Nothat is too hard" said Sir Jamesin a tone of reproach thatshowed strong interest.  "Your sister is given toself-mortificationis she not?" he continuedturning to Celiawho sat at his right hand.

"Ithink she is" said Celiafeeling afraid lest she should saysomething that would not please her sisterand blushing as prettilyas possible above her necklace.  "She likes giving up."

"Ifthat were trueCeliamy giving-up would be self-indulgencenotself-mortification. But there may be good reasons for choosing not todo what is very agreeable" said Dorothea.

Mr. Brookewas speaking at the same timebut it was evident that Mr. Casaubonwas observing Dorotheaand she was aware of it.

"Exactly"said Sir James.  "You give up from some highgenerousmotive."

"Noindeednot exactly.  I did not say that of myself"answered Dorotheareddening.  Unlike Celiashe rarely blushedand only from high delight or anger.  At this moment she feltangry with the perverse Sir James.  Why did he not pay attentionto Celiaand leave her to listen to Mr. Casaubon?--if that learnedman would only talkinstead of allowing himself to be talked to byMr. Brookewho was just then informing him that the Reformationeither meant something or it did notthat he himself was aProtestant to the corebut that Catholicism was a fact; and as torefusing an acre of your ground for a Romanist chapelall men neededthe bridle of religionwhichproperly speakingwas the dread of aHereafter.

"Imade a great study of theology at one time" said Mr. Brookeasif to explain the insight just manifested.  "I knowsomething of all schools.  I knew Wilberforce in his best days. Do you know Wilberforce?"

Mr.Casaubon said"No."

"WellWilberforce was perhaps not enough of a thinker; but if I went intoParliamentas I have been asked to doI should sit on theindependent benchas Wilberforce didand work at philanthropy."

Mr.Casaubon bowedand observed that it was a wide field.

"Yes"said Mr. Brookewith an easy smile"but I have documents. Ibegan a long while ago to collect documents.  They wantarrangingbut when a question has struck meI have written tosomebody and got an answer.  I have documents at my back. But nowhow do you arrange your documents?"

"Inpigeon-holes partly" said Mr. Casaubonwith rather a startledair of effort.

"Ahpigeon-holes will not do.  I have tried pigeon-holesbuteverything gets mixed in pigeon-holes: I never know whether a paperis in A or Z."

"Iwish you would let me sort your papers for youuncle" saidDorothea. "I would letter them alland then make a list ofsubjects under each letter."

Mr.Casaubon gravely smiled approvaland said to Mr. Brooke"Youhave an excellent secretary at handyou perceive."

"Nono" said Mr. Brookeshaking his head; "I cannot let youngladies meddle with my documents.  Young ladies are too flighty."

Dorotheafelt hurt.  Mr. Casaubon would think that her uncle had somespecial reason for delivering this opinionwhereas the remark lay inhis mind as lightly as the broken wing of an insect among all theother fragments thereand a chance current had sent it alighting onHER.

When thetwo girls were in the drawing-room aloneCelia said--

"Howvery ugly Mr. Casaubon is!"

"Celia! He is one of the most distinguished-looking men I ever saw. He isremarkably like the portrait of Locke.  He has the same deepeye-sockets."

"HadLocke those two white moles with hairs on them?"

"OhI dare say! when people of a certain sort looked at him" saidDorotheawalking away a little.

"Mr.Casaubon is so sallow."

"Allthe better.  I suppose you admire a man with the complexion of acochon de lait."

"Dodo!"exclaimed Celialooking after her in surprise.  "I neverheard you make such a comparison before."

"Whyshould I make it before the occasion came?  It is a goodcomparison: the match is perfect."

MissBrooke was clearly forgetting herselfand Celia thought so.

"Iwonder you show temperDorothea."

"Itis so painful in youCeliathat you will look at human beings as ifthey were merely animals with a toiletand never see the great soulin a man's face."

"HasMr. Casaubon a great soul?" Celia was not without a touch ofnaive malice.

"YesI believe he has" said Dorotheawith the full voice ofdecision.  "Everything I see in him corresponds to hispamphlet on Biblical Cosmology."

"Hetalks very little" said Celia

"Thereis no one for him to talk to."

Celiathought privately"Dorothea quite despises Sir James Chettam; Ibelieve she would not accept him." Celia felt that this was apity. She had never been deceived as to the object of the baronet'sinterest. Sometimesindeedshe had reflected that Dodo wouldperhaps not make a husband happy who had not her way of looking atthings; and stifled in the depths of her heart was the feeling thather sister was too religious for family comfort.  Notions andscruples were like spilt needlesmaking one afraid of treadingorsitting downor even eating.

When MissBrooke was at the tea-tableSir James came to sit down by hernothaving felt her mode of answering him at all offensive. Why shouldhe?  He thought it probable that Miss Brooke liked himandmanners must be very marked indeed before they cease to beinterpreted by preconceptions either confident or distrustful. Shewas thoroughly charming to himbut of course he theorized a littleabout his attachment.  He was made of excellent human doughandhad the rare merit of knowing that his talentseven if let loosewould not set the smallest stream in the county on fire: hence heliked the prospect of a wife to whom he could say"What shallwe do?" about this or that; who could help her husband out withreasonsand would also have the property qualification for doing so.As to the excessive religiousness alleged against Miss Brookehe hada very indefinite notion of what it consisted inand thought that itwould die out with marriage.  In shorthe felt himself to be inlove in the right placeand was ready to endure a great deal ofpredominancewhichafter alla man could always put down when heliked.  Sir James had no idea that he should ever like to putdown the predominance of this handsome girlin whose cleverness hedelighted.  Why not?  A man's mind--what there is ofit--has always the advantage of being masculine--as the smallestbirch-tree is of a higher kind than the most soaring palm--and evenhis ignorance is of a sounder quality.  Sir James might not haveoriginated this estimate; but a kind Providence furnishes the limpestpersonality with a little gunk or starch in the form of tradition.

"Letme hope that you will rescind that resolution about the horseMissBrooke" said the persevering admirer.  "I assure youriding is the most healthy of exercises."

"I amaware of it" said Dorotheacoldly.  "I think itwould do Celia good--if she would take to it."

"Butyou are such a perfect horsewoman."

"Excuseme; I have had very little practiceand I should be easily thrown."

"Thenthat is a reason for more practice.  Every lady ought to be aperfect horsewomanthat she may accompany her husband."

"Yousee how widely we differSir James.  I have made up my mindthat I ought not to be a perfect horsewomanand so I should nevercorrespond to your pattern of a lady." Dorothea looked straightbefore herand spoke with cold brusquerievery much with the air ofa handsome boyin amusing contrast with the solicitous amiability ofher admirer.

"Ishould like to know your reasons for this cruel resolution. It is notpossible that you should think horsemanship wrong."

"Itis quite possible that I should think it wrong for me."

"Ohwhy?" said Sir Jamesin a tender tone of remonstrance.

Mr.Casaubon had come up to the tableteacup in handand was listening.

"Wemust not inquire too curiously into motives" he interposedinhis measured way.  "Miss Brooke knows that they are apt tobecome feeble in the utterance: the aroma is mixed with the grosserair. We must keep the germinating grain away from the light."

Dorotheacolored with pleasureand looked up gratefully to the speaker. Herewas a man who could understand the higher inward lifeand with whomthere could be some spiritual communion; naywho could illuminateprinciple with the widest knowledge a man whose learning almostamounted to a proof of whatever he believed!

Dorothea'sinferences may seem large; but really life could never have gone onat any period but for this liberal allowance of conclusionswhichhas facilitated marriage under the difficulties of civilization. Hasany one ever pinched into its pilulous smallness the cobweb ofpre-matrimonial acquaintanceship?

"Certainly"said good Sir James.  "Miss Brooke shall not be urged totell reasons she would rather be silent upon.  I am sure herreasons would do her honor."

He was notin the least jealous of the interest with which Dorothea had lookedup at Mr. Casaubon: it never occurred to him that a girl to whom hewas meditating an offer of marriage could care for a dried bookwormtowards fiftyexceptindeedin a religious sort of wayas for aclergyman of some distinction.

Howeversince Miss Brooke had become engaged in a conversation with Mr.Casaubon about the Vaudois clergySir James betook himself to Celiaand talked to her about her sister; spoke of a house in townandasked whether Miss Brooke disliked London. Away from her sisterCelia talked quite easilyand Sir James said to himself that thesecond Miss Brooke was certainly very agreeable as well as prettythough notas some people pretendedmore clever and sensible thanthe elder sister.  He felt that he had chosen the one who was inall respects the superior; and a man naturally likes to look forwardto having the best.  He would be the very Mawworm of bachelorswho pretended not to expect it.




CHAPTERIII



  "Saygoddesswhat ensuedwhen Raphael
   Theaffable archangel . . .
   Eve
   Thestory heard attentiveand was filled
   Withadmirationand deep museto hear
   Of things so highand strange."
   --Paradise Lost B. vii.




If it hadreally occurred to Mr. Casaubon to think of Miss Brooke as a suitablewife for himthe reasons that might induce her to accept him werealready planted in her mindand by the evening of the next day thereasons had budded and bloomed. For they had had a long conversationin the morningwhile Celiawho did not like the company of Mr.Casaubon's moles and sallownesshad escaped to the vicarage to playwith the curate's ill-shod but merry children.

Dorotheaby this time had looked deep into the ungauged reservoir of Mr.Casaubon's mindseeing reflected there in vague labyrinthineextension every quality she herself brought; had opened much of herown experience to himand had understood from him the scope of hisgreat workalso of attractively labyrinthine extent. For he had beenas instructive as Milton's "affable archangel;" and withsomething of the archangelic manner he told her how he had undertakento show (what indeed had been attempted beforebut not with thatthoroughnessjustice of comparisonand effectiveness of arrangementat which Mr. Casaubon aimed) that all the mythical systems or erraticmythical fragments in the world were corruptions of a traditionoriginally revealed.  Having once mastered the true position andtaken a firm footing therethe vast field of mythical constructionsbecame intelligiblenayluminous with the reflected light ofcorrespondences.  But to gather in this great harvest of truthwas no light or speedy work.  His notes already made aformidable range of volumesbut the crowning task would be tocondense these voluminous still-accumulating results and bring themlike the earlier vintage of Hippocratic booksto fit a little shelf.In explaining this to DorotheaMr. Casaubon expressed himself nearlyas he would have done to a fellow-studentfor he had not two stylesof talking at command: it is true that when he used a Greek or Latinphrase he always gave the English with scrupulous carebut he wouldprobably have done this in any case.  A learned provincialclergyman is accustomed to think of his acquaintances as of "lordsknyghtesand other noble and worthi menthat conne Latyn butlytille."

Dorotheawas altogether captivated by the wide embrace of this conception. Here was something beyond the shallows of ladies' school literature:here was a living Bossuetwhose work would reconcile completeknowledge with devoted piety; here was a modern Augustine who unitedthe glories of doctor and saint.

Thesanctity seemed no less clearly marked than the learningfor whenDorothea was impelled to open her mind on certain themes which shecould speak of to no one whom she had before seen at Tiptonespecially on the secondary importance of ecclesiastical forms andarticles of belief compared with that spiritual religionthatsubmergence of self in communion with Divine perfection which seemedto her to be expressed in the best Christian books of widely distantagesshe found in Mr. Casaubon a listener who understood her atoncewho could assure her of his own agreement with that view whenduly tempered with wise conformityand could mention historicalexamples before unknown to her.

"Hethinks with me" said Dorothea to herself"or ratherhethinks a whole world of which my thought is but a poor twopennymirror. And his feelings toohis whole experience--what a lakecompared with my little pool!"

MissBrooke argued from words and dispositions not less unhesitatinglythan other young ladies of her age.  Signs are small measurablethingsbut interpretations are illimitableand in girls of sweetardent natureevery sign is apt to conjure up wonderhopebeliefvast as a skyand colored by a diffused thimbleful of matter in theshape of knowledge.  They are not always too grossly deceived;for Sinbad himself may have fallen by good-luck on a truedescriptionand wrong reasoning sometimes lands poor mortals inright conclusions: starting a long way off the true pointandproceeding by loops and zigzagswe now and then arrive just where weought to be. Because Miss Brooke was hasty in her trustit is nottherefore clear that Mr. Casaubon was unworthy of it.

He stayeda little longer than he had intendedon a slight pressure ofinvitation from Mr. Brookewho offered no bait except his owndocuments on machine-breaking and rick-burning. Mr. Casaubon wascalled into the library to look at these in a heapwhile his hostpicked up first one and then the other to read aloud from in askipping and uncertain waypassing from one unfinished passage toanother with a "Yesnowbut here!" and finally pushingthem all aside to open the journal of his youthful Continentaltravels.

"Lookhere--here is all about Greece.  Rhamnusthe ruins ofRhamnus--you are a great Greciannow.  I don't know whether youhave given much study to the topography.  I spent no end of timein making out these things--Heliconnow.  Herenow!--`Westarted the next morning for Parnassusthe double-peaked Parnassus.'All this volume is about Greeceyou know" Mr. Brooke wound uprubbing his thumb transversely along the edges of the leaves as heheld the book forward.

Mr.Casaubon made a dignified though somewhat sad audience; bowed in theright placeand avoided looking at anything documentary as far aspossiblewithout showing disregard or impatience; mindful that thisdesultoriness was associated with the institutions of the countryand that the man who took him on this severe mental scamper was notonly an amiable hostbut a landholder and custos rotulorum. Was hisendurance aided also by the reflection that Mr. Brooke was the uncleof Dorothea?

Certainlyhe seemed more and more bent on making her talk to himon drawingher outas Celia remarked to herself; and in looking at her his facewas often lit up by a smile like pale wintry sunshine. Before he leftthe next morningwhile taking a pleasant walk with Miss Brooke alongthe gravelled terracehe had mentioned to her that he felt thedisadvantage of lonelinessthe need of that cheerful companionshipwith which the presence of youth can lighten or vary the serioustoils of maturity.  And he delivered this statement with as muchcareful precision as if he had been a diplomatic envoy whose wordswould be attended with results.  IndeedMr. Casaubon was notused to expect that he should have to repeat or revise hiscommunications of a practical or personal kind.  Theinclinations which he had deliberately stated on the 2d of October hewould think it enough to refer to by the mention of that date;judging by the standard of his own memorywhich was a volume where avide supra could serve instead of repetitionsand not the ordinarylong-used blotting-book which only tells of forgotten writing. But in this case Mr. Casaubon's confidence was not likely to befalsifiedfor Dorothea heard and retained what he said with theeager interest of a fresh young nature to which every variety inexperience is an epoch.

It wasthree o'clock in the beautiful breezy autumn day when Mr. Casaubondrove off to his Rectory at Lowickonly five miles from Tipton; andDorotheawho had on her bonnet and shawlhurried along theshrubbery and across the park that she might wander through thebordering wood with no other visible companionship than that of Monkthe Great St. Bernard dogwho always took care of the young ladiesin their walks. There had risen before her the girl's vision of apossible future for herself to which she looked forward withtrembling hopeand she wanted to wander on in that visionary futurewithout interruption. She walked briskly in the brisk airthe colorrose in her cheeksand her straw bonnet (which our contemporariesmight look at with conjectural curiosity as at an obsolete form ofbasket) fell a little backward.  She would perhaps be hardlycharacterized enough if it were omitted that she wore her brown hairflatly braided and coiled behind so as to expose the outline of herhead in a daring manner at a time when public feeling required themeagreness of nature to be dissimulated by tall barricades of frizzedcurls and bowsnever surpassed by any great race except theFeejeean. This was a trait of Miss Brooke's asceticism.  Butthere was nothing of an ascetic's expression in her bright full eyesas she looked before hernot consciously seeingbut absorbing intothe intensity of her moodthe solemn glory of the afternoon with itslong swathes of light between the far-off rows of limeswhoseshadows touched each other.

Allpeopleyoung or old (that isall people in those ante-reformtimes)would have thought her an interesting object if they hadreferred the glow in her eyes and cheeks to the newly awakenedordinary images of young love: the illusions of Chloe about Strephonhave been sufficiently consecrated in poetryas the patheticloveliness of all spontaneous trust ought to be.  Miss Pippinadoring young Pumpkinand dreaming along endless vistas ofunwearying companionshipwas a little drama which never tired ourfathers and mothersand had been put into all costumes.  Letbut Pumpkin have a figure which would sustain the disadvantages ofthe shortwaisted swallow-tailand everybody felt it not only naturalbut necessary to the perfection of womanhoodthat a sweet girlshould be at once convinced of his virtuehis exceptional abilityand above allhis perfect sincerity.  But perhaps no personsthen living--certainly none in the neighborhood of Tipton--would havehad a sympathetic understanding for the dreams of a girl whosenotions about marriage took their color entirely from an exaltedenthusiasm about the ends of lifean enthusiasm which was litchiefly by its own fireand included neither the niceties of thetrousseauthe pattern of platenor even the honors and sweet joysof the blooming matron.

It had nowentered Dorothea's mind that Mr. Casaubon might wish to make her hiswifeand the idea that he would do so touched her with a sort ofreverential gratitude.  How good of him--nayit would be almostas if a winged messenger had suddenly stood beside her path and heldout his hand towards her!  For a long while she had beenoppressed by the indefiniteness which hung in her mindlike a thicksummer hazeover all her desire to made her life greatly effective. What could she dowhat ought she to do?--shehardly more than abudding womanbut yet with an active conscience and a great mentalneednot to be satisfied by a girlish instruction comparable to thenibblings and judgments of a discursive mouse. With some endowment ofstupidity and conceitshe might have thought that a Christian younglady of fortune should find her ideal of life in village charitiespatronage of the humbler clergythe perusal of "FemaleScripture Characters" unfolding the private experience of Saraunder the Old Dispensationand Dorcas under the Newand the care ofher soul over her embroidery in her own boudoir--with a background ofprospective marriage to a man whoif less strict than herselfasbeing involved in affairs religiously inexplicablemight be prayedfor and seasonably exhorted.  From such contentment poorDorothea was shut out.  The intensity of her religiousdispositionthe coercion it exercised over her lifewas but oneaspect of a nature altogether ardenttheoreticand intellectuallyconsequent: and with such a nature struggling in the bands of anarrow teachinghemmed in by a social life which seemed nothing buta labyrinth of petty coursesa walled-in maze of small paths thatled no whitherthe outcome was sure to strike others as at onceexaggeration and inconsistency.  The thing which seemed to herbestshe wanted to justify by the completest knowledge; and not tolive in a pretended admission of rules which were never acted on.Into this soul-hunger as yet all her youthful passion was poured; theunion which attracted her was one that would deliver her from hergirlish subjection to her own ignoranceand give her the freedom ofvoluntary submission to a guide who would take her along the grandestpath.

"Ishould learn everything then" she said to herselfstillwalking quickly along the bridle road through the wood.  "Itwould be my duty to study that I might help him the better in hisgreat works. There would be nothing trivial about our lives. Every-day things with us would mean the greatest things.  Itwould be like marrying Pascal. I should learn to see the truth by thesame light as great men have seen it by.  And then I should knowwhat to dowhen I got older: I should see how it was possible tolead a grand life here--now--in England. I don't feel sure aboutdoing good in any way now: everything seems like going on a missionto a people whose language I don't know;--unless it were buildinggood cottages--there can be no doubt about that.  OhI hope Ishould be able to get the people well housed in Lowick!  I willdraw plenty of plans while I have time."

Dorotheachecked herself suddenly with self-rebuke for the presumptuous way inwhich she was reckoning on uncertain eventsbut she was spared anyinward effort to change the direction of her thoughts by theappearance of a cantering horseman round a turning of the road. The well-groomed chestnut horse and two beautiful setters could leaveno doubt that the rider was Sir James Chettam. He discerned Dorotheajumped off his horse at onceandhaving delivered it to his groomadvanced towards her with something white on his armat which thetwo setters were barking in an excited manner.

"Howdelightful to meet youMiss Brooke" he saidraising his hatand showing his sleekly waving blond hair.  "It hashastened the pleasure I was looking forward to."

MissBrooke was annoyed at the interruption.  This amiable baronetreally a suitable husband for Celiaexaggerated the necessity ofmaking himself agreeable to the elder sister.  Even aprospective brother-in-law may be an oppression if he will always bepresupposing too good an understanding with youand agreeing withyou even when you contradict him.  The thought that he had madethe mistake of paying his addresses to herself could not take shape:all her mental activity was used up in persuasions of another kind.But he was positively obtrusive at this momentand his dimpled handswere quite disagreeable.  Her roused temper made her colordeeplyas she returned his greeting with some haughtiness.

Sir Jamesinterpreted the heightened color in the way most gratifying tohimselfand thought he never saw Miss Brooke looking so handsome.

"Ihave brought a little petitioner" he said"or ratherIhave brought him to see if he will be approved before his petition isoffered." He showed the white object under his armwhich was atiny Maltese puppyone of nature's most naive toys.

"Itis painful to me to see these creatures that are bred merely aspets" said Dorotheawhose opinion was forming itself that verymoment (as opinions will) under the heat of irritation.

"Ohwhy?" said Sir Jamesas they walked forward.

"Ibelieve all the petting that is given them does not make them happy. They are too helpless: their lives are too frail. A weasel or a mousethat gets its own living is more interesting. I like to think thatthe animals about us have souls something like our ownand eithercarry on their own little affairs or can be companions to uslikeMonk here.  Those creatures are parasitic."

"I amso glad I know that you do not like them" said good Sir James."I should never keep them for myselfbut ladies usually arefond of these Maltese dogs.  HereJohntake this dogwillyou?"

Theobjectionable puppywhose nose and eyes were equally black andexpressivewas thus got rid ofsince Miss Brooke decided that ithad better not have been born.  But she felt it necessary toexplain.

"Youmust not judge of Celia's feeling from mine.  I think she likesthese small pets.  She had a tiny terrier oncewhich she wasvery fond of.  It made me unhappybecause I was afraid oftreading on it. I am rather short-sighted."

"Youhave your own opinion about everythingMiss Brookeand it is alwaysa good opinion."

Whatanswer was possible to such stupid complimenting?

"Doyou knowI envy you that" Sir James saidas they continuedwalking at the rather brisk pace set by Dorothea.

"Idon't quite understand what you mean."

"Yourpower of forming an opinion.  I can form an opinion of persons.I know when I like people.  But about other mattersdo youknowI have often a difficulty in deciding.  One hears verysensible things said on opposite sides."

"Orthat seem sensible.  Perhaps we don't always discriminatebetween sense and nonsense."

Dorotheafelt that she was rather rude.

"Exactly"said Sir James.  "But you seem to have the power ofdiscrimination."

"Onthe contraryI am often unable to decide.  But that is fromignorance.  The right conclusion is there all the samethough Iam unable to see it."

"Ithink there are few who would see it more readily.  Do you knowLovegood was telling me yesterday that you had the best notion in theworld of a plan for cottages--quite wonderful for a young ladyhethought.  You had a real GENUSto use his expression. He saidyou wanted Mr. Brooke to build a new set of cottagesbut he seemedto think it hardly probable that your uncle would consent. Do youknowthat is one of the things I wish to do--I meanon my ownestate.  I should be so glad to carry out that plan of yoursifyou would let me see it.  Of courseit is sinking money; thatis why people object to it.  Laborers can never pay rent to makeit answer.  Butafter allit is worth doing."

"Worthdoing! yesindeed" said Dorotheaenergeticallyforgettingher previous small vexations.  "I think we deserve to bebeaten out of our beautiful houses with a scourge of small cords--allof us who let tenants live in such sties as we see round us. Life incottages might be happier than oursif they were real houses fit forhuman beings from whom we expect duties and affections."

"Willyou show me your plan?"

"Yescertainly.  I dare say it is very faulty.  But I have beenexamining all the plans for cottages in Loudon's bookand picked outwhat seem the best things.  Oh what a happiness it would be toset the pattern about here!  I think instead of Lazarus at thegatewe should put the pigsty cottages outside the park-gate."

Dorotheawas in the best temper now.  Sir Jamesas brother in-lawbuilding model cottages on his estateand thenperhapsothersbeing built at Lowickand more and more elsewhere in imitation--itwould be as if the spirit of Oberlin had passed over the parishes tomake the life of poverty beautiful!

Sir Jamessaw all the plansand took one away to consult upon with Lovegood. He also took away a complacent sense that he was making greatprogress in Miss Brooke's good opinion.  The Maltese puppy wasnot offered to Celia; an omission which Dorothea afterwards thoughtof with surprise; but she blamed herself for it. She had beenengrossing Sir James.  After allit was a relief that there wasno puppy to tread upon.

Celia waspresent while the plans were being examinedand observed Sir James'sillusion.  "He thinks that Dodo cares about himand sheonly cares about her plans.  Yet I am not certain that she wouldrefuse him if she thought he would let her manage everything andcarry out all her notions.  And how very uncomfortable Sir Jameswould be!  I cannot bear notions."

It wasCelia's private luxury to indulge in this dislike. She dared notconfess it to her sister in any direct statementfor that would belaying herself open to a demonstration that she was somehow or otherat war with all goodness.  But on safe opportunitiesshe had anindirect mode of making her negative wisdom tell upon Dorotheaandcalling her down from her rhapsodic mood by reminding her that peoplewere staringnot listening. Celia was not impulsive: what she had tosay could waitand came from her always with the same quiet staccatoevenness. When people talked with energy and emphasis she watchedtheir faces and features merely.  She never could understand howwell-bred persons consented to sing and open their mouths in theridiculous manner requisite for that vocal exercise.

It was notmany days before Mr. Casaubon paid a morning visiton which he wasinvited again for the following week to dine and stay the night. Thus Dorothea had three more conversations with himand wasconvinced that her first impressions had been just. He was all shehad at first imagined him to be: almost everything he had said seemedlike a specimen from a mineor the inscription on the door of amuseum which might open on the treasures of past ages; and this trustin his mental wealth was all the deeper and more effective on herinclination because it was now obvious that his visits were made forher sake.  This accomplished man condescended to think of ayoung girland take the pains to talk to hernot with absurdcomplimentbut with an appeal to her understandingand sometimeswith instructive correction. What delightful companionship!  Mr.Casaubon seemed even unconscious that trivialities existedand neverhanded round that small-talk of heavy men which is as acceptable asstale bride-cake brought forth with an odor of cupboard.  Hetalked of what he was interested inor else he was silent and bowedwith sad civility.  To Dorothea this was adorable genuinenessand religious abstinence from that artificiality which uses up thesoul in the efforts of pretence. For she looked as reverently at Mr.Casaubon's religious elevation above herself as she did at hisintellect and learning. He assented to her expressions of devoutfeelingand usually with an appropriate quotation; he allowedhimself to say that he had gone through some spiritual conflicts inhis youth; in shortDorothea saw that here she might reckon onunderstandingsympathyand guidance. On one--only one--of herfavorite themes she was disappointed. Mr. Casaubon apparently did notcare about building cottagesand diverted the talk to the extremelynarrow accommodation which was to be had in the dwellings of theancient Egyptiansas if to check a too high standard.  After hewas goneDorothea dwelt with some agitation on this indifference ofhis; and her mind was much exercised with arguments drawn from thevarying conditions of climate which modify human needsand from theadmitted wickedness of pagan despots.  Should she not urge thesearguments on Mr. Casaubon when he came again?  But furtherreflection told her that she was presumptuous in demanding hisattention to such a subject; he would not disapprove of her occupyingherself with it in leisure momentsas other women expected to occupythemselves with their dress and embroidery--would not forbid itwhen--Dorothea felt rather ashamed as she detected herself in thesespeculations. But her uncle had been invited to go to Lowick to staya couple of days: was it reasonable to suppose that Mr. Casaubondelighted in Mr. Brooke's society for its own sakeeither with orwithout documents?

Meanwhilethat little disappointment made her delight the more in Sir JamesChettam's readiness to set on foot the desired improvements. He camemuch oftener than Mr. Casaubonand Dorothea ceased to find himdisagreeable since he showed himself so entirely in earnest; for hehad already entered with much practical ability into Lovegood'sestimatesand was charmingly docile.  She proposed to build acouple of cottagesand transfer two families from their old cabinswhich could then be pulled downso that new ones could be built onthe old sites. Sir James said "Exactly" and she bore theword remarkably well.

Certainlythese men who had so few spontaneous ideas might be very usefulmembers of society under good feminine directionif they werefortunate in choosing their sisters-in-law!  It is difficult tosay whether there was or was not a little wilfulness in hercontinuing blind to the possibility that another sort of choice wasin question in relation to her.  But her life was just now fullof hope and action: she was not only thinking of her plansbutgetting down learned books from the library and reading many thingshastily (that she might be a little less ignorant in talking to Mr.Casaubon)all the while being visited with conscientiousquestionings whether she were not exalting these poor doings abovemeasure and contemplating them with that self-satisfaction which wasthe last doom of ignorance and folly.




CHAPTERIV



  1st Gent. Our deeds are fetters that we forge ourselves.
  2d Gent.  Aytruly: but I think it is the world That brings theiron.



"SirJames seems determined to do everything you wish" said Celiaas they were driving home from an inspection of the newbuilding-site.

"Heis a good creatureand more sensible than any one would imagine"said Dorotheainconsiderately.

"Youmean that he appears silly."

"Nono" said Dorothearecollecting herselfand laying her hand onher sister's a moment"but he does not talk equally well on allsubjects."

"Ishould think none but disagreeable people do" said Celiainher usual purring way.  "They must be very dreadful to livewith. Only think! at breakfastand always."

Dorothealaughed.  "O Kittyyou are a wonderful creature!" Shepinched Celia's chinbeing in the mood now to think her very winningand lovely--fit hereafter to be an eternal cheruband if it were notdoctrinally wrong to say sohardly more in need of salvation than asquirrel.  "Of course people need not be always talkingwell.  Only one tells the quality of their minds when they tryto talk well."

"Youmean that Sir James tries and fails."

"Iwas speaking generally.  Why do you catechise me about SirJames?  It is not the object of his life to please me."

"NowDodocan you really believe that?"

"Certainly.He thinks of me as a future sister--that is all." Dorothea hadnever hinted this beforewaitingfrom a certain shyness on suchsubjects which was mutual between the sistersuntil it should beintroduced by some decisive event.  Celia blushedbut said atonce--

"Praydo not make that mistake any longerDodo.  When Tantripp wasbrushing my hair the other dayshe said that Sir James's man knewfrom Mrs. Cadwallader's maid that Sir James was to marry the eldestMiss Brooke."

"Howcan you let Tantripp talk such gossip to youCelia?" saidDorotheaindignantlynot the less angry because details asleep inher memory were now awakened to confirm the unwelcome revelation."You must have asked her questions.  It is degrading."

"Isee no harm at all in Tantripp's talking to me.  It is better tohear what people say.  You see what mistakes you make by takingup notions.  I am quite sure that Sir James means to make you anoffer; and he believes that you will accept himespecially since youhave been so pleased with him about the plans.  And uncle too--Iknow he expects it.  Every one can see that Sir James is verymuch in love with you."

Therevulsion was so strong and painful in Dorothea's mind that the tearswelled up and flowed abundantly.  All her dear plans wereembitteredand she thought with disgust of Sir James's conceivingthat she recognized him as her lover.  There was vexation too onaccount of Celia.

"Howcould he expect it?" she burst forth in her most impetuousmanner. "I have never agreed with him about anything but thecottages: I was barely polite to him before."

"Butyou have been so pleased with him since then; he has begun to feelquite sure that you are fond of him."

"Fondof himCelia!  How can you choose such odious expressions?"said Dorotheapassionately.

"DearmeDorotheaI suppose it would be right for you to be fond of a manwhom you accepted for a husband."

"Itis offensive to me to say that Sir James could think I was fond ofhim.  Besidesit is not the right word for the feeling I musthave towards the man I would accept as a husband."

"WellI am sorry for Sir James.  I thought it right to tell youbecause you went on as you always donever looking just where youareand treading in the wrong place.  You always see whatnobody else sees; it is impossible to satisfy you; yet you never seewhat is quite plain. That's your wayDodo." Something certainlygave Celia unusual courage; and she was not sparing the sister ofwhom she was occasionally in awe. Who can tell what just criticismsMurr the Cat may be passing on us beings of wider speculation?

"Itis very painful" said Dorotheafeeling scourged.  "Ican have no more to do with the cottages.  I must be uncivil tohim.  I must tell him I will have nothing to do with them. It is very painful." Her eyes filled again with tears.

"Waita little.  Think about it.  You know he is going away for aday or two to see his sister.  There will be nobody besidesLovegood." Celia could not help relenting.  "PoorDodo" she went onin an amiable staccato.  "It isvery hard: it is your favorite FAD to draw plans."

"FADto draw plans!  Do you think I only care about myfellow-creatures' houses in that childish way?  I may well makemistakes.  How can one ever do anything nobly Christianlivingamong people with such petty thoughts?"

No morewas said; Dorothea was too much jarred to recover her temper andbehave so as to show that she admitted any error in herself. She wasdisposed rather to accuse the intolerable narrowness and the purblindconscience of the society around her: and Celia was no longer theeternal cherubbut a thorn in her spirita pink-and-whitenullifidianworse than any discouraging presence in the "Pilgrim'sProgress." The FAD of drawing plans!  What was lifeworth--what great faith was possible when the whole effect of one'sactions could be withered up into such parched rubbish as that? When she got out of the carriageher cheeks were pale and hereyelids red.  She was an image of sorrowand her uncle who mether in the hall would have been alarmedif Celia had not been closeto her looking so pretty and composedthat he at once concludedDorothea's tears to have their origin in her excessivereligiousness.  He had returnedduring their absencefrom ajourney to the county townabout a petition for the pardon of somecriminal.

"Wellmy dears" he saidkindlyas they went up to kiss him"Ihope nothing disagreeable has happened while I have been away."

"Nouncle" said Celia"we have been to Freshitt to look atthe cottages.  We thought you would have been at home to lunch."

"Icame by Lowick to lunch--you didn't know I came by Lowick.  AndI have brought a couple of pamphlets for youDorothea--in thelibraryyou know; they lie on the table in the library."

It seemedas if an electric stream went through Dorotheathrilling her fromdespair into expectation.  They were pamphlets about the earlyChurch.  The oppression of CeliaTantrippand Sir James wasshaken offand she walked straight to the library. Celia wentup-stairs. Mr. Brooke was detained by a messagebut when here-entered the libraryhe found Dorothea seated and already deep inone of the pamphlets which had some marginal manuscript of Mr.Casaubon's--taking it in as eagerly as she might have taken in thescent of a fresh bouquet after a dryhotdreary walk.

She wasgetting away from Tipton and Freshittand her own sad liability totread in the wrong places on her way to the New Jerusalem.

Mr. Brookesat down in his arm-chairstretched his legs towards the wood-firewhich had fallen into a wondrous mass of glowing dice between thedogsand rubbed his hands gentlylooking very mildly towardsDorotheabut with a neutral leisurely airas if he had nothingparticular to say.  Dorothea closed her pamphletas soon as shewas aware of her uncle's presenceand rose as if to go. Usually shewould have been interested about her uncle's merciful errand onbehalf of the criminalbut her late agitation had made herabsent-minded.

"Icame back by Lowickyou know" said Mr. Brookenot as if withany intention to arrest her departurebut apparently from his usualtendency to say what he had said before.  This fundamentalprinciple of human speech was markedly exhibited in Mr. Brooke. "Ilunched there and saw Casaubon's libraryand that kind of thing.There's a sharp airdriving.  Won't you sit downmy dear? Youlook cold."

Dorotheafelt quite inclined to accept the invitation.  Some timeswhenher uncle's easy way of taking things did not happen to beexasperatingit was rather soothing.  She threw off her mantleand bonnetand sat down opposite to himenjoying the glowbutlifting up her beautiful hands for a screen.  They were not thinhandsor small hands; but powerfulfemininematernal hands. Sheseemed to be holding them up in propitiation for her passionatedesire to know and to thinkwhich in the unfriendly mediums ofTipton and Freshitt had issued in crying and red eyelids.

Shebethought herself now of the condemned criminal.  "Whatnews have you brought about the sheep-stealeruncle?"

"Whatpoor Bunch?--wellit seems we can't get him off--he is to behanged."

Dorothea'sbrow took an expression of reprobation and pity.

"Hangedyou know" said Mr. Brookewith a quiet nod.  "PoorRomilly! he would have helped us.  I knew Romilly. Casaubon didn't know Romilly. He is a little buried in booksyouknowCasaubon is."

"Whena man has great studies and is writing a great workhe must ofcourse give up seeing much of the world.  How can he go aboutmaking acquaintances?"

"That'strue.  But a man mopesyou know.  I have always been abachelor toobut I have that sort of disposition that I never moped;it was my way to go about everywhere and take in everything. I nevermoped: but I can see that Casaubon doesyou know.  He wants acompanion--a companionyou know."

"Itwould be a great honor to any one to be his companion" saidDorotheaenergetically.

"Youlike himeh?" said Mr. Brookewithout showing any surpriseorother emotion.  "WellnowI've known Casaubon ten yearsever since he came to Lowick.  But I never got anything out ofhim--any ideasyou know.  Howeverhe is a tiptop man and maybe a bishop--that kind of thingyou knowif Peel stays in. And hehas a very high opinion of youmy dear."

Dorotheacould not speak.

"Thefact ishe has a very high opinion indeed of you.  And hespeaks uncommonly well--does Casaubon.  He has deferred to meyou not being of age.  In shortI have promised to speak toyouthough I told him I thought there was not much chance.  Iwas bound to tell him that.  I saidmy niece is very youngandthat kind of thing.  But I didn't think it necessary to go intoeverything. Howeverthe long and the short of it isthat he hasasked my permission to make you an offer of marriage--of marriageyou know" said Mr. Brookewith his explanatory nod.  "Ithought it better to tell youmy dear."

No onecould have detected any anxiety in Mr. Brooke's mannerbut he didreally wish to know something of his niece's mindthatif therewere any need for advicehe might give it in time. What feeling heas a magistrate who had taken in so many ideascould make room forwas unmixedly kind.  Since Dorothea did not speak immediatelyhe repeated"I thought it better to tell youmy dear."

"Thankyouuncle" said Dorotheain a clear unwavering tone. "Iam very grateful to Mr. Casaubon.  If he makes me an offerIshall accept him.  I admire and honor him more than any man Iever saw."

Mr. Brookepaused a littleand then said in a lingering low tone"Ah? . ..  Well!  He is a good match in some respects.  ButnowChettam is a good match.  And our land lies together. I shall never interfere against your wishesmy dear.  Peopleshould have their own way in marriageand that sort of thing--up toa certain pointyou know.  I have always said thatup to acertain point.  I wish you to marry well; and I have good reasonto believe that Chettam wishes to marry you.  I mention ityouknow."

"Itis impossible that I should ever marry Sir James Chettam" saidDorothea.  "If he thinks of marrying mehe has made agreat mistake."

"Thatis ityou see.  One never knows.  I should have thoughtChettam was just the sort of man a woman would likenow."

"Praydo not mention him in that light againuncle" said Dorotheafeeling some of her late irritation revive.

Mr. Brookewonderedand felt that women were an inexhaustible subject of studysince even he at his age was not in a perfect state of scientificprediction about them.  Here was a fellow like Chettam with nochance at all.

"Wellbut Casaubonnow.  There is no hurry--I mean for you. It'strueevery year will tell upon him.  He is over five-and-fortyyou know.  I should say a good seven-and-twenty years older thanyou. To be sure--if you like learning and standingand that sort ofthingwe can't have everything.  And his income is good--he hasa handsome property independent of the Church--his income is good.Still he is not youngand I must not conceal from youmy dearthatI think his health is not over-strong. I know nothing else againsthim."

"Ishould not wish to have a husband very near my own age" saidDorotheawith grave decision.  "I should wish to have ahusband who was above me in judgment and in all knowledge."

Mr. Brookerepeated his subdued"Ah?--I thought you had more of your ownopinion than most girls.  I thought you liked your ownopinion--liked ityou know."

"Icannot imagine myself living without some opinionsbut I should wishto have good reasons for themand a wise man could help me to seewhich opinions had the best foundationand would help me to liveaccording to them."

"Verytrue.  You couldn't put the thing better--couldn't put itbetterbeforehandyou know.  But there are oddities inthings" continued Mr. Brookewhose conscience was reallyroused to do the best he could for his niece on this occasion. "Life isn't cast in a mould--not cut out by rule and lineandthat sort of thing. I never married myselfand it will be the betterfor you and yours. The fact isI never loved any one well enough toput myself into a noose for them.  It IS a nooseyou know. Tempernow. There is temper.  And a husband likes to bemaster."

"Iknow that I must expect trialsuncle.  Marriage is a state ofhigher duties.  I never thought of it as mere personal ease"said poor Dorothea.

"Wellyou are not fond of showa great establishmentballsdinnersthatkind of thing.  I can see that Casaubon's ways might suit youbetter than Chettam's. And you shall do as you likemy dear. I wouldnot hinder Casaubon; I said so at once; for there is no knowing howanything may turn out.  You have not the same tastes as everyyoung lady; and a clergyman and scholar--who may be a bishop--thatkind of thing--may suit you better than Chettam. Chettam is a goodfellowa good sound-hearted fellowyou know; but he doesn't go muchinto ideas.  I didwhen I was his age. But Casaubon's eyesnow.  I think he has hurt them a little with too much reading."

"Ishould be all the happierunclethe more room there was for me tohelp him" said Dorotheaardently.

"Youhave quite made up your mindI see.  Wellmy dearthe factisI have a letter for you in my pocket." Mr. Brooke handed theletter to Dorotheabut as she rose to go awayhe added"Thereis not too much hurrymy dear.  Think about ityou know."

WhenDorothea had left himhe reflected that he had certainly spokenstrongly: he had put the risks of marriage before her in a strikingmanner.  It was his duty to do so.  But as to pretending tobe wise for young people--no unclehowever much he had travelled inhis youthabsorbed the new ideasand dined with celebrities nowdeceasedcould pretend to judge what sort of marriage would turn outwell for a young girl who preferred Casaubon to Chettam. In shortwoman was a problem whichsince Mr. Brooke's mind felt blank beforeitcould be hardly less complicated than the revolutions of anirregular solid.




CHAPTERV



"Hardstudents are commonly troubled with gowtscatarrhsrheumscachexiabradypepsiabad eyesstoneand collickcruditiesoppilationsvertigowindsconsumptionsand all such diseases ascome by over-much sitting: they are most part leandryill-colored. . . and all through immoderate pains and extraordinary studies. If you will not believe the truth of thislook upon great Tostatusand Thomas Aquainas' works; and tell me whether those men tookpains."
BURTON'S Anatomy of Melancholy P. Is. 2.



This wasMr. Casaubon's letter.



MY DEARMISS BROOKE
I have your guardian's permission to address you ona subject than which I have none more at heart.  I am notItrustmistaken in the recognition of some deeper correspondence thanthat of date in the fact that a consciousness of need in my own lifehad arisen contemporaneously with the possibility of my becomingacquainted with you.  For in the first hour of meeting youIhad an impression of your eminent and perhaps exclusive fitness tosupply that need (connectedI may saywith such activity of theaffections as even the preoccupations of a work too special to beabdicated could not uninterruptedly dissimulate); and each succeedingopportunity for observation has given the impression an added depthby convincing me more emphatically of that fitness which I hadpreconceivedand thus evoking more decisively those affections towhich I have but now referred.  Our conversations haveI thinkmade sufficiently clear to you the tenor of my life and purposes: atenor unsuitedI am awareto the commoner order of minds. But Ihave discerned in you an elevation of thought and a capability ofdevotednesswhich I had hitherto not conceived to be compatibleeither with the early bloom of youth or with those graces of sex thatmay be said at once to win and to confer distinction when combinedas they notably are in youwith the mental qualities aboveindicated. It wasI confessbeyond my hope to meet with this rarecombination of elements both solid and attractiveadapted to supplyaid in graver labors and to cast a charm over vacant hours; and butfor the event of my introduction to you (whichlet me again sayItrust not to be superficially coincident with foreshadowing needsbut providentially related thereto as stages towards the completionof a life's plan)I should presumably have gone on to the lastwithout any attempt to lighten my solitariness by a matrimonialunion.

Suchmydear Miss Brookeis the accurate statement of my feelings; and Irely on your kind indulgence in venturing now to ask you how far yourown are of a nature to confirm my happy presentiment. To be acceptedby you as your husband and the earthly guardian of your welfareIshould regard as the highest of providential gifts. In return I canat least offer you an affection hitherto unwastedand the faithfulconsecration of a life whichhowever short in the sequelhas nobackward pages whereonif you choose to turn themyou will findrecords such as might justly cause you either bitterness or shame. I await the expression of your sentiments with an anxiety which itwould be the part of wisdom (were it possible) to divert by a morearduous labor than usual. But in this order of experience I am stillyoungand in looking forward to an unfavorable possibility I cannotbut feel that resignation to solitude will be more difficult afterthe temporary illumination of hope.
   In any caseIshall remain
   Yours with sincere devotion
  EDWARD CASAUBON.



Dorotheatrembled while she read this letter; then she fell on her kneesburied her faceand sobbed.  She could not pray: under the rushof solemn emotion in which thoughts became vague and images floateduncertainlyshe could but cast herselfwith a childlike sense ofrecliningin the lap of a divine consciousness which sustained herown. She remained in that attitude till it was time to dress fordinner.

How couldit occur to her to examine the letterto look at it critically as aprofession of love?  Her whole soul was possessed by the factthat a fuller life was opening before her: she was a neophyte aboutto enter on a higher grade of initiation. She was going to have roomfor the energies which stirred uneasily under the dimness andpressure of her own ignorance and the petty peremptoriness of theworld's habits.

Now shewould be able to devote herself to large yet definite duties; now shewould be allowed to live continually in the light of a mind that shecould reverence.  This hope was not unmixed with the glow ofproud delight--the joyous maiden surprise that she was chosen by theman whom her admiration had chosen.  All Dorothea's passion wastransfused through a mind struggling towards an ideal life; theradiance of her transfigured girlhood fell on the first object thatcame within its level.  The impetus with which inclinationbecame resolution was heightened by those little events of the daywhich had roused her discontent with the actual conditions of herlife.

Afterdinnerwhen Celia was playing an "airwith variations" asmall kind of tinkling which symbolized the aesthetic part of theyoung ladies' educationDorothea went up to her room to answer Mr.Casaubon's letter.  Why should she defer the answer?  Shewrote it over three timesnot because she wished to change thewordingbut because her hand was unusually uncertainand she couldnot bear that Mr. Casaubon should think her handwriting bad andillegible. She piqued herself on writing a hand in which each letterwas distinguishable without any large range of conjectureand shemeant to make much use of this accomplishmentto save Mr. Casaubon'seyes. Three times she wrote.

MY DEARMR.  CASAUBON--I am very grateful to you for loving meandthinking me worthy to be your wife.  I can look forward to nobetter happiness than that which would be one with yours.  If Isaid moreit would only be the same thing written out at greaterlengthfor I cannot now dwell on any other thought than that I maybe through life
   Yours devotedly
  DOROTHEA BROOKE.



Later inthe evening she followed her uncle into the library to give him theletterthat he might send it in the morning. He was surprisedbuthis surprise only issued in a few moments' silenceduring which hepushed about various objects on his writing-tableand finally stoodwith his back to the firehis glasses on his noselooking at theaddress of Dorothea's letter.

"Haveyou thought enough about thismy dear?" he said at last.

"Therewas no need to think longuncle.  I know of nothing to make mevacillate.  If I changed my mindit must be because ofsomething important and entirely new to me."

"Ah!--thenyou have accepted him?  Then Chettam has no chance? Has Chettamoffended you--offended youyou know?  What is it you don't likein Chettam?"

"Thereis nothing that I like in him" said Dorothearatherimpetuously.

Mr. Brookethrew his head and shoulders backward as if some one had thrown alight missile at him.  Dorothea immediately felt someself-rebukeand said--

"Imean in the light of a husband.  He is very kindIthink--really very good about the cottages.  A well-meaningman."

"Butyou must have a scholarand that sort of thing?  Wellit liesa little in our family.  I had it myself--that love ofknowledgeand going into everything--a little too much--it took metoo far; though that sort of thing doesn't often run in thefemale-line; or it runs underground like the rivers in Greeceyouknow--it comes out in the sons.  Clever sonsclever mothers. I went a good deal into thatat one time.  Howevermy dearIhave always said that people should do as they like in these thingsup to a certain point.  I couldn'tas your guardianhaveconsented to a bad match.  But Casaubon stands well: hisposition is good. I am afraid Chettam will be hurtthoughand Mrs.Cadwallader will blame me."

Thateveningof courseCelia knew nothing of what had happened. Sheattributed Dorothea's abstracted mannerand the evidence of furthercrying since they had got hometo the temper she had been in aboutSir James Chettam and the buildingsand was careful not to givefurther offence: having once said what she wanted to sayCelia hadno disposition to recur to disagreeable subjects. It had been hernature when a child never to quarrel with any one-- only to observewith wonder that they quarrelled with herand looked liketurkey-cocks; whereupon she was ready to play at cat's cradle withthem whenever they recovered themselves.  And as to Dorotheaithad always been her way to find something wrong in her sister'swordsthough Celia inwardly protested that she always said just howthings wereand nothing else: she never did and never could putwords together out of her own head.  But the best of Dodo wasthat she did not keep angry for long together.  Nowthough theyhad hardly spoken to each other all the eveningyet when Celia putby her workintending to go to beda proceeding in which she wasalways much the earlierDorotheawho was seated on a low stoolunable to occupy herself except in meditationsaidwith the musicalintonation which in moments of deep but quiet feeling made her speechlike a fine bit of recitative--

"Celiadearcome and kiss me" holding her arms open as she spoke.

Celiaknelt down to get the right level and gave her little butterfly kisswhile Dorothea encircled her with gentle arms and pressed her lipsgravely on each cheek in turn.

"Don'tsit upDodoyou are so pale to-night: go to bed soon" saidCeliain a comfortable waywithout any touch of pathos.

"NodearI am veryvery happy" said Dorotheafervently.

"Somuch the better" thought Celia.  "But how strangelyDodo goes from one extreme to the other."

The nextdayat luncheonthe butlerhanding something to Mr. Brookesaid"Jonas is come backsirand has brought this letter."

Mr. Brookeread the letterand thennodding toward Dorotheasaid"Casaubonmy dear: he will be here to dinner; he didn't wait to writemore--didn't waityou know."

It couldnot seem remarkable to Celia that a dinner guest should be announcedto her sister beforehandbuther eyes following the same directionas her uncle'sshe was struck with the peculiar effect of theannouncement on Dorothea.  It seemed as if something like thereflection of a white sunlit wing had passed across her featuresending in one of her rare blushes.  For the first time itentered into Celia's mind that there might be something more betweenMr. Casaubon and her sister than his delight in bookish talk and herdelight in listening.  Hitherto she had classed the admirationfor this "ugly" and learned acquaintance with theadmiration for Monsieur Liret at Lausannealso ugly and learned.Dorothea had never been tired of listening to old Monsieur Liret whenCelia's feet were as cold as possibleand when it had really becomedreadful to see the skin of his bald head moving about. Why thenshould her enthusiasm not extend to Mr. Casaubon simply in the sameway as to Monsieur Liret?  And it seemed probable that alllearned men had a sort of schoolmaster's view of young people.

But nowCelia was really startled at the suspicion which had darted into hermind.  She was seldom taken by surprise in this wayhermarvellous quickness in observing a certain order of signs generallypreparing her to expect such outward events as she had an interestin. Not that she now imagined Mr. Casaubon to be already an acceptedlover: she had only begun to feel disgust at the possibility thatanything in Dorothea's mind could tend towards such an issue. Herewas something really to vex her about Dodo: it was all very well notto accept Sir James Chettambut the idea of marrying Mr. Casaubon! Celia felt a sort of shame mingled with a sense of the ludicrous. But perhaps Dodoif she were really bordering on such anextravagancemight be turned away from it: experience had oftenshown that her impressibility might be calculated on. The day wasdampand they were not going to walk outso they both went up totheir sitting-room; and there Celia observed that Dorotheainsteadof settling down with her usual diligent interest to some occupationsimply leaned her elbow on an open book and looked out of the windowat the great cedar silvered with the damp. She herself had taken upthe making of a toy for the curate's childrenand was not going toenter on any subject too precipitately.

Dorotheawas in fact thinking that it was desirable for Celia to know of themomentous change in Mr. Casaubon's position since he had last been inthe house: it did not seem fair to leave her in ignorance of whatwould necessarily affect her attitude towards him; but it wasimpossible not to shrink from telling her.  Dorothea accusedherself of some meanness in this timidity: it was always odious toher to have any small fears or contrivances about her actionsbut atthis moment she was seeking the highest aid possible that she mightnot dread the corrosiveness of Celia's pretty carnally minded prose.Her reverie was brokenand the difficulty of decision banishedbyCelia's small and rather guttural voice speaking in its usual toneof a remark aside or a "by the bye."

"Isany one else coming to dine besides Mr. Casaubon?"

"Notthat I know of."

"Ihope there is some one else.  Then I shall not hear him eat hissoup so."

"Whatis there remarkable about his soup-eating?"

"ReallyDodocan't you hear how he scrapes his spoon?  And he alwaysblinks before he speaks.  I don't know whether Locke blinkedbut I'm sure I am sorry for those who sat opposite to him if he did."

"Celia"said Dorotheawith emphatic gravity"pray don't make any moreobservations of that kind."

"Whynot?  They are quite true" returned Celiawho had herreasons for perseveringthough she was beginning to be a littleafraid.

"Manythings are true which only the commonest minds observe."

"ThenI think the commonest minds must be rather useful. I think it is apity Mr. Casaubon's mother had not a commoner mind: she might havetaught him better." Celia was inwardly frightenedand ready torun awaynow she had hurled this light javelin.

Dorothea'sfeelings had gathered to an avalancheand there could be no furtherpreparation.

"Itis right to tell youCeliathat I am engaged to marry Mr.Casaubon."

PerhapsCelia had never turned so pale before.  The paper man she wasmaking would have had his leg injuredbut for her habitual care ofwhatever she held in her hands.  She laid the fragile figuredown at onceand sat perfectly still for a few moments. When shespoke there was a tear gathering

"OhDodoI hope you will be happy." Her sisterly tenderness couldnot but surmount other feelings at this momentand her fears werethe fears of affection.

Dorotheawas still hurt and agitated.

"Itis quite decidedthen?" said Celiain an awed under tone. "Anduncle knows?"

"Ihave accepted Mr. Casaubon's offer.  My uncle brought me theletter that contained it; he knew about it beforehand."

"Ibeg your pardonif I have said anything to hurt youDodo"said Celiawith a slight sob.  She never could have thoughtthat she should feel as she did.  There was something funerealin the whole affairand Mr. Casaubon seemed to be the officiatingclergymanabout whom it would be indecent to make remarks.

"NevermindKittydo not grieve.  We should never admire the samepeople.  I often offend in something of the same way; I am aptto speak too strongly of those who don't please me."

In spiteof this magnanimity Dorothea was still smarting: perhaps as much fromCelia's subdued astonishment as from her small criticisms. Of courseall the world round Tipton would be out of sympathy with thismarriage.  Dorothea knew of no one who thought as she did aboutlife and its best objects.

Neverthelessbefore the evening was at an end she was very happy. In an hour'stete-a-tete with Mr. Casaubon she talked to him with more freedomthan she had ever felt beforeeven pouring out her joy at thethought of devoting herself to himand of learning how she mightbest share and further all his great ends. Mr. Casaubon was touchedwith an unknown delight (what man would not have been?) at thischildlike unrestrained ardor: he was not surprised (what lover wouldhave been?) that he should be the object of it.

"Mydear young lady--Miss Brooke--Dorothea!" he saidpressing herhand between his hands"this is a happiness greater than I hadever imagined to be in reserve for me.  That I should ever meetwith a mind and person so rich in the mingled graces which couldrender marriage desirablewas far indeed from my conception. You have all--naymore than all--those qualities which I have everregarded as the characteristic excellences of womanhood.  Thegreat charm of your sex is its capability of an ardentself-sacrificing affectionand herein we see its fitness to roundand complete the existence of our own.  Hitherto I have knownfew pleasures save of the severer kind: my satisfactions have beenthose of the solitary student. I have been little disposed to gatherflowers that would wither in my handbut now I shall pluck them witheagernessto place them in your bosom."

No speechcould have been more thoroughly honest in its intention: the frigidrhetoric at the end was as sincere as the bark of a dogor thecawing of an amorous rook.  Would it not be rash to concludethat there was no passion behind those sonnets to Delia which strikeus as the thin music of a mandolin?

Dorothea'sfaith supplied all that Mr. Casaubon's words seemed to leave unsaid:what believer sees a disturbing omission or infelicity?  Thetextwhether of prophet or of poetexpands for whatever we can putinto itand even his bad grammar is sublime.

"I amvery ignorant--you will quite wonder at my ignorance" saidDorothea.  "I have so many thoughts that may be quitemistaken; and now I shall be able to tell them all to youand askyou about them. But" she addedwith rapid imagination of Mr.Casaubon's probable feeling"I will not trouble you too much;only when you are inclined to listen to me.  You must often beweary with the pursuit of subjects in your own track.  I shallgain enough if you will take me with you there."

"Howshould I be able now to persevere in any path without yourcompanionship?" said Mr. Casaubonkissing her candid browandfeeling that heaven had vouchsafed him a blessing in every way suitedto his peculiar wants.  He was being unconsciously wrought uponby the charms of a nature which was entirely without hiddencalculations either for immediate effects or for remoter ends. It wasthis which made Dorothea so childlikeandaccording to some judgesso stupidwith all her reputed cleverness; asfor examplein thepresent case of throwing herselfmetaphorically speakingat Mr.Casaubon's feetand kissing his unfashionable shoe-ties as if hewere a Protestant Pope.  She was not in the least teaching Mr.Casaubon to ask if he were good enough for herbut merely askingherself anxiously how she could be good enough for Mr. Casaubon.Before he left the next day it had been decided that the marriageshould take place within six weeks.  Why not?  Mr.Casaubon's house was ready.  It was not a parsonagebut aconsiderable mansionwith much land attached to it.  Theparsonage was inhabited by the curatewho did all the duty exceptpreaching the morning sermon.




CHAPTERVI



  My lady's tongue is like the meadow blades
   Thatcut you stroking them with idle hand.
   Nice cuttingis her function: she divides
   With spiritual edge themillet-seed
   And makes intangible savings.



As Mr.Casaubon's carriage was passing out of the gatewayit arrested theentrance of a pony phaeton driven by a lady with a servant seatedbehind.  It was doubtful whether the recognition had beenmutualfor Mr. Casaubon was looking absently before him; but thelady was quick-eyedand threw a nod and a "How do you do?"in the nick of time.  In spite of her shabby bonnet and very oldIndian shawlit was plain that the lodge-keeper regarded her as animportant personagefrom the low curtsy which was dropped on theentrance of the small phaeton.

"WellMrs. Fitchetthow are your fowls laying now?" said thehigh-coloreddark-eyed ladywith the clearest chiselled utterance.

"Prettywell for layingmadambut they've ta'en to eating their eggs: I'veno peace o' mind with 'em at all."

"Ohthe cannibals!  Better sell them cheap at once.  What willyou sell them a couple?  One can't eat fowls of a bad characterat a high price."

"Wellmadamhalf-a-crown: I couldn't let 'em gonot under."

"Half-a-crownthese times!  Come now--for the Rector's chicken-broth on aSunday.  He has consumed all ours that I can spare. You are halfpaid with the sermonMrs. Fitchettremember that. Take a pair oftumbler-pigeons for them--little beauties.  You must come andsee them.  You have no tumblers among your pigeons."

"WellmadamMaster Fitchett shall go and see 'em after work. He's very hoton new sorts; to oblige you."

"Obligeme!  It will be the best bargain he ever made.  A pair ofchurch pigeons for a couple of wicked Spanish fowls that eat theirown eggs!  Don't you and Fitchett boast too muchthat is all!"

Thephaeton was driven onwards with the last wordsleaving Mrs. Fitchettlaughing and shaking her head slowlywith an interjectional "SureLYsureLY!"--from which it might be inferred that she would havefound the country-side somewhat duller if the Rector's lady had beenless free-spoken and less of a skinflint.  Indeedboth thefarmers and laborers in the parishes of Freshitt and Tipton wouldhave felt a sad lack of conversation but for the stories about whatMrs. Cadwallader said and did: a lady of immeasurably high birthdescendedas it werefrom unknown earlsdim as the crowd of heroicshades--who pleaded povertypared down pricesand cut jokes in themost companionable mannerthough with a turn of tongue that let youknow who she was.  Such a lady gave a neighborliness to bothrank and religionand mitigated the bitterness of uncommuted tithe. A much more exemplary character with an infusion of sour dignitywould not have furthered their comprehension of the Thirty-nineArticlesand would have been less socially uniting.

Mr.Brookeseeing Mrs. Cadwallader's merits from a different point ofviewwinced a little when her name was announced in the librarywhere he was sitting alone.

"Isee you have had our Lowick Cicero here" she saidseatingherself comfortablythrowing back her wrapsand showing a thin butwell-built figure.  "I suspect you and he are brewing somebad politieselse you would not be seeing so much of the lively man.I shall inform against you: remember you are both suspiciouscharacters since you took Peel's side about the Catholic Bill. I shall tell everybody that you are going to put up for Middlemarchon the Whig side when old Pinkerton resignsand that Casaubon isgoing to help you in an underhand manner: going to bribe the voterswith pamphletsand throw open the public-houses to distribute them. Comeconfess!"

"Nothingof the sort" said Mr. Brookesmiling and rubbing hiseye-glassesbut really blushing a little at the impeachment."Casaubon and I don't talk politics much.  He doesn't caremuch about the philanthropic side of things; punishmentsand thatkind of thing. He only cares about Church questions.  That isnot my line of actionyou know."

"Ra-a-thertoo muchmy friend.  I have heard of your doings. Who was itthat sold his bit of land to the Papists at Middlemarch? I believeyou bought it on purpose.  You are a perfect Guy Faux. See ifyou are not burnt in effigy this 5th of November coming. Humphreywould not come to quarrel with you about itso I am come."

"Verygood.  I was prepared to be persecuted for not persecuting--notpersecutingyou know."

"Thereyou go!  That is a piece of clap-trap you have got ready for thehustings.  NowDO NOT let them lure you to the hustingsmydear Mr. Brooke.  A man always makes a fool of himselfspeechifying: there's no excuse but being on the right sideso thatyou can ask a blessing on your humming and hawing. You will loseyourselfI forewarn you.  You will make a Saturday pie of allparties' opinionsand be pelted by everybody."

"Thatis what I expectyou know" said Mr. Brookenot wishing tobetray how little he enjoyed this prophetic sketch--"what Iexpect as an independent man.  As to the Whigsa man who goeswith the thinkers is not likely to be hooked on by any party. He maygo with them up to a certain point--up to a certain pointyou know. But that is what you ladies never understand."

"Whereyour certain point is?  No. I should like to be told how a mancan have any certain point when he belongs to no party--leading aroving lifeand never letting his friends know his address. `Nobodyknows where Brooke will be--there's no counting on Brooke'--that iswhat people say of youto be quite frank.  Nowdo turnrespectable. How will you like going to Sessions with everybodylooking shy on youand you with a bad conscience and an emptypocket?"

"Idon't pretend to argue with a lady on politics" said Mr.Brookewith an air of smiling indifferencebut feeling ratherunpleasantly conscious that this attack of Mrs. Cadwallader's hadopened the defensive campaign to which certain rash steps had exposedhim. "Your sex are not thinkersyou know--varium et mutabilesemper--that kind of thing.  You don't know Virgil.  Iknew"--Mr. Brooke reflected in time that he had not had thepersonal acquaintance of the Augustan poet--"I was going to saypoor Stoddartyou know. That was what HE said.  You ladies arealways against an independent attitude--a man's caring for nothingbut truthand that sort of thing.  And there is no part of thecounty where opinion is narrower than it is here--I don't mean tothrow stonesyou knowbut somebody is wanted to take theindependent line; and if I don't take itwho will?"

"Who? Whyany upstart who has got neither blood nor position. People ofstanding should consume their independent nonsense at homenot hawkit about.  And you! who are going to marry your nieceas goodas your daughterto one of our best men.  Sir James would becruelly annoyed: it will be too hard on him if you turn round now andmake yourself a Whig sign-board."

Mr. Brookeagain winced inwardlyfor Dorothea's engagement had no sooner beendecidedthan he had thought of Mrs. Cadwallader's prospectivetaunts.  It might have been easy for ignorant observers to say"Quarrel with Mrs. Cadwallader;" but where is a countrygentleman to go who quarrels with his oldest neighbors?  Whocould taste the fine flavor in the name of Brooke if it weredelivered casuallylike wine without a seal?  Certainly a mancan only be cosmopolitan up to a certain point.

"Ihope Chettam and I shall always be good friends; but I am sorry tosay there is no prospect of his marrying my niece" said Mr.Brookemuch relieved to see through the window that Celia was comingin.

"Whynot?" said Mrs. Cadwalladerwith a sharp note of surprise. "Itis hardly a fortnight since you and I were talking about it."

"Myniece has chosen another suitor--has chosen himyou know. I have hadnothing to do with it.  I should have preferred Chettam; and Ishould have said Chettam was the man any girl would have chosen. Butthere is no accounting for these things.  Your sex iscapriciousyou know."

"Whywhom do you mean to say that you are going to let her marry?"Mrs. Cadwallader's mind was rapidly surveying the possibilities ofchoice for Dorothea.

But hereCelia enteredblooming from a walk in the gardenand the greetingwith her delivered Mr. Brooke from the necessity of answeringimmediately.  He got up hastilyand saying"By the wayImust speak to Wright about the horses" shuffled quickly out ofthe room.

"Mydear childwhat is this?--this about your sister's engagement?"said Mrs. Cadwallader.

"Sheis engaged to marry Mr. Casaubon" said Celiaresortingasusualto the simplest statement of factand enjoying thisopportunity of speaking to the Rector's wife alone.

"Thisis frightful.  How long has it been going on?"

"Ionly knew of it yesterday.  They are to be married in sixweeks."

"Wellmy dearI wish you joy of your brother-in-law."

"I amso sorry for Dorothea."

"Sorry! It is her doingI suppose."

"Yes;she says Mr. Casaubon has a great soul."

"Withall my heart."

"OhMrs. CadwalladerI don't think it can be nice to marry a man with agreat soul."

"Wellmy deartake warning.  You know the look of one now; when thenext comes and wants to marry youdon't you accept him."

"I'msure I never should."

"No;one such in a family is enough.  So your sister never caredabout Sir James Chettam?  What would you have said to HIM for abrother-in-law?"

"Ishould have liked that very much.  I am sure he would have beena good husband.  Only" Celia addedwith a slight blush(she sometimes seemed to blush as she breathed)"I don't thinkhe would have suited Dorothea."

"Nothigh-flown enough?"

"Dodois very strict.  She thinks so much about everythingand is soparticular about what one says.  Sir James never seemed toplease her."

"Shemust have encouraged himI am sure.  That is not verycreditable."

"Pleasedon't be angry with Dodo; she does not see things. She thought somuch about the cottagesand she was rude to Sir James sometimes; buthe is so kindhe never noticed it."

"Well"said Mrs. Cadwalladerputting on her shawland risingas if inhaste"I must go straight to Sir James and break this to him.He will have brought his mother back by this timeand I must call.Your uncle will never tell him.  We are all disappointedmydear. Young people should think of their families in marrying. I set a bad example--married a poor clergymanand made myself apitiable object among the De Bracys--obliged to get my coals bystratagemand pray to heaven for my salad oil.  HoweverCasaubon has money enough; I must do him that justice.  As tohis bloodI suppose the family quarterings are three cuttle-fishsableand a commentator rampant. By the byebefore I gomy dearImust speak to your Mrs. Carter about pastry.  I want to send myyoung cook to learn of her. Poor people with four childrenlike usyou knowcan't afford to keep a good cook.  I have no doubtMrs. Carter will oblige me.  Sir James's cook is a perfectdragon."

In lessthan an hourMrs. Cadwallader had circumvented Mrs. Carter anddriven to Freshitt Hallwhich was not far from her own parsonageher husband being resident in Freshitt and keeping a curate inTipton.

Sir JamesChettam had returned from the short journey which had kept him absentfor a couple of daysand had changed his dressintending to rideover to Tipton Grange.  His horse was standing at the door whenMrs. Cadwallader drove upand he immediately appeared there himselfwhip in hand.  Lady Chettam had not yet returnedbut Mrs.Cadwallader's errand could not be despatched in the presence ofgroomsso she asked to be taken into the conservatory close bytolook at the new plants; and on coming to a contemplative standshesaid--

"Ihave a great shock for you; I hope you are not so far gone in love asyou pretended to be."

It was ofno use protestingagainst Mrs. Cadwallader's way of putting things. But Sir James's countenance changed a little. He felt a vague alarm.

"I dobelieve Brooke is going to expose himself after all.  I accusedhim of meaning to stand for Middlemarch on the Liberal sideand helooked silly and never denied it--talked about the independent lineand the usual nonsense."

"Isthat all?" said Sir Jamesmuch relieved.

"Why"rejoined Mrs. Cadwalladerwith a sharper note"you don't meanto say that you would like him to turn public man in that way--makinga sort of political Cheap Jack of himself?"

"Hemight be dissuadedI should think.  He would not like theexpense."

"Thatis what I told him.  He is vulnerable to reason there--always afew grains of common-sense in an ounce of miserliness. Miserliness isa capital quality to run in families; it's the safe side for madnessto dip on.  And there must be a little crack in the Brookefamilyelse we should not see what we are to see."

"What? Brooke standing for Middlemarch?"

"Worsethan that.  I really feel a little responsible.  I alwaystold you Miss Brooke would be such a fine match.  I knew therewas a great deal of nonsense in her--a flighty sort of Methodisticalstuff. But these things wear out of girls.  HoweverI am takenby surprise for once."

"Whatdo you meanMrs. Cadwallader?" said Sir James.  His fearlest Miss Brooke should have run away to join the Moravian Brethrenor some preposterous sect unknown to good societywas a littleallayed by the knowledge that Mrs. Cadwallader always made the worstof things.  "What has happened to Miss Brooke?  Prayspeak out."

"Verywell.  She is engaged to be married." Mrs. Cadwalladerpaused a few momentsobserving the deeply hurt expression in herfriend's facewhich he was trying to conceal by a nervous smilewhile he whipped his boot; but she soon added"Engaged toCasaubon."

Sir Jameslet his whip fall and stooped to pick it up. Perhaps his face hadnever before gathered so much concentrated disgust as when he turnedto Mrs. Cadwallader and repeated"Casaubon?"

"Evenso.  You know my errand now."

"GoodGod!  It is horrible!  He is no better than a mummy!"(The point of view has to be allowed foras that of a blooming anddisappointed rival.)

"Shesayshe is a great soul.--A great bladder for dried peas to rattlein!" said Mrs. Cadwallader.

"Whatbusiness has an old bachelor like that to marry?" said SirJames. "He has one foot in the grave."

"Hemeans to draw it out againI suppose."

"Brookeought not to allow it: he should insist on its being put off till sheis of age.  She would think better of it then. What is aguardian for?"

"Asif you could ever squeeze a resolution out of Brooke!"

"Cadwalladermight talk to him."

"Nothe!  Humphrey finds everybody charming I never can get him toabuse Casaubon.  He will even speak well of the bishopthough Itell him it is unnatural in a beneficed clergyman; what can one dowith a husband who attends so little to the decencies?  I hideit as well as I can by abusing everybody myself.  Comecomecheer up! you are well rid of Miss Brookea girl who would have beenrequiring you to see the stars by daylight.  Between ourselveslittle Celia is worth two of herand likely after all to be thebetter match. For this marriage to Casaubon is as good as going to anunnery."

"Ohon my own account--it is for Miss Brooke's sake I think her friendsshould try to use their influence."

"WellHumphrey doesn't know yet.  But when I tell himyou may dependon it he will say`Why not?  Casaubon is a good fellow--andyoung--young enough.' These charitable people never know vinegar fromwine till they have swallowed it and got the colic.  HoweverifI were a man I should prefer Celiaespecially when Dorothea wasgone. The truth isyou have been courting one and have won theother. I can see that she admires you almost as much as a man expectsto be admired.  If it were any one but me who said soyou mightthink it exaggeration.  Good-by!"

Sir Jameshanded Mrs. Cadwallader to the phaetonand then jumped on hishorse.  He was not going to renounce his ride because of hisfriend's unpleasant news--only to ride the faster in some otherdirection than that of Tipton Grange.

Nowwhyon earth should Mrs. Cadwallader have been at all busy about MissBrooke's marriage; and whywhen one match that she liked to thinkshe had a hand in was frustratedshould she have straightwaycontrived the preliminaries of another?  Was there any ingeniousplotany hide-and-seek course of actionwhich might be detected bya careful telescopic watch?  Not at all: a telescope might haveswept the parishes of Tipton and Freshittthe whole area visited byMrs. Cadwallader in her phaetonwithout witnessing any interviewthat could excite suspicionor any scene from which she did notreturn with the same unperturbed keenness of eye and the same highnatural color.  In factif that convenient vehicle had existedin the days of the Seven Sagesone of them would doubtless haveremarkedthat you can know little of women by following them aboutin their pony-phaetons. Even with a microscope directed on awater-drop we find ourselves making interpretations which turn out tobe rather coarse; for whereas under a weak lens you may seem to see acreature exhibiting an active voracity into which other smallercreatures actively play as if they were so many animated tax-penniesa stronger lens reveals to you certain tiniest hairlets which makevortices for these victims while the swallower waits passively at hisreceipt of custom. In this waymetaphorically speakinga stronglens applied to Mrs. Cadwallader's match-making will show a play ofminute causes producing what may be called thought and speechvortices to bring her the sort of food she needed.  Her life wasrurally simplequite free from secrets either fouldangerousorotherwise importantand not consciously affected by the greataffairs of the world. All the more did the affairs of the great worldinterest herwhen communicated in the letters of high-bornrelations: the way in which fascinating younger sons had gone to thedogs by marrying their mistresses; the fine old-blooded idiocy ofyoung Lord Tapirand the furious gouty humors of old LordMegatherium; the exact crossing of genealogies which had brought acoronet into a new branch and widened the relations ofscandal--these were topics of which she retained details with theutmost accuracyand reproduced them in an excellent pickle ofepigramswhich she herself enjoyed the more because she believed asunquestionably in birth and no-birth as she did in game and vermin. She would never have disowned any one on the ground of poverty: a DeBracy reduced to take his dinner in a basin would have seemed to heran example of pathos worth exaggeratingand I fear his aristocraticvices would not have horrified her. But her feeling towards thevulgar rich was a sort of religious hatred: they had probably madeall their money out of high retail pricesand Mrs. Cadwalladerdetested high prices for everything that was not paid in kind at theRectory: such people were no part of God's design in making theworld; and their accent was an affliction to the ears. A town wheresuch monsters abounded was hardly more than a sort of low comedywhich could not be taken account of in a well-bred scheme of theuniverse.  Let any lady who is inclined to be hard on Mrs.Cadwallader inquire into the comprehensiveness of her own beautifulviewsand be quite sure that they afford accommodation for all thelives which have the honor to coexist with hers.

With sucha mindactive as phosphorusbiting everything that came near intothe form that suited ithow could Mrs. Cadwallader feel that theMiss Brookes and their matrimonial prospects were alien to her?especially as it had been the habit of years for her to scold Mr.Brooke with the friendliest franknessand let him know in confidencethat she thought him a poor creature.  From the first arrival ofthe young ladies in Tipton she had prearranged Dorothea's marriagewith Sir Jamesand if it had taken place would have been quite surethat it was her doing: that it should not take place after she hadpreconceived itcaused her an irritation which every thinker willsympathize with.  She was the diplomatist of Tipton andFreshittand for anything to happen in spite of her was an offensiveirregularity.  As to freaks like this of Miss Brooke'sMrs.Cadwallader had no patience with themand now saw that her opinionof this girl had been infected with some of her husband's weakcharitableness: those Methodistical whimsthat air of being morereligious than the rector and curate togethercame from a deeper andmore constitutional disease than she had been willing to believe.

"However"said Mrs. Cadwalladerfirst to herself and afterwards to herhusband"I throw her over: there was a chanceif she hadmarried Sir Jamesof her becoming a sanesensible woman.  Hewould never have contradicted herand when a woman is notcontradictedshe has no motive for obstinacy in her absurdities. But now I wish her joy of her hair shirt."

Itfollowed that Mrs. Cadwallader must decide on another match for SirJamesand having made up her mind that it was to be the younger MissBrookethere could not have been a more skilful move towards thesuccess of her plan than her hint to the baronet that he had made animpression on Celia's heart.  For he was not one of thosegentlemen who languish after the unattainable Sappho's apple thatlaughs from the topmost bough--the charms which

  "Smile like the knot of cowslips on the cliff   Not to be come at by the willing hand."

He had nosonnets to writeand it could not strike him agreeably that he wasnot an object of preference to the woman whom he had preferred. Already the knowledge that Dorothea had chosen Mr. Casaubon hadbruised his attachment and relaxed its hold. Although Sir James was asportsmanhe had some other feelings towards women than towardsgrouse and foxesand did not regard his future wife in the light ofpreyvaluable chiefly for the excitements of the chase. Neither was he so well acquainted with the habits of primitive racesas to feel that an ideal combat for hertomahawk in handso tospeakwas necessary to the historical continuity of themarriage-tie. On the contraryhaving the amiable vanity which knitsus to those who are fond of usand disinclines us to those who areindifferentand also a good grateful naturethe mere idea that awoman had a kindness towards him spun little threads of tendernessfrom out his heart towards hers.

Thus ithappenedthat after Sir James had ridden rather fast for half anhour in a direction away from Tipton Grangehe slackened his paceand at last turned into a road which would lead him back by a shortercut.  Various feelings wrought in him the determination afterall to go to the Grange to-day as if nothing new had happened. Hecould not help rejoicing that he had never made the offer and beenrejected; mere friendly politeness required that he should call tosee Dorothea about the cottagesand now happily Mrs. Cadwallader hadprepared him to offer his congratulationsif necessarywithoutshowing too much awkwardness.  He really did not like it: givingup Dorothea was very painful to him; but there was something in theresolve to make this visit forthwith and conquer all show of feelingwhich was a sort of file-biting and counter-irritant. And without hisdistinctly recognizing the impulsethere certainly was present inhim the sense that Celia would be thereand that he should pay hermore attention than he had done before.

Wemortalsmen and womendevour many a disappointment betweenbreakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little paleabout the lipsand in answer to inquiries say"Ohnothing!"Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us tohide our own hurts--not to hurt others.




CHAPTERVII

  "Piacer e popone
   Vuol la sua stagione."
  --Italian Proverb.



Mr.Casaubonas might be expectedspent a great deal of his time at theGrange in these weeksand the hindrance which courtship occasionedto the progress of his great work--the Key to allMythologies--naturally made him look forward the more eagerly to thehappy termination of courtship.  But he had deliberatelyincurred the hindrancehaving made up his mind that it was now timefor him to adorn his life with the graces of female companionshiptoirradiate the gloom which fatigue was apt to hang over the intervalsof studious labor with the play of female fancyand to secure inthishis culminating agethe solace of female tendance for hisdeclining years. Hence he determined to abandon himself to the streamof feelingand perhaps was surprised to find what an exceedinglyshallow rill it was.  As in droughty regions baptism byimmersion could only be performed symbolicallyMr. Casaubon foundthat sprinkling was the utmost approach to a plunge which his streamwould afford him; and he concluded that the poets had muchexaggerated the force of masculine passion.  Neverthelessheobserved with pleasure that Miss Brooke showed an ardent submissiveaffection which promised to fulfil his most agreeable previsions ofmarriage.  It had once or twice crossed his mind that possiblytherewas some deficiency in Dorothea to account for the moderationof his abandonment; but he was unable to discern the deficiencyorto figure to himself a woman who would have pleased him better; sothat there was clearly no reason to fall back upon but theexaggerations of human tradition.

"CouldI not be preparing myself now to be more useful?" said Dorotheato himone morningearly in the time of courtship; "could Inot learn to read Latin and Greek aloud to youas Milton's daughtersdid to their fatherwithout understanding what they read?"

"Ifear that would be wearisome to you" said Mr. Casaubonsmiling; "andindeedif I remember rightlythe young womenyou have mentioned regarded that exercise in unknown tongues as aground for rebellion against the poet."

"Yes;but in the first place they were very naughty girlselse they wouldhave been proud to minister to such a father; and in the second placethey might have studied privately and taught themselves to understandwhat they readand then it would have been interesting. I hope youdon't expect me to be naughty and stupid?"

"Iexpect you to be all that an exquisite young lady can be in everypossible relation of life.  Certainly it might be a greatadvantage if you were able to copy the Greek characterand to thatend it were well to begin with a little reading."

Dorotheaseized this as a precious permission.  She would not have askedMr. Casaubon at once to teach her the languagesdreading of allthings to be tiresome instead of helpful; but it was not entirely outof devotion to her future husband that she wished to know Latin andCreek.  Those provinces of masculine knowledge seemed to her astanding-ground from which all truth could be seen more truly. As itwasshe constantly doubted her own conclusionsbecause she felt herown ignorance: how could she be confident that one-roomed cottageswere not for the glory of Godwhen men who knew the classicsappeared to conciliate indifference to the cottages with zeal for theglory?  Perhaps even Hebrew might be necessary--at least thealphabet and a few roots--in order to arrive at the core of thingsand judge soundly on the social duties of the Christian.  Andshe had not reached that point of renunciation at which she wouldhave been satisfier' with having a wise husband: she wishedpoorchildto be wise herself.  Miss Brooke was certainly very naivewith al: her alleged cleverness.  Celiawhose mind had neverbeen thought too powerfulsaw the emptiness of other people'spretensions much more readily.  To have in general but littlefeelingseems to be the only security against feeling too much onany particular occasion.

HoweverMr. Casaubon consented to listen and teach for an hour togetherlikea schoolmaster of little boysor rather like a loverto whom amistress's elementary ignorance and difficulties have a touchingfitness.  Few scholars would have disliked teaching the alphabetunder such circumstances.  But Dorothea herself was a littleshocked and discouraged at her own stupidityand the answers she gotto some timid questions about the value of the Greek accents gave hera painful suspicion that here indeed there might be secrets notcapable of explanation to a woman's reason.

Mr. Brookehad no doubt on that pointand expressed himself with his usualstrength upon it one day that he came into the library while thereading was going forward.

"Wellbut nowCasaubonsuch deep studiesclassicsmathematicsthatkind of thingare too taxing for a woman--too taxingyou know."

"Dorotheais learning to read the characters simply" said Mr. Casaubonevading the question.  "She had the very consideratethought of saving my eyes."

"Ahwellwithout understandingyou know--that may not be so bad. Butthere is a lightness about the feminine mind--a touch and go--musicthe fine artsthat kind of thing--they should study those up to acertain pointwomen should; but in a light wayyou know. A womanshould be able to sit down and play you or sing you a good oldEnglish tune.  That is what I like; though I have heard mostthings--been at the opera in Vienna: GluckMozarteverything ofthat sort. But I'm a conservative in music--it's not like ideasyouknow. I stick to the good old tunes."

"Mr.Casaubon is not fond of the pianoand I am very glad he is not"said Dorotheawhose slight regard for domestic music and femininefine art must be forgiven herconsidering the small tinkling andsmearing in which they chiefly consisted at that dark period. Shesmiled and looked up at her betrothed with grateful eyes. If he hadalways been asking her to play the "Last Rose of Summer"she would have required much resignation.  "He says thereis only an old harpsichord at Lowickand it is covered with books."

"Ahthere you are behind Celiamy dear.  Celianowplays veryprettilyand is always ready to play.  Howeversince Casaubondoes not like ityou are all right.  But it's a pity you shouldnot have little recreations of that sortCasaubon: the bow alwaysstrung--that kind of thingyou know--will not do."

"Inever could look on it in the light of a recreation to have my earsteased with measured noises" said Mr. Casaubon.  "Atune much iterated has the ridiculous effect of making the words inmy mind perform a sort of minuet to keep time--an effect hardlytolerableI imagineafter boyhood.  As to the grander forms ofmusicworthy to accompany solemn celebrationsand even to serve asan educating influence according to the ancient conceptionI saynothingfor with these we are not immediately concerned."

"No;but music of that sort I should enjoy" said Dorothea. "Whenwe were coming home from Lausanne my uncle took us to hear the greatorgan at Freibergand it made me sob."

"Thatkind of thing is not healthymy dear" said Mr. Brooke."Casaubonshe will be in your hands now: you must teach myniece to take things more quietlyehDorothea?"

He endedwith a smilenot wishing to hurt his niecebut really thinking thatit was perhaps better for her to be early married to so sober afellow as Casaubonsince she would not hear of Chettam.

"Itis wonderfulthough" he said to himself as he shuffled out ofthe room--"it is wonderful that she should have liked him.Howeverthe match is good.  I should have been travelling outof my brief to have hindered itlet Mrs. Cadwallader say what shewill. He is pretty certain to be a bishopis Casaubon.  Thatwas a very seasonable pamphlet of his on the Catholic Question:--adeanery at least.  They owe him a deanery."

And here Imust vindicate a claim to philosophical reflectivenessby remarkingthat Mr. Brooke on this occasion little thought of the Radical speechwhichat a later periodhe was led to make on the incomes of thebishops.  What elegant historian would neglect a strikingopportunity for pointing out that his heroes did not foresee thehistory of the worldor even their own actions?--For examplethatHenry of Navarrewhen a Protestant babylittle thought of being aCatholic monarch; or that Alfred the Greatwhen he measured hislaborious nights with burning candleshad no idea of futuregentlemen measuring their idle days with watches. Here is a mine oftruthwhichhowever vigorously it may be workedis likely tooutlast our coal.

But of Mr.Brooke I make a further remark perhaps less warranted byprecedent--namelythat if he had foreknown his speechit might nothave made any great difference.  To think with pleasure of hisniece's husband having a large ecclesiastical income was onething--to make a Liberal speech was another thing; and it is a narrowmind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.




CHAPTERVIII



  "Ohrescue her!  I am her brother now
   Andyou her father.  Every gentle maid
   Should have aguardian in each gentleman."



It waswonderful to Sir James Chettam how well he continued to like going tothe Grange after he had once encountered the difficulty of seeingDorothea for the first time in the light of a woman who was engagedto another man.  Of course the forked lightning seemed to passthrough him when he first approached herand he remained consciousthroughout the interview of hiding uneasiness; butgood as he wasit must be owned that his uneasiness was less than it would have beenif he had thought his rival a brilliant and desirable match. He hadno sense of being eclipsed by Mr. Casaubon; he was only shocked thatDorothea was under a melancholy illusionand his mortification lostsome of its bitterness by being mingled with compassion.

Neverthelesswhile Sir James said to himself that he had completely resigned hersince with the perversity of a Desdemona she had not affected aproposed match that was clearly suitable and according to nature; hecould not yet be quite passive under the idea of her engagement toMr. Casaubon.  On the day when he first saw them together in thelight of his present knowledgeit seemed to him that he had nottaken the affair seriously enough. Brooke was really culpable; heought to have hindered it.  Who could speak to him? Something might be done perhaps even nowat least to defer themarriage.  On his way home he turned into the Rectory and askedfor Mr. Cadwallader.  Happilythe Rector was at homeand hisvisitor was shown into the studywhere all the fishing tackle hung. But he himself was in a little room adjoiningat work with histurning apparatusand he called to the baronet to join him there. The two were better friends than any other landholder and clergymanin the county--a significant fact which was in agreement with theamiable expression of their faees.

Mr.Cadwallader was a large manwith full lips and a sweet smile; veryplain and rough in his exteriorbut with that solid imperturbableease and good-humor which is infectiousand like great grassy hillsin the sunshinequiets even an irritated egoismand makes it ratherashamed of itself.  "Wellhow are you?" he saidshowing a hand not quite fit to be grasped.  "Sorry Imissed you before. Is there anything particular?  You lookvexed."

SirJames's brow had a little crease in ita little depression of theeyebrowwhich he seemed purposely to exaggerate as he answered.

"Itis only this conduct of Brooke's. I really think somebody shouldspeak to him."

"What?meaning to stand?" said Mr. Cadwalladergoing on with thearrangement of the reels which he had just been turning. "Ihardly think he means it.  But where's the harmif he likes it?Any one who objects to Whiggery should be glad when the Whigs don'tput up the strongest fellow.  They won't overturn theConstitution with our friend Brooke's head for a battering ram."

"OhI don't mean that" said Sir Jameswhoafter putting down hishat and throwing himself into a chairhad begun to nurse his leg andexamine the sole of his boot with much bitterness. "I mean thismarriage.  I mean his letting that blooming young girl marryCasaubon."

"Whatis the matter with Casaubon?  I see no harm in him--if the girllikes him."

"Sheis too young to know what she likes.  Her guardian ought tointerfere.  He ought not to allow the thing to be done in thisheadlong manner.  I wonder a man like youCadwallader--a manwith daughterscan look at the affair with indifference: and withsuch a heart as yours!  Do think seriously about it."

"I amnot joking; I am as serious as possible" said the Rectorwitha provoking little inward laugh.  "You are as bad asElinor. She has been wanting me to go and lecture Brooke; and I havereminded her that her friends had a very poor opinion of the matchshe made when she married me."

"Butlook at Casaubon" said Sir Jamesindignantly.  "Hemust be fiftyand I don't believe he could ever have been much morethan the shadow of a man.  Look at his legs!"

"Confoundyou handsome young fellows! you think of having it all your own wayin the world.  Tou don't under stand women. They don't admireyou half so much as you admire yourselves. Elinor used to tell hersisters that she married me for my ugliness--it was so various andamusing that it had quite conquered her prudence."

"You!it was easy enough for a woman to love you.  But this is noquestion of beauty.  I don't LIKE Casaubon." This was SirJames's strongest way of implying that he thought ill of a man'scharacter.

"Why?what do you know against him?" said the Rector laying down hisreelsand putting his thumbs into his armholes with an air ofattention.

Sir Jamespaused.  He did not usually find it easy to give his reasons: itseemed to him strange that people should not know them without beingtoldsince he only felt what was reasonable. At last he said--

"NowCadwalladerhas he got any heart?"

"Wellyes.  I don't mean of the melting sortbut a sound kernelTHATyou may be sure of.  He is very good to his poor relations:pensions several of the womenand is educating a young fellow at agood deal of expense.  Casaubon acts up to his sense of justice.His mother's sister made a bad match--a PoleI think--lostherself--at any rate was disowned by her family.  If it had notbeen for thatCasaubon would not have had so much money by half. I believe he went himself to find out his cousinsand see what hecould do for them. Every man would not ring so well as thatif youtried his metal. YOU wouldChettam; but not every man."

"Idon't know" said Sir Jamescoloring.  "I am not sosure of myself." He paused a momentand then added"Thatwas a right thing for Casaubon to do.  But a man may wish to dowhat is rightand yet be a sort of parchment code.  A woman maynot be happy with him. And I think when a girl is so young as MissBrooke isher friends ought to interfere a little to hinder her fromdoing anything foolish. You laughbecause you fancy I have somefeeling on my own account. But upon my honorit is not that.  Ishould feel just the same if I were Miss Brooke's brother or uncle."

"Wellbut what should you do?"

"Ishould say that the marriage must not be decided on until she was ofage.  And depend upon itin that caseit would never come off.I wish you saw it as I do--I wish you would talk to Brooke about it."

Sir Jamesrose as he was finishing his sentencefor he saw Mrs. Cadwalladerentering from the study.  She held by the hand her youngestgirlabout five years oldwho immediately ran to papaand was madecomfortable on his knee.

"Ihear what you are talking about" said the wife.  "Butyou will make no impression on Humphrey.  As long as the fishrise to his baiteverybody is what he ought to be.  Bless youCasaubon has got a trout-streamand does not care about fishing init himself: could there be a better fellow?"

"Wellthere is something in that" said the Rectorwith his quietinward laugh.  "It is a very good quality in a man to havea trout-stream."

"Butseriously" said Sir Jameswhose vexation had not yet spentitself"don't you think the Rector might do some good byspeaking?"

"OhI told you beforehand what he would say" answered Mrs.Cadwalladerlifting up her eyebrows.  "I have done what Icould: I wash my hands of the marriage."

"Inthe first place" said the Rectorlooking rather grave"itwould be nonsensical to expect that I could convince Brookeand makehim act accordingly.  Brooke is a very good fellowbut pulpy;he will run into any mouldbut he won't keep shape."

"Hemight keep shape long enough to defer the marriage" said SirJames.

"Butmy dear Chettamwhy should I use my influence to Casaubon'sdisadvantageunless I were much surer than I am that I should beacting for the advantage of Miss Brooke?  I know no harm ofCasaubon. I don't care about his Xisuthrus and Fee-fo-fum and therest; but then he doesn't care about my fishing-tackle. As to theline he took on the Catholic Questionthat was unexpected; but hehas always been civil to meand I don't see why I should spoil hissport. For anything I can tellMiss Brooke may be happier with himthan she would be with any other man."

"Humphrey! I have no patience with you.  You know you would rather dineunder the hedge than with Casaubon alone.  You have nothing tosay to each other."

"Whathas that to do with Miss Brooke's marrying him?  She does not doit for my amusement."

"Hehas got no good red blood in his body" said Sir James.

"No.Somebody put a drop under a magnifying-glass and it was allsemicolons and parentheses" said Mrs. Cadwallader.

"Whydoes he not bring out his bookinstead of marrying" said SirJameswith a disgust which he held warranted by the sound feeling ofan English layman.

"Ohhe dreams footnotesand they run away with all his brains. They saywhen he was a little boyhe made an abstract of `Hop o' my Thumb'and he has been making abstracts ever since. Ugh!  And that isthe man Humphrey goes on saying that a woman may be happy with."

"Wellhe is what Miss Brooke likes" said the Rector.  "Idon't profess to understand every young lady's taste."

"Butif she were your own daughter?" said Sir James.

"Thatwould be a different affair.  She is NOT my daughterand Idon't feel called upon to interfere.  Casaubon is as good asmost of us.  He is a scholarly clergymanand creditable to thecloth.  Some Radical fellow speechifying at Middlemarch saidCasaubon was the learned straw-chopping incumbentand Freke was thebrick-and-mortar incumbentand I was the angling incumbent. And uponmy wordI don't see that one is worse or better than the other."The Rector ended with his silent laugh.  He always saw the jokeof any satire against himself.  His conscience was large andeasylike the rest of him: it did only what it could do without anytrouble.

Clearlythere would be no interference with Miss Brooke's marriage throughMr. Cadwallader; and Sir James felt with some sadness that she was tohave perfect liberty of misjudgment. It was a sign of his gooddisposition that he did not slacken at all in his intention ofcarrying out Dorothea's de. sign of the cottages.  Doubtlessthis persistence was the best course for his own dignity: but prideonly helps us to be generous; it never makes us soany more thanvanity makes us witty. She was now enough aware of Sir James'sposition with regard to herto appreciate the rectitude of hisperseverance in a landlord's dutyto which he had at first beenurged by a lover's complaisanceand her pleasure in it was greatenough to count for something even in her present happiness. Per.  haps she gave to Sir James Chettam's cottages all theinterest she could spare from Mr. Casaubonor rather from thesymphony of hopeful dreamsadmiring trustand passionate selfdevotion which that learned gentleman had set playing in her soul. Hence it happened that in the good baronet's succeed ing visitswhile he was beginning to pay small attentions to Celiahe foundhimself talking with more and more pleasure to Dorothea.  Shewas perfectly unconstrained and without irritation towards him nowand he was gradually discovering the delight there is in frankkindness and companionship between a man and a woman who have nopassion to hide or confess.




CHAPTERIX

  1st Gent. An ancient land in ancient oracles
   Iscalled "law-thirsty": all the struggle there
  Was after order and a perfect rule.
   Praywhere liesuch lands now? . . .
   2d Gent.  Whywhere theylay of old--in human souls.

Mr.Casaubon's behavior about settlements was highly satisfactory to Mr.Brookeand the preliminaries of marriage rolled smoothly alongshortening the weeks of courtship.  The betrothed bride must seeher future homeand dictate any changes that she would like to havemade there.  A woman dictates before marriage in order that shemay have an appetite for submission afterwards.  And certainlythe mistakes that we male and female mortals make when we have ourown way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it.

On a graybut dry November morning Dorothea drove to Lowick in company with heruncle and Celia.  Mr. Casaubon's home was the manor-house. Closebyvisible from some parts of the gardenwas the little churchwith the old parsonage opposite. In the beginning of his careerMr.Casaubon had only held the livingbut the death of his brother hadput him in possession of the manor also.  It had a small parkwith a fine old oak here and thereand an avenue of limes towardsthe southwest frontwith a sunk fence between park andpleasure-groundso that from the drawing-room windows the glanceswept uninterruptedly along a slope of greensward till the limesended in a level of corn and pastureswhich often seemed to meltinto a lake under the setting sun. This was the happy side of thehousefor the south and east looked rather melancholy even under thebrightest morning.  The grounds here were more confinedtheflower-beds showed no very careful tendanceand large clumps oftreeschiefly of sombre yewshad risen highnot ten yards from thewindows.  The buildingof greenish stonewas in the oldEnglish stylenot uglybut small-windowed and melancholy-looking:the sort of house that must have childrenmany flowersopenwindowsand little vistas of bright thingsto make it seem a joyoushome.  In this latter end of autumnwith a sparse remnant ofyellow leaves falling slowly athwart the dark evergreens in astillness without sunshinethe house too had an air of autumnaldeclineand Mr. Casaubonwhen he presented himselfhad no bloomthat could be thrown into relief by that background.

"Ohdear!" Celia said to herself"I am sure Freshitt Hallwould have been pleasanter than this." She thought of the whitefreestonethe pillared porticoand the terrace full of flowersSirJames smiling above them like a prince issuing from his enchantmentin a rose-bushwith a handkerchief swiftly metamorphosed from themost delicately odorous petals--Sir Jameswho talked so agreeablyalways about things which had common-sense in themand not aboutlearning!  Celia had those light young feminine tastes whichgrave and weatherworn gentlemen sometimes prefer in a wife; buthappily Mr. Casaubon's bias had been differentfor he would have hadno chance with Celia.

Dorotheaon the contraryfound the house and grounds all that she could wish:the dark book-shelves in the long librarythe carpets and curtainswith colors subdued by timethe curious old maps and bird's-eyeviews on the walls of the corridorwith here and there an old vasebelowhad no oppression for herand seemed more cheerful than theeasts and pictures at the Grangewhich her uncle had long agobrought home from his travels--they being probably among the ideas hehad taken in at one time. To poor Dorothea these severe classicalnudities and smirking Renaissance-Correggiosities were painfullyinexplicablestaring into the midst of her Puritanic conceptions:she had never been taught how she could bring them into any sort ofrelevance with her life. But the owners of Lowick apparently had notbeen travellersand Mr. Casaubon's studies of the past were notcarried on by means of such aids.

Dorotheawalked about the house with delightful emotion. Everything seemedhallowed to her: this was to be the home of her wifehoodand shelooked up with eyes full of confidence to Mr. Casaubon when he drewher attention specially to some actual arrangement and asked her ifshe would like an alteration. All appeals to her taste she metgratefullybut saw nothing to alter. His efforts at exact courtesyand formal tenderness had no defect for her.  She filled up allblanks with unmanifested perfectionsinterpreting him as sheinterpreted the works of Providenceand accounting for seemingdiscords by her own deafness to the higher harmonies.  And thereare many blanks left in the weeks of courtship which a loving faithfills with happy assurance.

"Nowmy dear DorotheaI wish you to favor me by pointing out which roomyou would like to have as your boudoir" said Mr. Casaubonshowing that his views of the womanly nature were sufficiently largeto include that requirement.

"Itis very kind of you to think of that" said Dorothea"butI assure you I would rather have all those matters decided for me. Ishall be much happier to take everything as it is--just as you havebeen used to have itor as you will yourself choose it to be. I haveno motive for wishing anything else."

"OhDodo" said Celia"will you not have the bow-windowed roomup-stairs?"

Mr.Casaubon led the way thither.  The bow-window looked down theavenue of limes; the furniture was all of a faded blueand therewere miniatures of ladies and gentlemen with powdered hair hanging ina group.  A piece of tapestry over a door also showed ablue-green world with a pale stag in it.  The chairs and tableswere thin-legged and easy to upset.  It was a room where onemight fancy the ghost of a tight-laced lady revisiting the scene ofher embroidery. A light bookcase contained duodecimo volumes ofpolite literature in calfcompleting the furniture.

"Yes"said Mr. Brooke"this would be a pretty room with some newhangingssofasand that sort of thing.  A little bare now."

"Nouncle" said Dorotheaeagerly.  "Pray do not speak ofaltering anything.  There are so many other things in the worldthat want altering--I like to take these things as they are. And youlike them as they aredon't you?" she addedlooking at Mr.Casaubon.  "Perhaps this was your mother's room when shewas young."

"Itwas" he saidwith his slow bend of the head.

"Thisis your mother" said Dorotheawho had turned to examine thegroup of miniatures.  "It is like the tiny one you broughtme; onlyI should thinka better portrait.  And this oneoppositewho is this?"

"Herelder sister.  They werelike you and your sisterthe only twochildren of their parentswho hang above themyou see."

"Thesister is pretty" said Celiaimplying that she thought lessfavorably of Mr. Casaubon's mother.  It was a new open ing toCelia's imaginationthat he came of a family who had all been youngin their time--the ladies wearing necklaces.

"Itis a peculiar face" said Dorothealooking closely. "Those deep gray eyes rather near together--and the delicateirregular nose with a sort of ripple in it--and all the powderedcurls hanging backward. Altogether it seems to me peculiar ratherthan pretty.  There is not even a family likeness between herand your mother."

"No.And they were not alike in their lot."

"Youdid not mention her to me" said Dorothea.

"Myaunt made an unfortunate marriage.  I never saw her."

Dorotheawondered a littlebut felt that it would be indelicate just then toask for any information which Mr. Casaubon did not profferand sheturned to the window to admire the view.  The sun had latelypierced the grayand the avenue of limes cast shadows.

"Shallwe not walk in the garden now?" said Dorothea.

"Andyou would like to see the churchyou know" said Mr. Brooke."It is a droll little church.  And the village.  Itall lies in a nut-shell. By the wayit will suit youDorothea; forthe cottages are like a row of alms-houses--little gardensgilly-flowersthat sort of thing."

"Yesplease" said Dorothealooking at Mr. Casaubon"I shouldlike to see all that." She had got nothing from him more graphicabout the Lowick cottages than that they were "not bad."

They weresoon on a gravel walk which led chiefly between grassy borders andclumps of treesthis being the nearest way to the churchMr.Casaubon said.  At the little gate leading into the churchyardthere was a pause while Mr. Casaubon went to the parsonage close byto fetch a key.  Celiawho had been hanging a little in therearcame up presentlywhen she saw that Mr. Casaubon was goneawayand said in her easy staccatowhich always seemed tocontradict the suspicion of any malicious intent--

"Doyou knowDorotheaI saw some one quite young coming up one of thewalks."

"Isthat astonishingCelia?"

"Theremay be a young gardeneryou know--why not?" said Mr. Brooke. "Itold Casaubon he should change his gardener."

"Nonot a gardener" said Celia; "a gentleman with asketch-book. He had light-brown curls.  I only saw his back. But he was quite young."

"Thecurate's sonperhaps" said Mr. Brooke.  "Ahthereis Casaubon againand Tucker with him.  He is going tointroduce Tucker. You don't know Tucker yet."

Mr. Tuckerwas the middle-aged curateone of the "inferior clergy"who are usually not wanting in sons.  But after theintroductionthe conversation did not lead to any question about hisfamilyand the startling apparition of youthfulness was forgotten byevery one but Celia.  She inwardly declined to believe that thelight-brown curls and slim figure could have any relationship to Mr.Tuckerwho was just as old and musty-looking as she would haveexpected Mr. Casaubon's curate to be; doubtless an excellent man whowould go to heaven (for Celia wished not to be unprincipled)but thecorners of his mouth were so unpleasant.  Celia thought withsome dismalness of the time she should have to spend as bridesmaid atLowickwhile the curate had probably no pretty little children whomshe could likeirrespective of principle.

Mr. Tuckerwas invaluable in their walk; and perhaps Mr. Casaubon had not beenwithout foresight on this headthe curate being able to answer allDorothea's questions about the villagers and the other parishioners. Everybodyhe assured herwas well off in Lowick: not a cottager inthose double cottages at a low rent but kept a pigand the strips ofgarden at the back were well tended.  The small boys woreexcellent corduroythe girls went out as tidy servantsor did alittle straw-plaiting at home: no looms hereno Dissent; and thoughthe public disposition was rather towards laying by money thantowards spiritualitythere was not much vice. The speckled fowlswere so numerous that Mr. Brooke observed"Your farmers leavesome barley for the women to gleanI see. The poor folks here mighthave a fowl in their potas the good French king used to wish forall his people.  The French eat a good many fowls--skinny fowlsyou know."

"Ithink it was a very cheap wish of his" said Dorotheaindignantly. "Are kings such monsters that a wish like that mustbe reckoned a royal virtue?"

"Andif he wished them a skinny fowl" said Celia"that wouldnot be nice.  But perhaps he wished them to have fat fowls."

"Yesbut the word has dropped out of the textor perhaps was subauditum;that ispresent in the king's mindbut not uttered" said Mr.Casaubonsmiling and bending his head towards Celiawho immediatelydropped backward a littlebecause she could not bear Mr. Casaubon toblink at her.

Dorotheasank into silence on the way back to the house.  She felt somedisappointmentof which she was yet ashamedthat there was nothingfor her to do in Lowick; and in the next few minutes her mind hadglanced over the possibilitywhich she would have preferredoffinding that her home would be in a parish which had a larger shareof the world's miseryso that she might have had more active dutiesin it.  Thenrecurring to the future actually before hershemade a picture of more complete devotion to Mr. Casaubon's aims inwhich she would await new duties.  Many such might revealthemselves to the higher knowledge gained by her in thatcompanionship.

Mr. Tuckersoon left themhaving some clerical work which would not allow himto lunch at the Hall; and as they were re-entering the garden throughthe little gateMr. Casaubon said--

"Youseem a little sadDorothea.  I trust you are pleased with whatyou have seen."

"I amfeeling something which is perhaps foolish and wrong" answeredDorotheawith her usual openness--"almost wishing that thepeople wanted more to be done for them here.  I have known sofew ways of making my life good for anything.  Of coursemynotions of usefulness must be narrow.  I must learn new ways ofhelping people."

"Doubtless"said Mr. Casaubon.  "Each position has its correspondingduties.  YoursI trustas the mistress of Lowickwill notleave any yearning unfulfilled."

"IndeedI believe that" said Dorotheaearnestly.  "Do notsuppose that I am sad."

"Thatis well.  Butif you are not tiredwe will take another way tothe house than that by which we came."

Dorotheawas not at all tiredand a little circuit was made towards a fineyew-treethe chief hereditary glory of the grounds on this side ofthe house.  As they approached ita figureconspicuous on adark background of evergreenswas seated on a benchsketching theold tree.  Mr. Brookewho was walking in front with Celiaturned his headand said--

"Whois that youngsterCasaubon?"

They hadcome very near when Mr. Casaubon answered--

"Thatis a young relative of minea second cousin: the grandsonin fact"he addedlooking at Dorothea"of the lady whose portrait youhave been noticingmy aunt Julia."

The youngman had laid down his sketch-book and risen.  His bushylight-brown curlsas well as his youthfulnessidentified him atonce with Celia's apparition.

"Dorothealet me introduce to you my cousinMr. Ladislaw. Willthis is MissBrooke."

The cousinwas so close nowthatwhen he lifted his hatDorothea could see apair of gray eves rather near togethera delicate irregular nosewith a little ripple in itand hair falling backward; but there wasa mouth and chin of a more prominentthreatening aspect thanbelonged to the type of the grandmother's miniature.  YoungLadislaw did not feel it necessary to smileas if he were charmedwith this introduction to his future second cousin and her relatives;but wore rather a pouting air of discontent.

"Youare an artistI see" said Mr. Brooketaking up thesketch-book and turning it over in his unceremonious fashion.

"NoI only sketch a little.  There is nothing fit to be seen there"said young Ladislawcoloringperhaps with temper rather thanmodesty.

"Ohcomethis is a nice bitnow.  I did a little in this waymyself at one timeyou know.  Look herenow; this is what Icall a nice thingdone with what we used to call BRIO." Mr.Brooke held out towards the two girls a large colored sketch of stonyground and treeswith a pool.

"I amno judge of these things" said Dorotheanot coldlybut withan eager deprecation of the appeal to her.  "You knowuncleI never see the beauty of those pictures which you say are somuch praised. They are a language I do not understand.  Isuppose there is some relation between pictures and nature which I amtoo ignorant to feel--just as you see what a Greek sentence standsfor which means nothing to me." Dorothea looked up at Mr.Casaubonwho bowed his head towards herwhile Mr. Brooke saidsmiling nonchalantly--

"Blessmenowhow different people are!  But you had a bad style ofteachingyou know--else this is just the thing for girls--sketchingfine art and so on.  But you took to drawing plans; you don'tunderstand morbidezzaand that kind of thing.  You will come tomy houseI hopeand I will show you what I did in this way"he continuedturning to young Ladislawwho had to be recalled fromhis preoccupation in observing Dorothea.  Ladislaw had made uphis mind that she must be an unpleasant girlsince she was going tomarry Casaubonand what she said of her stupidity about pictureswould have confirmed that opinion even if he had believed her. As itwashe took her words for a covert judgmentand was certain thatshe thought his sketch detestable.  There was too muchcleverness in her apology: she was laughing both at her uncle andhimself. But what a voice!  It was like the voice of a soul thathad once lived in an AEolian harp.  This must be one of Nature'sinconsistencies. There could be no sort of passion in a girl whowould marry Casaubon. But he turned from herand bowed his thanksfor Mr. Brooke's invitation.

"Wewill turn over my Italian engravings together" continued thatgood-natured man.  "I have no end of those thingsthat Ihave laid by for years.  One gets rusty in this part of thecountryyou know. Not youCasaubon; you stick to your studies; butmy best ideas get undermost--out of useyou know.  You cleveryoung men must guard against indolence.  I was too indolentyouknow: else I might have been anywhere at one time."

"Thatis a seasonable admonition" said Mr. Casaubon; "but now wewill pass on to the houselest the young ladies should be tired ofstanding."

When theirbacks were turnedyoung Ladislaw sat down to go on with hissketchingand as he did so his face broke into an expression ofamusement which increased as he went on drawingtill at last hethrew back his head and laughed aloud.  Partly it was thereception of his own artistic production that tickled him; partly thenotion of his grave cousin as the lover of that girl; and partly Mr.Brooke's definition of the place he might have held but for theimpediment of indolence.  Mr. Will Ladislaw's sense of theludicrous lit up his features very agreeably: it was the pureenjoyment of comicalityand had no mixture of sneering andself-exaltation.

"Whatis your nephew going to do with himselfCasaubon?" said Mr.Brookeas they went on.

"Mycousinyou mean--not my nephew."

"Yesyescousin.  But in the way of a careeryou know."

"Theanswer to that question is painfully doubtful.  On leaving Rugbyhe declined to go to an English universitywhere I would gladly haveplaced himand chose what I must consider the anomalous course ofstudying at Heidelberg.  And now he wants to go abroad againwithout any special objectsave the vague purpose of what he callsculturepreparation for he knows not what.  He declines tochoose a profession."

"Hehas no means but what you furnishI suppose."

"Ihave always given him and his friends reason to understand that Iwould furnish in moderation what was necessary for providing him witha scholarly educationand launching him respectably. I am-thereforebound to fulfil the expectation so raised" said Mr. Casaubonputting his conduct in the light of mere rectitude: a trait ofdelicacy which Dorothea noticed with admiration.

"Hehas a thirst for travelling; perhaps he may turn out a Bruce or aMungo Park" said Mr. Brooke.  "I had a notion of thatmyself at one time."

"Nohe has no bent towards explorationor the enlargement of ourgeognosis: that would be a special purpose which I could recognizewith some approbationthough without felicitating him on a careerwhich so often ends in premature and violent death. But so far is hefrom having any desire for a more accurate knowledge of the earth'ssurfacethat he said he should prefer not to know the sources of theNileand that there should be some unknown regions preserved ashunting grounds for the poetic imagination."

"Wellthere is something in thatyou know" said Mr. Brookewho hadcertainly an impartial mind.

"ItisI fearnothing more than a part of his general inaccuracy andindisposition to thoroughness of all kindswhich would be a badaugury for him in any professioncivil or sacredeven were he sofar submissive to ordinary rule as to choose one."

"Perhapshe has conscientious scruples founded on his own unfitness"said Dorotheawho was interesting herself in finding a favorableexplanation. "Because the law and medicine should be veryserious professions to undertakeshould they not?  People'slives and fortunes depend on them."

"Doubtless;but I fear that my young relative Will Ladislaw is chiefly determinedin his aversion to these callings by a dislike to steady applicationand to that kind of acquirement which is needful instrumentallybutis not charming or immediately inviting to self-indulgent taste. I have insisted to him on what Aristotle has stated with admirablebrevitythat for the achievement of any work regarded as an endthere must be a prior exercise of many energies or acquiredfacilities of a secondary orderdemanding patience. I have pointedto my own manuscript volumeswhich represent the toil of yearspreparatory to a work not yet accomplished. But in vain.  Tocareful reasoning of this kind he replies by calling himself Pegasusand every form of prescribed work `harness.'"

Celialaughed.  She was surprised to find that Mr. Casaubon could saysomething quite amusing.

"Wellyou knowhe may turn out a Byrona Chattertona Churchill--thatsort of thing--there's no telling" said Mr. Brooke. "Shallyou let him go to Italyor wherever else he wants to go?"

"Yes;I have agreed to furnish him with moderate supplies for a year or so;he asks no more.  I shall let him be tried by the test offreedom."

"Thatis very kind of you" said Dorothealooking up at Mr. Casaubonwith delight.  "It is noble.  After allpeople mayreally have in them some vocation which is not quite plain tothemselvesmay they not?  They may seem idle and weak becausethey are growing. We should be very patient with each otherIthink."

"Isuppose it is being engaged to be married that has made you thinkpatience good" said Celiaas soon as she and Dorothea werealone togethertaking off their wrappings.

"Youmean that I am very impatientCelia."

"Yes;when people don't do and say just what you like." Celia hadbecome less afraid of "saying things" to Dorothea sincethis engagement: cleverness seemed to her more pitiable than ever.




CHAPTERX



"Hehad catched a great coldhad he had no other clothes to wear

thanthe skin of a bear not yet killed."--FULLER.



YoungLadislaw did not pay that visit to which Mr. Brooke had invited himand only six days afterwards Mr. Casaubon mentioned that his youngrelative had started for the Continentseeming by this coldvagueness to waive inquiry.  IndeedWill had declined to fix onany more precise destination than the entire area of Europe. Geniushe heldis necessarily intolerant of fetters: on the one hand itmust have the utmost play for its spontaneity; on the otherit mayconfidently await those messages from the universe which summon it toits peculiar workonly placing itself in an attitude of receptivitytowards all sublime chances.  The attitudes of receptivity arevariousand Will had sincerely tried many of them. He was notexcessively fond of winebut he had several times taken too muchsimply as an experiment in that form of ecstasy; he had fasted tillhe was faintand then supped on lobster; he had made himself illwith doses of opium.  Nothing greatly original had resulted fromthese measures; and the effects of the opium had convinced him thatthere was an entire dissimilarity between his constitution and DeQuincey's. The superadded circumstance which would evolve the geniushad not yet come; the universe had not yet beckoned. Even Caesar'sfortune at one time wasbut a grand presentiment. We know what amasquerade all development isand what effective shapes may bedisguised in helpless embryos.--In factthe world is full of hopefulanalogies and handsome dubious eggs called possibilities. Will sawclearly enough the pitiable instances of long incubation producing nochickand but for gratitude would have laughed at Casaubonwhoseplodding applicationrows of note-booksand small taper of learnedtheory exploring the tossed ruins of the worldseemed to enforce amoral entirely encouraging to Will's generous reliance on theintentions of the universe with regard to himself. He held thatreliance to be a mark of genius; and certainly it is no mark to thecontrary; genius consisting neither in self-conceit nor in humilitybut in a power to make or donot anything in generalbut somethingin particular.  Let him start for the Continentthenwithoutour pronouncing on his future.  Among all forms of mistakeprophecy is the most gratuitous.

But atpresent this caution against a too hasty judgment interests me morein relation to Mr. Casaubon than to his young cousin. If to DorotheaMr. Casaubon had been the mere occasion which had set alight the fineinflammable material of her youthful illusionsdoes it follow thathe was fairly represented in the minds of those less impassionedpersonages who have hitherto delivered their judgments concerninghim?  I protest against any absolute conclusionany prejudicederived from Mrs. Cadwallader's contempt for a neighboringclergyman's alleged greatness of soulor Sir James Chettam's pooropinion of his rival's legs--from Mr. Brooke's failure to elicit acompanion's ideasor from Celia's criticism of a middle-agedscholar's personal appearance.  I am not sure that the greatestman of his ageif ever that solitary superlative existedcouldescape these unfavorable reflections of himself in various smallmirrors; and even Miltonlooking for his portrait in a spoonmustsubmit to have the facial angle of a bumpkin.  Moreoverif Mr.Casaubonspeaking for himselfhas rather a chilling rhetoricit isnot therefore certain that there is no good work or fine feeling inhim. Did not an immortal physicist and interpreter of hieroglyphswrite detestable verses?  Has the theory of the solar systembeen advanced by graceful manners and conversational tact? Suppose we turn from outside estimates of a manto wonderwithkeener interestwhat is the report of his own consciousness abouthis doings or capacity: with what hindrances he is carrying on hisdaily labors; what fading of hopesor what deeper fixity ofself-delusion the years are marking off within him; and with whatspirit he wrestles against universal pressurewhich will one day betoo heavy for himand bring his heart to its final pause. Doubtless his lot is important in his own eyes; and the chief reasonthat we think he asks too large a place in our consideration must beour want of room for himsince we refer him to the Divine regardwith perfect confidence; nayit is even held sublime for ourneighbor to expect the utmost therehowever little he may have gotfrom us. Mr. Casaubontoowas the centre of his own world; if hewas liable to think that others were providentially made for himandespecially to consider them in the light of their fitness for theauthor of a "Key to all Mythologies" this trait is notquite alien to usandlike the other mendicant hopes of mortalsclaims some of our pity.

Certainlythis affair of his marriage with Miss Brooke touched him more nearlythan it did any one of the persons who have hitherto shown theirdisapproval of itand in the present stage of things I feel moretenderly towards his experience of success than towards thedisappointment of the amiable Sir James.  For in truthas theday fixed for his marriage came nearerMr. Casaubon did not find hisspirits rising; nor did the contemplation of that matrimonial gardenscenewhereas all experience showedthe path was to be borderedwith flowersprove persistently more enchanting bo him than theaccustomed vaults where he walked taper in hand.  He did notconfess to himselfstill less could he have breathed to anotherhissurprise that though he had won a lovely and noble-hearted girl hehad not won delight--which he had also regarded as an object to befound by search.  It is true that he knew all the classicalpassages implying the contrary; but knowing classical passageswefindis a mode of motionwhich explains why they leave so littleextra force for their personal application.

Poor Mr.Casaubon had imagined that his long studious bachelorhood had storedup for him a compound interest of enjoymentand that large drafts onhis affections would not fail to be honored; for we all of usgraveor lightget our thoughts entangled in metaphorsand act fatally onthe strength of them.  And now he was in danger of beingsaddened by the very conviction that his circumstances were unusuallyhappy: there was nothing external by which he could account for acertain blankness of sensibility which came over him just when hisexpectant gladness should have been most livelyjust when heexchanged the accustomed dulness of his Lowick library for his visitsto the Grange.  Here was a weary experience in which he was asutterly condemned to loneliness as in the despair which sometimesthreatened him while toiling in the morass of authorship withoutseeming nearer to the goal.  And his was that worst lonelinesswhich would shrink from sympathy.  He could not but wish thatDorothea should think him not less happy than the world would expecther successful suitor to be; and in relation to his authorship heleaned on her young trust and venerationhe liked to draw forth herfresh interest in listeningas a means of encouragement to himself:in talking to her he presented all his performance and intention withthe reflected confidence of the pedagogueand rid himself for thetime of that chilling ideal audience which crowded his laboriousuncreative hours with the vaporous pressure of Tartarean shades.

For toDorotheaafter that toy-box history of the world adapted to youngladies which had made the chief part of her educationMr. Casaubon'stalk about his great book was full of new vistas; and this sense ofrevelationthis surprise of a nearer introduction to Stoics andAlexandriansas people who had ideas not totally unlike her ownkept in abeyance for the time her usual eagerness for a bindingtheory which could bring her own life and doctrine into strictconnection with that amazing pastand give the remotest sources ofknowledge some bearing on her actions.  That more completeteaching would come--Mr. Casaubon would tell her all that: she waslooking forward to higher initiation in ideasas she was lookingforward to marriageand blending her dim conceptions of both. Itwould be a great mistake to suppose that Dorothea would have caredabout any share in Mr. Casaubon's learning as mere accomplishment;for though opinion in the neighborhood of Freshitt and Tipton hadpronounced her cleverthat epithet would not have described her tocircles in whose more precise vocabulary cleverness implies mereaptitude for knowing and doingapart from character. All hereagerness for acquirement lay within that full current of sympatheticmotive in which her ideas and impulses were habitually swept along. She did not want to deck herself with knowledge--to wear it loosefrom the nerves and blood that fed her action; and if she had writtena book she must have done it as Saint Theresa didunder the commandof an authority that constrained her conscience. But something sheyearned for by which her life might be filled with action at oncerational and ardent; and since the time was gone by for guidingvisions and spiritual directorssince prayer heightened yearning butnot instructionwhat lamp was there but knowledge? Surely learnedmen kept-the only oil; and who more learned than Mr. Casaubon?

Thus inthese brief weeks Dorothea's joyous grateful expectation wasunbrokenand however her lover might occasionally be conscious offlatnesshe could never refer it to any slackening of heraffectionate interest.

The seasonwas mild enough to encourage the project of extending the weddingjourney as far as Romeand Mr. Casaubon was anxious for this becausehe wished to inspect some manuscripts in the Vatican.

"Istill regret that your sister is not to accompany us" he saidone morningsome time after it had been ascertained that Celiaobjected to goand that Dorothea did not wish for her companionship."You will have many lonely hoursDorotheasfor I shall beconstrained to make the utmost use of my time during our stay inRomeand I should feel more at liberty if you had a companion."

The words"I should feel more at liberty" grated on Dorothea. For thefirst time in speaking to Mr. Casaubon she colored from annoyance.

"Youmust have misunderstood me very much" she said"if youthink I should not enter into the value of your time--if you thinkthat I should not willingly give up whatever interfered with yourusing it to the best purpose."

"Thatis very amiable in youmy dear Dorothea" said Mr. Casaubonnot in the least noticing that she was hurt; "but if you had alady as your companionI could put you both under the care of aciceroneand we could thus achieve two purposes in the same space oftime."

"Ibeg you will not refer to this again" said Dorothearatherhaughtily. But immediately she feared that she was wrongand turningtowards him she laid her hand on hisadding in a different tone"Pray do not be anxious about me.  I shall have so much tothink of when I am alone.  And Tantripp will be a sufficientcompanionjust to take care of me.  I could not bear to haveCelia: she would be miserable."

It wastime to dress.  There was to be a dinner-party that daythelast of the parties which were held at the Grange as properpreliminaries to the weddingand Dorothea was glad of a reason formoving away at once on the sound of the bellas if she needed morethan her usual amount of preparation.  She was ashamed of beingirritated from some cause she could not define even to herse1f; forthough she had no intention to be untruthfulher reply had nottouched the real hurt within her.  Mr. Casaubon's words had beenquite reasonableyet they had brought a vague instantaneous sense ofaloofness on his part.

"SurelyI am in a strangely selfish weak state of mind" she said toherself.  "How can I have a husband who is so much above mewithout knowing that he needs me less than I need him?"

Havingconvinced herself that Mr. Casaubon was altogether rightsherecovered her equanimityand was an agreeable image of serenedignity when she came into the drawing-room in her silver-graydress--the simple lines of her dark-brown hair parted over her browand coiled massively behindin keeping with the entire absence fromher manner and expression of all search after mere effect. Sometimeswhen Dorothea was in companythere seemed to be as complete an airof repose about her as if she had been a picture of Santa Barbaralooking out from her tower into the clear air; but these intervals ofquietude made the energy of her speech and emotion the more remarkedwhen some outward appeal had touched her.

She wasnaturally the subject of many observations this eveningfor thedinner-party was large and rather more miscellaneous as to the maleportion than any which had been held at the Grange since Mr. Brooke'snieces had resided with himso that the talking was done in duos andtrios more or less inharmonious. There was the newly elected mayor ofMiddlemarchwho happened to be a manufacturer; the philanthropicbanker his brother-in-lawwho predominated so much in the town thatsome called him a Methodistothers a hypocriteaccording to theresources of their vocabulary; and there were various professionalmen.  In factMrs. Cadwallader said that Brooke was beginningto treat the Middlemarchersand that she preferred the farmers atthe tithe-dinnerwho drank her health unpretentiouslyand were notashamed of their grandfathers' furniture.  For in that part ofthe countrybefore reform had done its notable part in developingthe political consciousnessthere was a clearer distinction of ranksand a dimmer distinction of parties; so that Mr. Brooke'smiscellaneous invitations seemed to belong to that general laxitywhich came from his inordinate travel and habit of taking too much inthe form of ideas.

Alreadyas Miss Brooke passed out of the dining-roomopportunity was foundfor some interjectional "asides"

"Afine womanMiss Brooke! an uncommonly fine womanby God!" saidMr. Standishthe old lawyerwho had been so long concerned with thelanded gentry that he had become landed himselfand used that oathin a deep-mouthed manner as a sort of armorial bearingsstamping thespeech of a man who held a good position.

Mr.Bulstrodethe bankerseemed to be addressedbut that gentlemandisliked coarseness and profanityand merely bowed. The remark wastaken up by Mr. Chichelya middle-aged bachelor and coursingcelebritywho had a complexion something like an Easter egga fewhairs carefully arrangedand a carriage implying the consciousnessof a distinguished appearance.

"Yesbut not my style of woman: I like a woman who lays herself out alittle more to please us.  There should be a little filigreeabout a woman--something of the coquette.  A man likes a sort ofchallenge.  The more of a dead set she makes at you the better."

"There'ssome truth in that" said Mr. Standishdisposed to be genial."Andby Godit's usually the way with them.  I suppose itanswers some wise ends: Providence made them soehBulstrode?"

"Ishould be disposed to refer coquetry to another source" saidMr. Bulstrode.  "I should rather refer it to the devil."

"Ayto be surethere should be a little devil in a woman" said Mr.Chichelywhose study of the fair sex seemed to have been detrimentalto his theology.  "And I like them blondwith a certaingaitand a swan neck.  Between ourselvesthe mayor's daughteris more to my taste than Miss Brooke or Miss Celia either. If I werea marrying man I should choose Miss Vincy before either of them."

"Wellmake upmake up" said Mr. Standishjocosely; "you seethe middle-aged fellows early the day."

Mr.Chichely shook his head with much meaning: he was not going to incurthe certainty of being accepted by the woman he would choose.

The MissVincy who had the honor of being Mr. Chichely's ideal was of coursenot present; for Mr. Brookealways objecting to go too farwouldnot have chosen that his nieces should meet the daughter of aMiddlemarch manufacturerunless it were on a public occasion. Thefeminine part of the company included none whom Lady Chettam or Mrs.Cadwallader could object to; for Mrs. Renfrewthe colonel's widowwas not only unexceptionable in point of breedingbut alsointeresting on the ground of her complaintwhich puzzled thedoctorsand seemed clearly a case wherein the fulness ofprofessional knowledge might need the supplement of quackery. LadyChettamwho attributed her own remarkable health to home-madebitters united with constant medical attendanceentered with muchexercise of the imagination into Mrs. Renfrew's account of symptomsand into the amazing futility in her case of allstrengtheningmedicines.

"Wherecan all the strength of those medicines gomy dear?" said themild but stately dowagerturning to Mrs. Cadwallader reflectivelywhen Mrs. Renfrew's attention was called away.

"Itstrengthens the disease" said the Rector's wifemuch toowell-born not to be an amateur in medicine.  "Everythingdepends on the constitution: some people make fatsome bloodandsome bile--that's my view of the matter; and whatever they take is asort of grist to the mill."

"Thenshe ought to take medicines that would reduce--reduce the diseaseyou knowif you are rightmy dear.  And I think what you sayis reasonable."

"Certainlyit is reasonable.  You have two sorts of potatoesfed on thesame soil.  One of them grows more and more watery--"

"Ah!like this poor Mrs. Renfrew--that is what I think. Dropsy! There is no swelling yet--it is inward.  I should say she oughtto take drying medicinesshouldn't you?--or a dry hot-air bath. Manythings might be triedof a drying nature."

"Lether try a certain person's pamphlets" said Mrs. Cadwallader inan undertoneseeing the gentlemen enter.  "He does notwant drying."

"Whomy dear?" said Lady Chettama charming womannot so quick asto nullify the pleasure of explanation.

"Thebridegroom--Casaubon. He has certainly been drying up faster sincethe engagement: the flame of passionI suppose."

"Ishould think he is far from having a good constitution" saidLady Chettamwith a still deeper undertone.  "And then hisstudies--so very dryas you say."

"Reallyby the side of Sir Jameshe looks like a death's head skinned overfor the occasion.  Mark my words: in a year from this time thatgirl will hate him.  She looks up to him as an oracle nowandby-and-by she will be at the other extreme.  All flightiness!"

"Howvery shocking!  I fear she is headstrong.  But tell me--youknow all about him--is there anything very bad?  What is thetruth?"

"Thetruth? he is as bad as the wrong physic--nasty to takeand sure todisagree."

"Therecould not be anything worse than that" said Lady Chettamwithso vivid a conception of the physic that she seemed to have learnedsomething exact about Mr. Casaubon's disadvantages. "HoweverJames will hear nothing against Miss Brooke.  He says she is themirror of women still."

"Thatis a generous make-believe of his.  Depend upon ithe likeslittle Celia betterand she appreciates him.  I hope you likemy little Celia?"

"Certainly;she is fonder of geraniumsand seems more docilethough not so finea figure.  But we were talking of physic. Tell me about this newyoung surgeonMr. Lydgate.  I am told he is wonderfully clever:he certainly looks it--a fine brow indeed."

"Heis a gentleman.  I heard him talking to Humphrey.  He talkswell."

"Yes.Mr. Brooke says he is one of the Lydgates of Northumberlandreallywell connected.  One does not expect it in a practitioner ofthat kind.  For my own partI like a medical man more on afooting with the servants; they are often all the cleverer.  Iassure you I found poor Hicks's judgment unfailing; I never knew himwrong. He was coarse and butcher-likebut he knew my constitution.It was a loss to me his going off so suddenly.  Dear mewhat avery animated conversation Miss Brooke seems to be having with thisMr. Lydgate!"

"Sheis talking cottages and hospitals with him" said Mrs.Cadwalladerwhose ears and power of interpretation were quick. "I believe he is a sort of philanthropistso Brooke is sure totake him up."

"James"said Lady Chettam when her son came near"bring Mr. Lydgate andintroduce him to me.  I want to test him."

Theaffable dowager declared herself delighted with this opportunity ofmaking Mr. Lydgate's acquaintancehaving heard of his success intreating fever on a new plan.

Mr.Lydgate had the medical accomplishment of looking perfectly gravewhatever nonsense was talked to himand his dark steady eyes gavehim impressiveness as a listener.  He was as little as possiblelike the lamented Hicksespecially in a certain careless refinementabout his toilet and utterance.  Yet Lady Chettam gathered muchconfidence in him. He confirmed her view of her own constitution asbeing peculiarby admitting that all constitutions might be calledpeculiarand he did not deny that hers might be more peculiar thanothers. He did not approve of a too lowering systemincludingreckless cuppingnoron the other handof incessant port wine andbark.  He said "I think so" with an air of so muchdeference accompanying the insight of agreementthat she formed themost cordial opinion of his talents.

"I amquite pleased with your protege" she said to Mr. Brooke beforegoing away.

"Myprotege?--dear me!--who is that?" said Mr. Brooke.

"Thisyoung Lydgatethe new doctor.-He seems to me to understand hisprofession admirably."

"OhLydgate! he is not my protegeyou know; only I knew an uncle of hiswho sent me a letter about him.  HoweverI think he is likelyto be first-rate--has studied in Parisknew Broussais; has ideasyou know--wants to raise the profession."

"Lydgatehas lots of ideasquite newabout ventilation and dietthat sortof thing" resumed Mr. Brookeafter he had handed out LadyChettamand had returned to be civil to a group of Middlemarchers.

"Hangitdo you think that is quite sound?--upsetting The old treatmentwhich has made Englishmen what they re?" said Mr. Standish.

"Medicalknowledge is at a low ebb among us" said Mr. Bulstrodewhospoke in a subdued toneand had rather a sickly wir "Ifor myparthail the advent of Mr. Lydgate.  I hope to find goodreason for confiding the new hospital to his management."

"Thatis all very fine" replied Mr. Standishwho was not fond of Mr.Bulstrode; "if you like him to try experiments on your hospitalpatientsand kill a few people for charity I have no objection. ButI am not going to hand money out of my purse to have experimentstried on me.  I like treatment that has been tested a little."

"Wellyou knowStandishevery dose you take is an experiment-anexperimentyou know" said Mr. Brookenodding towards thelawyer.

"Ohif you talk in that sense!" said Mr. Standishwith as muchdisgust at such non-legal quibbling as a man can well betray towardsa valuable client.

"Ishould be glad of any treatment that would cure me without reducingme to a skeletonlike poor Grainger" said Mr. Vincythemayora florid manwho would have served for a study of flesh instriking contrast with the Franciscan tints of Mr. Bulstrode. "It'san uncommonly dangerous thing to be left without any padding againstthe shafts of diseaseas somebody said--and I think it a very goodexpression myself."

Mr.Lydgateof coursewas out of hearing.  He had quitted theparty earlyand would have thought it altogether tedious but for thenovelty of certain introductionsespecially the introduction to MissBrookewhose youthful bloomwith her approaching marriage to thatfaded scholarand her interest in matters socially usefulgave herthe piquancy of an unusual combination.

"Sheis a good creature--that fine girl--but a little too earnest"he thought.  "It is troublesome to talk to such women. They are always wanting reasonsyet they are too ignorant tounderstand the merits of any questionand usually fall hack on theirmoral sense to settle things after their own taste."

EvidentlyMiss Brooke was not Mr. Lydgate's style of woman any more than Mr.Chichely's. Consideredindeedin relation to the latterwhose miedwas maturedshe was altogether a mistakeand calculated to shockhis trust in final causesincluding the adaptation of fine youngwomen to purplefaced bachelors.  But Lydgate was less ripeandmight possibly have experience before him which would modify hisopinion as to the most excellent things in woman.

MissBrookehoweverwas not again seen by either of these gentlemenunder her maiden name.  Not long after that dinner-party she hadbecome Mrs. Casaubonand was on her way to Rome.




CHAPTERXI



  "But deeds and language such as men do use
   Andpersons such as comedy would choose
    When shewould show an image of the times
   And sport withhuman folliesnot with crimes."
   --BEN JONSON.



Lydgatein factwas already conscious of being fascinated by a womanstrikingly different from Miss Brooke: he did not in the leastsuppose that he had lost his balance and fallen in lovebut he hadsaid of that particular woman"She is grace itself; she isperfectly lovely and accomplished.  That is what a woman oughtto be: she ought to produce the effect of exquisite music."Plain women he regarded as he did the other severe facts of lifetobe faced with philosophy and investigated by science.  ButRosamond Vincy seemed to have the true melodic charm; and when a manhas seen the woman whom he would have chosen if he had intended tomarry speedilyhis remaining a bachelor will usually depend on herresolution rather than on his.  Lydgate believed that he shouldnot marry for several years: not marry until he had trodden out agood clear path for himself away from the broad road which was quiteready made. He had seen Miss Vincy above his horizon almost as longas it had taken Mr. Casaubon to become engaged and married: but thislearned gentleman was possessed of a fortune; he had assembled hisvoluminous notesand had made that sort of reputation which precedesperformance--often the larger part of a man's fame.  He took awifeas we have seento adorn the remaining quadrant of his courseand be a little moon that would cause hardly a calculableperturbation. But Lydgate was youngpoorambitious.  He hadhis half-century before him instead of behind himand he had come toMiddlemarch bent on doing many things that were not directly fittedto make his fortune or even secure him a good income.  To a manunder such circumstancestaking a wife is something more than aquestion of adornmenthowever highly he may rate this; and Lydgatewas disposed to give it the first place among wifely functions. To his tasteguided by a single conversationhere was the point onwhich Miss Brooke would be found wantingnotwithstanding herundeniable beauty. She did not look at things from the properfeminine angle. The society of such women was about as relaxing asgoing from your work to teach the second forminstead of recliningin a paradise with sweet laughs for bird-notesand blue eyes for aheaven.

Certainlynothing at present could seem much less important to Lydgate than theturn of Miss Brooke's mindor to Miss Brooke than the qualities ofthe woman who had attracted this young surgeon. But any one watchingkeenly the stealthy convergence of human lotssees a slowpreparation of effects from one life on anotherwhich tells like acalculated irony on the indifference or the frozen stare with whichwe look at our unintroduced neighbor. Destiny stands by sarcasticwith our dramatis personae folded in her hand.

Oldprovincial society had its share of this subtle movement: had notonly its striking downfallsits brilliant young professional dandieswho ended by living up an entry with a drab and six children fortheir establishmentbut also those less marked vicissitudes whichare constantly shifting the boundaries of social intercourseandbegetting new consciousness of interdependence.  Some slipped alittle downwardsome got higher footing: people denied aspiratesgained wealthand fastidious gentlemen stood for boroughs; some werecaught in political currentssome in ecclesiasticaland perhapsfound themselves surprisingly grouped in consequence; while a fewpersonages or families that stood with rocky firmness amid all thisfluctuationwere slowly presenting new aspects in spite of solidityand altering with the double change of self and beholder. Municipal town and rural parish gradually made fresh threads ofconnection--graduallyas the old stocking gave way to thesavings-bankand the worship of the solar guinea became extinct;while squires and baronetsand even lords who had once livedblamelessly afar from the civic mindgathered the faultiness ofcloser acquaintanceship.  Settlerstoocame from distantcountiessome with an alarming novelty of skillothers with anoffensive advantage in cunning.  In factmuch the same sort ofmovement and mixture went on in old England as we find in olderHerodotuswho alsoin telling what had beenthought it well totake a woman's lot for his starting-point; though Ioas a maidenapparently beguiled by attractive merchandisewas the reverse ofMiss Brookeand in this respect perhaps bore more resemblance toRosamond Vincywho had excellent taste in costumewith thatnymph-like figure and pure blindness which give the largest range tochoice in the flow and color of drapery.  But these things madeonly part of her charm. She was admitted to be the flower of Mrs.Lemon's schoolthe chief school in the countywhere the teachingincluded all that was demanded in the accomplished female--even toextrassuch as the getting in and out of a carriage.  Mrs.Lemon herself had always held up Miss Vincy as an example: no pupilshe saidexceeded that young lady for mental acquisition andpropriety of speechwhile her musical execution was quiteexceptional. We cannot help the way in which people speak of usandprobably if Mrs. Lemon had undertaken to describe Juliet or Imogenthese heroines would not have seemed poetical.  The first visionof Rosamond would have been enough with most judges to dispel anyprejudice excited by Mrs. Lemon's praise.

Lydgatecould not be long in Middlemarch without having that agreeablevisionor even without making the acquaintance of the Vincy family;for though Mr. Peacockwhose practice he had paid something to enteronhad not been their doctor (Mrs. Vincy not liking the loweringsystem adopted by him)he had many patients among their connectionsand acquaintances.  For who of any consequence in Middlemarchwas not connected or at least acquainted with the Vincys?  Theywere old manufacturersand had kept a good house for threegenerationsin which there had naturally been much intermarryingwith neighbors more or less decidedly genteel.  Mr. Vincy'ssister had made a wealthy match in accepting Mr. Bulstrodewhohoweveras a man not born in the townand altogether of dimly knownoriginwas considered to have done well in uniting himself with areal Middlemarch family; on the other handMr. Vincy had descended alittlehaving taken an innkeeper's daughter.  But on this sidetoo there was a cheering sense of money; for Mrs. Vincy's sister hadbeen second wife to rich old Mr. Featherstoneand had died childlessyears agoso that her nephews and nieces might be supposed to touchthe affections of the widower.  And it happened that Mr.Bulstrode and Mr. Featherstonetwo of Peacock's most importantpatientshadfrom different causesgiven an especially goodreception to his successorwho had raised some partisanship as wellas discussion. Mr. Wrenchmedical attendant to the Vincy familyvery early had grounds for thinking lightly of Lydgate's professionaldiscretionand there was no report about him which was not retailedat the Vincys'where visitors were frequent.  Mr. Vincy wasmore inclined to general good-fellowship than to taking sidesbutthere was no need for him to be hasty in making any new manacquaintance. Rosamond silently wished that her father would inviteMr. Lydgate. She was tired of the faces and figures she had alwaysbeen used to--the various irregular profiles and gaits and turns ofphrase distinguishing those Middlemarch young men whom she had knownas boys. She had been at school with girls of higher positionwhosebrothersshe felt sureit would have been possible for her to bemore interested inthan in these inevitable Middlemarch companions.But she would not have chosen to mention her wish to her father; andhefor his partwas in no hurry on the subject.  An aldermanabout to be mayor must by-and-by enlarge his dinner-partiesbut atpresent there were plenty of guests at his well-spread table.

That tableoften remained covered with the relics of the family breakfast longafter Mr. Vincy had gone with his second son to the warehouseandwhen Miss Morgan was already far on in morning lessons with theyounger girls in the schoolroom.  It awaited the family laggardwho found any sort of inconvenience (to others) less disagreeablethan getting up when he was called.  This was the case onemorning of the October in which we have lately seen Mr. Casaubonvisiting the Grange; and though the room was a little overheated withthe firewhich had sent the spaniel panting to a remote cornerRosamondfor some reasoncontinued to sit at her embroidery longerthan usualnow and then giving herself a little shakeand layingher work on her knee to contemplate it with an air of hesitatingweariness. Her mammawho had returned from an excursion to thekitchensat on the other side of the small work-table with an air ofmore entire placidityuntilthe clock again giving notice that itwas going to strikeshe looked up from the lace-mending which wasoccupying her plump fingers and rang the bell.

"Knockat Mr. Fred's door againPritchardand tell him it has struckhalf-past ten."

This wassaid without any change in the radiant good-humor of Mrs. Vincy'sfacein which forty-five years had delved neither angles norparallels; and pushing back her pink capstringsshe let her workrest on her lapwhile she looked admiringly at her daughter.

"Mamma"said Rosamond"when Fred comes down I wish you would not lethim have red herrings.  I cannot bear the smell of them all overthe house at this hour of the morning."

"Ohmy dearyou are so hard on your brothers!  It is the only faultI have to find with you.  You are the sweetest temper in theworldbut you are so tetchy with your brothers."

"Nottetchymamma: you never hear me speak in an unladylike way."

"Wellbut you want to deny them things."

"Brothersare so unpleasant."

"Ohmy dearyou must allow for young men.  Be thankful if they havegood hearts.  A woman must learn to put up with little things.You will be married some day."

"Notto any one who is like Fred."

"Don'tdecry your own brothermy dear.  Few young men have lessagainst themalthough he couldn't take his degree--I'm sure I can'tunderstand whyfor he seems to me most clever.  And you knowyourself he was thought equal to the best society at college. Soparticular as you aremy dearI wonder you are not glad to havesuch a gentlemanly young man for a brother.  You are alwaysfinding fault with Bob because he is not Fred."

"Ohnomammaonly because he is Bob."

"Wellmy dearyou will not find any Middlemarch young man who has notsomething against him."

"But"--hereRosamond's face broke into a smile which suddenly revealed twodimples.  She herself thought unfavorably of these dimples andsmiled little in general society.  "But I shall not marryany Middlemarch young man."

"Soit seemsmy lovefor you have as good as refused the pick of them;and if there's better to be hadI'm sure there's no girl betterdeserves it."

"Excusememamma--I wish you would not say`the pick of them.'"

"Whywhat else are they?"

"Imeanmammait is rather a vulgar expression."

"Verylikelymy dear; I never was a good speaker.  What should Isay?"

"Thebest of them."

"Whythat seems just as plain and common.  If I had had time tothinkI should have said`the most superior young men.' But withyour education you must know."

"Whatmust Rosy knowmother?" said Mr. Fredwho had slid inunobserved through the half-open door while the ladies were bendingover their workand now going up to the fire stood with his backtowards itwarming the soles of his slippers.

"Whetherit's right to say `superior young men'" said Mrs. Vincyringing the bell.

"Ohthere are so many superior teas and sugars now.  Superior isgetting to be shopkeepers' slang."

"Areyou beginning to dislike slangthen?" said Rosamondwith mildgravity.

"Onlythe wrong sort.  All choice of words is slang.  It marks aclass."

"Thereis correct English: that is not slang."

"Ibeg your pardon: correct English is the slang of prigs who writehistory and essays.  And the strongest slang of all is the slangof poets."

"Youwill say anythingFredto gain your point."

"Welltell me whether it is slang or poetry to call an ox a leg-plaiter."

"Ofcourse you can call it poetry if you like."

"AhaMiss Rosyyou don't know Homer from slang.  I shall invent anew game; I shall write bits of slang and poetry on slipsand givethem to you to separate."

"Dearmehow amusing it is to hear young people talk!" said Mrs.Vincywith cheerful admiration.

"Haveyou got nothing else for my breakfastPritchard?" said Fredtothe servant who brought in coffee and buttered toast; while he walkedround the table surveying the hampotted beefand other coldremnantswith an air of silent rejectionand polite forbearancefrom signs of disgust.

"Shouldyou like eggssir?"

"Eggsno!  Bring me a grilled bone."

"ReallyFred" said Rosamondwhen the servant had left the room"ifyou must have hot things for breakfastI wish you would come downearlier.  You can get up at six o'clock to go out hunting; Icannot understand why you find it so difficult to get up on othermornings."

"Thatis your want of understandingRosy.  I can get up to go huntingbecause I like it."

"Whatwould you think of me if I came down two hours after every one elseand ordered grilled bone?"

"Ishould think you were an uncommonly fast young lady" said Fredeating his toast with the utmost composure.

"Icannot see why brothers are to make themselves disagreeableany morethan sisters."

"Idon't make myself disagreeable; it is you who find me so.Disagreeable is a word that describes your feelings and not myactions."

"Ithink it describes the smell of grilled bone."

"Notat all.  It describes a sensation in your little nose associatedwith certain finicking notions which are the classics of Mrs. Lemon'sschool.  Look at my mother you don't see her objecting toeverything except what she does herself.  She is my notion of apleasant woman."

"Blessyou bothmy dearsand don't quarrel" said Mrs. Vincywithmotherly cordiality.  "ComeFredtell us all about thenew doctor. How is your uncle pleased with him?"

"PrettywellI think.  He asks Lydgate all sorts of questions and thenscrews up his face while he hears the answersas if they werepinching his toes.  That's his way.  Ahhere comes mygrilled bone."

"Buthow came you to stay out so latemy dear?  You only said youwere going to your uncle's."

"OhI dined at Plymdale's. We had whist.  Lydgate was there too."

"Andwhat do you think of him?  He is very gentlemanlyI suppose.They say he is of excellent family--his relations quite countypeople."

"Yes"said Fred.  "There was a Lydgate at John's who spent no endof money.  I find this man is a second cousin of his. But richmen may have very poor devils for second cousins."

"Italways makes a differencethoughto be of good family" saidRosamondwith a tone of decision which showed that she had thoughton this subject.  Rosamond felt that she might have been happierif she had not been the daughter of a Middlemarch manufacturer. Shedisliked anything which reminded her that her mother's father hadbeen an innkeeper.  Certainly any one remembering the fact mightthink that Mrs. Vincy had the air of a very handsome good-humoredlandladyaccustomed to the most capricious orders of gentlemen.

"Ithought it was odd his name was Tertius" said the bright-facedmatron"but of course it's a name in the family. But nowtellus exactly what sort of man he is."

"Ohtallishdarkclever--talks well--rather a prigI think."

"Inever can make out what you mean by a prig" said Rosamond.

"Afellow who wants to show that he has opinions."

"Whymy deardoctors must have opinions" said Mrs. Vincy. "Whatare they there for else?"

"Yesmotherthe opinions they are paid for.  But a prig is a fellowwho is always making you a present of his opinions."

"Isuppose Mary Garth admires Mr. Lydgate" said Rosamondnotwithout a touch of innuendo.

"ReallyI can't say." said Fredrather glumlyas he left the tableand taking up a novel which he had brought down with himthrewhimself into an arm-chair. "If you are jealous of hergooftener to Stone Court yourself and eclipse her."

"Iwish you would not be so vulgarFred.  If you have finishedpray ring the bell."

"Itis truethough--what your brother saysRosamond" Mrs. Vincybeganwhen the servant had cleared the table.  "It is athousand pities you haven't patience to go and see your uncle moreso proud of you as he isand wanted you to live with him. There's no knowing what he might have done for you as well as forFred. God knowsI'm fond of having you at home with mebut I canpart with my children for their good.  And now it stands toreason that your uncle Featherstone will do something for MaryGarth."

"MaryGarth can bear being at Stone Courtbecause she likes that betterthan being a governess" said Rosamondfolding up her work. "Iwould rather not have anything left to me if I must earn it byenduring much of my uncle's cough and his ugly relations."

"Hecan't be long for this worldmy dear; I wouldn't hasten his endbutwhat with asthma and that inward complaintlet us hope there issomething better for him in another.  And I have no ill-willtoward's Mary Garthbut there's justice to be thought of. And Mr.Featherstone's first wife brought him no moneyas my sister did. Hernieces and nephews can't have so much claim as my sister's. And Imust say I think Mary Garth a dreadful plain girl--more fit for agoverness."

"Everyone would not agree with you theremother" said Fredwhoseemed to be able to read and listen too.

"Wellmy dear" said Mrs. Vincywheeling skilfully"if she HADsome fortune left her--a man marries his wife's relationsand theGarths are so poorand live in such a small way. But I shall leaveyou to your studiesmy dear; for I must go and do some shopping."

"Fred'sstudies are not very deep" said Rosamondrising with hermamma"he is only reading a novel."

"Wellwellby-and-by he'll go to his Latin and things" said Mrs.Vincysoothinglystroking her son's head.  "There's afire in the smoking-room on purpose.  It's your father's wishyou know--Fredmy dear--and I always tell him you will be goodandgo to college again to take your degree."

Fred drewhis mother's hand down to his lipsbut said nothing.

"Isuppose you are not going out riding to-day?" said Rosamondlingering a little after her mamma was gone.

"No;why?"

"Papasays I may have the chestnut to ride now."

"Youcan go with me to-morrowif you like.  Only I am going to StoneCourtremember."

"Iwant to ride so muchit is indifferent to me where we go."Rosamond really wished to go to Stone Courtof all other places.

"OhI sayRosy" said Fredas she was passing out of the room"ifyou are going to the pianolet me come and play some airs with you."

"Praydo not ask me this morning."

"Whynot this morning?"

"ReallyFredI wish you would leave off playing the flute. A man looks verysilly playing the flute.  And you play so out of tune."

"Whennext any one makes love to youMiss RosamondI will tell him howobliging you are."

"Whyshould you expect me to oblige you by hearing you play the fluteanymore than I should expect you to oblige me by not playing it?"

"Andwhy should you expect me to take you out riding?"

Thisquestion led to an adjustmentfor Rosamond had set her mind on thatparticular ride.

So Fredwas gratified with nearly an hour's practice of "Ar hyd y nos""Ye banks and braes" and other favorite airs from his"Instructor on the Flute;" a wheezy performanceinto whichhe threw much ambition and an irrepressible hopefulness.




CHAPTERXII



  "He had more tow on his distaffe
   Than Gerveisknew."
   --CHAUCER.



The rideto Stone Courtwhich Fred and Rosamond took the next morninglaythrough a pretty bit of midland landscapealmost all meadows andpastureswith hedgerows still allowed to grow in bushy beauty and tospread out coral fruit for the birds.  Little details gave eachfield a particular physiognomydear to the eyes that have looked onthem from childhood: the pool in the corner where the grasses weredank and trees leaned whisperingly; the great oak shadowing a bareplace in mid-pasture; the high bank where the ash-trees grew; thesudden slope of the old marl-pit making a red background for theburdock; the huddled roofs and ricks of the homestead without atraceable way of approach; the gray gate and fences against thedepths of the bordering wood; and the stray hovelits oldoldthatch full of mossy hills and valleys with wondrous modulations oflight and shadow such as we travel far to see in later lifeand seelargerbut not more beautiful.  These are the things that makethe gamut of joy in landscape to midland-bred souls--the things theytoddled amongor perhaps learned by heart standing between theirfather's knees while he drove leisurely.

But theroadeven the byroadwas excellent; for Lowickas we have seenwas not a parish of muddy lanes and poor tenants; and it was intoLowick parish that Fred and Rosamond entered after a couple of miles'riding.  Another mile would bring them to Stone Courtand atthe end of the first halfthe house was already visiblelooking asif it had been arrested in its growth toward a stone mansion by anunexpected budding of farm-buildings on its left flankwhich hadhindered it from becoming anything more than the substantial dwellingof a gentleman farmer.  It was not the less agreeable an objectin the distance for the cluster of pinnacled corn-ricks whichbalanced the fine row of walnuts on the right.

Presentlyit was possible to discern something that might be a gig on thecircular drive before the front door.

"Dearme" said Rosamond"I hope none of my uncle's horriblerelations are there."

"Theyarethough.  That is Mrs. Waule's gig--the last yellow gigleftI should think.  When I see Mrs. Waule in itI understandhow yellow can have been worn for mourning.  That gig seems tome more funereal than a hearse.  But then Mrs. Waule always hasblack crape on. How does she manage itRosy?  Her friends can'talways be dying."

"Idon't know at all.  And she is not in the least evangelical"said Rosamondreflectivelyas if that religious point of view wouldhave fully accounted for perpetual crape.  "Andnot poor"she addedafter a moment's pause.

"Noby George!  They are as rich as Jewsthose Waules andFeatherstones; I meanfor people like themwho don't want to spendanything. And yet they hang about my uncle like vulturesand areafraid of a farthing going away from their side of the family. But I believe he hates them all."

The Mrs.Waule who was so far from being admirable in the eyes of thesedistant connectionshad happened to say this very morning (not atall with a defiant airbut in a lowmuffiedneutral toneas of avoice heard through cotton wool) that she did not wish "to enjoytheir good opinion." She was seatedas she observedon her ownbrother's hearthand had been Jane Featherstone five-and-twentyyears before she had been Jane Waulewhich entitled her to speakwhen her own brother's name had been made free with by those who hadno right to it.

"Whatare you driving at there?" said Mr. Featherstoneholding hisstick between his knees and settling his wigwhile he gave her amomentary sharp glancewhich seemed to react on him like a draughtof cold air and set him coughing.

Mrs. Waulehad to defer her answer till he was quiet againtill Mary Garth hadsupplied him with fresh syrupand he had begun to rub the gold knobof his sticklooking bitterly at the fire. It was a bright firebutit made no difference to the chill-looking purplish tint of Mrs.Waule's facewhich was as neutral as her voice; having mere chinksfor eyesand lips that hardly moved in speaking.

"Thedoctors can't master that coughbrother.  It's just like what Ihave; for I'm your own sisterconstitution and everything. Butas I was sayingit's a pity Mrs. Vincy's family can't be betterconducted."

"Tchah!you said nothing o' the sort.  You said somebody had made freewith my name."

"Andno more than can be provedif what everybody says is true. Mybrother Solomon tells me it's the talk up and down in Middlemarch howunsteady young Vincy isand has been forever gambling at billiardssince home he came."

"Nonsense! What's a game at billiards?  It's a good gentlemanly game; andyoung Vincy is not a clodhopper.  If your son John took tobilliardsnowhe'd make a fool of himself."

"Yournephew John never took to billiards or any other gamebrotherandis far from losing hundreds of poundswhichif what everybody saysis truemust be found somewhere else than out of Mr. Vincy thefather's pocket.  For they say he's been losing money for yearsthough nobody would think soto see him go coursing and keeping openhouse as they do.  And I've heard say Mr. Bulstrode condemnsMrs. Vincy beyond anything for her flightinessand spoiling herchildren so."!

"What'sBulstrode to me?  I don't bank with him."

"WellMrs. Bulstrode is Mr. Vincy's own sisterand they do say that Mr.Vincy mostly trades on the Bank money; and you may see yourselfbrotherwhen a woman past forty has pink strings always flyingandthat light way of laughing at everythingit's very unbecoming. Butindulging your children is one thingand finding money to pay theirdebts is another.  And it's openly said that young Vincy hasraised money on his expectations.  I don't say whatexpectations. Miss Garth hears meand is welcome to tell again. I know young people hang together."

"Nothank youMrs. Waule" said Mary Garth.  "I dislikehearing scandal too much to wish to repeat it."

Mr.Featherstone rubbed the knob of his stick and made a brief convulsiveshow of laughterwhich had much the same genuineness as an oldwhist-player's chuckle over a bad hand.  Still looking at thefirehe said--

"Andwho pretends to say Fred Vincy hasn't got expectations?  Such afinespirited fellow is like enough to have 'em."

There wasa slight pause before Mrs. Waule repliedand when she did sohervoice seemed to be slightly moistened with tearsthough her face wasstill dry.

"Whetheror nobrotherit is naturally painful to me and my brother Solomonto hear your name made free withand your complaint being such asmay carry you off suddenand people who are no more Featherstonesthan the Merry-Andrew at the fairopenly reckoning on your propertycoming to THEM.  And me your own sisterand Solomon your ownbrother!  And if that's to be itwhat has it pleased theAlmighty to make families for?" Here Mrs. Waule's tears fellbut with moderation.

"Comeout with itJane!" said Mr. Featherstonelooking at her. "Youmean to sayFred Vincy has been getting somebody to advance himmoney on what he says he knows about my willeh?"

"Inever said sobrother" (Mrs. Waule's voice had again become dryand unshaken). "It was told me by my brother Solomon last nightwhen he called coming from market to give me advice about the oldwheatme being a widowand my son John only three-and-twentythough steady beyond anything.  And he had it from mostundeniable authorityand not onebut many."

"Stuffand nonsense!  I don't believe a word of it.  It's all agot-up story.  Go to the windowmissy; I thought I heard ahorse. See if the doctor's coming."

"Notgot up by mebrothernor yet by Solomonwhowhatever else he maybe--and I don't deny he has oddities--has made his will and partedhis property equal between such kin as he's friends with; thoughformy partI think there are times when some should be considered morethan others.  But Solomon makes it no secret what he means todo."

"Themore fool he!" said Mr. Featherstonewith some difficulty;breaking into a severe fit of coughing that required Mary Garth tostand near himso that she did not find out whose horses they werewhich presently paused stamping on the gravel before the door.

Before Mr.Featherstone's cough was quietRosamond enteredbearing up herriding-habit with much grace.  She bowed ceremoniously to Mrs.Waulewho said stiffly"How do you domiss?" smiled andnodded silently to Maryand remained standing till the coughingshould ceaseand allow her uncle to notice her.

"Heydaymiss!" he said at last"you have a fine color. Where'sFred?"

"Seeingabout the horses.  He will be in presently."

"Sitdownsit down.  Mrs. Wauleyou'd better go."

Even thoseneighbors who had called Peter Featherstone an old foxhad neveraccused him of being insincerely politeand his sister was quiteused to the peculiar absence of ceremony with which he marked hissense of blood-relationship. Indeedshe herself was accustomed tothink that entire freedom from the necessity of behaving agreeablywas included in the Almighty's intentions about families. She roseslowly without any sign of resentmentand said in her usual muffledmonotone"BrotherI hope the new doctor will be able to dosomething for you.  Solomon says there's great talk of hiscleverness.  I'm sure it's my wish you should be spared. Andthere's none more ready to nurse you than your own sister and yourown niecesif you'd only say the word.  There's RebeccaandJoannaand Elizabethyou know."

"AyayI remember--you'll see I've remembered 'em all--all dark andugly.  They'd need have some moneyeh?  There never wasany beauty in the women of our family; but the Featherstones havealways had some moneyand the Waules too.  Waule had money too.A warm man was Waule.  Ayay; money's a good egg; and if you've got money to leave behind youlay it in a warm nest. Good-byMrs. Waule." Here Mr. Featherstone pulled at both sides of hiswig as if he wanted to deafen himselfand his sister went awayruminating on this oracular speech of his.  Notwithstanding herjealousy of the Vincys and of Mary Garththere remained as thenethermost sediment in her mental shallows a persuasion that herbrother Peter Featherstone could never leave his chief property awayfrom his blood-relations:--elsewhy had the Almighty carried off histwo wives both childlessafter he had gained so much by manganeseand thingsturning up when nobody expected it?--and why was there aLowick parish churchand the Waules and Powderells all sit ting inthe same pew for generationsand the Featherstone pew next to themifthe Sunday after her brother Peter's deatheverybody was to knowthat the property was gone out of the family?  The human mindhas at no period accepted a moral chaos; and so preposterous a resultwas not strictly conceivable. But we are frightened at much that isnot strictly conceivable.

When Fredcame in the old man eyed him with a peculiar twinklewhich theyounger had often had reason to interpret as pride in thesatisfactory details of his appearance.

"Youtwo misses go away" said Mr. Featherstone.  "I wantto speak to Fred."

"Comeinto my roomRosamondyou will not mind the cold for a littlewhile" said Mary.  The two girls had not only known eachother in childhoodbut had been at the same provincial schooltogether (Mary as an articled pupil)so that they had many memoriesin commonand liked very well to talk in private.  Indeedthistete-a-tete was one of Rosamond's objects in coming to Stone Court.

OldFeatherstone would not begin the dialogue till the door had beenclosed.  He continued to look at Fred with the same twinkle andwith one of his habitual grimacesalternately screwing and wideninghis mouth; and when he spokeit was in a low tonewhich might betaken for that of an informer ready to be bought offrather than forthe tone of an offended senior.  He was not a man to feel anystrong moral indignation even on account of trespasses againsthimself.  It was natural that others should want to get anadvantage over himbut thenhe was a little too cunning for them.

"Sosiryou've been paying ten per cent for money which you've promisedto pay off by mortgaging my land when I'm dead and goneeh? You put my life at a twelvemonthsay.  But I can alter my willyet."

Fredblushed.  He had not borrowed money in that wayfor excellentreasons.  But he was conscious of having spoken with someconfidence (perhaps with more than he exactly remembered) about hisprospect of getting Featherstone's land as a future means of payingpresent debts.

"Idon't know what you refer tosir.  I have certainly neverborrowed any money on such an insecurity.  Please to explain."

"Nosirit's you must explain.  I can alter my will yetlet metell you.  I'm of sound mind--can reckon compound interest in myheadand remember every fool's name as well as I could twenty yearsago. What the deuce?  I'm under eighty.  I sayyou mustcontradict this story."

"Ihave contradicted itsir" Fred answeredwith a touch ofimpatiencenot remembering that his uncle did not verballydiscriminate contradicting from disprovingthough no one was furtherfrom confounding the two ideas than old Featherstonewho oftenwondered that so many fools took his own assertions for proofs. "ButI contradict it again.  The story is a silly lie."

"Nonsense!you must bring dockiments.  It comes from authority."

"Namethe authorityand make him name the man of whom I borrowed themoneyand then I can disprove the story."

"It'spretty good authorityI think--a man who knows most of what goes onin Middlemarch.  It's that finereligiouscharitable uncle o'yours.  Come now!" Here Mr. Featherstone had his peculiarinward shake which signified merriment.

"Mr.Bulstrode?"

"Whoelseeh?"

"Thenthe story has grown into this lie out of some sermonizing words hemay have let fall about me.  Do they pretend that he named theman who lent me the money?"

"Ifthere is such a mandepend upon it Bulstrode knows him. Butsupposing you only tried to get the money lentand didn't getit--Bulstrode 'ud know that too.  You bring me a writing fromBulstrode to say he doesn't believe you've ever promised to pay yourdebts out o' my land.  Come now!"

Mr.Featherstone's face required its whole scale of grimaces as amuscular outlet to his silent triumph in the soundness of hisfaculties.

Fred felthimself to be in a disgusting dilemma.

"Youmust be jokingsir.  Mr. Bulstrodelike other menbelievesscores of things that are not trueand he has a prejudice againstme. I could easily get him to write that he knew no facts in proof ofthe report you speak ofthough it might lead to unpleasantness. ButI could hardly ask him to write down what he believes or does notbelieve about me." Fred paused an instantand then addedinpolitic appeal to his uncle's vanity"That is hardly a thingfor a gentleman to ask." But he was disappointed in the result.

"AyI know what you mean.  You'd sooner offend me than Bulstrode.And what's he?--he's got no land hereabout that ever I heard tell of.A speckilating fellow!  He may come down any daywhen the devilleaves off backing him.  And that's what his religion means: hewants God A'mighty to come in.  That's nonsense!  There'sone thing I made out pretty clear when I used to go to church--andit's this: God A'mighty sticks to the land.  He promises landand He gives landand He makes chaps rich with corn and cattle. Butyou take the other side.  You like Bulstrode and speckilationbetter than Featherstone and land."

"Ibeg your pardonsir" said Fredrisingstanding with his backto the fire and beating his boot with his whip.  "I likeneither Bulstrode nor speculation." He spoke rather sulkilyfeeling himself stalemated.

"Wellwellyou can do without methat's pretty clear" said oldFeatherstonesecretly disliking the possibility that Fred would showhimself at all independent.  "You neither want a bit ofland to make a squire of you instead of a starving parsonnor a liftof a hundred pound by the way.  It's all one to me. I can makefive codicils if I likeand I shall keep my bank-notes for anest-egg. It's all one to me."

Fredcolored again.  Featherstone had rarely given him presents ofmoneyand at this moment it seemed almost harder to part with theimmediate prospect of bank-notes than with the more distant prospectof the land.

"I amnot ungratefulsir.  I never meant to show disregard for anykind intentions you might have towards me.  On the contrary."

"Verygood.  Then prove it.  You bring me a letter from Bulstrodesaying he doesn't believe you've been cracking and promising to payyour debts out o' my landand thenif there's any scrape you've gotintowe'll see if I can't back you a bit. Come now!  That's abargain.  Heregive me your arm.  I'll try and walk roundthe room."

Fredinspite of his irritationhad kindness enough in him to be a littlesorry for the unlovedunvenerated old manwho with his dropsicallegs looked more than usually pitiable in walking. While giving hisarmhe thought that he should not himself like to be an old fellowwith his constitution breaking up; and he waited good-temperedlyfirst before the window to hear the wonted remarks about theguinea-fowls and the weather-cockand then before the scantybook-shelvesof which the chief glories in dark calf were JosephusCulpepperKlopstock's "Messiah" and several volumes ofthe "Gentleman's Magazine."

"Readme the names o' the books.  Come now! you're a college man."

Fred gavehim the titles.

"Whatdid missy want with more books?  What must you be bringing hermore books for?"

"Theyamuse hersir.  She is very fond of reading."

"Alittle too fond" said Mr. Featherstonecaptiously.  "Shewas for reading when she sat with me.  But I put a stop to that.She's got the newspaper to read out loud.  That's enough for onedayI should think.  I can't abide to see her reading toherself. You mind and not bring her any more booksdo you hear?"

"YessirI hear." Fred had received this order beforeand hadsecretly disobeyed it.  He intended to disobey it again.

"Ringthe bell" said Mr. Featherstone; "I want missy to comedown."

Rosamondand Mary had been talking faster than their male friends. They didnot think of sitting downbut stood at the toilet-table near thewindow while Rosamond took off her hatadjusted her veilandapplied little touches of her finger-tips to her hair--hair ofinfantine fairnessneither flaxen nor yellow.  Mary Garthseemed all the plainer standing at an angle between the twonymphs--the one in the glassand the one out of itwho looked ateach other with eyes of heavenly bluedeep enough to hold the mostexquisite meanings an ingenious beholder could put into themanddeep enough to hide the meanings of the owner if these should happento be less exquisite.  Only a few children in Middlemarch lookedblond by the side of Rosamondand the slim figure displayed by herriding-habit had delicate undulations.  In factmost men inMiddlemarchexcept her brothersheld that Miss Vincy was the bestgirl in the worldand some called her an angel.  Mary Garthonthe contraryhad the aspect of an ordinary sinner: she was brown;her curly dark hair was rough and stubborn; her stature was low; andit would not be true to declarein satisfactory antithesisthat shehad all the virtues.  Plainness has its peculiar temptations andvices quite as much as beauty; it is apt either to feign amiabilityornot feigning itto show all the repulsive ness of discontent: atany rateto be called an ugly thing in contrast with that lovelycreature your companionis apt to produce some effect beyond a senseof fine veracity and fitness in the phrase. At the age oftwo-and-twenty Mary had certainly not attained that perfect goodsense and good principle which are usually recommended to the lessfortunate girlas if they were to be obtained in quantities readymixedwith a flavor of resignation as required. Her shrewdness had astreak of satiric bitterness continually renewed and never carriedutterly out of sightexcept by a strong current of gratitude towardsthose whoinstead of telling her that she ought to be contenteddidsomething to make her so. Advancing womanhood had tempered herplainnesswhich was of a good human sortsuch as the mothers of ourrace have very commonly worn in all latitudes under a more or lessbecoming headgear. Rembrandt would have painted her with pleasureand would have made her broad features look out of the canvas withintelligent honesty. For honestytruth-telling fairnesswas Mary'sreigning virtue: she neither tried to create illusionsnor indulgedin them for her own behoofand when she was in a good mood she hadhumor enough in her to laugh at herself.  When she and Rosamondhappened both to be reflected in the glassshe saidlaughingly--

"Whata brown patch I am by the side of youRosy!  You are the mostunbecoming companion."

"Ohno!  No one thinks of your appearanceyou are so sensible andusefulMary.  Beauty is of very little consequence in reality"said Rosamondturning her head towards Marybut with eyes swervingtowards the new view of her neck in the glass.

"Youmean my beauty" said Maryrather sardonically.

Rosamondthought"Poor Maryshe takes the kindest things ill."Aloud she said"What have you been doing lately?"

"I? Ohminding the house--pouring out syrup--pretending to be amiableand contented--learning to have a bad opinion of everybody."

"Itis a wretched life for you."

"No"said Marycurtlywith a little toss of her head.  "Ithink my life is pleasanter than your Miss Morgan's."

"Yes;but Miss Morgan is so uninterestingand not young."

"Sheis interesting to herselfI suppose; and I am not at all sure thateverything gets easier as one gets older."

"No"said Rosamondreflectively; "one wonders what such people dowithout any prospect.  To be surethere is religion as asupport. But" she addeddimpling"it is very differentwith you'Mary. You may have an offer."

"Hasany one told you he means to make me one?"

"Ofcourse not.  I meanthere is a gentleman who may fall in lovewith youseeing you almost every day."

A certainchange in Mary's face was chiefly determined by the resolve not toshow any change.

"Doesthat always make people fall in love?" she answeredcarelessly;"it seems to me quite as often a reason for detesting eachother."

"Notwhen they are interesting and agreeable.  I hear that Mr.Lydgate is both."

"OhMr. Lydgate!" said Marywith an unmistakable lapse intoindifference.  "You want to know something about him"she addednot choosing to indulge Rosamond's indirectness.

"Merelyhow you like him."

"Thereis no question of liking at present.  My liking always wantssome little kindness to kindle it.  I am not magnanimous enoughto like people who speak to me without seeming to see me."

"Ishe so haughty?" said Rosamondwith heightened satisfaction."You know that he is of good family?"

"No;he did not give that as a reason."

"Mary!you are the oddest girl.  But what sort of looking man is he? Describe him to me."

"Howcan one describe a man?  I can give you an inventory: heavyeyebrowsdark eyesa straight nosethick dark hairlarge solidwhite hands--and--let me see--ohan exquisite cambricpocket-handkerchief. But you will see him.  You know this isabout the time of his visits."

Rosamondblushed a littlebut saidmeditatively"I rather like ahaughty manner.  I cannot endure a rattling young man."

"Idid not tell you that Mr. Lydgate was haughty; but il y en a pourtous les goutsas little Mamselle used to sayand if any girl canchoose the particular sort of conceit she would likeI should thinkit is youRosy."

"Haughtinessis not conceit; I call Fred conceited."

"Iwish no one said any worse of him.  He should be more careful.Mrs. Waule has been telling uncle that Fred is very unsteady."Mary spoke from a girlish impulse which got the better of herjudgment. There was a vague uneasiness associated with the word"unsteady" which she hoped Rosamond might say something todissipate. But she purposely abstained from mentioning Mrs. Waule'smore special insinuation.

"OhFred is horrid!" said Rosamond.  She would not have allowedherself so unsuitable a word to any one but Mary.

"Whatdo you mean by horrid?"

"Heis so idleand makes papa so angryand says he will not takeorders."

"Ithink Fred is quite right."

"Howcan you say he is quite rightMary?  I thought you had moresense of religion."

"Heis not fit to be a clergyman."

"Buthe ought to be fit."--"Wellthenhe is not what he oughtto be. I know some other people who are in the same case."

"Butno one approves of them.  I should not like to marry aclergyman; but there must be clergymen."

"Itdoes not follow that Fred must be one."

"Butwhen papa has been at the expense of educating him for it! And onlysupposeif he should have no fortune left him?"

"Ican suppose that very well" said Marydryly.

"ThenI wonder you can defend Fred" said Rosamondinclined to pushthis point.

"Idon't defend him" said Marylaughing; "I would defend anyparish from having him for a clergyman."

"Butof course if he were a clergymanhe must be different."

"Yeshe would be a great hypocrite; and he is not that yet."

"Itis of no use saying anything to youMary.  You always takeFred's part."

"Whyshould I not take his part?" said Marylighting up. "Hewould take mine.  He is the only person who takes the leasttrouble to oblige me."

"Youmake me feel very uncomfortableMary" said Rosamondwith hergravest mildness; "I would not tell mamma for the world."

"Whatwould you not tell her?" said Maryangrily.

"Praydo not go into a rageMary" said Rosamondmildly as ever.

"Ifyour mamma is afraid that Fred will make me an offertell her that Iwould not marry him if he asked me.  But he is not going to dosothat I am aware.  He certainly never has asked me."

"Maryyou are always so violent."

"Andyou are always so exasperating."

"I? What can you blame me for?"

"Ohblameless people are always the most exasperating.  There is thebell--I think we must go down."

"Idid not mean to quarrel" said Rosamondputting on her hat.

"Quarrel? Nonsense; we have not quarrelled.  If one is not to get into arage sometimeswhat is the good of being friends?"

"Am Ito repeat what you have said?" "Just as you please.  Inever say what I am afraid of having repeated.  But let us godown."

Mr.Lydgate was rather late this morningbut the visitors stayed longenough to see him; for Mr. Featherstone asked Rosamond to sing tohimand she herself was-so kind as to propose a second favorite songof his--"Flow onthou shining river"--after she had sung"Homesweet home" (which she detested). This hard-headedold Overreach approved of the sentimental songas the suitablegarnish for girlsand also as fundamentally finesentiment beingthe right thing for a song.

Mr.Featherstone was still applauding the last performanceand assuringmissy that her voice was as clear as a blackbird'swhen Mr.Lydgate's horse passed the window.

His dullexpectation of the usual disagreeable routine with an agedpatient--who can hardly believe that medicine would not "set himup" if the doctor were only clever enough--added to his generaldisbelief in Middlemarch charmsmade a doubly effective backgroundto this vision of Rosamondwhom old Featherstone made hasteostentatiously to introduce as his niecethough he had never thoughtit worth while to speak of Mary Garth in that light.  Nothingescaped Lydgate in Rosamond's graceful behavior: how delicately shewaived the notice which the old man's want of taste had thrust uponher by a quiet gravitynot showing her dimples on the wrongoccasionbut showing them afterwards in speaking to Maryto whomshe addressed herself with so much good-natured interestthatLydgateafter quickly examining Mary more fully than he had donebeforesaw an adorable kindness in Rosamond's eyes.  But Maryfrom some cause looked rather out of temper.

"MissRosy has been singing me a song--you've nothing to say against thatehdoctor?" said Mr. Featherstone.  "I like it betterthan your physic."

"Thathas made me forget how the time was going" said Rosamondrising to reach her hatwhich she had laid aside before singingsothat her flower-like head on its white stem was seen in perfectionabove-her riding-habit. "Fredwe must really go."

"Verygood" said Fredwho had his own reasons for not being in thebest spiritsand wanted to get away.

"MissVincy is a musician?" said Lydgatefollowing her with his eyes.(Every nerve and muscle in Rosamond was adjusted to the consciousnessthat she was being looked at.  She was by nature an actress ofparts that entered into her physique: she even acted her owncharacterand so wellthat she did not know it to be precisely herown.)

"Thebest in MiddlemarchI'll be bound" said Mr. Featherstone"letthe next be who she will.  EhFred?  Speak up for yoursister."

"I'mafraid I'm out of courtsir.  My evidence would be good fornothing."

"Middlemarchhas not a very high standarduncle" said Rosamondwith apretty lightnessgoing towards her whipwhich lay at a distance.

Lydgatewas quick in anticipating her.  He reached the whip before shedidand turned to present it to her.  She bowed and looked athim: he of course was looking at herand their eyes met with thatpeculiar meeting which is never arrived at by effortbut seems likea sudden divine clearance of haze. I think Lydgate turned a littlepaler than usualbut Rosamond blushed deeply and felt a certainastonishment.  After thatshe was really anxious to goand didnot know what sort of stupidity her uncle was talking of when shewent to shake hands with him.

Yet thisresultwhich she took to be a mutual impressioncalled falling inlovewas just what Rosamond had contemplated beforehand. Ever sincethat important new arrival in Middlemarch she had woven a littlefutureof which something like this scene was the necessarybeginning.  Strangerswhether wrecked and clinging to a raftor duly escorted and accompanied by portmanteaushave always had acircumstantial fascination for the virgin mindagainst which nativemerit has urged itself in vain.  And a stranger was absolutelynecessary to Rosamond's social romancewhich had always turned on alover and bridegroom who was not a Middlemarcherand who had noconnections at all like her own: of lateindeedthe constructionseemed to demand that he should somehow be related to a baronet. Now that she and the stranger had metreality proved much moremoving than anticipationand Rosamond could not doubt that this wasthe great epoch of her life. She judged of her own symptoms as thoseof awakening loveand she held it still more natural that Mr.Lydgate should have fallen in love at first sight of her.  Thesethings happened so often at ballsand why not by the morning lightwhen the complexion showed all the better for it?  Rosamondthough no older than Marywas rather used to being fallen in lovewith; but shefor her parthad remained indifferent andfastidiously critical towards both fresh sprig and faded bachelor. And here was Mr. Lydgate suddenly corresponding to her idealbeingaltogether foreign to Middlemarchcarrying a certain air ofdistinction congruous with good familyand possessing connectionswhich offered vistas of that middle-class heavenrank: a man oftalentalsowhom it would be especially delightful to enslave: infacta man who had touched her nature quite newlyand brought avivid interest into her life which was better than any fancied"might-be" such as she was in the habit of opposing to theactual.

Thusinriding homeboth the brother and the sister were preoccupied andinclined to be silent.  Rosamondwhose basis for her structurehad the usual airy slightnesswas of remarkably detailed andrealistic imagination when the foundation had been once presupposed;and before they had ridden a mile she was far on in the costume andintroductions of her wedded lifehaving determined on her house inMiddle-marchand foreseen the visits she would pay to her husband'shigh-bred relatives at a distancewhose finished manners she couldappropriate as thoroughly as she had done her school accomplishmentspreparing herself thus for vaguer elevations which might ultimatelycome.  There was nothing financialstill less sordidin herprevisions: she cared about what were considered refinementsand notabout the money that was to pay for them.

Fred'smindon the other handwas busy with an anxiety which even hisready hopefulness could not immediately quell.  He saw no way ofeluding Featherstone's stupid demand without incurring consequenceswhich he liked less even than the task of fulfilling it. His fatherwas already out of humor with himand would be still more so if hewere the occasion of any additional coolness between his own familyand the Bulstrodes.  Thenhe himself hated having to go andspeak to his uncle Bulstrodeand perhaps after drinking wine he hadsaid many foolish things about Featherstone's propertyand these hadbeen magnified by report.  Fred felt that he made a wretchedfigure as a fellow who bragged about expectations from a queer oldmiser like Featherstoneand went to beg for certificates at hisbidding.  But--those expectations!  He really had themandhe saw no agreeable alternative if he gave them up; besideshe hadlately made a debt which galled him extremelyand old Featherstonehad almost bargained to pay it off.  The whole affair wasmiserably small: his debts were smalleven his expectations were notanything so very magnificent.  Fred had known men to whom hewould have been ashamed of confessing the smallness of his scrapes.Such ruminations naturally produced a streak of misanthropicbitterness. To be born the son of a Middlemarch manufacturerandinevitable heir to nothing in particularwhile such men asMainwaring and Vyan--certainly life was a poor businesswhen aspirited young fellowwith a good appetite for the best ofeverythinghad so poor an outlook.

It had notoccurred to Fred that the introduction of Bulstrode's name in thematter was a fiction of old Featherstone's; nor could this have madeany difference to his position.  He saw plainly enough that theold man wanted to exercise his power by tormenting him a littleandalso probably to get some satisfaction out of seeing him onunpleasant terms with Bulstrode.  Fred fancied that he saw tothe bottom of his uncle Featherstone's soulthough in reality halfwhat he saw there was no more than the reflex of his owninclinations. The difficult task of knowing another soul is not foryoung gentlemen whose consciousness is chiefly made up of their ownwishes.

Fred'smain point of debate with himself waswhether he should tell hisfatheror try to get through the affair without his father'sknowledge.  It was probably Mrs. Waule who had been talkingabout him; and if Mary Garth had repeated Mrs. Waule's report toRosamondit would be sure to reach his fatherwho would as surelyquestion him about it.  He said to Rosamondas they slackenedtheir pace--

"Rosydid Mary tell you that Mrs. Waule had said anything about me?"

"Yesindeedshe did."

"What?"

"Thatyou were very unsteady."

"Wasthat all?"

"Ishould think that was enoughFred."

"Youare sure she said no more?"

"Marymentioned nothing else.  But reallyFredI think you ought tobe ashamed."

"Ohfudge!  Don't lecture me.  What did Mary say about it?"

"I amnot obliged to tell you.  You care so very much what Mary saysand you are too rude to allow me to speak."

"Ofcourse I care what Mary says.  She is the best girl I know."

"Ishould never have thought she was a girl to fall in love with."

"Howdo you know what men would fall in love with?  Girls neverknow."

"AtleastFredlet me advise YOU not to fall in love with herfor shesays she would not marry you if you asked her."

"Shemight have waited till I did ask her."

"Iknew it would nettle youFred."

"Notat all.  She would not have said so if you had not provokedher." Before reaching homeFred concluded that he would tellthe whole affair as simply as possible to his fatherwho mightperhaps take on himself the unpleasant business of speaking toBulstrode.




BOOK II





OLD ANDYOUNG




CHAPTERXIII



  1st Gent. How class your man?--as better than the most
  Orseeming betterworse beneath that cloak?
   Assaint or knavepilgrim or hypocrite?
     2dGent.  Naytell me how you class your wealth of books
  The drifted relics of all time.
   As well sort them atonce by size and livery:
   Vellumtall copiesand thecommon calf
     Will hardly cover morediversity
   Than all your labels cunningly devised
  To class your unread authors.



Inconsequence of what he had heard from FredMr. Vincy determined tospeak with Mr. Bulstrode in his private room at the Bank at half-pastonewhen he was usually free from other callers. But a visitor hadcome in at one o'clockand Mr. Bulstrode had so much to say to himthat there was little chance of the interview being over in half anhour.  The banker's speech was fluentbut it was also copiousand he used up an appreciable amount of time in brief meditativepauses.  Do not imagine his sickly aspect to have been of theyellowblack-haired sort:  he had a pale blond skinthingray-besprinkled brown hairlight-gray eyesand a large forehead. Loud men called his subdued tone an undertoneand sometimes impliedthat it was inconsistent with openness; though there seems to be noreason why a loud man should not be given to concealment of anythingexcept his own voiceunless it can be shown that Holy Writ hasplaced the seat of candor in the lungs. Mr. Bulstrode had also adeferential bending attitude in listeningand an apparently fixedattentiveness in his eyes which made those persons who thoughtthemselves worth hearing infer that he was seeking the utmostimprovement from their discourse.  Otherswho expected to makeno great figuredisliked this kind of moral lantern turned on them. If you are not proud of your cellarthere is no thrill ofsatisfaction in seeing your guest hold up his wine-glass to the lightand look judicial.  Such joys are reserved for conscious merit.Hence Mr. Bulstrode's close attention was not agreeable to thepublicans and sinners in Middlemarch; it was attributed by some tohis being a Phariseeand by others to his being Evangelical. Lesssuperficial reasoners among them wished to know who his father andgrandfather wereobserving that five-and-twenty years ago nobody hadever heard of a Bulstrode in Middlemarch.  To his presentvisitorLydgatethe scrutinizing look was a matter of indifference:he simply formed an unfavorable opinion of the banker's constitutionand concluded that he had an eager inward life with little enjoymentof tangible things.

"Ishall be exceedingly obliged if you will look in on me hereoccasionallyMr. Lydgate" the banker observedafter a briefpause. "Ifas I dare to hopeI have the privilege of findingyou a valuable coadjutor in the interesting matter of hospitalmanagementthere will be many questions which we shall need todiscuss in private.  As to the new hospitalwhich is nearlyfinishedI shall consider what you have said about the advantages ofthe special destination for fevers.  The decision will rest withmefor though Lord Medlicote has given the land and timber for thebuildinghe is not disposed to give his personal attention to theobject."

"Thereare few things better worth the pains in a provincial town likethis" said Lydgate.  "A fine fever hospital inaddition to the old infirmary might be the nucleus of a medicalschool herewhen once we get our medical reforms; and what would domore for medical education than the spread of such schools over thecountry? A born provincial man who has a grain of public spirit aswell as a few ideasshould do what he can to resist the rush ofeverything that is a little better than common towards London. Any valid professional aims may often find a freerif not a richerfieldin the provinces."

One ofLydgate's gifts was a voice habitually deep and sonorousyet capableof becoming very low and gentle at the right moment. About hisordinary bearing there was a certain flinga fearless expectation ofsuccessa confidence in his own powers and integrity much fortifiedby contempt for petty obstacles or seductions of which he had had noexperience.  But this proud openness was made lovable by anexpression of unaffected good-will. Mr. Bulstrode perhaps liked himthe better for the difference between them in pitch and manners; hecertainly liked him the betteras Rosamond didfor being a strangerin Middlemarch.  One can begin so many things with a newperson!-- even begin to be a better man.

"Ishall rejoice to furnish your zeal with fuller opportunities"Mr. Bulstrode answered; "I meanby confiding to you thesuperintendence of my new hospitalshould a maturer knowledge favorthat issuefor I am determined that so great an object shall not beshackled by our two physicians.  IndeedI am encouraged toconsider your advent to this town as a gracious indication that amore manifest blessing is now to be awarded to my effortswhich havehitherto been much with stood.  With regard to the oldinfirmarywe have gained the initial point--I mean your election. And now I hope you will not shrink from incurring a certain amount ofjealousy and dislike from your professional brethren by presentingyourself as a reformer."

"Iwill not profess bravery" said Lydgatesmiling"but Iacknowledge a good deal of pleasure in fightingand I should notcare for my professionif I did not believe that better methods wereto be found and enforced there as well as everywhere else."

"Thestandard of that profession is low in Middlemarchmy dear sir"said the banker.  "I mean in knowledge and skill; not insocial statusfor our medical men are most of them connected withrespectable townspeople here.  My own imperfect health hasinduced me to give some attention to those palliative resources whichthe divine mercy has placed within our reach.  I have consultedeminent men in the metropolisand I am painfully aware of thebackwardness under which medical treatment labors in our provincialdistricts."

"Yes;--withour present medical rules and educationone must be satisfied nowand then to meet with a fair practitioner. As to all the higherquestions which determine the starting-point of a diagnosis--as tothe philosophy of medial evidence--any glimmering of these can onlycome from a scientific culture of which country practitioners haveusually no more notion than the man in the moon."

Mr.Bulstrodebending and looking intentlyfound the form which Lydgatehad given to his agreement not quite suited to his comprehension. Under such circumstances a judicious man changes the topic and enterson ground where his own gifts may be more useful.

"I amaware" he said"that the peculiar bias of medical abilityis towards material means.  NeverthelessMr. LydgateI hope weshall not vary in sentiment as to a measure in which you are notlikely to be actively concernedbut in which your sympatheticconcurrence may be an aid to me.  You recognizeI hope; theexistence of spiritual interests in your patients?"

"CertainlyI do.  But those words are apt to cover different meanings todifferent minds."

"Precisely. And on such subjects wrong teaching is as fatal as no teaching. Now a point which I have much at heart to secure is a new regulationas to clerical attendance at the old infirmary. The building standsin Mr. Farebrother's parish.  You know Mr. Farebrother?"

"Ihave seen him.  He gave me his vote.  I must call to thankhim. He seems a very bright pleasant little fellow.  And Iunderstand he is a naturalist."

"Mr.Farebrothermy dear siris a man deeply painful to contemplate. Isuppose there is not a clergyman in this country who has greatertalents."  Mr. Bulstrode paused and looked meditative.

"Ihave not yet been pained by finding any excessive talent inMiddlemarch" said Lydgatebluntly.

"WhatI desire" Mr. Bulstrode continuedlooking still more serious"is that Mr. Farebrother's attendance at the hospital should besuperseded by the appointment of a chaplain--of Mr. Tykein fact--and that no other spiritual aid should be called in."

"As amedial man I could have no opinion on such a point unless I knew Mr.Tykeand even then I should require to know the cases in which hewas applied."  Lydgate smiledbut he was bent on beingcircumspect.

"Ofcourse you cannot enter fully into the merits of this measure atpresent.  But"--here Mr. Bulstrode began to speak with amore chiselled emphasis--"the subject is likely to be referredto the medical board of the infirmaryand what I trust I may ask ofyou isthat in virtue of the cooperation between us which I now lookforward toyou will notso far as you are concernedbe influencedby my opponents in this matter."

"Ihope I shall have nothing to do with clerical disputes" saidLydgate. "The path I have chosen is to work well in my ownprofession."

"MyresponsibilityMr. Lydgateis of a broader kind. With meindeedthis question is one of sacred accountableness; whereas with myopponentsI have good reason to say that it is an occasion forgratifying a spirit of worldly opposition. But I shall not thereforedrop one iota of my convictionsor cease to identify myself withthat truth which an evil generation hates. I have devoted myself tothis object of hospital-improvementbut I will boldly confess toyouMr. Lydgatethat I should have no interest in hospitals if Ibelieved that nothing more was concerned therein than the cure ofmortal diseases.  I have another ground of actionand in theface of persecution I will not conceal it."

Mr.Bulstrode's voice had become a loud and agitated whisper as he saidthe last words.

"Therewe certainly differ" said Lydgate.  But he was not sorrythat the door was now openedand Mr. Vincy was announced. Thatflorid sociable personage was become more interesting to him since hehad seen Rosamond.  Not thatlike herhe had been weaving anyfuture in which their lots were united; but a man naturally remembersa charming girl with pleasureand is willing to dine where he maysee her again.  Before he took leaveMr. Vincy had given thatinvitation which he had been "in no hurry about" forRosamond at breakfast had mentioned that she thought her uncleFeatherstone had taken the new doctor into great favor.

Mr.Bulstrodealone with his brother-in-lawpoured himself out a glassof waterand opened a sandwich-box.

"Icannot persuade you to adopt my regimenVincy?"

"Nono; I've no opinion of that system.  Life wants padding"said Mr. Vincyunable to omit his portable theory.  "However"he went onaccenting the wordas if to dismiss all irrelevance"what I came here to talk about was a little affair of my youngscapegraceFred's."

"Thatis a subject on which you and I are likely to take quite as differentviews as on dietVincy."

"Ihope not this time."  (Mr. Vincy was resolved to begood-humored.) "The fact isit's about a whim of oldFeatherstone's. Somebody has been cooking up a story out of spiteand telling it to the old manto try to set him against Fred. He's very fond of Fredand is likely to do something handsome forhim; indeed he has as good as told Fred that he means to leave himhis landand that makes other people jealous."

"VincyI must repeatthat you will not get any concurrence from me as tothe course you have pursued with your eldest son.  It wasentirely from worldly vanity that you destined him for the Church:with a family of three sons and four daughtersyou were notwarranted in devoting money to an expensive education which hassucceeded in nothing but in giving him extravagant idle habits. Youare now reaping the consequences."

To pointout other people's errors was a duty that Mr. Bulstrode rarely shrankfrombut Mr. Vincy was not equally prepared to be patient. When aman has the immediate prospect of being mayorand is readyin theinterests of commerceto take up a firm attitude on politicsgenerallyhe has naturally a sense of his importance to theframework of things which seems to throw questions of private conductinto the background.  And this particular reproof irritated himmore than any other.  It was eminently superfluous to him to betold that he was reaping the consequences.  But he felt his neckunder Bulstrode's yoke; and though he usually enjoyed kickinghe wasanxious to refrain from that relief.

"Asto thatBulstrodeit's no use going back.  I'm not one of yourpattern menand I don't pretend to be.  I couldn't foreseeeverything in the trade; there wasn't a finer business in Middlemarchthan oursand the lad was clever.  My poor brother was in theChurchand would have done well--had got preferment alreadybutthat stomach fever took him off:  else he might have been a deanby this time.  I think I was justified in what I tried to do forFred.  If you come to religionit seems to me a man shouldn'twant to carve out his meat to an ounce beforehand:--one must trust alittle to Providence and be generous. It's a good British feeling totry and raise your family a little: in my opinionit's a father'sduty to give his sons a fine chance."

"Idon't wish to act otherwise than as your best friendVincywhen Isay that what you have been uttering just now is one mass ofworldliness and inconsistent folly."

"Verywell" said Mr. Vincykicking in spite of resolutions"Inever professed to be anything but worldly; andwhat's moreI don'tsee anybody else who is not worldly.  I suppose you don'tconduct business on what you call unworldly principles. The onlydifference I see is that one worldliness is a little bit honesterthan another."

"Thiskind of discussion is unfruitfulVincy" said Mr. Bulstrodewhofinishing his sandwichhad thrown himself back in his chairand shaded his eyes as if weary.  "You had some moreparticular business."

"Yesyes.  The long and short of it issomebody has told oldFeatherstonegiving you as the authoritythat Fred has beenborrowing or trying to borrow money on the prospect of his land. Ofcourse you never said any such nonsense.  But the old fellowwill insist on it that Fred should bring him a denial in yourhandwriting; that isjust a bit of a note saying you don't believe aword of such stuffeither of his having borrowed or tried to borrowin such a fool's way.  I suppose you can have no objection to dothat."

"Pardonme.  I have an objection.  I am by no means sure that yoursonin his recklessness and ignorance--I will use no severer word--has not tried to raise money by holding out his future prospectsoreven that some one may not have been foolish enough to supply him onso vague a presumption:  there is plenty of such laxmoney-lending as of other folly in the world."

"ButFred gives me his honor that he has never borrowed money on thepretence of any understanding about his uncle's land. He is not aliar.  I don't want to make him better than he is. I have blownhim up well--nobody can say I wink at what he does. But he is not aliar.  And I should have thought--but I may be wrong-- thatthere was no religion to hinder a man from believing the best of ayoung fellowwhen you don't know worse.  It seems to me itwould be a poor sort of religion to put a spoke in his wheel byrefusing to say you don't believe such harm of him as you've got nogood reason to believe."

"I amnot at all sure that I should be befriending your son by smoothinghis way to the future possession of Featherstone's property. I cannotregard wealth as a blessing to those who use it simply as a harvestfor this world.  You do not like to hear these thingsVincybut on this occasion I feel called upon to tell you that I have nomotive for furthering such a disposition of property as that whichyou refer to.  I do not shrink from saying that it will not tendto your son's eternal welfare or to the glory of God. Why then shouldyou expect me to pen this kind of affidavitwhich has no object butto keep up a foolish partiality and secure a foolish bequest?"

"Ifyou mean to hinder everybody from having money but saints andevangelistsyou must give up some profitable partnershipsthat'sall I can say" Mr. Vincy burst out very bluntly. "It maybe for the glory of Godbut it is not for the glory of theMiddlemarch tradethat Plymdale's house uses those blue and greendyes it gets from the Brassing manufactory; they rot the silkthat'sall I know about it.  Perhaps if other people knew so much ofthe profit went to the glory of Godthey might like it better. But Idon't mind so much about that--I could get up a pretty rowif Ichose."

Mr.Bulstrode paused a little before he answered.  "You pain mevery much by speaking in this wayVincy.  I do not expect youto understand my grounds of action--it is not an easy thing even tothread a path for principles in the intricacies of the world-- stillless to make the thread clear for the careless and the scoffing. Youmust rememberif you pleasethat I stretch my tolerance towards youas my wife's brotherand that it little becomes you to complain ofme as withholding material help towards the worldly position of yourfamily.  I must remind you that it is not your own prudence orjudgment that has enabled you to keep your place in the trade."

"Verylikely not; but you have been no loser by my trade yet" saidMr. Vincythoroughly nettled (a result which was seldom muchretarded by previous resolutions). "And when you marriedHarrietI don't see how you could expect that our families shouldnot hang by the same nail.  If you've changed your mindandwant my family to come down in the worldyou'd better say so. I've never changed; I'm a plain Churchman nowjust as I used to bebefore doctrines came up.  I take the world as I find itintrade and everything else. I'm contented to be no worse than myneighbors.  But if you want us to come down in the worldsayso.  I shall know better what to do then."

"Youtalk unreasonably.  Shall you come down in the world for want ofthis letter about your son?"

"Wellwhether or notI consider it very unhandsome of you to refuse it.Such doings may be lined with religionbut outside they have anastydog-in-the-manger look.  You might as well slander Fred:it comes pretty near to it when you refuse to say you didn't set aslander going.  It's this sort of thing---this tyrannicalspiritwanting to play bishop and banker everywhere--it's this sortof thing makes a man's name stink."

"Vincyif you insist on quarrelling with meit will be exceedingly painfulto Harriet as well as myself" said Mr. Bulstrodewith a triflemore eagerness and paleness than usual.

"Idon't want to quarrel.  It's for my interest--and perhaps foryours too--that we should be friends.  I bear you no grudge; Ithink no worse of you than I do of other people.  A man who halfstarves himselfand goes the length in family prayersand so onthat you dobelieves in his religion whatever it may be:  youcould turn over your capital just as fast with cursing andswearing:-- plenty of fellows do.  You like to be masterthere's no denying that; you must be first chop in heavenelse youwon't like it much. But you're my sister's husbandand we ought tostick together; and if I know Harrietshe'll consider it your faultif we quarrel because you strain at a gnat in this wayand refuse todo Fred a good turn.  And I don't mean to say I shall bear itwell.  I consider it unhandsome."

Mr. Vincyrosebegan to button his great-coatand looked steadily at hisbrother-in-lawmeaning to imply a demand for a decisive answer.

This wasnot the first time that Mr. Bulstrode had begun by admonishing Mr.Vincyand had ended by seeing a very unsatisfactory reflection ofhimself in the coarse unflattering mirror which that manufacturer'smind presented to the subtler lights and shadows of his fellow-men;and perhaps his experience ought to have warned him how the scenewould end.  But a full-fed fountain will be generous with itswaters even in the rainwhen they are worse than useless; and a finefount of admonition is apt to be equally irrepressible.

It was notin Mr. Bulstrode's nature to comply directly in consequence ofuncomfortable suggestions.  Before changing his coursehealways needed to shape his motives and bring them into accordancewith his habitual standard.  He saidat last--

"Iwill reflect a littleVincy.  I will mention the subject toHarriet.  I shall probably send you a letter."

"Verywell.  As soon as you canplease.  I hope it will all besettled before I see you to-morrow."




CHAPTERXIV



  "Follows here the strict receipt
   For that sauceto dainty meat
   Named Idlenesswhich many eat
  By preferenceand call it sweet:
   First watch formorselslike a hound
   Mix well with buffetsstirthem round
   With good thick oil of flatteries
  And froth with mean self-lauding lies.
   Serve warm: the vessels you must choose
   To keep it in are deadmen's shoes."



Mr.Bulstrode's consultation of Harriet seemed to have had the effectdesired by Mr. Vincyfor early the next morning a letter came whichFred could carry to Mr. Featherstone as the required testimony.

The oldgentleman was staying in bed on account of the cold weatherand asMary Garth was not to be seen in the sitting-roomFred wentup-stairs immediately and presented the letter to his unclewhopropped up comfortably on a bed-restwas not less able than usual toenjoy his consciousness of wisdom in distrusting and frustratingmankind.  He put on his spectacles to read the letterpursingup his lips and drawing down their corners.

"Underthe circumstances I will not decline to state my conviction-- tchah!what fine words the fellow puts!  He's as fine as anauctioneer-- that your son Frederic has not obtained any advance ofmoney on bequests promised by Mr. Featherstone--promised? who said Ihad ever promised?  I promise nothing--I shall make codicils aslong as I like--and that considering the nature of such a proceedingit is unreasonable to presume that a young man of sense and characterwould attempt it--ahbut the gentleman doesn't say you are a youngman of sense and charactermark you thatsir!--As to my own concernwith any report of such a natureI distinctly affirm that I nevermade any statement to the effect that your son had borrowed money onany property that might accrue to him on Mr. Featherstone's demise--bless my heart! `property'--accrue--demise!  Lawyer Standish isnothing to him.  He couldn't speak finer if he wanted to borrow.Well" Mr. Featherstone here looked over his spectacles at Fredwhile he handed back the letter to him with a contemptuous gesture"you don't suppose I believe a thing because Bulstrode writes itout fineeh?"

Fredcolored.  "You wished to have the lettersir.  Ishould think it very likely that Mr. Bulstrode's denial is as good asthe authority which told you what he denies."

"Everybit.  I never said I believed either one or the other. And nowwhat d' you expect?" said Mr. Featherstonecurtlykeeping onhis spectaclesbut withdrawing his hands under his wraps.

"Iexpect nothingsir."  Fred with difficulty restrainedhimself from venting his irritation.  "I came to bring youthe letter. If you like I will bid you good morning."

"Notyetnot yet.  Ring the bell; I want missy to come."

It was aservant who came in answer to the bell.

"Tellmissy to come!" said Mr. Featherstoneimpatiently.  "Whatbusiness had she to go away?"  He spoke in the same tonewhen Mary came.

"Whycouldn't you sit still here till I told you to go? want my waistcoatnow.  I told you always to put it on the bed."

Mary'seyes looked rather redas if she had been crying.  It was clearthat Mr. Featherstone was in one of his most snappish humors thismorningand though Fred had now the prospect of receiving themuch-needed present of moneyhe would have preferred being free toturn round on the old tyrant and tell him that Mary Garth was toogood to be at his beck.  Though Fred had risen as she enteredthe roomshe had barely noticed himand looked as if her nerveswere quivering with the expectation that something would be thrown ather.  But she never had anything worse than words to dread. Whenshe went to reach the waistcoat from a pegFred went up to her andsaid"Allow me."

"Letit alone!  You bring itmissyand lay it down here" saidMr. Featherstone.  "Now you go away again till I call you"he addedwhen the waistcoat was laid down by him.  It was usualwith him to season his pleasure in showing favor to one person bybeing especially disagreeable to anotherand Mary was always at handto furnish the condiment.  When his own relatives came she wastreated better.  Slowly he took out a bunch of keys from thewaistcoat pocketand slowly he drew forth a tin box which was underthe bed-clothes.

"Youexpect I am going to give you a little fortuneeh?" he saidlooking above his spectacles and pausing in the act of opening thelid.

"Notat allsir.  You were good enough to speak of making me apresent the other dayelseof courseI should not have thought ofthe matter."  But Fred was of a hopeful dispositionand avision had presented itself of a sum just large enough to deliver himfrom a certain anxiety.  When Fred got into debtit alwaysseemed to him highly probable that something or other-- he did notnecessarily conceive what--would come to pass enabling him to pay indue time.  And now that the providential occurrence wasapparently close at handit would have been sheer absurdity to thinkthat the supply would be short of the need:  as absurd as afaith that believed in half a miracle for want of strength to believein a whole one.

Thedeep-veined hands fingered many bank-notes-one after the otherlaying them down flat againwhile Fred leaned back in his chairscorning to look eager.  He held himself to be a gentleman atheartand did not like courting an old fellow for his money. At lastMr. Featherstone eyed him again over his spectacles andpresented him with a little sheaf of notes:  Fred could seedistinctly that there were but fiveas the less significant edgesgaped towards him. But theneach might mean fifty pounds.  Hetook themsaying--

"I amvery much obliged to yousir" and was going to roll them upwithout seeming to think of their value.  But this did not suitMr. Featherstonewho was eying him intently.

"Comedon't you think it worth your while to count 'em?  You takemoney like a lord; I suppose you lose it like one."

"Ithought I was not to look a gift-horse in the mouthsir.  But Ishall be very happy to count them."

Fred wasnot so happyhoweverafter he had counted them.  For theyactually presented the absurdity of being less than his hopefulnesshad decided that they must be.  What can the fitness of thingsmeanif not their fitness to a man's expectations?  Failingthisabsurdity and atheism gape behind him.  The collapse forFred was severe when he found that he held no more than fivetwentiesand his share in the higher education of this country didnot seem to help him. Nevertheless he saidwith rapid changes in hisfair complexion--

"Itis very handsome of yousir."

"Ishould think it is" said Mr. Featherstonelocking his box andreplacing itthen taking off his spectacles deliberatelyand atlengthas if his inward meditation had more deeply convinced himrepeating"I should think it handsome."

"Iassure yousirI am very grateful" said Fredwho had hadtime to recover his cheerful air.

"Soyou ought to be.  You want to cut a figure in the worldand Ireckon Peter Featherstone is the only one you've got to trust to."Here the old man's eyes gleamed with a curiously mingled satisfactionin the consciousness that this smart young fellow relied upon himand that the smart young fellow was rather a fool for doing so.

"Yesindeed:  I was not born to very splendid chances.  Few menhave been more cramped than I have been" said Fredwith somesense of surprise at his own virtueconsidering how hardly he wasdealt with. "It really seems a little too bad to have to ride abroken-winded hunterand see menwhoare not half such good judgesas yourselfable to throw away any amount of money on buying badbargains."

"Wellyou can buy yourself a fine hunter now.  Eighty pound is enoughfor thatI reckon--and you'll have twenty pound over to get yourselfout of any little scrape" said Mr. Featherstonechucklingslightly.

"Youare very goodsir" said Fredwith a fine sense of contrastbetween the words and his feeling.

"Ayrather a better uncle than your fine uncle Bulstrode. You won't getmuch out of his spekilationsI think.  He's got a pretty strongstring round your father's legby what I heareh?"

"Myfather never tells me anything about his affairssir."

"Wellhe shows some sense there.  But other people find 'em outwithout his telling.  HE'LL never have much to leave you: he'llmost-like die without a will--he's the sort of man to do it-- let 'emmake him mayor of Middlemarch as much as they like. But you won't getmuch by his dying without a willthough you ARE the eldest son."

Fredthought that Mr. Featherstone had never been so disagreeable before. Truehe had never before given him quite so much money at once.

"ShallI destroy this letter of Mr. Bulstrode'ssir?" said Fredrising with the letter as if he would put it in the fire.

"AyayI don't want it.  It's worth no money to me."

Fredcarried the letter to the fireand thrust the poker through it withmuch zest.  He longed to get out of the roombut he was alittle ashamed before his inner selfas well as before his uncletorun away immediately after pocketing the money.  Presentlythefarm-bailiff came up to give his master a reportand Fredto hisunspeakable reliefwas dismissed with the injunction to come againsoon.

He hadlonged not only to be set free from his unclebut also to find MaryGarth.  She was now in her usual place by the firewith sewingin her hands and a book open on the little table by her side. Her eyelids had lost some of their redness nowand she had her usualair of self-command.

"Am Iwanted up-stairs?" she saidhalf rising as Fred entered.

"No;I am only dismissedbecause Simmons is gone up."

Mary satdown againand resumed her work.  She was certainly treatinghim with more indifference than usual:  she did not know howaffectionately indignant he had felt on her behalf up-stairs.

"MayI stay here a littleMaryor shall I bore you?"

"Praysit down" said Mary; "you will not be so heavy a bore asMr. John Waulewho was here yesterdayand he sat down withoutasking my leave."

"Poorfellow!  I think he is in love with you."

"I amnot aware of it.  And to me it is one of the most odious thingsin a girl's lifethat there must always be some supposition offalling in love coming between her and any man who is kind to herand to whom she is grateful.  I should have thought that Iatleastmight have been safe from all that.  I have no ground forthe nonsensical vanity of fancying everybody who comes near me is inlove with me."

Mary didnot mean to betray any feelingbut in spite of herself she ended ina tremulous tone of vexation.

"ConfoundJohn Waule!  I did not mean to make you angry.  I didn'tknow you had any reason for being grateful to me.  I forgot whata great service you think it if any one snuffs a candle for you. Fredalso had his prideand was not going to show that he knew what hadcalled forth this outburst of Mary's.

"OhI am not angryexcept with the ways of the world.  I do like tobe spoken to as if I had common-sense. I really often feel as if Icould understand a little more than I ever hear even from younggentlemen who have been to college."  Mary had recoveredand she spoke with a suppressed rippling under-current of laughterpleasant to hear.

"Idon't care how merry you are at my expense this morning" saidFred"I thought you looked so sad when you came up-stairs. Itis a shame you should stay here to be bullied in that way."

"OhI have an easy life--by comparison.  I have tried being ateacherand I am not fit for that:  my mind is too fond ofwandering on its own way.  I think any hardship is better thanpretending to do what one is paid forand never really doing it. Everything here I can do as well as any one else could; perhapsbetter than some--Rosyfor example.  Though she is just thesort of beautiful creature that is imprisoned with ogres in fairytales."

"ROSY!"cried Fredin a tone of profound brotherly scepticism.

"ComeFred!" said Maryemphatically; "you have no right to be socritical."

"Doyou mean anything particular--just now?"

"NoI mean something general--always."

"Ohthat I am idle and extravagant.  WellI am not fit to be a poorman.  I should not have made a bad fellow if I had been rich."

"Youwould have done your duty in that state of life to which it has notpleased God to call you" said Marylaughing.

"WellI couldn't do my duty as a clergymanany more than you could doyours as a governess.  You ought to have a little fellow-feelingthereMary."

"Inever said you ought to be a clergyman.  There are other sortsof work.  It seems to me very miserable not to resolve on somecourse and act accordingly."

"So Icouldif--" Fred broke offand stood upleaning against themantel-piece.

"Ifyou were sure you should not have a fortune?"

"Idid not say that.  You want to quarrel with me.  It is toobad of you to be guided by what other people say about me."

"Howcan I want to quarrel with you?  I should be quarrelling withall my new books" said Marylifting the volume on the table."However naughty you may be to other peopleyou are good tome."

"BecauseI like you better than any one else.  But I know you despiseme."

"YesI do--a little" said Marynoddingwith a smile.

"Youwould admire a stupendous fellowwho would have wise opinions abouteverything."

"YesI should."  Mary was sewing swiftlyand seemed provokinglymistress of the situation.  When a conversation has taken awrong turn for uswe only get farther and farther into the swamp ofawkwardness. This was what Fred Vincy felt.

"Isuppose a woman is never in love with any one she has always known--ever since she can remember; as a man often is.  It is alwayssome new fellow who strikes a girl."

"Letme see" said Marythe corners of her mouth curling archly; "Imust go back on my experience.  There is Juliet--she seems anexample of what you say.  But then Ophelia had probably knownHamlet a long while; and Brenda Troil--she had known Mordaunt Mertonever since they were children; but then he seems to have been anestimable young man; and Minna was still more deeply in love withClevelandwho was a stranger.  Waverley was new to FloraMacIvor; but then she did not fall in love with him.  And thereare Olivia and Sophia Primroseand Corinne--they may be said to havefallen in love with new men.  Altogethermy experience israther mixed."

Marylooked up with some roguishness at Fredand that look of hers wasvery dear to himthough the eyes were nothing more than clearwindows where observation sat laughingly.  He was certainly anaffectionate fellowand as he had grown from boy to manhe hadgrown in love with his old playmatenotwithstanding that share inthe higher education of the country which had exalted his views ofrank and income.

"Whena man is not lovedit is no use for him to say that he could be abetter fellow--could do anything--I meanif he were sure of beingloved in return."

"Notof the least use in the world for him to say he COULD be better. Mightcouldwould--they are contemptible auxiliaries."

"Idon't see how a man is to be good for much unless he has some onewoman to love him dearly."

"Ithink the goodness should come before he expects that."

"Youknow betterMary.  Women don't love men for their goodness."

"Perhapsnot.  But if they love themthey never think them bad."

"Itis hardly fair to say I am bad."

"Isaid nothing at all about you."

"Inever shall be good for anythingMaryif you will not say that youlove me--if you will not promise to marry me--I meanwhen I am ableto marry."

"If Idid love youI would not marry you:  I would certainly notpromise ever to marry you."

"Ithink that is quite wickedMary.  If you love meyou ought topromise to marry me."

"Onthe contraryI think it would be wicked in me to marry you even if Idid love you."

"Youmeanjust as I amwithout any means of maintaining a wife. Ofcourse:  I am but three-and-twenty."

"Inthat last point you will alter.  But I am not so sure of anyother alteration.  My father says an idle man ought not toexistmuch lessbe married."

"ThenI am to blow my brains out?"

"No;on the whole I should think you would do better to pass yourexamination.  I have heard Mr. Farebrother say it isdisgracefully easy."

"Thatis all very fine.  Anything is easy to him.  Not thatcleverness has anything to do with it.  I am ten times clevererthan many men who pass."

"Dearme!" said Maryunable to repress her sarcasm; "thataccounts for the curates like Mr. Crowse.  Divide yourcleverness by tenand the quotient--dear me!--is able to take adegree.  But that only shows you are ten times more idle thanthe others."

"Wellif I did passyou would not want me to go into the Church?"

"Thatis not the question--what I want you to do.  You have aconscience of your ownI suppose.  There! there is Mr. Lydgate.I must go and tell my uncle."

"Mary"said Fredseizing her hand as she rose; "if you will not giveme some encouragementI shall get worse instead of better."

"Iwill not give you any encouragement" said Maryreddening."Your friends would dislike itand so would mine.  Myfather would think it a disgrace to me if I accepted a man who gotinto debtand would not work!"

Fred wasstungand released her hand.  She walked to the doorbut thereshe turned and said:  "Fredyou have always been so goodso generous to me.  I am not ungrateful.  But never speakto me in that way again."

"Verywell" said Fredsulkilytaking up his hat and whip. Hiscomplexion showed patches of pale pink and dead white. Like many aplucked idle young gentlemanhe was thoroughly in loveand with aplain girlwho had no money!  But having Mr. Featherstone'sland in the backgroundand a persuasion thatlet Mary say what shewouldshe really did care for himFred was not utterly in despair.

When hegot homehe gave four of the twenties to his motherasking her tokeep them for him.  "I don't want to spend that moneymother. I want it to pay a debt with.  So keep it safe away frommy fingers."

"Blessyoumy dear" said Mrs. Vincy.  She doted on her eldestson and her youngest girl (a child of six)whom others thought hertwo naughtiest children.  The mother's eyes are not alwaysdeceived in their partiality:  she at least can best judge whois the tenderfilial-hearted child.  And Fred was certainlyvery fond of his mother. Perhaps it was his fondness for anotherperson also that made him particularly anxious to take some securityagainst his own liability to spend the hundred pounds.  For thecreditor to whom he owed a hundred and sixty held a firmer securityin the shape of a bill signed by Mary's father.




CHAPTERXV



  "Black eyes you have leftyou say
   Blue eyesfail to draw you;
   Yet you seem more rapt to-day
  Than of old we saw you.

  "OhI track the fairest fair
   Through new hauntsof pleasure;
   Footprints here and echoes there
  Guide me to my treasure:

  "Lo! she turns--immortal youth
   Wrought to mortalstature
   Fresh as starlight's aged truth--

 

  Many-namedNature!"



A greathistorianas he insisted on calling himselfwho had the happinessto be dead a hundred and twenty years agoand so to take his placeamong the colossi whose huge legs our living pettiness is observed towalk underglories in his copious remarks and digressions as theleast imitable part of his workand especially in those initialchapters to the successive books of his historywhere he seems tobring his armchair to the proscenium and chat with us in all thelusty ease of his fine English.  But Fielding lived when thedays were longer (for timelike moneyis measured by our needs)when summer afternoons were spaciousand the clock ticked slowly inthe winter evenings.  We belated historians must not lingerafter his example; and if we did soit is probable that our chatwould be thin and eageras if delivered from a campstool in aparrot-house. I at least have so much to do in unraveling certainhuman lotsand seeing how they were woven and interwoventhat allthe light I can command must be concentrated on this particular weband not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called theuniverse.

At presentI have to make the new settler Lydgate better known to any oneinterested in him than he could possibly be even to those who hadseen the most of him since his arrival in Middlemarch. For surely allmust admit that a man may be puffed and belaudedenviedridiculedcounted upon as a tool and fallen in love withor at least selectedas a future husbandand yet remain virtually unknown-- known merelyas a cluster of signs for his neighbors' false suppositions. Therewas a general impressionhoweverthat Lydgate was not altogether acommon country doctorand in Middlemarch at that time such animpression was significant of great things being expected from him.For everybody's family doctor was remarkably cleverand wasunderstood to have immeasurable skill in the management and trainingof the most skittish or vicious diseases.  The evidence of hiscleverness was of the higher intuitive orderlying in hislady-patients' immovable convictionand was unassailable by anyobjection except that their intuitions were opposed by others equallystrong; each lady who saw medical truth in Wrench and "thestrengthening treatment" regarding Toller and "the loweringsystem" as medical perdition. For the heroic times of copiousbleeding and blistering had not yet departedstill less the times ofthorough-going theorywhen disease in general was called by some badnameand treated accordingly without shilly-shally--as ifforexampleit were to be called insurrectionwhich must not be firedon with blank-cartridgebut have its blood drawn at once.  Thestrengtheners and the lowerers were all "clever" men insomebody's opinionwhich is really as much as can be said for anyliving talents. Nobody's imagination had gone so far as to conjecturethat Mr. Lydgate could know as much as Dr. Sprague and Dr. Minchinthe two physicianswho alone could offer any hope when danger wasextremeand when the smallest hope was worth a guinea.  StillI repeatthere was a general impression that Lydgate was somethingrather more uncommon than any general practitioner in Middlemarch.And this was true.  He was but seven-and-twentyan age at whichmany men are not quite common--at which they are hopeful ofachievementresolute in avoidancethinking that Mammon shall neverput a bit in their mouths and get astride their backsbut ratherthat Mammonif they have anything to do with himshall draw theirchariot.

He hadbeen left an orphan when he was fresh from a public school. Hisfathera military manhad made but little provision for threechildrenand when the boy Tertius asked to have a medical educationit seemed easier to his guardians to grant his request byapprenticing him to a country practitioner than to make anyobjections on the score of family dignity.  He was one of therarer lads who early get a decided bent and make up their minds thatthere is something particular in life which they would like to do forits own sakeand not because their fathers did it.  Most of uswho turn to any subject with love remember some morning or eveninghour when we got on a high stool to reach down an untried volumeorsat with parted lips listening to a new talkeror for very lack ofbooks began to listen to the voices withinas the first traceablebeginning of our love. Something of that sort happened to Lydgate. He was a quick fellowand when hot from playwould toss himself ina cornerand in five minutes be deep in any sort of book that hecould lay his hands on: if it were Rasselas or Gulliverso much thebetterbut Bailey's Dictionary would door the Bible with theApocrypha in it. Something he must readwhen he was not riding theponyor running and huntingor listening to the talk of men. All this was true of him at ten years of age; he had then readthrough "Chrysalor the Adventures of a Guinea" which wasneither milk for babesnor any chalky mixture meant to pass formilkand it had already occurred to him that books were stuffandthat life was stupid. His school studies had not much modified thatopinionfor though he "did" his classics and mathematicshe was not pre-eminent in them. It was said of himthat Lydgatecould do anything he likedbut he had certainly not yet liked to doanything remarkable. He was a vigorous animal with a readyunderstandingbut no spark had yet kindled in him an intellectualpassion; knowledge seemed to him a very superficial affaireasilymastered:  judging from the conversation of his eldershe hadapparently got already more than was necessary for mature life. Probably this was not an exceptional result of expensive teaching atthat period of short-waisted coatsand other fashions which have notyet recurred.  Butone vacationa wet day sent him to thesmall home library to hunt once more for a book which might have somefreshness for him:  in vain! unlessindeedhe took down adusty row of volumes with gray-paper backs and dingy labels--thevolumes of an old Cyclopaedia which he had never disturbed.  Itwould at least be a novelty to disturb them. They were on the highestshelfand he stood on a chair to get them down.  But he openedthe volume which he first took from the shelf:  somehowone isapt to read in a makeshift attitudejust where it might seeminconvenient to do so.  The page he opened on was under the headof Anatomyand the first passage that drew his eyes was on thevalves of the heart.  He was not much acquainted with valves ofany sortbut he knew that valvae were folding-doorsand throughthis crevice came a sudden light startling him with his first vividnotion of finely adjusted mechanism in the human frame.  Aliberal education had of course left him free to read the indecentpassages in the school classicsbut beyond a general sense ofsecrecy and obscenity in connection with his internal structurehadleft his imagination quite unbiassedso that for anything he knewhis brains lay in small bags at his templesand he had no morethought of representing to himself how his blood circulated than howpaper served instead of gold. But the moment of vocation had comeand before he got down from his chairthe world was made new to himby a presentiment of. endless processes filling the vast spacesplanked out of his sight by that wordy ignorance which he hadsupposed to be knowledge. From that hour Lydgate felt the growth ofan intellectual passion.

We are notafraid of telling over and over again how a man comes to fall in lovewith a woman and be wedded to heror else be fatally parted fromher.  Is it due to excess of poetry or of stupidity that we arenever weary of describing what King James called a woman's "makdomand her fairnesse" never weary of listening to the twanging ofthe old Troubadour stringsand are comparatively uninterested inthat other kind of "makdom and fairnesse" which must bewooed with industrious thought and patient renunciation of smalldesires? In the story of this passiontoothe development varies:sometimes it is the glorious marriagesometimes frustration andfinal parting.  And not seldom the catastrophe is bound up withthe other passionsung by the Troubadours.  For in themultitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a dailycourse determined for them much in the same way as the tie of theircravatsthere is always a good number who once meant to shape theirown deeds and alter the world a little.  The story of theircoming to be shapen after the average and fit to be packed by thegrossis hardly ever told even in their consciousness; for perhapstheir ardor in generous unpaid toil cooled as imperceptibly as theardor of other youthful lovestill one day their earlier self walkedlike a ghost in its old home and made the new furniture ghastly.Nothing in the world more subtle than the process of their gradualchange!  In the beginning they inhaled it unknowingly: you and Imay have sent some of our breath towards infecting themwhen weuttered our conforming falsities or drew our silly conclusions: orperhaps it came with the vibrations from a woman's glance.

Lydgatedid not mean to be one of those failuresand there was the betterhope of him because his scientific interest soon took the form of aprofessional enthusiasm:  he had a youthful belief in hisbread-winning worknot to be stifled by that initiation in makeshiftcalled his 'prentice days; and he carried to his studies in LondonEdinburghand Paristhe conviction that the medical profession asit might be was the finest in the world; presenting the most perfectinterchange between science and art; offering the most directalliance between intellectual conquest and the social good. Lydgate's nature demanded this combination: he was an emotionalcreaturewith a flesh-and-blood sense of fellowship which withstoodall the abstractions of special study. He cared not only for "cases"but for John and Elizabethespecially Elizabeth.

There wasanother attraction in his profession:  it wanted reformandgave a man an opportunity for some indignant resolve to reject itsvenal decorations and other humbugand to be the possessor ofgenuine though undemanded qualifications.  He went to study inParis with the determination that when he provincial home again hewould settle in some provincial town as a general practitionerandresist the irrational severance between medical and surgicalknowledge in the interest of his own scientific pursuitsas well asof the general advance:  he would keep away from the range ofLondon intriguesjealousiesand social trucklingand wincelebrityhowever slowlyas Jenner had doneby the independentvalue of his work.  For it must be remembered that this was adark period; and in spite of venerable colleges which used greatefforts to secure purity of knowledge by making it scarceand toexclude error by a rigid exclusiveness in relation to fees andappointmentsit happened that very ignorant young gentlemen werepromoted in townand many more got a legal right to practise overlarge areas in the country.  Alsothe high standard held up tothe public mind by the College of which which gave its peculiarsanction to the expensive and highly rarefied medical instructionobtained by graduates of Oxford and Cambridgedid not hinderquackery from having an excellent time of it; for since professionalpractice chiefly consisted in giving a great many drugsthe publicinferred that it might be better off with more drugs stillif theycould only be got cheaplyand hence swallowed large cubic measuresof physic prescribed by unscrupulous ignorance which had taken nodegrees. Considering that statistics had not yet embraced acalculation as to the number of ignorant or canting doctors whichabsolutely must exist in the teeth of all changesit seemed toLydgate that a change in the units was the most direct mode ofchanging the numbers. He meant to be a unit who would make a certainamount of difference towards that spreading change which would oneday tell appreciably upon the averagesand in the mean time have thepleasure of making an advantageous difference to the viscera of hisown patients. But he did not simply aim at a more genuine kind ofpractice than was common.  He was ambitious of a wider effect: he was fired with the possibility that he might work out the proof ofan anatomical conception and make a link in the chain of discovery.

Does itseem incongruous to you that a Middlemarch surgeon should dream ofhimself as a discoverer?  Most of usindeedknow little of thegreat originators until they have been lifted up among theconstellations and already rule our fates.  But that Herschelfor examplewho "broke the barriers of the heavens"--didhe not once play a provincial church-organand give music-lessons tostumbling pianists?  Each of those Shining Ones had to walk onthe earth among neighbors who perhaps thought much more of his gaitand his garments than of anything which was to give him a title toeverlasting fame:  each of them had his little local personalhistory sprinkled with small temptations and sordid careswhich madethe retarding friction of his course towards final companionship withthe immortals.  Lydgate was not blind to the dangers of suchfrictionbut he had plenty of confidence in his resolution to avoidit as far as possible:  being seven-and-twentyhe felt himselfexperienced.  And he was not going to have his vanities provokedby contact with the showy worldly successes of the capitalbut tolive among people who could hold no rivalry with that pursuit of agreat idea which was to be a twin object with the assiduous practiceof his profession.  There was fascination in the hope that thetwo purposes would illuminate each other: the careful observation andinference which was his daily workthe use of the lens to furtherhis judgment in special caseswould further his thought as aninstrument of larger inquiry. Was not this the typical pre-eminenceof his profession?  He would be a good Middlemarch doctorandby that very means keep himself in the track of far-reachinginvestigation.  On one point he may fairly claim approval atthis particular stage of his career: he did not mean to imitate thosephilanthropic models who make a profit out of poisonous pickles tosupport themselves while they are exposing adulterationor holdshares in a gambling-hell that they may have leisure to represent thecause of public morality. He intended to begin in his own case someparticular reforms which were quite certainly within his reachandmuch less of a problem than the demonstrating of an anatomicalconception.  One of these reforms was to act stoutly on thestrength of a recent legal decisionand simply prescribewithoutdispensing drugs or taking percentage from druggists.  This wasan innovation for one who had chosen to adopt the style of generalpractitioner in a country townand would be felt as offensivecriticism by his professional brethren. But Lydgate meant to innovatein his treatment alsoand he was wise enough to see that the bestsecurity for his practising honestly according to his belief was toget rid of systematic temptations to the contrary.

Perhapsthat was a more cheerful time for observers and theorizers than thepresent; we are apt to think it the finest era of the world whenAmerica was beginning to be discoveredwhen a bold sailoreven ifhe were wreckedmight alight on a new kingdom; and about 1829 thedark territories of Pathology were a fine America for a spiritedyoung adventurer.  Lydgate was ambitious above all to contributetowards enlarging the scientificrational basis of his profession.The more he became interested in special questions of diseasesuchas the nature of fever or feversthe more keenly he felt the needfor that fundamental knowledge of structure which just at thebeginning of the century had been illuminated by the brief andglorious career of Bichatwho died when he was only one-and-thirtybutlike another Alexanderleft a realm large enough for manyheirs. That great Frenchman first carried out the conception thatliving bodiesfundamentally consideredare not associations oforgans which can be understood by studying them first apartand thenas it were federally; but must be regarded as consisting of certainprimary webs or tissuesout of which the various organs--brainheartlungsand so on-- are compactedas the variousaccommodations of a house are built up in various proportions ofwoodironstonebrickzincand the resteach material havingits peculiar composition and proportions. No manone seescanunderstand and estimate the entire structure or its parts--what areits frailties and what its repairswithout knowing the nature of thematerials.  And the conception wrought out by Bichatwith hisdetailed study of the different tissuesacted necessarily on medicalquestions as the turning of gas-light would act on a dimoil-litstreetshowing new connections and hitherto hidden facts ofstructure which must be taken into account in considering thesymptoms of maladies and the action of medicaments.  But resultswhich depend on human conscience and intelligence work slowlyandnow at the end of 1829most medical practice was still strutting orshambling along the old pathsand there was still scientific work tobe done which might have seemed to be a direct sequence of Bichat's.This great seer did not go beyond the consideration of the tissues asultimate facts in the living organismmarking the limit ofanatomical analysis; but it was open to another mind to sayhave notthese structures some common basis from which they have all startedas your sarsnetgauzenetsatinand velvet from the raw cocoon? Here would be another lightas of oxy-hydrogenshowing the verygrain of thingsand revising ail former explanations.  Of thissequence to Bichat's workalready vibrating along many currents ofthe European mindLydgate was enamoured; he longed to demonstratethe more intimate relations of living structureand help to definemen's thought more accurately after the true order.  The workhad not yet been donebut only prepared for those who knew how touse the preparation. What was the primitive tissue?  In that wayLydgate put the question-- not quite in the way required by theawaiting answer; but such missing of the right word befalls manyseekers.  And he counted on quiet intervals to be watchfullyseizedfor taking up the threads of investigation--on many hints tobe won from diligent applicationnot only of the scalpelbut of themicroscopewhich research had begun to use again with new enthusiasmof reliance.  Such was Lydgate's plan of his future:  to dogood small work for Middlemarchand great work for the world.

He wascertainly a happy fellow at this time:  to be seven-and-twentywithout any fixed viceswith a generous resolution that his actionshould be beneficentand with ideas in his brain that made lifeinteresting quite apart from the cultus of horseflesh and othermystic rites of costly observancewhich the eight hundred poundsleft him after buying his practice would certainly not have gone farin paying for.  He was at a starting-point which makes many aman's career a fine subject for bettingif there were any gentlemengiven to that amusement who could appreciate the complicatedprobabilities of an arduous purposewith all the possible thwartingsand furtherings of circumstanceall the niceties of inward balanceby which a man swims and makes his point or else is carriedheadlong.  The risk would remain even with close knowledge ofLydgate's character; for character too is a process and anunfolding.  The man was still in the makingas much as theMiddlemarch doctor and immortal discovererand there were bothvirtues and faults capable of shrinking or expanding. The faults willnotI hopebe a reason for the withdrawal of your interest in him. Among our valued friends is there not some one or other who is alittle too self-confident and disdainful; whose distinguished mind isa little spotted with commonness; who is a little pinched here andprotuberant there with native. prejudices; or whose better energiesare liable to lapse down the wrong channel under the influence oftransient solicitations? All these things might be alleged againstLydgatebut thenthey are the periphrases of a polite preacherwhotalks of Adamand would not like to mention anything painful to thepew-renters. The particular faults from which these delicategeneralities are distilled have distinguishable physiognomiesdictionaccentand grimaces; filling up parts in very variousdramas.  Our vanities differ as our noses do:  all conceitis not the same conceitbut varies in correspondence with theminutiae of mental make in which one of us differs from another. Lydgate's conceit was of the arrogant sortnever simperingneverimpertinentbut massive in its claims and benevolently contemptuous.He would do a great deal for noodlesbeing sorry for themandfeeling quite sure that they could have no power over him: he hadthought of joining the Saint Simonians when he was in Parisin orderto turn them against some of their own doctrines. All his faults weremarked by kindred traitsand were those of a man who had a finebaritonewhose clothes hung well upon himand who even in hisordinary gestures had an air of inbred distinction. Where then laythe spots of commonness? says a young lady enamoured of that carelessgrace.  How could there be any commonness in a man so well-bredso ambitious of social distinctionso generous and unusual in hisviews of social duty?  As easily as there may be stupidity in aman of genius if you take him unawares on the wrong subjector asmany a man who has the best will to advance the social millenniummight be ill-inspired in imagining its lighter pleasures; unable togo beyond Offenbach's musicor the brilliant punning in the lastburlesque.  Lydgate's spots of commonness lay in the complexionof his prejudiceswhichin spite of noble intention and sympathywere half of them such as are found in ordinary men of the world:that distinction of mind which belonged to his intellectual ardordid not penetrate his feeling and judgment about furnitureor womenor the desirability of its being known (without his telling) that hewas better born than other country surgeons.  He did not mean tothink of furniture at present; but whenever he did so it was to befeared that neither biology nor schemes of reform would lift himabove the vulgarity of feeling that there would be an incompatibilityin his furniture not being of the best.

As towomenhe had once already been drawn headlong by impetuous follywhich he meant to be finalsince marriage at some distant periodwould of course not be impetuous.  For those who want to beacquainted with Lydgate it will be good to know what was that case ofimpetuous follyfor it may stand as an example of the fitfulswerving of passion to which he was pronetogether with thechivalrous kindness which helped to make him morally lovable. Thestory can be told without many words.  It happened when he wasstudying in Parisand just at the time whenover and above hisother workhe was occupied with some galvanic experiments. Oneeveningtired with his experimentingand not being able to elicitthe facts he neededhe left his frogs and rabbits to some reposeunder their trying and mysterious dispensation of unexplained shocksand went to finish his evening at the theatre of the Porte SaintMartinwhere there was a melodrama which he had already seen severaltimes; attractednot by the ingenious work of the collaboratingauthorsbut by an actress whose part it was to stab her lovermistaking him for the evil-designing duke of the piece.  Lydgatewas in love with this actressas a man is in love with a woman whomhe never expects to speak to. She was a Provencalewith dark eyesaGreek profileand rounded majestic formhaving that sort of beautywhich carries a sweet matronliness even in youthand her voice was asoft cooing. She had but lately come to Parisand bore a virtuousreputationher husband acting with her as the unfortunate lover. It was her acting which was "no better than it should be"but the public was satisfied.  Lydgate's only relaxation now wasto go and look at this womanjust as he might have thrown himselfunder the breath of the sweet south on a bank of violets for a whilewithout prejudice to his galvanismto which he would presentlyreturn. But this evening the old drama had a new catastrophe. At the moment when the heroine was to act the stabbing of her loverand he was to fall gracefullythe wife veritably stabbed herhusbandwho fell as death willed.  A wild shriek pierced thehouseand the Provencale fell swooning:  a shriek and a swoonwere demanded by the playbut the swooning too was real this time.Lydgate leaped and climbedhe hardly knew howon to the stageandwas active in helpmaking the acquaintance of his heroine by findinga contusion on her head and lifting her gently in his arms. Parisrang with the story of this death:--was it a murder?  Some ofthe actress's warmest admirers were inclined to believe in her guiltand liked her the better for it (such was the taste of those times);but Lydgate was not one of these.  He vehemently contended forher innocenceand the remote impersonal passion for her beauty whichhe had felt beforehad passed now into personal devotionand tenderthought of her lot.  The notion of murder was absurd: no motivewas discoverablethe young couple being understood to dote on eachother; and it was not unprecedented that an accidental slip of thefoot should have brought these grave consequences. The legalinvestigation ended in Madame Laure's release. Lydgate by this timehad had many interviews with herand found her more and moreadorable.  She talked little; but that was an additional charm. She was melancholyand seemed grateful; her presence was enoughlike that of the evening light. Lydgate was madly anxious about heraffectionand jealous lest any other man than himself should win itand ask her to marry him. But instead of reopening her engagement atthe Porte Saint Martinwhere she would have been all the morepopular for the fatal episodeshe left Paris without warningforsaking her little court of admirers. Perhaps no one carriedinquiry far except Lydgatewho felt that all science had come to astand-still while he imagined the unhappy Laurestricken byever-wandering sorrowherself wanderingand finding no faithfulcomforter.  Hidden actresseshoweverare not so difficult tofind as some other hidden factsand it was not long before Lydgategathered indications that Laure had taken the route to Lyons. Hefound her at last acting with great success at Avignon under the samenamelooking more majestic than ever as a forsaken wife carrying herchild in her arms.  He spoke to her after the playwas receivedwith the usual quietude which seemed to him beautiful as clear depthsof waterand obtained leave to visit her the next day; when he wasbent on telling her that he adored herand on asking her to marryhim.  He knew that this was like the sudden impulse of amadman--incongruous even with his habitual foibles.  No matter!It was the one thing which he was resolved to do.  He had twoselves within him apparentlyand they must learn to accommodate eachother and bear reciprocal impediments.  Strangethat some ofuswith quick alternate visionsee beyond our infatuationsandeven while we rave on the heightsbehold the wide plain where ourpersistent self pauses and awaits us.

To haveapproached Laure with any suit that was not reverentially tenderwould have been simply a contradiction of his whole feeling towardsher.

"Youhave come all the way from Paris to find me?" she said to himthe next daysitting before him with folded armsand looking at himwith eyes that seemed to wonder as an untamed ruminating animalwonders.  "Are all Englishmen like that?"

"Icame because I could not live without trying to see you. You arelonely; I love you; I want you to consent to be my wife; I will waitbut I want you to promise that you will marry me-- no one else."

Laurelooked at him in silence with a melancholy radiance from under hergrand eyelidsuntil he was full of rapturous certaintyand kneltclose to her knees.

"Iwill tell you something" she saidin her cooing waykeepingher arms folded.  "My foot really slipped."

"IknowI know" said Lydgatedeprecatingly.  "It was afatal accident-- a dreadful stroke of calamity that bound me to youthe more."

AgainLaure paused a little and then saidslowly"I MEANT TO DO IT."

Lydgatestrong man as he wasturned pale and trembled: moments seemed topass before he rose and stood at a distance from her.

"Therewas a secretthen" he said at lasteven vehemently. "Hewas brutal to you:  you hated him."

"No!he wearied me; he was too fond:  he would live in Parisand notin my country; that was not agreeable to me."

"GreatGod!" said Lydgatein a groan of horror.  "And youplanned to murder him?"

"Idid not plan:  it came to me in the play--I MEANT TO DO IT."

Lydgatestood muteand unconsciously pressed his hat on while he looked ather.  He saw this woman--the first to whom he had given hisyoung adoration--amid the throng of stupid criminals.

"Youare a good young man" she said.  "But I do not likehusbands. I will never have another."

Three daysafterwards Lydgate was at his galvanism again in his Paris chambersbelieving that illusions were at an end for him. He was saved fromhardening effects by the abundant kindness of his heart and hisbelief that human life might be made better. But he had more reasonthan ever for trusting his judgmentnow that it was so experienced;and henceforth he would take a strictly scientific view of womanentertaining no expectations but such as were justified beforehand.

No one inMiddle march was likely to have such a notion of Lydgate's past ashas here been faintly shadowedand indeed the respectable townsfolkthere were not more given than mortals generally to any eager attemptat exactness in the representation to themselves of what did not comeunder their own senses.  Not only young virgins of that townbut gray-bearded men alsowere often in haste to conjecture how anew acquaintance might be wrought into their purposescontented withvery vague knowledge as to the way in which life had been shaping himfor that instrumentality.  Middlemarchin factcounted onswallowing Lydgate and assimilating him very comfortably.




CHAPTERXVI



  "All that in woman is adored
   In thy fair self Ifind--
   For the whole sex can but afford
  The handsome and the kind."
   --SIR CHARLESSEDLEY.



Thequestion whether Mr. Tyke should be appointed as salaried chaplain tothe hospital was an exciting topic to the Middlemarchers; and Lydgateheard it discussed in a way that threw much light on the powerexercised in the town by Mr. Bulstrode.  The banker wasevidently a rulerbut there was an opposition partyand even amonghis supporters there were some who allowed it to be seen that theirsupport was a compromiseand who frankly stated their impressionthat the general scheme of thingsand especially the casualties oftraderequired you to hold a candle to the devil.

Mr.Bulstrode's power was not due simply to his being a country bankerwho knew the financial secrets of most traders in the town and couldtouch the springs of their credit; it was fortified by a beneficencethat was at once ready and severe--ready to confer obligationsandsevere in watching the result.  He had gatheredas anindustrious man always at his posta chief share in administeringthe town charitiesand his private charities were both minute andabundant. He would take a great deal of pains about apprenticing Teggthe shoemaker's sonand he would watch over Tegg's church-going; hewould defend Mrs. Strype the washerwoman against Stubbs's unjustexaction on the score of her drying-groundand he wouldhimself-scrutinize a calumny against Mrs. Strype.  His privateminor loans were numerousbut he would inquire strictly into thecircumstances both before and after.  In this way a man gathersa domain in his neighbors' hope and fear as well as gratitude; andpowerwhen once it has got into that subtle regionpropagatesitselfspreading out of all proportion to its external means. It was a principle with Mr. Bulstrode to gain as much power aspossiblethat he might use it for the glory of God.  He wentthrough a great deal of spiritual conflict and inward argument inorder to adjust his motivesand make clear to himself what God'sglory required.  Butas we have seenhis motives were notalways rightly appreciated.  There were many crass minds inMiddlemarch whose reflective scales could only weigh things in thelump; and they had a strong suspicion that since Mr. Bulstrode couldnot enjoy life in their fashioneating and drinking so little as hedidand worreting himself about everythinghe must have a sort ofvampire's feast in the sense of mastery.

Thesubject of the chaplaincy came up at Mr. Vincy's table when Lydgatewas dining thereand the family connection with Mr. Bulstrode didnothe observedprevent some freedom of remark even on the part ofthe host himselfthough his reasons against the proposed arrangementturned entirely on his objection to Mr. Tyke's sermonswhich wereall doctrineand his preference for Mr. Farebrotherwhose sermonswere free from that taint.  Mr. Vincy liked well enough thenotion of the chaplain's having a salarysupposing it were given toFarebrotherwho was as good a little fellow as ever breathedandthe best preacher anywhereand companionable too.

"Whatline shall you takethen?" said Mr. Chichelythe coroneragreat coursing comrade of Mr. Vincy's.

"OhI'm precious glad I'm not one of the Directors now. I shall vote forreferring the matter to the Directors and the Medical Boardtogether.  I shall roll some of my responsibility on yourshouldersDoctor" said Mr. Vincyglancing first at Dr.Spraguethe senior physician of the townand then at Lydgate whosat opposite.  "You medical gentlemen must consult whichsort of black draught you will prescribeehMr. Lydgate?"

"Iknow little of either" said Lydgate; "but in generalappointments are apt to be made too much a question of personalliking. The fittest man for a particular post is not always the bestfellow or the most agreeable.  Sometimesif you wanted to get areformyour only way would be to pension off the good fellows whomeverybody is fond ofand put them out of the question."

Dr.Spraguewho was considered the physician of most "weight"though Dr. Minchin was usually said to have more "penetration"divested his large heavy face of all expressionand looked at hiswine-glass while Lydgate was speaking.  Whatever was notproblematical and suspected about this young man--for exampleacertain showiness as to foreign ideasand a disposition to unsettlewhat had been settled and forgotten by his elders-- was positivelyunwelcome to a physician whose standing had been fixed thirty yearsbefore by a treatise on Meningitisof which at least one copy marked"own" was bound in calf.  For my part I have somefellow-feeling with Dr. Sprague:  one's self-satisfaction is anuntaxed kind of property which it is very unpleasant to finddeprecated.

Lydgate'sremarkhoweverdid not meet the sense of the company. Mr. Vincysaidthat if he could have HIS wayhe would not put disagreeablefellows anywhere.

"Hangyour reforms!" said Mr. Chichely.  "There's no greaterhumbug in the world.  You never hear of a reformbut it meanssome trick to put in new men.  I hope you are not one of the`Lancet's' menMr. Lydgate--wanting to take the coronership out ofthe hands of the legal profession:  your words appear to pointthat way."

"Idisapprove of Wakley" interposed Dr. Sprague"no manmore: he is an ill-intentioned fellowwho would sacrifice therespectability of the professionwhich everybody knows depends onthe London Collegesfor the sake of getting some notoriety forhimself.  There are men who don't mind about being kicked blueif they can only get talked about.  But Wakley is rightsometimes" the Doctor addedjudicially.  "I couldmention one or two points in which Wakley is in the right."

"Ohwell" said Mr. Chichely"I blame no man for standing upin favor of his own cloth; butcoming to argumentI should like toknow how a coroner is to judge of evidence if he has not had a legaltraining?"

"Inmy opinion" said Lydgate"legal training only makes a manmore incompetent in questions that require knowledge a of anotherkind. People talk about evidence as if it could really be weighed inscales by a blind Justice.  No man can judge what is goodevidence on any particular subjectunless he knows that subjectwell.  A lawyer is no better than an old woman at a post-mortemexamination. How is he to know the action of a poison?  Youmight as well say that scanning verse will teach you to scan thepotato crops."

"Youare awareI supposethat it is not the coroner's business toconduct the post-mortembut only to take the evidence of the medicalwitness?" said Mr. Chichelywith some scorn.

"Whois often almost as ignorant as the coroner himself" saidLydgate. "Questions of medical jurisprudence ought not to beleft to the chance of decent knowledge in a medical witnessand thecoroner ought not to be a man who will believe that strychnine willdestroy the coats of the stomach if an ignorant practitioner happensto tell him so."

Lydgatehad really lost sight of the fact that Mr. Chichely was his Majesty'scoronerand ended innocently with the question"Don't youagree with meDr. Sprague?"

"To acertain extent--with regard to populous districtsand in themetropolis" said the Doctor.  "But I hope it will belong before this part of the country loses the services of my friendChichelyeven though it might get the best man in our profession tosucceed him. I am sure Vincy will agree with me."

"Yesyesgive me a coroner who is a good coursing man" said Mr.Vincyjovially.  "And in my opinionyou're safest with alawyer.  Nobody can know everything. Most things are `visitationof God.'  And as to poisoningwhywhat you want to know is thelaw.  Comeshall we join the ladies?"

Lydgate'sprivate opinion was that Mr. Chichely might be the very coronerwithout bias as to the coats of the stomachbut he had not meant tobe personal.  This was one of the difficulties of moving in goodMiddlemarch society:  it was dangerous to insist on knowledge asa qualification for any salaried office.  Fred Vincy had calledLydgate a prigand now Mr. Chichely was inclined to call himprick-eared; especially whenin the drawing-roomhe seemed to bemaking himself eminently agreeable to Rosamondwhom he had easilymonopolized in a tete-a-tetesince Mrs. Vincy herself sat at thetea-table. She resigned no domestic function to her daughter; and thematron's blooming good-natured facewith the two volatile pinkstrings floating from her fine throatand her cheery manners tohusband and childrenwas certainly among the great attractions ofthe Vincy house--attractions which made it all the easier to fall inlove with the daughter.  The tinge of unpretentiousinoffensivevulgarity in Mrs. Vincy gave more effect to Rosamond's refinementwhich was beyond what Lydgate had expected.

Certainlysmall feet and perfectly turned shoulders aid the impression ofrefined mannersand the right thing said seems quite astonishinglyright when it is accompanied with exquisite curves of lip andeyelid.  And Rosamond could say the right thing; for she wasclever with that sort of cleverness which catches every tone exceptthe humorous.  Happily she never attempted to jokeand thisperhaps was the most decisive mark of her cleverness.

She andLydgate readily got into conversation.  He regretted that he hadnot heard her sing the other day at Stone Court. The only pleasure heallowed himself during the latter part of his stay in Paris was to goand hear music.

"Youhave studied musicprobably?" said Rosamond.

"NoI know the notes of many birdsand I know many melodies by ear; butthe music that I don't know at alland have no notion aboutdelights me--affects me.  How stupid the world is that it doesnot make more use of such a pleasure within its reach!"

"Yesand you will find Middlemarch very tuneless.  There are hardlyany good musicians.  I only know two gentlemen who sing at allwell."

"Isuppose it is the fashion to sing comic songs in a rhythmic wayleaving you to fancy the tune--very much as if it were tapped on adrum?"

"Ahyou have heard Mr. Bowyer" said Rosamondwith one of her raresmiles.  "But we are speaking very ill of our neighbors."

Lydgatewas almost forgetting that he must carry on the conversationinthinking how lovely this creature washer garment seeming to be madeout of the faintest blue skyherself so immaculately blondas ifthe petals of some gigantic flower had just opened and disclosed her;and yet with this infantine blondness showing so much readyself-possessed grace.  Since he had had the memory of LaureLydgate had lost all taste for large-eyed silence:  the divinecow no longer attracted himand Rosamond was her very opposite. Buthe recalled himself.

"Youwill let me hear some music to-nightI hope."

"Iwill let you hear my attemptsif you like" said Rosamond."Papa is sure to insist on my singing.  But I shall tremblebefore youwho have heard the best singers in Paris.  I haveheard very little: I have only once been to London.  But ourorganist at St. Peter's is a good musicianand I go on studying withhim."

"Tellme what you saw in London."

"Verylittle."  (A more naive girl would have said"Oheverything!" But Rosamond knew better.) "A few of theordinary sightssuch as raw country girls are always taken to."

"Doyou call yourself a raw country girl?" said Lydgatelooking ather with an involuntary emphasis of admirationwhich made Rosamondblush with pleasure.  But she remained simply seriousturnedher long neck a littleand put up her hand to touch her wondroushair-plaits-- an habitual gesture with her as pretty as any movementsof a kitten's paw.  Not that Rosamond was in the least like akitten: she was a sylph caught young and educated at Mrs. Lemon's.

"Iassure you my mind is raw" she said immediately; "I passat Middlemarch.  I am not afraid of talking to our oldneighbors. But I am really afraid of you."

"Anaccomplished woman almost always knows more than we menthough herknowledge is of a different sort.  I am sure you could teach mea thousand things--as an exquisite bird could teach a bear if therewere any common language between them.  Happilythere is acommon language between women and menand so the bears can gettaught."

"Ahthere is Fred beginning to strum!  I must go and hinder him fromjarring all your nerves" said Rosamondmoving to the otherside of the roomwhere Fred having opened the pianoat his father'sdesirethat Rosamond might give them some musicwas parentheticallyperforming "Cherry Ripe!" with one hand.  Able men whohave passed their examinations will do these things sometimesnotless than the plucked Fred.

"Fredpray defer your practising till to-morrow; you will make Mr. Lydgateill" said Rosamond.  "He has an ear."

Fredlaughedand went on with his tune to the end.

Rosamondturned to Lydgatesmiling gentlyand said"You perceivethebears will not always be taught."

"NowthenRosy!" said Fredspringing from the stool and twisting itupward for herwith a hearty expectation of enjoyment. "Somegood rousing tunes first."

Rosamondplayed admirably.  Her master at Mrs. Lemon's school (close to acounty town with a memorable history that had its relics in churchand castle) was one of those excellent musicians here and there to befound in our provincesworthy to compare with many a notedKapellmeister in a country which offers more plentiful conditions ofmusical celebrity.  Rosamondwith the executant's instincthadseized his manner of playingand gave forth his large rendering ofnoble music with the precision of an echo.  It was almoststartlingheard for the first time. A hidden soul seemed to beflowing forth from Rosamond's fingers; and so indeed it wassincesouls live on in perpetual echoesand to all fine expression theregoes somewhere an originating activityif it be only that of aninterpreter.  Lydgate was taken possession ofand began tobelieve in her as something exceptional.  After allhe thoughtone need not be surprised to find the rare conjunctions of natureunder circumstances apparently unfavorable:  come where theymaythey always depend on conditions that are not obvious. He satlooking at herand did not rise to pay her any complimentsleavingthat to othersnow that his admiration was deepened.

Hersinging was less remarkable? but also well trainedand sweet to hearas a chime perfectly in tune.  It is true she sang "Meet meby moonlight" and "I've been roaming;" for mortalsmust share the fashions of their timeand none but the ancients canbe always classical.  But Rosamond could also sing "Black-eyedSusan" with effector Haydn's canzonetsor "Voichesapete" or "Battibatti"--she only wanted to knowwhat her audience liked.

Her fatherlooked round at the companydelighting in their admiration. Hermother satlike a Niobe before her troubleswith her youngestlittle girl on her lapsoftly beating the child's hand up and downin time to the music.  And Frednotwithstanding his generalscepticism about Rosylistened to her music with perfect allegiancewishing he could do the same thing on his flute.  It was thepleasantest family party that Lydgate had seen since he came toMiddlemarch. The Vincys had the readiness to enjoythe rejection ofall anxietyand the belief in life as a merry lotwhich made ahouse exceptional in most county towns at that timewhenEvangelicalism had east a certain suspicion as of plague-infectionover the few amusements which survived in the provinces.  At theVincys' there was always whistand the card-tables stood ready nowmaking some of the company secretly impatient of the music. Before it ceased Mr. Farebrother came in-- a handsomebroad-chestedbut otherwise small manabout fortywhose black was verythreadbare:  the brilliancy was all in his quick gray eyes. He came like a pleasant change in the lightarresting little Louisawith fatherly nonsense as she was being led out of the room by MissMorgangreeting everybody with some special wordand seeming tocondense more talk into ten minutes than had been held all throughthe evening.  He claimed from Lydgate the fulfilment of apromise to come and see him.  "I can't let you offyouknowbecause I have some beetles to show you. We collectors feel aninterest in every new man till he has seen all we have to show him."

But soonhe swerved to the whist-tablerubbing his hands and saying"Comenowlet us be serious!  Mr. Lydgate? not play?  Ah! youare too young and light for this kind of thing."

Lydgatesaid to himself that the clergyman whose abilities were so painful toMr. Bulstrodeappeared to have found an agreeable resort in thiscertainly not erudite household.  He could half understand it:the good-humorthe good looks of elder and youngerand theprovision for passing the time without any labor of intelligencemight make the house beguiling to people who had no particular usefor their odd hours.

Everythinglooked blooming and joyous except Miss Morganwho was browndulland resignedand altogetheras Mrs. Vincy often saidjust the sortof person for a governess.  Lydgate did not mean to pay manysuch visits himself.  They were a wretched waste of theevenings; and nowwhen he had talked a little more to Rosamondhemeant to excuse himself and go.

"Youwill not like us at MiddlemarchI feel sure" she saidwhenthe whist-players were settled.  "We are very stupidandyou have been used to something quite different."

"Isuppose all country towns are pretty much alike" said Lydgate."But I have noticed that one always believes one's own town tobe more stupid than any other.  I have made up my mind to takeMiddlemarch as it comesand shall be much obliged if the town willtake me in the same way.  I have certainly found some charms init which are much greater than I had expected."

"Youmean the rides towards Tipton and Lowick; every one is pleased withthose" said Rosamondwith simplicity.

"NoI mean something much nearer to me."

Rosamondrose and reached her nettingand then said"Do you care aboutdancing at all?  I am not quite sure whether clever men everdance."

"Iwould dance with you if you would allow me."

"Oh!"said Rosamondwith a slight deprecatory laugh.  "I wasonly going to say that we sometimes have dancingand I wanted toknow whether you would feel insulted if you were asked to come."

"Noton the condition I mentioned."

After thischat Lydgate thought that he was goingbut on moving towards thewhist-tableshe got interested in watching Mr. Farebrother's playwhich was masterlyand also his facewhich was a striking mixtureof the shrewd and the mild.  At ten o'clock supper was broughtin (such were the customs of Middlemarch) and there waspunch-drinking; but Mr. Farebrother had only a glass of water. He was winningbut there seemed to be no reason why the renewal ofrubbers should endand Lydgate at last took his leave.

But as itwas not eleven o'clockhe chose to walk in the brisk air towards thetower of St. Botolph'sMr. Farebrother's churchwhich stood outdarksquareand massive against the starlight. It was the oldestchurch in Middlemarch; the livinghoweverwas but a vicarage worthbarely four hundred a-year. Lydgate had heard thatand he wonderednow whether Mr. Farebrother cared about the money he won at cards;thinking"He seems a very pleasant fellowbut Bulstrode mayhave his good reasons."  Many things would be easier toLydgate if it should turn out that Mr. Bulstrode was generallyjustifiable.  "What is his religious doctrine to meif hecarries some good notions along with it?  One must use suchbrains as are to be found."

These wereactually Lydgate's first meditations as he walked away from Mr.Vincy'sand on this ground I fear that many ladies will consider himhardly worthy of their attention.  He thought of Rosamond andher music only in the second place; and thoughwhen her turn camehe dwelt on the image of her for the rest of his walkhe felt noagitationand had no sense that any new current had set into hislife. He could not marry yet; he wished not to marry for severalyears; and therefore he was not ready to entertain the notion ofbeing in love with a girl whom he happened to admire.  He didadmire Rosamond exceedingly; but that madness which had once besethim about Laure was nothe thoughtlikely to recur in relation toany other woman Certainlyif falling in love had been at all inquestionit would have been quite safe with a creature like thisMiss Vincywho had just the kind of intelligence one would desire ina woman-- polishedrefineddocilelending itself to finish in allthe delicacies of lifeand enshrined in a body which expressed thiswith a force of demonstration that excluded the need for otherevidence. Lydgate felt sure that if ever he marriedhis wife wouldhave that feminine radiancethat distinctive womanhood which must beclassed with flowers and musicthat sort of beauty which by its verynature was virtuousbeing moulded only for pure and delicate joys.

But sincehe did not mean to marry for the next five years-- his more pressingbusiness was to look into Louis' new book on Feverwhich he wasspecially interested inbecause he had known Louis in Parisand hadfollowed many anatomical demonstrations in order to ascertain thespecific differences of typhus and typhoid. He went home and read farinto the smallest hourbringing a much more testing vision ofdetails and relations into this pathological study than he had everthought it necessary to apply to the complexities of love andmarriagethese being subjects on which he felt himself amplyinformed by literatureand that traditional wisdom which is handeddown in the genial conversation of men. Whereas Fever had obscureconditionsand gave him that delightful labor of the imaginationwhich is not mere arbitrarinessbut the exercise of disciplinedpower--combining and constructing with the clearest eye forprobabilities and the fullest obedience to knowledge; and theninyet more energetic alliance with impartial Naturestanding aloof toinvent tests by which to try its own work.

Many menhave been praised as vividly imaginative on the strength of theirprofuseness in indifferent drawing or cheap narration:-- reports ofvery poor talk going on in distant orbs; or portraits of Lucifercoming down on his bad errands as a large ugly man with bat's wingsand spurts of phosphorescence; or exaggerations of wantonness thatseem to reflect life in a diseased dream. But these kinds ofinspiration Lydgate regarded as rather vulgar and vinous comparedwith the imagination that reveals subtle actions inaccessible by anysort of lensbut tracked in that outer darkness through longpathways of necessary sequence by the inward light which is the lastrefinement of Energycapable of bathing even the ethereal atoms inits ideally illuminated space. He for his part had tossed away allcheap inventions where ignorance finds itself able and at ease: he was enamoured of that arduous invention which is the very eye ofresearchprovisionally framing its object and correcting it to moreand more exactness of relation; he wanted to pierce the obscurity ofthose minute processes which prepare human misery and joythoseinvisible thoroughfares which are the first lurking-places ofanguishmaniaand crimethat delicate poise and transition whichdetermine the growth of happy or unhappy consciousness.

As hethrew down his bookstretched his legs towards the embers in thegrateand clasped his hands at the back of his headin thatagreeable afterglow of excitement when thought lapses fromexamination of a specific object into a suffusive sense of itsconnections with all the rest of our existence--seemsas it weretothrow itself on its back after vigorous swimming and float with therepose of unexhausted strength--Lydgate felt a triumphant delight inhis studiesand something like pity for those less lucky men whowere not of his profession.

"If Ihad not taken that turn when I was a lad" he thought"Imight have got into some stupid draught-horse work or otherandlived always in blinkers.  I should never have been happy in anyprofession that did not call forth the highest intellectual strainand yet keep me in good warm contact with my neighbors.  Thereis nothing like the medical profession for that:  one can havethe exclusive scientific life that touches the distance and befriendthe old fogies in the parish too.  It is rather harder for aclergyman: Farebrother seems to be an anomaly."

This lastthought brought back the Vincys and all the pictures of the evening. They floated in his mind agreeably enoughand as he took up hisbed-candle his lips were curled with that incipient smile which isapt to accompany agreeable recollections. He was an ardent fellowbut at present his ardor was absorbed in love of his work and in theambition of making his life recognized as a factor in the better lifeof mankind--like other heroes of science who had nothing but anobscure country practice to begin with.

PoorLydgate! or shall I sayPoor Rosamond!  Each lived in a worldof which the other knew nothing.  It had not occurred to Lydgatethat he had been a subject of eager meditation to Rosamondwho hadneither any reason for throwing her marriage into distantperspectivenor any pathological studies to divert her mind fromthat ruminating habitthat inward repetition of lookswordsandphraseswhich makes a large part in the lives of most girls. He hadnot meant to look at her or speak to her with more than theinevitable amount of admiration and compliment which a man must giveto a beautiful girl; indeedit seemed to him that his enjoyment ofher music had remained almost silentfor he feared falling into therudeness of telling her his great surprise at her possession of suchaccomplishment.  But Rosamond had registered every look andwordand estimated them as the opening incidents of a preconceivedromance--incidents which gather value from the foreseen developmentand climax.  In Rosamond's romance it was not necessary toimagine much about the inward life of the heroor of his seriousbusiness in the world:  of coursehe had a profession and wascleveras well as sufficiently handsome; but the piquant fact aboutLydgate was his good birthwhich distinguished him from allMiddlemarch admirersand presented marriage as a prospect of risingin rank and getting a little nearer to that celestial condition onearth in which she would have nothing to do with vulgar peopleandperhaps at last associate with relatives quite equal to the countypeople who looked down on the Middlemarchers. It was part ofRosamond's cleverness to discern very subtly the faintest aroma ofrankand once when she had seen the Miss Brookes accompanying theiruncle at the county assizesand seated among the aristocracyshehad envied themnotwithstanding their plain dress.

If youthink it incredible that to imagine Lydgate as a man of family couldcause thrills of satisfaction which had anything to do with the sensethat she was in love with himI will ask you to use your power ofcomparison a little more effectivelyand consider whether red clothand epaulets have never had an influence of that sort. Our passionsdo not live apart in locked chambersbutdressed in their smallwardrobe of notionsbring their provisions to a common table andmess togetherfeeding out of the common store according to theirappetite.

Rosamondin factwas entirely occupied not exactly with Tertius Lydgate as hewas in himselfbut with his relation to her; and it was excusable ina girl who was accustomed to hear that all young men mightcouldwould beor actually were in love with herto believe at once thatLydgate could be no exception.  His looks and words meant moreto her than other men'sbecause she cared more for them:  shethought of them diligentlyand diligently attended to thatperfection of appearancebehaviorsentimentsand all otherelegancieswhich would find in Lydgate a more adequate admirer thanshe had yet been conscious of.

ForRosamondthough she would never do anything that was disagreeable toherwas industrious; and now more than ever she was active insketching her landscapes and market-carts and portraits of friendsin practising her musicand in being from morning till night her ownstandard of a perfect ladyhaving always an audience in her ownconsciousnesswith sometimes the not unwelcome addition of a morevariable external audience in the numerous visitors of the house. Shefound time also to read the best novelsand even the second bestand she knew much poetry by heart.  Her favorite poem was "LallaRookh."

"Thebest girl in the world!  He will be a happy fellow who getsher!" was the sentiment of the elderly gentlemen who visited theVincys; and the rejected young men thought of trying againas is thefashion in country towns where the horizon is not thick with comingrivals. But Mrs. Plymdale thought that Rosamond had been educated toa ridiculous pitchfor what was the use of accomplishments whichwould be all laid aside as soon as she was married?  While heraunt Bulstrodewho had a sisterly faithfulness towards her brother'sfamilyhad two sincere wishes for Rosamond--that she might show amore serious turn of mindand that she might meet with a husbandwhose wealth corresponded to her habits.




CHAPTERXVII


  "The clerkly person smiled and said
   Promise wasa pretty maid
   But being poor she died unwed."



The Rev.Camden Farebrotherwhom Lydgate went to see the next eveninglivedin an old parsonagebuilt of stonevenerable enough to match thechurch which it looked out upon. All the furniture too in the housewas oldbut with another grade of age--that of Mr. Farebrother'sfather and grandfather. There were painted white chairswith gildingand wreaths on themand some lingering red silk damask with slits init.  There were engraved portraits of Lord Chancellors and othercelebrated lawyers of the last century; and there were oldpier-glasses to reflect themas well as the little satin-wood tablesand the sofas resembling a prolongation of uneasy chairsallstanding in relief against the dark wainscot This was the physiognomyof the drawing-room into which Lydgate was shown; and there werethree ladies to receive himwho were also old-fashionedand of afaded but genuine respectability: Mrs. Farebrotherthe Vicar'swhite-haired motherbefrilled and kerchiefed with daintycleanlinessup rightquick-eyedand still under seventy; MissNobleher sistera tiny old lady of meeker aspectwith frills andkerchief decidedly more worn and mended; and Miss WinifredFarebrotherthe Vicar's elder sisterwell-looking like himselfbutnipped and subdued as single women are apt to be who spend theirlives in uninterrupted subjection to their elders.  Lydgate hadnot expected to see so quaint a group: knowing simply that Mr.Farebrother was a bachelorhe had thought of being ushered into asnuggery where the chief furniture would probably be books andcollections of natural objects.  The Vicar himself seemed towear rather a changed aspectas most men do when acquaintances madeelsewhere see them for the first time in their own homes; some indeedshowing like an actor of genial parts disadvantageously cast for thecurmudgeon in a new piece. This was not the case with Mr.Farebrother:  he seemed a trifle milder and more silentthechief talker being his motherwhile he only put in a good-humoredmoderating remark here and there.  The old lady was evidentlyaccustomed to tell her company what they ought to thinkand toregard no subject as quite safe without her steering. She wasafforded leisure for this function by having all her little wantsattended to by Miss Winifred.  Meanwhile tiny Miss Noble carriedon her arm a small basketinto which she diverted a bit of sugarwhich she had first dropped in her saucer as if by mistake; lookinground furtively afterwardsand reverting to her teacup with a smallinnocent noise as of a tiny timid quadruped. Pray think no ill ofMiss Noble.  That basket held small savings from her moreportable fooddestined for the children of her poor friends amongwhom she trotted on fine mornings; fostering and petting all needycreatures being so spontaneous a delight to herthat she regarded itmuch as if it had been a pleasant vice that she was addicted to. Perhaps she was conscious of being tempted to steal from those whohad much that she might give to those who had nothingand carried inher conscience the guilt of that repressed desire. One must be poorto know the luxury of giving!

Mrs.Farebrother welcomed the guest with a lively formality andprecision.  She presently informed him that they were not oftenin want of medical aid in that house.  She had brought up herchildren to wear flannel and not to over-eat themselveswhich lasthabit she considered the chief reason why people needed doctors.Lydgate pleaded for those whose fathers and mothers had over-eatenthemselvesbut Mrs. Farebrother held that view of things dangerous:Nature was more just than that; it would be easy for any felon to saythat his ancestors ought to have been hanged instead of him. If thosehe had bad fathers and mothers were bad themselvesthey were hangedfor that.  There was no need to go back on what you couldn'tsee.

"Mymother is like old George the Third" said the Vicar"sheobjects to metaphysics."

"Iobject to what is wrongCamden.  I saykeep hold of a fewplain truthsand make everything square with them.  When I wasyoungMr. Lydgatethere never was any question about right andwrong. We knew our catechismand that was enough; we learned ourcreed and our duty.  Every respectable Church person had thesame opinions. But nowif you speak out of the Prayer-book itselfyou are liable to be contradicted."

"Thatmakes rather a pleasant time of it for those who like to maintaintheir own point" said Lydgate.

"Butmy mother always gives way" said the Vicarslyly.

"NonoCamdenyou must not lead Mr. Lydgate into a mistake about ME. Ishall never show that disrespect to my parentsto give up what theytaught me.  Any one may see what comes of turning. If you changeoncewhy not twenty times?"

"Aman might see good arguments for changing onceand not see them forchanging again" said Lydgateamused with the decisive oldlady.

"Excuseme there.  If you go upon argumentsthey are never wantingwhen a man has no constancy of mind.  My father never changedand he preached plain moral sermons without argumentsand was a goodman-- few better.  When you get me a good man made out ofargumentsI will get you a good dinner with reading you thecookery-book. That's my opinionand I think anybody's stomach willbear me out."

"Aboutthe dinner certainlymother" said Mr. Farebrother.

"Itis the same thingthe dinner or the man.  I am nearly seventyMr. Lydgateand I go upon experience.  I am not likely tofollow new lightsthough there are plenty of them here as elsewhere.I saythey came in with the mixed stuffs that will neither wash norwear.  It was not so in my youth:  a Churchman was aChurchmanand a clergymanyou might be pretty surewas agentlemanif nothing else.  But now he may be no better than aDissenterand want to push aside my son on pretence of doctrine. But whoever may wish to push him asideI am proud to sayMr.Lydgatethat he will compare with any preacher in this kingdomnotto speak of this townwhich is but a low standard to go by; atleastto my thinkingfor I was born and bred at Exeter."

"Amother is never partial" said Mr. Farebrothersmiling. "Whatdo you think Tyke's mother says about him?"

"Ahpoor creature! what indeed?" said Mrs. Farebrotherhersharpness blunted for the moment by her confidence in maternaljudgments. "She says the truth to herselfdepend upon it."

"Andwhat is the truth?" said-Lydgate. "I am curious to know."

"Ohnothing bad at all" said Mr. Farebrother.  "He is azealous fellow:  not very learnedand not very wiseI think--because I don't agree with him."

"WhyCamden!" said Miss Winifred"Griffin and his wife told meonly to-daythat Mr. Tyke said they should have no more coals ifthey came to hear you preach."

Mrs.Farebrother laid down her knittingwhich she had resumed after hersmall allowance of tea and toastand looked at her son as if to say"You hear that?"  Miss Noble said"Oh poorthings! poor things!" in referenceprobablyto the double lossof preaching and coal. But the Vicar answered quietly--

"Thatis because they are not my parishioners.  And I don't think mysermons are worth a load of coals to them."

"Mr.Lydgate" said Mrs. Farebrotherwho could not let this pass"you don't know my son:  he always undervalues himself. I tell him he is undervaluing the God who made himand made him amost excellent preacher."

"Thatmust be a hint for me to take Mr. Lydgate away to my studymother"said the Vicarlaughing.  "I promised to show you mycollection" he addedturning to Lydgate; "shall we go?"

All threeladies remonstrated.  Mr. Lydgate ought not to be hurried awaywithout being allowed to accept another cup of tea: Miss Winifred hadabundance of good tea in the pot.  Why was Camden in such hasteto take a visitor to his den?  There was nothing but pickledverminand drawers full of blue-bottles and mothswith no carpet onthe floor.  Mr. Lydgate must excuse it.  A game at cribbagewould be far better.  In shortit was plain that a vicar mightbe adored by his womankind as the king of men and preachersand yetbe held by them to stand in much need of their direction. Lydgatewith the usual shallowness of a young bachelor. wondered that Mr.Farebrother had not taught them better.

"Mymother is not used to my having visitors who can take any interest inmy hobbies" said the Vicaras he opened the door of his studywhich was indeed as bare of luxuries for the body as the ladies hadimpliedunless a short porcelain pipe and a tobacco-box were to beexcepted.

"Menof your profession don't generally smoke" he said. Lydgate smiled and shook his head.  "Nor of mine eitherproperlyI suppose. You will hear that pipe alleged against me byBulstrode and Company. They don't know how pleased the devil would beif I gave it up."

"Iunderstand.  You are of an excitable temper and want a sedative.I am heavierand should get idle with it.  I should rush intoidlenessand stagnate there with all my might."

"Andyou mean to give it all to your work.  I am some ten or twelveyears older than youand have come to a compromise. I feed aweakness or two lest they should get clamorous.  See"continued the Vicaropening several small drawers"I fancy Ihave made an exhaustive study of the entomology of this district. Iam going on both with the fauna and flora; but I have at least donemy insects well.  We are singularly rich in orthoptera: I don'tknow whether--Ah! you have got hold of that glass jar-- you arelooking into that instead of my drawers.  You don't really careabout these things?"

"Notby the side of this lovely anencephalous monster. I have never hadtime to give myself much to natural history. I was early bitten withan interest in structureand it is what lies most directly in myprofession.  I have no hobby besides. I have the sea to swim inthere."

"Ah!you are a happy fellow" said Mr. Farebrotherturning on hisheel and beginning to fill his pipe.  "You don't know whatit is to want spiritual tobacco--bad emendations of old textsorsmall items about a variety of Aphis Brassicaewith the well-knownsignature of Philomicronfor the `Twaddler's Magazine;' or a learnedtreatise on the entomology of the Pentateuchincluding all theinsects not mentionedbut probably met with by the Israelites intheir passage through the desert; with a monograph on the Antastreated by Solomonshowing the harmony of the Book of Proverbs withthe results of modern research.  You don't mind my fumigatingyou?"

Lydgatewas more surprised at the openness of this talk than at its impliedmeaning--that the Vicar felt himself not altogether in the rightvocation.  The neat fitting-up of drawers and shelvesand thebookcase filled with expensive illustrated books on Natural Historymade him think again of the winnings at cards and their destination.But he was beginning to wish that the very best construction ofeverything that Mr. Farebrother did should be the true one. TheVicar's frankness seemed not of the repulsive sort Chat comes from anuneasy consciousness seeking to forestall the judgment of othersbutsimply the relief of a desire to do with as little pretence aspossible.  Apparently he was not without a sense that hisfreedom of speech might seem prematurefor he presently said--

"Ihave not yet told you that I have the advantage of youMr. Lydgateand know you better than you know me.  You remember Trawley whoshared your apartment at Paris for some time? I was a correspondentof hisand he told me a good deal about you. I was not quite surewhen you first came that you were the same man. I was very glad whenI found that you were.  Only I don't forget that you have nothad the like prologue about me."

Lydgatedivined some delicacy of feeling herebut did not half understandit.  "By the way" he said"what has become ofTrawley? I have quite lost sight of him.  He was hot on theFrench social systemsand talked of going to the Backwoods to founda sort of Pythagorean community.  Is he gone?"

"Notat all.  He is practising at a German bathand has married arich patient."

Then mynotions wear the bestso far" said Lydgatewith a shortscornful laugh.  "He would have itthe medical professionwas an inevitable system of humbug.  I saidthe fault was inthe men-- men who truckle to lies and folly.  Instead ofpreaching against humbug outside the wallsit might be better to setup a disinfecting apparatus within.  In short--I am reporting myown conversation-- you may be sure I had all the good sense on myside."

"Yourscheme is a good deal more difficult to carry out than thePythagorean communitythough.  You have not only got the oldAdam in yourself against youbut you have got all those descendantsof the original Adam who form the society around you.  You seeI have paid twelve or thirteen years more than you for my knowledgeof difficulties.  But"--Mr. Farebrother broke off a momentand then added"you are eying that glass vase again.  Doyou want to make an exchange?  You shall not have it without afair barter."

"Ihave some sea-mice--fine specimens--in spirits.  And I willthrow in Robert Brown's new thing--`Microscopic Observations on thePollen of Plants'--if you don't happen to have it already."

"Whyseeing how you long for the monsterI might ask a higher price.Suppose I ask you to look through my drawers and agree with me aboutall my new species?"  The Vicarwhile he talked in thiswayalternately moved about with his pipe in his mouthand returnedto hang rather fondly over his drawers.  "That would begood disciplineyou knowfor a young doctor who has to please hispatients in Middlemarch. You must learn to be boredremember. Howeveryou shall have the monster on your own terms."

"Don'tyou think men overrate the necessity for humoring everybody'snonsensetill they get despised by the very fools they humor?"said Lydgatemoving to Mr. Farebrother's sideand looking ratherabsently at the insects ranged in fine gradationwith namessubscribed in exquisite writing.  "The shortest way is tomake your value feltso that people must put up with you whether youflatter them or not."

"Withall my heart.  But then you must be sure of having the valueand you must keep yourself independent.  Very few men can dothat. Either you slip out of service altogetherand become good fornothingor you wear the harness and draw a good deal where youryoke-fellows pull you.  But do look at these delicateorthoptera!"

Lydgatehad after all to give some scrutiny to each drawerthe Vicarlaughing at himselfand yet persisting in the exhibition.

"Aproposof what you said about wearing harness" Lydgate beganafterthey had sat down"I made up my mind some time ago to do withas little of it as-possible. That was why I determined not to tryanything in Londonfor a good many years at least.  I didn'tlike what I saw when I was studying there--so much empty bigwiggismand obstructive trickery.  In the countrypeople have lesspretension to knowledgeand are less of companionsbut for thatreason they affect one's amour-propre less:  one makes less badbloodand can follow one's own course more quietly."

"Yes--well--youhave got a good start; you are in the right professionthe work youfeel yourself most fit for.  Some people miss thatand repenttoo late.  But you must not be too sure of keeping yourindependence."

"Youmean of family ties?" said Lydgateconceiving that these mightpress rather tightly on Mr. Farebrother.

"Notaltogether.  Of course they make many things more difficult. Buta good wife--a good unworldly woman--may really help a manand keephim more independent.  There's a parishioner of mine-- a finefellowbut who would hardly have pulled through as he has donewithout his wife.  Do you know the Garths?  I think theywere not Peacock's patients."

"No;but there is a Miss Garth at old Featherstone'sat Lowick."

"Theirdaughter:  an excellent girl."

"Sheis very quiet--I have hardly noticed her."

"Shehas taken notice of youthoughdepend upon it."

"Idon't understand" said Lydgate; he could hardly say "Ofcourse."

"Ohshe gauges everybody.  I prepared her for confirmation-- she isa favorite of mine."

Mr.Farebrother puffed a few moments in silenceLydgate not caring toknow more about the Garths.  At last the Vicar laid down hispipestretched out his legsand turned his bright eyes with a smiletowards Lydgatesaying--

"Butwe Middlemarchers are not so tame as you take us to be. We have ourintrigues and our parties.  I am a party manfor exampleandBulstrode is another.  If you vote for me you will offendBulstrode."

"Whatis there against Bulstrode?" said Lydgateemphatically.

"Idid not say there was anything against him except that. If you voteagainst him you will make him your enemy."

"Idon't know that I need mind about that" said Lydgateratherproudly; "but he seems to have good ideas about hospitalsandhe spends large sums on useful public objects.  He might help mea good deal in carrying out my ideas.  As to his religiousnotions-- whyas Voltaire saidincantations will destroy a flock ofsheep if administered with a certain quantity of arsenic.  Ilook for the man who will bring the arsenicand don't mind about hisincantations."

"Verygood.  But then you must not offend your arsenic-man. You willnot offend meyou know" said Mr. Farebrotherquiteunaffectedly. "I don't translate my own convenience into otherpeople's duties. I am opposed to Bulstrode in many ways.  Idon't like the set he belongs to:  they are a narrow ignorantsetand do more to make their neighbors uncomfortable than to makethem better. Their system is a sort of worldly-spiritual cliqueism: they really look on the rest of mankind as a doomed carcass which isto nourish them for heaven.  But" he addedsmilingly"Idon't say that Bulstrode's new hospital is a bad thing; and as to hiswanting to oust me from the old one--whyif he thinks me amischievous fellowhe is only returning a compliment.  And I amnot a model clergyman-- only a decent makeshift."

Lydgatewas not at all sure that the Vicar maligned himself. A modelclergymanlike a model doctorought to think his own profession thefinest in the worldand take all knowledge as mere nourishment tohis moral pathology and therapeutics.  He only said"Whatreason does Bulstrode give for superseding you?"

"ThatI don't teach his opinions--which he calls spiritual religion; andthat I have no time to spare.  Both statements are true. Butthen I could make timeand I should be glad of the forty pounds.That is the plain fact of the case.  But let us dismiss it. Ionly wanted to tell you that if you vote for your arsenic-manyouare not to cut me in consequence.  I can't spare you. You are asort of circumnavigator come to settle among usand will keep up mybelief in the antipodes.  Now tell me all about them in Paris."




CHAPTERXVIII



  "Ohsirthe loftiest hopes on earth
   Draw lotswith meaner hopes:  heroic breasts
   Breathingbad airran risk of pestilence;
   Orlackinglime-juice when they cross the Line
   May languishwith the scurvy."



Some weekspassed after this conversation before the question of the chaplaincygathered any practical import for Lydgateand without tellinghimself the reasonhe deferred the predetermination on which side heshould give his vote.  It would really have been a matter oftotal indifference to him--that is to sayhe would have taken themore convenient sideand given his vote for the appointment of Tykewithout any hesitation--if he had not cared personally for Mr.Farebrother.

But hisliking for the Vicar of St. Botolph's grew with growingacquaintanceship.  Thatentering into Lydgate's position as anew-comer who had his own professional objects to secureMr.Farebrother should have taken pains rather to warn off than to obtainhis interestshowed an unusual delicacy and generositywhichLydgate's nature was keenly alive to.  It went along with otherpoints of conduct in Mr. Fare brother which were exceptionally fineand made his character resemble those southern landscapes which seemdivided between natural grandeur and social slovenliness.  Veryfew men could have been as filial and chivalrous as he was to themotherauntand sisterwhose dependence on him had in many waysshaped his life rather uneasily for himself; few men who feel thepressure of small needs are so nobly resolute not to dress up theirinevitably self-interested desires in a pretext of better motives. In these matters he was conscious that his life would bear theclosest scrutiny; and perhaps the consciousness encouraged a littledefiance towards the critical strictness of persons whose celestialintimacies seemed not to improve their domestic mannersand whoselofty aims were not needed to account for their actions.  Thenhis preaching was ingenious and pithylike the preaching of theEnglish Church in its robust ageand his sermons were deliveredwithout book. People outside his parish went to hear him; andsinceto fill the church was always the most difficult part of aclergyman's functionhere was another ground for a careless sense ofsuperiority. Besideshe was a likable man:  sweet-temperedready-wittedfrankwithout grins of suppressed bitterness or otherconversational flavors which make half of us an affliction to ourfriends. Lydgate liked him heartilyand wished for his friendship.

With thisfeeling uppermosthe continued to waive the question of thechaplaincyand to persuade himself that it was not only no properbusiness of hisbut likely enough never to vex him with a demand forhis vote.  Lydgateat Mr. Bulstrode's requestwas laying downplans for the internal arrangements of the new hospitaland the twowere often in consultation.  The banker was always presupposingthat he could count in general on Lydgate as a coadjutorbut made nospecial recurrence to the coming decision between Tyke andFarebrother.  When the General Board of the Infirmary had methoweverand Lydgate had notice that the question of the chaplaincywas thrown on a council of the directors and medical mento meet onthe following Fridayhe had a vexed sense that he must make up hismind on this trivial Middlemarch business.  He could not helphearing within him the distinct declaration that Bulstrode was primeministerand that the Tyke affair was a question of office or nooffice; and he could not help an equally pronounced dislike to givingup the prospect of office.  For his observation was constantlyconfirming Mr. Farebrother's assurance that the banker would notoverlook opposition.  "Confound their petty politics!"was one of his thoughts for three mornings in the meditative processof shavingwhen he had begun to feel that he must really hold acourt of conscience on this matter.  Certainly there were validthings to be said against the election of Mr. Farebrother: he had toomuch on his hands alreadyespecially considering how much time hespent on non-clerical occupations.  Then again it was acontinually repeated shockdisturbing Lydgate's esteemthat theVicar should obviously play for the sake of moneyliking the playindeedbut evidently liking some end which it served. Mr.Farebrother contended on theory for the desirability of all gamesand said that Englishmen's wit was stagnant for want of them; butLydgate felt certain that he would have played very much less but forthe money.  There was a billiard-room at the Green Dragonwhichsome anxious mothers and wives regarded as the chief temptation inMiddlemarch.  The Vicar was a first-rate billiard-playerandthough he did not frequent the Green Dragonthere were reports thathe had sometimes been there in the daytime and had won money. And asto the chaplaincyhe did not pretend that he cared for itexceptfor the sake of the forty pounds.  Lydgate was no Puritanbuthe did not care for playand winning money at it had always seemed ameanness to him; besideshe had an ideal of life which made thissubservience of conduct to the gaining of small sums thoroughlyhateful to him.  Hitherto in his own life his wants had beensupplied without any trouble to himselfand his first impulse wasalways to be liberal with half-crowns as matters of no importance toa gentleman; it had never occurred to him to devise a plan forgetting half-crowns. He had always known in a general way that he wasnot richbut he had never felt poorand he had no power ofimagining the part which the want of money plays in determining theactions of men. Money had never been a motive to him.  Hence hewas not ready to frame excuses for this deliberate pursuit of smallgains. It was altogether repulsive to himand he never entered intoany calculation of the ratio between the Vicar's income and his moreor less necessary expenditure.  It was possible that he wouldnot have made such a calculation in his own case.

And nowwhen the question of voting had comethis repulsive fact told morestrongly against Mr. Farebrother than it had done before. One wouldknow much better what to do if men's characters were more consistentand especially if one's friends were invariably fit for any functionthey desired to undertake!  Lydgate was convinced that if therehad been no valid objection to Mr. Farebrotherhe would have votedfor himwhatever Bulstrode might have felt on the subject: he didnot intend to be a vassal of Bulstrode's. On the other handtherewas Tykea man entirely given to his clerical officewho was simplycurate at a chapel of ease in St. Peter's parishand had time forextra duty.  Nobody had anything to say against Mr. Tykeexceptthat they could not bear himand suspected him of cant. Reallyfromhis point of viewBulstrode was thoroughly justified.

Butwhichever way Lydgate began to inclinethere was something to makehim wince; and being a proud manhe was a little exasperated atbeing obliged to wince.  He did not like frustrating his ownbest purposes by getting on bad terms with Bulstrode; he did not likevoting against Farebrotherand helping to deprive him of functionand salary; and the question occurred whether the additional fortypounds might not leave the Vicar free from that ignoble care aboutwinning at cards.  MoreoverLydgate did not like theconsciousness that in voting for Tyke he should be voting on the sideobviously convenient for himself.  But would the end really behis own convenience?  Other people would say soand wouldallege that he was currying favor with Bulstrode for the sake ofmaking himself important and getting on in the world. What then? He for his own part knew that if his personal prospects simply hadbeen concernedhe would not have cared a rotten nut for the banker'sfriendship or enmity.  What he really cared for was a medium forhis worka vehicle for his ideas; and after allwas he not bound toprefer the object of getting a good hospitalwhere he coulddemonstrate the specific distinctions of fever and test therapeuticresultsbefore anything else connected with this chaplaincy? For the first time Lydgate was feeling the hampering threadlikepressure of small social conditionsand their frustratingcomplexity.  At the end of his inward debatewhen he set outfor the hospitalhis hope was really in the chance that discussionmight somehow give a new aspect to the questionand make the scaledip so as to exclude the necessity for voting. I think he trusted alittle also to the energy which is begotten by circumstances--somefeeling rushing warmly and making resolve easywhile debate in coolblood had only made it more difficult. However it washe did notdistinctly say to himself on which side he would vote; and all thewhile he was inwardly resenting the subjection which had been forcedupon him.  It would have seemed beforehand like a ridiculouspiece of bad logic that hewith his unmixed resolutions ofindependence and his select purposeswould find himself at the veryoutset in the grasp of petty alternativeseach of which wasrepugnant to him.  In his student's chambershe had prearrangedhis social action quite differently.

Lydgatewas late in setting outbut Dr. Spraguethe two other surgeonsandseveral of the directors had arrived early; Mr. Bulstrodetreasurerand chairmanbeing among those who were still absent. Theconversation seemed to imply that the issue was problematicalandthat a majority for Tyke was not so certain as had been generallysupposed.  The two physiciansfor a wonderturned out to beunanimousor ratherthough of different mindsthey concurred inaction. Dr. Spraguethe rugged and weightywasas every one hadforeseenan adherent of Mr. Farebrother.  The Doctor was morethan suspected of having no religionbut somehow Middlemarchtolerated this deficiency in him as if he had been a Lord Chancellor;indeed it is probable that his professional weight was the morebelieved inthe world-old association of cleverness with the evilprinciple being still potent in the minds even of lady-patients whohad the strictest ideas of frilling and sentiment.  It wasperhaps this negation in the Doctor which made his neighbors call himhard-headed and dry-witted; conditions of texture which were alsoheld favorable to the storing of judgments connected with drugs. At all eventsit is certain that if any medical man had come toMiddlemarch with the reputation of having very definite religiousviewsof being given to prayerand of otherwise showing an activepietythere would have been a general presumption against hismedical skill.

On thisground it was (professionally speaking) fortunate for Dr. Minchinthat his religious sympathies were of a general kindand such asgave a distant medical sanction to all serious sentimentwhether ofChurch or Dissentrather than any adhesion to particular tenets. If Mr. Bulstrode insistedas he was apt to doon the Lutherandoctrine of justificationas that by which a Church must stand orfallDr. Minchin in return was quite sure that man was not a meremachine or a fortuitous conjunction of atoms; if Mrs. Wimple insistedon a particular providence in relation to her stomach complaintDr.Minchin for his part liked to keep the mental windows open andobjected to fixed limits; if the Unitarian brewer jested about theAthanasian CreedDr. Minchin quoted Pope's "Essay on Man." He objected to the rather free style of anecdote in which Dr. Spragueindulgedpreferring well-sanctioned quotationsand likingrefinement of all kinds:  it was generally known that he hadsome kinship to a bishopand sometimes spent his holidays at "thepalace."

Dr.Minchin was soft-handedpale-complexionedand of rounded outlinenot to be distinguished from a mild clergyman in appearance: whereasDr. Sprague was superfluously tall; his trousers got creased at thekneesand showed an excess of boot at a time when straps seemednecessary to any dignity of bearing; you heard him go in and outandup and downas if he had come to see after the roofing. In shorthehad weightand might be expected to grapple with a disease and throwit; while Dr. Minchin might be better able to detect it lurking andto circumvent it.  They enjoyed about equally the mysteriousprivilege of medical reputationand concealed with much etiquettetheir contempt for each other's skill.  Regarding themselves asMiddlemarch institutionsthey were ready to combine against allinnovatorsand against non-professionals given to interference. Onthis ground they were both in their hearts equally averse to Mr.Bulstrodethough Dr. Minchin had never been in open hostility withhimand never differed from him without elaborate explanation toMrs. Bulstrodewho had found that Dr. Minchin alone understood herconstitution.  A layman who pried into the professional conductof medical menand was always obtruding his reforms-- though he wasless directly embarrassing to the two physicians than to thesurgeon-apothecaries who attended paupers by contractwasnevertheless offensive to the professional nostril as such; and Dr.Minchin shared fully in the new pique against Bulstrodeexcited byhis apparent determination to patronize Lydgate. The long-establishedpractitionersMr. Wrench and Mr. Toller; were just now standingapart and having a friendly colloquyin which they agreed thatLydgate was a jackanapesjust made to serve Bulstrode's purpose. To non-medical friends they had already concurred in praising theother young practitionerwho had come into the town on Mr. Peacock'sretirement without further recommendation than his own merits andsuch argument for solid professional acquirement as might be gatheredfrom his having apparently wasted no time on other branches ofknowledge.  It was clear that Lydgateby not dispensing drugsintended to cast imputations on his equalsand also to obscure thelimit between his own rank as a general practitioner and that of thephysicianswhoin the interest of the professionfelt bound tomaintain its various grades-- especially against a man who had notbeen to either of the English universities and enjoyed the absence ofanatomical and bedside study therebut came with a libellouspretension to experience in Edinburgh and Pariswhere observationmight be abundant indeedbut hardly sound.

Thus ithappened that on this occasion Bulstrode became identified withLydgateand Lydgate with Tyke; and owing to this variety ofinterchangeable names for the chaplaincy questiondiverse minds wereenabled to form the same judgment concerning it.

Dr.Sprague said at once bluntly.  to the group assembled when heentered"I go for Farebrother.  A salarywith all myheart. But why take it from the Vicar?  He has none toomuch--has to insure his lifebesides keeping houseand doing avicar's charities. Put forty pounds in his pocket and you'll do noharm.  He's a good fellowis Farebrotherwith as little of theparson about him as will serve to carry orders."

"Hoho!  Doctor" said old Mr. Powderella retired iron-mongerof some standing--his interjection being something between a laughand a Parliamentary disapproval; "we must let you have your say.But what we have to consider is not anybody's income--it's the soulsof the poor sick people"--here Mr. Powderell's voice and facehad a sincere pathos in them.  "He is a real Gospelpreacheris Mr. Tyke. I should vote against my conscience if I votedagainst Mr. Tyke-- I should indeed."

"Mr.Tyke's opponents have not asked any one to vote against hisconscienceI believe" said Mr. Hackbutta rich tanner offluent speechwhose glittering spectacles and erect hair were turnedwith some severity towards innocent Mr. Powderell. "But in myjudgment it behoves usas Directorsto consider whether we willregard it as our whole business to carry out propositions emanatingfrom a single quarter.  Will any member of the committee averthat he would have entertained the idea of displacing the gentlemanwho has always discharged the function of chaplain hereif it hadnot been suggested to him by parties whose disposition it is toregard every institution of this town as a machinery for carrying outtheir own views?  I tax no man's motives: let them lie betweenhimself and a higher Power; but I do saythat there are influencesat work here which are incompatible with genuine independenceandthat a crawling servility is usually dictated by circumstances whichgentlemen so conducting themselves could not afford either morally orfinancially to avow. I myself am a laymanbut I have given noinconsiderable attention to the divisions in the Church and--"

"Ohdamn the divisions!" burst in Mr. Frank Hawleylawyer andtown-clerkwho rarely presented himself at the boardbut now lookedin hurriedlywhip in hand.  "We have nothing to do withthem here. Farebrother has been doing the work--what therewas--without payand if pay is to be givenit should be given tohim.  I call it a confounded job to take the thing away fromFarebrother."

"Ithink it would be as well for gentlemen not to give their remarks apersonal bearing" said Mr. Plymdale.  "I shall votefor the appointment of Mr. Tykebut I should not have knownif Mr.Hackbutt hadn't hinted itthat I was a Servile Crawler."

"Idisclaim any personalities.  I expressly saidif I may beallowed to repeator even to conclude what I was about to say--"

"Ahhere's Minchin!" said Mr. Frank Hawley; at which everybodyturned away from Mr. Hackbuttleaving him to feel the uselessness ofsuperior gifts in Middlemarch.  "ComeDoctorI must haveyou on the right sideeh?"

"Ihope so" said Dr. Minchinnodding and shaking hands here andthere; "at whatever cost to my feelings."

"Ifthere's any feeling hereit should be feeling for the man who isturned outI think" said Mr. Frank Hawley.

"Iconfess I have feelings on the other side also.  I have adivided esteem" said Dr. Minchinrubbing his hands.  "Iconsider Mr. Tyke an exemplary man--none more so--and I believe himto be proposed from unimpeachable motives.  Ifor my partwishthat I could give him my vote.  But I am constrained to take aview of the case which gives the preponderance to Mr. Farebrother'sclaims. He is an amiable manan able preacherand has been longeramong us."

Old Mr.Powderell looked onsad and silent.  Mr. Plymdale settled hiscravatuneasily.

"Youdon't set up Farebrother as a pattern of what a clergyman ought tobeI hope" said Mr. Larcherthe eminent carrierwho had justcome in.  "I have no ill-will towards himbut I think weowe something to the publicnot to speak of anything higherinthese appointments.  In my opinion Farebrother is too lax for aclergyman.  I don't wish to bring up particulars against him;but he will make a little attendance here go as far as he can."

"Anda devilish deal better than too much" said Mr. Hawleywhosebad language was notorious in that part of the county. "Sickpeople can't bear so much praying and preaching. And thatmethodistical sort of religion is bad for the spirits-- bad for theinsideeh?" he addedturning quickly round to the four medicalmen who were assembled.

But anyanswer was dispensed with by the entrance of three gentlemenwithwhom there were greetings more or less cordial.  These were theReverend Edward ThesigerRector of St. Peter'sMr. Bulstrodeandour friend Mr. Brooke of Tiptonwho had lately allowed himself to beput on the board of directors in his turnbut had never beforeattendedhis attendance now being due to Mr. Bulstrode's exertions.Lydgate was the only person still expected.

Every onenow sat downMr. Bulstrode presidingpale and self-restrained asusual.  Mr. Thesigera moderate evangelicalwished for theappointment of his friend Mr. Tykea zealous able manwhoofficiating at a chapel of easehad not a cure of souls tooextensive to leave him ample time for the new duty. It was desirablethat chaplaincies of this kind should be entered on with a ferventintention:  they were peculiar opportunities for spiritualinfluence; and while it was good that a salary should be allottedthere was the more need for scrupulous watching lest the officeshould be perverted into a mere question of salary. Mr. Thesiger'smanner had so much quiet propriety that objectors could only simmerin silence.

Mr. Brookebelieved that everybody meant well in the matter. He had not himselfattended to the affairs of the Infirmarythough he had a stronginterest in whatever was for the benefit of Middlemarchand was mosthappy to meet the gentlemen present on any public question-- "anypublic questionyou know" Mr. Brooke repeatedwith his nod ofperfect understanding.  "I am a good deal occupied as amagistrateand in the collection of documentary evidencebut Iregard my time as being at the disposal of the public--andin shortmy friends have convinced me that a chaplain with a salary--a salaryyou know-- is a very good thingand I am happy to be able to comehere and vote for the appointment of Mr. TykewhoI understandisan unexceptionable manapostolic and eloquent and everything of thatkind-- and I am the last man to withhold my vote--under thecircumstancesyou know."

"Itseems to me that you have been crammed with one side of the questionMr. Brooke" said Mr. Frank Hawleywho was afraid of nobodyand was a Tory suspicious of electioneering intentions. "Youdon't seem to know that one of the worthiest men we have has beendoing duty as chaplain here for years without payand that Mr. Tykeis proposed to supersede him."

"ExcusemeMr. Hawley" said Mr. Bulstrode.  "Mr. Brooke hasbeen fully informed of Mr. Farebrother's character and position."

"Byhis enemies" flashed out Mr. Hawley.

"Itrust there is no personal hostility concerned here" said Mr.Thesiger.

"I'llswear there isthough" retorted Mr. Hawley.

"Gentlemen"said Mr. Bulstrodein a subdued tone"the merits of thequestion may be very briefly statedand if any one present doubtsthat every gentleman who is about to give his vote has not been fullyinformedI can now recapitulate the considerations that should weighon either side."

"Idon't see the good of that" said Mr. Hawley.  "Isuppose we all know whom we mean to vote for.  Any man who wantsto do justice does not wait till the last minute to hear both sidesof the question. I have no time to loseand I propose that thematter be put to the vote at once."

A briefbut still hot discussion followed before each person wrote "Tyke"or "Farebrother" on a piece of paper and slipped it into aglass tumbler; and in the mean time Mr. Bulstrode saw Lydgate enter.

"Iperceive that the votes are equally divided at present" saidMr. Bulstrodein a clear biting voice.  Thenlooking up atLydgate--

"Thereis a casting-vote still to be given.  It is yoursMr. Lydgate:will you be good enough to write?"

"Thething is settled now" said Mr. Wrenchrising.  "Weall know how Mr. Lydgate will vote."

"Youseem to speak with some peculiar meaningsir" said Lydgaterather defiantlyand keeping his pencil suspended.

"Imerely mean that you are expected to vote with Mr. Bulstrode. Do youregard that meaning as offensive?"

"Itmay be offensive to others.  But I shall not desist from votingwith him on that account."  Lydgate immediately wrote down"Tyke."

So theRev. Walter Tyke became chaplain to the Infirmaryand Lydgatecontinued to work with Mr. Bulstrode.  He was really uncertainwhether Tyke were not the more suitable candidateand yet hisconsciousness told him that if he had been quite free from indirectbias he should have voted for Mr. Farebrother. The affair of thechaplaincy remained a sore point in his memory as a case in whichthis petty medium of Middlemarch had been too strong for him. How could a man be satisfied with a decision between suchalternatives and under such circumstances?  No more than he canbe satisfied with his hatwhich he has chosen from among such shapesas the resources of the age offer himwearing it at best with aresignation which is chiefly supported by comparison.

But Mr.Farebrother met him with the same friendliness as before. Thecharacter of the publican and sinner is not always practicallyincompatible with that of the modern Phariseefor the majority of usscarcely see more distinctly the faultiness of our own conduct thanthe faultiness of our own argumentsor the dulness of our own jokes.But the Vicar of St. Botolph's had certainly escaped the slightesttincture of the Phariseeand by dint of admitting to himself that hewas too much as other men werehe had become remarkably unlike themin this--that he could excuse other; for thinking slightly of himand could judge impartially of their conduct even when it toldagainst him.

"Theworld has been to strong for MEI know" he said one day toLydgate.  "But then I am not a mighty man--I shall never bea man of renown.  The choice of Hercules is a pretty fable; butProdicus makes it easy work for the heroas if the first resolveswere enough.  Another story says that he came to hold thedistaffand at last wore the Nessus shirt.  I suppose one goodresolve might keep a man right if everybody else's resolve helpedhim."

TheVicar's talk was not always inspiriting:  he had escaped being aPhariseebut he had not escaped that low estimate of possibilitieswhich we rather hastily arrive at as an inference from our ownfailure.  Lydgate thought that there was a pitiable infirmity ofwill in Mr. Farebrother.




CHAPTERXIX

  "L' altra vedete ch'ha fatto alla guancia
  Della sua palmasospirandoletto."
  --Purgatoriovii.



WhenGeorge the Fourth was still reigning over the privacies of Windsorwhen the Duke of Wellington was Prime Ministerand Mr. Vincy wasmayor of the old corporation in MiddlemarchMrs. CasaubonbornDorothea Brookehad taken her wedding journey to Rome. In those daysthe world in general was more ignorant of good and evil by fortyyears than it is at present.  Travellers did not often carryfull information on Christian art either in their heads or theirpockets; and even the most brilliant English critic of the daymistook the flower-flushed tomb of the ascended Virgin for anornamental vase due to the painter's fancy.  Romanticismwhichhas helped to fill some dull blanks with love and knowledgehad notyet penetrated the times with its leaven and entered into everybody'sfood; it was fermenting still as a distinguishable vigorousenthusiasm in certain long-haired German artists at Romeand theyouth of other nations who worked or idled near them were sometimescaught in the spreading movement.

One finemorning a young man whose hair was not immoderately longbutabundant and curlyand who was otherwise English in his equipmenthad just turned his back on the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican andwas looking out on the magnificent view of the mountains from theadjoining round vestibule.  He was sufficiently absorbed not tonotice the approach of a dark-eyedanimated German who came up tohim and placing a hand on his shouldersaid with a strong accent"Come herequick! else she will have changed her pose."

Quicknesswas ready at the calland the two figures passed lightly along bythe Meleagertowards the hall where the reclining Ariadnethencalled the Cleopatralies in the marble voluptuousness of herbeautythe drapery folding around her with a petal-like ease andtenderness.  They were just in time to see another figurestanding against a pedestal near the reclining marble: a breathingblooming girlwhose formnot shamed by the Ariadnewas clad inQuakerish gray drapery; her long cloakfastened at the neckwasthrown backward from her armsand one beautiful ungloved handpillowed her cheekpushing somewhat backward the white beaver bonnetwhich made a sort of halo to her face around the simply braideddark-brown hair.  She was not looking at the sculptureprobablynot thinking of it:  her large eyes were fixed dreamily on astreak of sunlight which fell across the floor. But she becameconscious of the two strangers who suddenly paused as if tocontemplate the Cleopatraandwithout looking at themimmediatelyturned away to join a maid-servant and courier who were loiteringalong the hall at a little distance off.

"Whatdo you think of that for a fine bit of antithesis?" said theGermansearching in his friend's face for responding admirationbutgoing on volubly without waiting for any other answer. "Therelies antique beautynot corpse-like even in deathbut arrested inthe complete contentment of its sensuous perfection: and here standsbeauty in its breathing lifewith the consciousness of Christiancenturies in its bosom.  But she should be dressed as a nun; Ithink she looks almost what you call a Quaker; I would dress her as anun in my picture.  Howevershe is married; I saw herwedding-ring on that wonderful left handotherwise I should havethought the sallow Geistlicher was her father. I saw him parting fromher a good while agoand just now I found her in that magnificentpose.  Only think! he is perhaps richand would like to haveher portrait taken.  Ah! it is no use looking after her-- thereshe goes!  Let us follow her home!"

"Nono" said his companionwith a little frown.

"Youare singularLadislaw.  You look struck together.  Do youknow her?"

"Iknow that she is married to my cousin" said Will Ladislawsauntering down the hall with a preoccupied airwhile his Germanfriend kept at his side and watched him eagerly.

"What!the Geistlicher? He looks more like an uncle--a more useful sort ofrelation."

"Heis not my uncle.  I tell you he is my second cousin" saidLadislawwith some irritation.

"Schonschon.  Don't be snappish.  You are not angry with me forthinking Mrs. Second-Cousin the most perfect young Madonna I eversaw?"

"Angry?nonsense.  I have only seen her once beforefor a couple ofminuteswhen my cousin introduced her to mejust before I leftEngland.  They were not married then.  I didn't know theywere coming to Rome."

"Butyou will go to see them now--you will find out what they have for anaddress--since you know the name.  Shall we go to the post? Andyou could speak about the portrait."

"ConfoundyouNaumann!  I don't know what I shall do.  I am not sobrazen as you."

"Bah!that is because you are dilettantish and amateurish.  If youwere an artistyou would think of Mistress Second-Cousin as antiqueform animated by Christian sentiment--a sort of Christian Antigone--sensuous force controlled by spiritual passion."

"Yesand that your painting her was the chief outcome of herexistence--the divinity passing into higher completeness and all butexhausted in the act of covering your bit of canvas. I am amateurishif you like:  I do NOT think that all the universe is strainingtowards the obscure significance of your pictures."

"Butit ismy dear!--so far as it is straining through meAdolfNaumann:  that stands firm" said the good-natured painterputting a hand on Ladislaw's shoulderand not in the least disturbedby the unaccountable touch of ill-humor in his tone.  "Seenow! My existence presupposes the existence of the whole universe--does it NOT? and my function is to paint--and as a painter I have aconception which is altogether genialischof your great-aunt orsecond grandmother as a subject for a picture; thereforetheuniverse is straining towards that picture through that particularhook or claw which it puts forth in the shape of me-- not true?"

"Buthow if another claw in the shape of me is straining to thwart it?--the case is a little less simple then."

"Notat all:  the result of the struggle is the same thing-- pictureor no picture--logically."

Will couldnot resist this imperturbable temperand the cloud in his face brokeinto sunshiny laughter.

"Comenowmy friend--you will help?" said Naumannin a hopeful tone.

"No;nonsenseNaumann!  English ladies are not at everybody'sservice as models.  And you want to express too much with yourpainting. You would only have made a better or worse portrait with abackground which every connoisseur would give a different reason foror against. And what is a portrait of a woman?  Your paintingand Plastik are poor stuff after all.  They perturb and dullconceptions instead of raising them.  Language is a finermedium."

"Yesfor those who can't paint" said Naumann.  "There youhave perfect right.  I did not recommend you to paintmyfriend."

Theamiable artist carried his stingbut Ladislaw did not choose toappear stung.  He went on as if he had not heard.

"Languagegives a fuller imagewhich is all the better for beings vague. Afterallthe true seeing is within; and painting stares at you with aninsistent imperfection.  I feel that especially aboutrepresentations of women.  As if a woman were a mere coloredsuperficies! You must wait for movement and tone.  There is adifference in their very breathing:  they change from moment tomoment.--This woman whom you have just seenfor example:  howwould you paint her voicepray?  But her voice is much divinerthan anything you have seen of her."

"IseeI see.  You are jealous.  No man must presume to thinkthat he can paint your ideal.  This is seriousmy friend! Yourgreat-aunt! `Der Neffe als Onkel' in a tragic sense--ungeheuer!"

"Youand I shall quarrelNaumannif you call that lady my aunt again."

"Howis she to be called then?"

"Mrs.Casaubon."

"Good. Suppose I get acquainted with her in spite of youand find that shevery much wishes to be painted?"

"Yessuppose!" said Will Ladislawin a contemptuous undertoneintended to dismiss the subject.  He was conscious of beingirritated by ridiculously small causeswhich were half of his owncreation. Why was he making any fuss about Mrs. Casaubon?  Andyet he felt as if something had happened to him with regard to her. There are characters which are continually creating collisions andnodes for themselves in dramas which nobody is prepared to act withthem. Their susceptibilities will clash against objects that remaininnocently quiet.




CHAPTERXX



  "A child forsakenwaking suddenly
   Whose gazeafeard on all things round doth rove
   And seeth onlythat it cannot see
   The meeting eyes of love."



Two hourslaterDorothea was seated in an inner room or boudoir of a handsomeapartment in the Via Sistina.

I am sorryto add that she was sobbing bitterlywith such abandonment to thisrelief of an oppressed heart as a woman habitually controlled bypride on her own account and thoughtfulness for others will sometimesallow herself when she feels securely alone. And Mr. Casaubon wascertain to remain away for some time at the Vatican.

YetDorothea had no distinctly shapen grievance that she could state evento herself; and in the midst of her confused thought and passionthemental act that was struggling forth into clearness was aself-accusing cry that her feeling of desolation was the fault of herown spiritual poverty.  She had married the man of her choiceand with the advantage over most girls that she had contemplated hermarriage chiefly as the beginning of new duties:  from the veryfirst she had thought of Mr. Casaubon as having a mind so much aboveher ownthat he must often be claimed by studies which she could notentirely share; moreoverafter the brief narrow experience of hergirlhood she was beholding Romethe city of visible historywherethe past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral processionwith strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.

But thisstupendous fragmentariness heightened the dreamlike strangeness ofher bridal life.  Dorothea had now been five weeks in Romeandin the kindly mornings when autumn and winter seemed to go hand inhand like a happy aged couple one of whom would presently survive inchiller lonelinessshe had driven about at first with Mr. Casaubonbut of late chiefly with Tantripp and their experienced courier. Shehad been led through the best gallerieshad been taken to the chiefpoints of viewhad been shown the grandest ruins and the mostglorious churchesand she had ended by oftenest choosing to driveout to the Campagna where she could feel alone with the earth andskyaway-from the oppressive masquerade of agesin which her ownlife too seemed to become a masque with enigmatical costumes.

To thosewho have looked at Rome with the quickening power of a knowledgewhich breathes a growing soul into all historic shapesand tracesout the suppressed transitions which unite all contrastsRome maystill be the spiritual centre and interpreter of the world. But letthem conceive one more historical contrast:  the gigantic brokenrevelations of that Imperial and Papal city thrust abruptly on thenotions of a girl who had been brought up in English and SwissPuritanismfed on meagre Protestant histories and on art chiefly ofthe hand-screen sort; a girl whose ardent nature turned all her smallallowance of knowledge into principlesfusing her actions into theirmouldand whose quick emotions gave the most abstract things thequality of a pleasure or a pain; a girl who had lately become a wifeand from the enthusiastic acceptance of untried duty found herselfplunged in tumultuous preoccupation with her personal lot.  Theweight of unintelligible Rome might lie easily on bright nymphs towhom it formed a background for the brilliant picnic of Anglo-foreignsociety; but Dorothea had no such defence against deep impressions. Ruins and basilicaspalaces and colossiset in the midst of asordid presentwhere all that was living and warm-blooded seemedsunk in the deep degeneracy of a superstition divorced fromreverence; the dimmer but yet eager Titanic life gazing andstruggling on walls and ceilings; the long vistas of white formswhose marble eyes seemed to hold the monotonous light of an alienworld:  all this vast wreck of ambitious idealssensuous andspiritualmixed confusedly with the signs of breathing forgetfulnessand degradationat first jarred her as with an electric shockandthen urged themselves on her with that ache belonging to a glut ofconfused ideas which check the flow of emotion. Forms both pale andglowing took possession of her young senseand fixed themselves inher memory even when she was not thinking of thempreparing strangeassociations which remained through her after-years. Our moods areapt to bring with them images which succeed each other like themagic-lantern pictures of a doze; and in certain states of dullforlornness Dorothea all her life continued to see the vastness ofSt. Peter'sthe huge bronze canopythe excited intention in theattitudes and garments of the prophets and evangelists in the mosaicsaboveand the red drapery which was being hung for Christmasspreading itself everywhere like a disease of the retina.

Not thatthis inward amazement of Dorothea's was anything very exceptional: many souls in their young nudity are tumbled out among incongruitiesand left to "find their feet" among themwhile theirelders go about their business.  Nor can I suppose that whenMrs. Casaubon is discovered in a fit of weeping six weeks after herweddingthe situation will be regarded as tragic. Somediscouragementsome faintness of heart at the new real future whichreplaces the imaginaryis not unusualand we do not expect peopleto be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedywhich lies in the very fact of frequencyhas not yet wrought itselfinto the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames couldhardly bear much of it.  If we had a keen vision and feeling ofall ordinary human lifeit would be like hearing the grass grow andthe squirrel's heart beatand we should die of that roar which lieson the other side of silence. As it isthe quickest of us walk aboutwell wadded with stupidity.

HoweverDorothea was cryingand if she had been required to state the causeshe could only have done so in some such general words as I havealready used:  to have been driven to be more particular wouldhave been like trying to give a history of the lights and shadowsfor that new real future which was replacing the imaginary drew itsmaterial from the endless minutiae by which her view of Mr. Casaubonand her wifely relationnow that she was married to himwasgradually changing with the secret motion of a watch-hand from whatit had been in her maiden dream.  It was too early yet for herfully to recognize or at least admit the changestill more for herto have readjusted that devotedness which was so necessary a part ofher mental life that she was almost sure sooner or later to recoverit.  Permanent rebellionthe disorder of a life without someloving reverent resolvewas not possible to her; but she was now inan interval when the very force of her nature heightened itsconfusion.  In this waythe early months of marriage often aretimes of critical tumult--whether that of a shrimp-pool or of deeperwaters--which afterwards subsides into cheerful peace.

But wasnot Mr. Casaubon just as learned as before?  Had his forms ofexpression changedor his sentiments become less laudable? Ohwaywardness of womanhood! did his chronology fail himor his abilityto state not only a theory but the names of those who held it; or hisprovision for giving the heads of any subject on demand? And was notRome the place in all the world to give free play to suchaccomplishments?  Besideshad not Dorothea's enthusiasmespecially dwelt on the prospect of relieving the weight and perhapsthe sadness with which great tasks lie on him who has to achievethem?-- And that such weight pressed on Mr. Casaubon was only plainerthan before.

All theseare crushing questions; but whatever else remained the samethelight had changedand you cannot find the pearly dawn at noonday.The fact is unalterablethat a fellow-mortal with whose nature youare acquainted solely through the brief entrances and exits of a fewimaginative weeks called courtshipmaywhen seen in the continuityof married companionshipbe disclosed as something better or worsethan what you have preconceivedbut will certainly not appearaltogether the same.  And it would be astonishing to find howsoon the change is felt if we had no kindred changes to compare withit. To share lodgings with a brilliant dinner-companionor to seeyour favorite politician in the Ministrymay bring about changesquite as rapid:  in these cases too we begin by knowing littleand believing muchand we sometimes end by inverting the quantities.

Stillsuch comparisons might misleadfor no man was more incapable offlashy make-believe than Mr. Casaubon:  he was as genuine acharacter as any ruminant animaland he had not actively assisted increating any illusions about himself.  How was it that in theweeks since her marriageDorothea had not distinctly observed butfelt with a stifling depressionthat the large vistas and wide freshair which she had dreamed of finding in her husband's mind werereplaced by anterooms and winding passages which seemed to leadnowhither? I suppose it was that in courtship everything is regardedas provisional and preliminaryand the smallest sample of virtue oraccomplishment is taken to guarantee delightful stores which thebroad leisure of marriage will reveal.  But the door-sill ofmarriage once crossedexpectation is concentrated on the present. Having once embarked on your marital voyageit is impossible not tobe aware that you make no way and that the sea is not withinsight--thatin factyou are exploring an enclosed basin.

In theirconversation before marriageMr. Casaubon had often dwelt on someexplanation or questionable detail of which Dorothea did not see thebearing; but such imperfect coherence seemed due to the brokenness oftheir intercourseandsupported by her faith in their futureshehad listened with fervid patience to a recitation of possiblearguments to be brought against Mr. Casaubon's entirely new view ofthe Philistine god Dagon and other fish-deitiesthinking thathereafter she should see this subject which touched him so nearlyfrom the same high ground whence doubtless it had become so importantto him.  Againthe matter-of-course statement and tone ofdismissal with which he treated what to her were the most stirringthoughtswas easily accounted for as belonging to the sense of hasteand preoccupation in which she herself shared during theirengagement. But nowsince they had been in Romewith all the depthsof her emotion roused to tumultuous activityand with life made anew problem by new elementsshe had been becoming more and moreawarewith a certain terrorthat her mind was continually slidinginto inward fits of anger and repulsionor else into forlornweariness. How far the judicious Hooker or any other hero oferudition would have been the same at Mr. Casaubon's time of lifeshe had no means of knowingso that he could not have the advantageof comparison; but her husband's way of commenting on the strangelyimpressive objects around them had begun to affect her with a sort ofmental shiver: he had perhaps the best intention of acquittinghimself worthilybut only of acquitting himself.  What wasfresh to her mind was worn out to his; and such capacity of thoughtand feeling as had ever been stimulated in him by the general life ofmankind had long shrunk to a sort of dried preparationa lifelessembalmment of knowledge.

When hesaid"Does this interest youDorothea?  Shall we stay alittle longer?  I am ready to stay if you wish it"--itseemed to her as if going or staying were alike dreary.  Or"Should you like to go to the FarnesinaDorothea?  Itcontains celebrated frescos designed or painted by Raphaelwhichmost persons think it worth while to visit."

"Butdo you care about them?" was always Dorothea's question.

"TheyareI believehighly esteemed.  Some of them represent thefable of Cupid and Psychewhich is probably the romantic inventionof a literary periodand cannotI thinkbe reckoned as a genuinemythical product.  But if you like these wall-paintings we caneasily drive thither; and you ill thenI thinkhave seen the chiefworks of Raphaelany of which it were a pity to omit in a visit toRome.  He is the painter who has been held to combine the mostcomplete grace of form with sublimity of expression. Such at least Ihave gathered to be the opinion of conoscenti."

This kindof answer given in a measured official toneas of a clergymanreading according to the rubricdid not help to justify the gloriesof the Eternal Cityor to give her the hope that if she knew moreabout them the world would be joyously illuminated for her. There ishardly any contact more depressing to a young ardent creature thanthat of a mind in which years full of knowledge seem to have issuedin a blank absence of interest or sympathy.

On othersubjects indeed Mr. Casaubon showed a tenacity of occupation and aneagerness which are usually regarded as the effect of enthusiasmandDorothea was anxious to follow this spontaneous direction of histhoughtsinstead of being made to feel that she dragged him awayfrom it.  But she was gradually ceasing to expect with herformer delightful confidence that she should see any wide openingwhere she followed him.  Poor Mr. Casaubon himself was lostamong small closets and winding stairsand in an agitated dimnessabout the Cabeirior in an exposure of other mythologists'ill-considered parallelseasily lost sight of any purpose which hadprompted him to these labors. With his taper stuck before him heforgot the absence of windowsand in bitter manuscript remarks onother men's notions about the solar deitieshe had becomeindifferent to the sunlight.

Thesecharacteristicsfixed and unchangeable as bone in Mr. Casaubonmight have remained longer unfelt by Dorothea if she had beenencouraged to pour forth her girlish and womanly feeling--if he wouldhave held her hands between his and listened with the delight oftenderness and understanding to all the little histories which madeup her experienceand would have given her the same sort of intimacyin returnso that the past life of each could be included in theirmutual knowledge and affection--or if she could have fed heraffection with those childlike caresses which are the bent of everysweet womanwho has begun by showering kisses on the hard pate ofher bald dollcreating a happy soul within that woodenness from thewealth of her own love.  That was Dorothea's bent.  Withall her yearning to know what was afar from her and to be widelybenignantshe had ardor enough for what was nearto have kissed Mr.Casaubon's coat-sleeveor to have caressed his shoe-latchetif hewould have made any other sign of acceptance than pronouncing herwith his unfailing proprietyto be of a most affectionate and trulyfeminine natureindicating at the same time by politely reaching achair for her that he regarded these manifestations as rather crudeand startling.  Having made his clerical toilet with due care inthe morninghe was prepared only for those amenities of life whichwere suited to the well-adjusted stiff cravat of the periodand to amind weighted with unpublished matter.

And by asad contradiction Dorothea's ideas and resolves seemed like meltingice floating and lost in the warm flood of which they had been butanother form.  She was humiliated to find herself a mere victimof feelingas if she could know nothing except through that medium: all her strength was scattered in fits of agitationof struggleofdespondencyand then again in visions of more complete renunciationtransforming all hard conditions into duty. Poor Dorothea! she wascertainly troublesome--to herself chiefly; but this morning for thefirst time she had been troublesome to Mr. Casaubon.

She hadbegunwhile they were taking coffeewith a determination to shakeoff what she inwardly called her selfishnessand turned a face allcheerful attention to her husband when he said"My dearDorotheawe must now think of all that is yet left undoneas apreliminary to our departure.  I would fain have returned homeearlier that we might have been at Lowick for the Christmas; but myinquiries here have been protracted beyond their anticipated period.I trusthoweverthat the time here has not been passed unpleasantlyto you.  Among the sights of Europethat of Rome has ever beenheld one of the most striking and in some respects edifying. I wellremember that I considered it an epoch in my life when I visited itfor the first time; after the fall of Napoleonan event which openedthe Continent to travellers.  Indeed I think it is one amongseveral cities to which an extreme hyperbole has been applied-- `SeeRome and die:'  but in your case I would propose an emendationand saySee Rome as a brideand live henceforth as a happy wife."

Mr.Casaubon pronounced this little speech with the most conscientiousintentionblinking a little and swaying his head up and downandconcluding with a smile.  He had not found marriage a rapturousstatebut he had no idea of being anything else than anirreproachable husbandwho would make a charming young woman ashappy as she deserved to be.

"Ihope you are thoroughly satisfied with our stay--I meanwith theresult so far as your studies are concerned" said Dorotheatrying to keep her mind fixed on what most affected her husband.

"Yes"said Mr. Casaubonwith that peculiar pitch of voice which makes theword half a negative.  "I have been led farther than I hadforeseenand various subjects for annotation have presentedthemselves whichthough I have no direct need of themI could notpretermit. The tasknotwithstanding the assistance of my amanuensishas been a somewhat laborious onebut your society has happilyprevented me from that too continuous prosecution of thought beyondthe hours of study which has been the snare of my solitary life."

"I amvery glad that my presence has made any difference to you" saidDorotheawho had a vivid memory of evenings in which she hadsupposed that Mr. Casaubon's mind had gone too deep during the day tobe able to get to the surface again.  I fear there was a littletemper in her reply.  "I hope when we get to LowickIshall be more useful to youand be able to enter a little more intowhat interests you."

"Doubtlessmy dear" said Mr. Casaubonwith a slight bow. "The notesI have here made will want siftingand you canif you pleaseextract them under my direction."

"Andall your notes" said Dorotheawhose heart had already burnedwithin her on this subjectso that now she could not help speakingwith her tongue.  "All those rows of volumes--will you notnow do what you used to speak of?--will you not make up your mindwhat part of them you will useand begin to write the book whichwill make your vast knowledge useful to the world?  I will writeto your dictationor I will copy and extract what you tell me: I canbe of no other use."  Dorotheain a most unaccountabledarkly feminine mannerended with a slight sob and eyes full oftears.

Theexcessive feeling manifested would alone have been highly disturbingto Mr. Casaubonbut there were other reasons why Dorothea's wordswere among the most cutting and irritating to him that she could havebeen impelled to use.  She was as blind to his inward troublesas he to hers:  she had not yet learned those hidden conflictsin her husband which claim our pity.  She had not yet listenedpatiently to his heartbeatsbut only felt that her own was beatingviolently. In Mr. Casaubon's earDorothea's voice gave loud emphaticiteration to those muffled suggestions of consciousness which it waspossible to explain as mere fancythe illusion of exaggeratedsensitiveness: always when such suggestions are unmistakably repeatedfrom withoutthey are resisted as cruel and unjust.  We areangered even by the full acceptance of our humiliatingconfessions--how much more by hearing in hard distinct syllables fromthe lips of a near observerthose confused murmurs which we try tocall morbidand strive against as if they were the oncoming ofnumbness!  And this cruel outward accuser was there in the shapeof a wife--nayof a young bridewhoinstead of observing hisabundant pen-scratches and amplitude of paper with the uncritical aweof an elegant-minded canary-birdseemed to present herself as a spywatching everything with a malign power of inference.  Heretowards this particular point of the compassMr. Casaubon had asensitiveness to match Dorothea'sand an equal quickness to imaginemore than the fact. He had formerly observed with approbation hercapacity for worshipping the right object; he now foresaw with suddenterror that this capacity might be replaced by presumptionthisworship by the most exasperating of all criticism--that which seesvaguely a great many fine endsand has not the least notion what itcosts to reach them.

For thefirst time since Dorothea had known himMr. Casaubon's face had aquick angry flush upon it.

"Mylove" he saidwith irritation reined in by propriety"youmay rely upon me for knowing the times and the seasonsadapted tothe different stages of a work which is not to be measured by thefacile conjectures of ignorant onlookers.  It had been easy forme to gain a temporary effect by a mirage of baseless opinion; but itis ever the trial of the scrupulous explorer to be saluted with theimpatient scorn of chatterers who attempt only the smallestachievementsbeing indeed equipped for no other. And it were well ifall such could be admonished to discriminate judgments of which thetrue subject-matter lies entirely beyond their reachfrom those ofwhich the elements may be compassed by a narrow and superficialsurvey."

Thisspeech was delivered with an energy and readiness quite unusual withMr. Casaubon.  It was not indeed entirely an improvisationbuthad taken shape in inward colloquyand rushed out like the roundgrains from a fruit when sudden heat cracks it.  Dorothea wasnot only his wife:  she was a personification of that shallowworld which surrounds the appreciated or desponding author.

Dorotheawas indignant in her turn.  Had she not been repressingeverything in herself except the desire to enter into some fellowshipwith her husband's chief interests?

"Myjudgment WAS a very superficial one--such as I am capable offorming" she answeredwith a prompt resentmentthat needed norehearsal.  "You showed me the rows of notebooks--you haveoften spoken of them--you have often said that they wanted digesting.But I never heard you speak of the writing that is to be published.Those were very simple factsand my judgment went no farther. I onlybegged you to let me be of some good to you."

Dorothearose to leave the table and Mr. Casaubon made no replytaking up aletter which lay beside him as if to reperuse it. Both were shockedat their mutual situation--that each should have betrayed angertowards the other.  If they had been at homesettled at Lowickin ordinary life among their neighborsthe clash would have beenless embarrassing:  but on a wedding journeythe express objectof which is to isolate two people on the ground that they are all theworld to each otherthe sense of disagreement isto say the leastconfounding and stultifying.  To have changed your longitudeextensively and placed yourselves in a moral solitude in order tohave small explosionsto find conversation difficult and to hand aglass of water without lookingcan hardly be regarded assatisfactory fulfilment even to the toughest minds. To Dorothea'sinexperienced sensitivenessit seemed like a catastrophechangingall prospects; and to Mr. Casaubon it was a new painhe never havingbeen on a wedding journey beforeor found himself in that closeunion which was more of a subjection than he had been able toimaginesince this charming young bride not only obliged him to muchconsideration on her behalf (which he had sedulously given)butturned out to be capable of agitating him cruelly just where he mostneeded soothing.  Instead of getting a soft fence against thecoldshadowyunapplausive audience of his lifehad he only givenit a more substantial presence?

Neither ofthem felt it possible to speak again at present. To have reversed aprevious arrangement and declined to go out would have been a show ofpersistent anger which Dorothea's conscience shrank fromseeing thatshe already began to feel herself guilty. However just herindignation might beher ideal was not to claim justicebut to givetenderness.  So when the carriage came to the doorshe drovewith Mr. Casaubon to the Vaticanwalked with him through the stonyavenue of inscriptionsand when she parted with him at the entranceto the Librarywent on through the Museum out of mere listlessnessas to what was around her. She had not spirit to turn round and saythat she would drive anywhere. It was when Mr. Casaubon was quittingher that Naumann had first seen herand he had entered the longgallery of sculpture at the same time with her; but here Naumann hadto await Ladislaw with whom he was to settle a bet of champagne aboutan enigmatical mediaeval-looking figure there.  After they hadexamined the figureand had walked on finishing their disputetheyhad partedLadislaw lingering behind while Naumann had gone into theHall of Statues where he again saw Dorotheaand saw her in thatbrooding abstraction which made her pose remarkable.  She didnot really see the streak of sunlight on the floor more than she sawthe statues: she was inwardly seeing the light of years to come inher own home and over the English fields and elms and hedge-borderedhighroads; and feeling that the way in which they might be filledwith joyful devotedness was not so clear to her as it had been. But in Dorothea's mind there was a current into which all thought andfeeling were apt sooner or later to flow--the reaching forward of thewhole consciousness towards the fullest truththe least partialgood. There was clearly something better than anger and despondency.




CHAPTERXXI



  "Hire facounde eke full womanly and plain
   Nocontrefeted termes had she
     To semenwise."
   --CHAUCER.



It was inthat way Dorothea came to be sobbing as soon as she was securelyalone.  But she was presently roused by a knock at the doorwhich made her hastily dry her eyes before saying"Come in."Tantripp had brought a cardand said that there was a gentlemanwaiting in the lobby.  The courier had told him that only Mrs.Casaubon was at homebut he said he was a relation of Mr.Casaubon's: would she see him?

"Yes"said Dorotheawithout pause; "show him into the salon."Her chief impressions about young Ladislaw were that when she hadseen him at Lowick she had been made aware of Mr. Casaubon'sgenerosity towards himand also that she had been interested in hisown hesitation about his career.  She was alive to anything thatgave her an opportunity for active sympathyand at this moment itseemed as if the visit had come to shake her out of her self-absorbeddiscontent--to remind her of her husband's goodnessand make herfeel that she had now the right to be his helpmate in all kinddeeds.  She waited a minute or twobut when she passed into thenext room there were just signs enough that she had been crying tomake her open face look more youthful and appealing than usual. She met Ladislaw with that exquisite smile of good-will which isunmixed with vanityand held out her hand to him. He was the elderby several yearsbut at that moment he looked much the youngerforhis transparent complexion flushed suddenlyand he spoke with ashyness extremely unlike the ready indifference of his manner withhis male companionwhile Dorothea became all the calmer with awondering desire to put him at ease.

"Iwas not aware that you and Mr. Casaubon were in Romeuntil thismorningwhen I saw you in the Vatican Museum" he said. "Iknew you at once--but--I meanthat I concluded Mr. Casaubon'saddress would be found at the Poste Restanteand I was anxious topay my respects to him and you as early as possible."

"Praysit down.  He is not here nowbut he will be glad to hear ofyouI am sure" said Dorotheaseating herself unthinkinglybetween the fire and the light of the tall windowand pointing to achair oppositewith the quietude of a benignant matron. The signs ofgirlish sorrow in her face were only the more striking. "Mr.Casaubon is much engaged; but you will leave your address-- will younot?--and he will write to you."

"Youare very good" said Ladislawbeginning to lose his diffidencein the interest with which he was observing the signs of weepingwhich had altered her face.  "My address is on my card. Butif you will allow me I will call again to-morrow at an hour when Mr.Casaubon is likely to be at home."

"Hegoes to read in the Library of the Vatican every dayand you canhardly see him except by an appointment.  Especially now. We areabout to leave Romeand he is very busy.  He is usually awayalmost from breakfast till dinner.  But I am sure he will wishyou to dine with us."

WillLadislaw was struck mute for a few moments.  He had never beenfond of Mr. Casaubonand if it had not been for the sense ofobligationwould have laughed at him as a Bat of erudition. But the idea of this dried-up pedantthis elaborator of smallexplanations about as important as the surplus stock of falseantiquities kept in a vendor's back chamberhaving first got thisadorable young creature to marry himand then passing his honeymoonaway from hergroping after his mouldy futilities (Will was given tohyperbole)-- this sudden picture stirred him with a sort of comicdisgust: he was divided between the impulse to laugh aloud and theequally unseasonable impulse to burst into scornful invective.

For aninstant he felt that the strugglewas causing a queer contortion ofhis mobile featuresbut with a good effort he resolved it intonothing more offensive than a merry smile.

Dorotheawondered; but the smile was irresistibleand shone back from herface too.  Will Ladislaw's smile was delightfulunless you wereangry with him beforehand:  it was a gush of inward lightilluminating the transparent skin as well as the eyesand playingabout every curve and line as if some Ariel were touching them with anew charmand banishing forever the traces of moodiness. Thereflection of that smile could not but have a little merriment in ittooeven under dark eyelashes still moistas Dorothea saidinquiringly"Something amuses you?"

"Yes"said Willquick in finding resources.  "I am thinking ofthe sort of figure I cut the first time I saw youwhen youannihilated my poor sketch with your criticism."

"Mycriticism?" said Dorotheawondering still more.  "Surelynot. I always feel particularly ignorant about painting."

"Isuspected you of knowing so muchthat you knew how to say just whatwas most cutting.  You said--I dare say you don't remember it asI do-- that the relation of my sketch to nature was quite hidden fromyou. At leastyou implied that."  Will could laugh now aswell as smile.

"Thatwas really my ignorance" said Dorotheaadmiring

Will'sgood-humor. "I must have said so only because I never could seeany beauty in the pictures which my uncle told me all judges thoughtvery fine.  And I have gone about with just the same ignorancein Rome. There are comparatively few paintings that I can reallyenjoy. At first when I enter a room where the walls are covered withfrescosor with rare picturesI feel a kind of awe--like a childpresent at great ceremonies where there are grand robes andprocessions; I feel myself in the presence of some higher life thanmy own. But when I begin to examine the pictures one by on the lifegoes out of themor else is something violent and strange to me. Itmust be my own dulness.  I am seeing so much all at onceandnot understanding half of it.  That always makes one feelstupid. It is painful to be told that anything is very fine and notbe able to feel that it is fine--something like being blindwhilepeople talk of the sky."

"Ohthere is a great deal in the feeling for art which must be acquired"said Will.  (It was impossible now to doubt the directness ofDorothea's confession.) "Art is an old language with a greatmany artificial affected stylesand sometimes the chief pleasure onegets out of knowing them is the mere sense of knowing.  I enjoythe art of all sorts here immensely; but I suppose if I could pick myenjoyment to pieces I should find it made up of many differentthreads.  There is something in daubing a little one's selfandhaving an idea of the process."

"Youmean perhaps to be a painter?" said Dorotheawith a newdirection of interest.  "You mean to make painting yourprofession? Mr. Casaubon will like to hear that you have chosen aprofession."

"Nooh no" said Willwith some coldness.  "I have quitemade up my mind against it.  It is too one-sided a life.  Ihave been seeing a great deal of the German artists here:  Itravelled from Frankfort with one of them.  Some are fineevenbrilliant fellows-- but I should not like to get into their way oflooking at the world entirely from the studio point of view."

"ThatI can understand" said Dorotheacordially.  "And inRome it seems as if there were so many things which are more wantedin the world than pictures.  But if you have a genius forpaintingwould it not be right to take that as a guide? Perhaps you might do better things than these--or differentso thatthere might not be so many pictures almost all alike in the sameplace."

There wasno mistaking this simplicityand Will was won by it into frankness. "A man must have a very rare genius to make changes of thatsort.  I am afraid mine would not carry me even to the pitch ofdoing well what has been done alreadyat least not so well as tomake it worth while.  And I should never succeed in anything bydint of drudgery.  If things don't come easily to me I never getthem."

"Ihave heard Mr. Casaubon say that he regrets your want of patience"said Dorotheagently.  She was rather shocked at this mode oftaking all life as a holiday.

"YesI know Mr. Casaubon's opinion.  He and I differ."

The slightstreak of contempt in this hasty reply offended Dorothea. She was allthe more susceptible about Mr. Casaubon because of her morning'strouble.

"Certainlyyou differ" she saidrather proudly.  "I did notthink of comparing you:  such power of persevering devoted laboras Mr. Casaubon's is not common."

Will sawthat she was offendedbut this only gave an additional impulse tothe new irritation of his latent dislike towards Mr. Casaubon. It wastoo intolerable that Dorothea should be worshipping this husband:such weakness in a woman is pleasant to no man but the husband inquestion.  Mortals are easily tempted to pinch the life out oftheir neighbor's buzzing gloryand think that such killing is nomurder.

"Noindeed" he answeredpromptly.  "And therefore it isa pity that it should be thrown awayas so much English scholarshipisfor want of knowing what is being done by the rest of the world.If Mr. Casaubon read German he would save himself a great deal oftrouble."

"I donot understand you" said Dorotheastartled and anxious.

"Imerely mean" said Willin an offhand way"that theGermans have taken the lead in historical inquiriesand they laughat results which are got by groping about in woods with apocket-compass while they have made good roads.  When I was withMr. Casaubon I saw that he deafened himself in that direction: it was almost against his will that he read a Latin treatise writtenby a German. I was very sorry."

Will onlythought of giving a good pinch that would annihilate that vauntedlaboriousnessand was unable to imagine the mode in which Dorotheawould be wounded.  Young Mr. Ladislaw was not at all deephimself in German writers; but very little achievement is required inorder to pity another man's shortcomings.

PoorDorothea felt a pang at the thought that the labor of her husband'slife might be voidwhich left her no energy to spare for thequestion whether this young relative who was so much obliged to himought not to have repressed his observation. She did not even speakbut sat looking at her handsabsorbed in the piteousness of thatthought.

Willhoweverhaving given that annihilating pinchwas rather ashamedimagining from Dorothea's silence that he had offended her stillmore; and having also a conscience about plucking the tail-feathersfrom a benefactor.

"Iregretted it especially" he resumedtaking the usual coursefrom detraction to insincere eulogy"because of my gratitudeand respect towards my cousin.  It would not signify so much ina man whose talents and character were less distinguished."

Dorothearaised her eyesbrighter than usual with excited feelingand saidin her saddest recitative"How I wish I had learned German whenI was at Lausanne!  There were plenty of German teachers. Butnow I can be of no use."

There wasa new lightbut still a mysterious lightfor Will in Dorothea'slast words.  The question how she had come to accept Mr.Casaubon--which he had dismissed when he first saw her by saying thatshe must be disagreeable in spite of appearances--was not now to beanswered on any such short and easy method.  Whatever else shemight beshe was not disagreeable.  She was not coldly cleverand indirectly satiricalbut adorably simple and full of feeling.She was an angel beguiled.  It would be a unique delight to waitand watch for the melodious fragments in which her heart and soulcame forth so directly and ingenuously.  The AEolian harp againcame into his mind.

She musthave made some original romance for herself in this marriage. And ifMr. Casaubon had been a dragon who had carried her off to his lairwith his talons simply and without legal formsit would have been anunavoidable feat of heroism to release her and fall at her feet. But he was something more unmanageable than a dragon: he was abenefactor with collective society at his backand he was at thatmoment entering the room in all the unimpeachable correctness of hisdemeanorwhile Dorothea was looking animated with a newly rousedalarm and regretand Will was looking animated with his admiringspeculation about her feelings.

Mr.Casaubon felt a surprise which was quite unmixed with pleasurebuthe did not swerve from his usual politeness of greetingwhen Willrose and explained his presence.  Mr. Casaubon was less happythan usualand this perhaps made him look all the dimmer and morefaded; elsethe effect might easily have been produced by thecontrast of his young cousin's appearance.  The first impressionon seeing Will was one of sunny brightnesswhich added to theuncertainty of his changing expression.  Surelyhis veryfeatures changed their formhis jaw looked sometimes large andsometimes small; and the little ripple in his nose was a preparationfor metamorphosis. When he turned his head quickly his hair seemed toshake out lightand some persons thought they saw decided genius inthis coruscation. Mr. Casaubonon the contrarystood rayless.

AsDorothea's eyes were turned anxiously on her husband she was perhapsnot insensible to the contrastbut it was only mingled with othercauses in making her more conscious of that new alarm on his behalfwhich was the first stirring of a pitying tenderness fed by therealities of his lot and not by her own dreams. Yet it was a sourceof greater freedom to her that Will was there; his young equality wasagreeableand also perhaps his openness to conviction.  Shefelt an immense need of some one to speak toand she had neverbefore seen any one who seemed so quick and pliableso likely tounderstand everything.

Mr.Casaubon gravely hoped that Will was passing his time profitably aswell as pleasantly in Rome--had thought his intention was to remainin South Germany--but begged him to come and dine to-morrowwhen hecould converse more at large:  at present he was somewhat weary.Ladislaw understoodand accepting the invitation immediately tookhis leave.

Dorothea'seyes followed her husband anxiouslywhile he sank down wearily atthe end of a sofaand resting his elbow supported his head andlooked on the floor.  A little flushedand with bright eyesshe seated herself beside himand said--

"Forgiveme for speaking so hastily to you this morning.  I was wrong. Ifear I hurt you and made the day more burdensome."

"I amglad that you feel thatmy dear" said Mr. Casaubon. He spokequietly and bowed.  his head a littlebut there was still anuneasy feeling in his eyes as he looked at her.

"Butyou do forgive me?" said Dorotheawith a quick sob.  Inher need for some manifestation of feeling she was ready toexaggerate her own fault.  Would not love see returningpenitence afar offand fall on its neck and kiss it?

"Mydear Dorothea--`who with repentance is not satisfiedis not ofheaven nor earth:'--you do not think me worthy to be banished by thatsevere sentence" said Mr. Casaubonexerting himself to make astrong statementand also to smile faintly.

Dorotheawas silentbut a tear which had come up with the sob would insist onfalling.

"Youare excitedmy dear.. And I also am feeling some unpleasantconsequences of too much mental disturbance" said Mr. Casaubon.In facthe had it in his thought to tell her that she ought not tohave received young Ladislaw in his absence:  but he abstainedpartly from the sense that it would be ungracious to bring a newcomplaint in the moment of her penitent acknowledgmentpartlybecause he wanted to avoid further agitation of himself by speechand partly because he was too proud to betray that jealousy ofdisposition which was not so exhausted on his scholarly compeers thatthere was none to spare in other directions.  There is a sort ofjealousy which needs very little fire:  it is hardly a passionbut a blight bred in the cloudydamp despondency of uneasy egoism.

"Ithink it is time for us to dress" he addedlooking at hiswatch. They both roseand there was never any further allusionbetween them to what had passed on this day.

ButDorothea remembered it to the last with the vividness with which weall remember epochs in our experience when some dear expectationdiesor some new motive is born.  Today she had begun to seethat she had been under a wild illusion in expecting a response toher feeling from Mr. Casaubonand she had felt the waking of apresentiment that there might be a sad consciousness in his lifewhich made as great a need on his side as on her own.

We are allof us born in moral stupiditytaking the world as an udder to feedour supreme selves:  Dorothea had early begun to emerge fromthat stupiditybut yet it had been easier to her to imagine how shewould devote herself to Mr. Casaubonand become wise and strong inhis strength and wisdomthan to conceive with that distinctnesswhich is no longer reflection but feeling-- an idea wrought back tothe directness of senselike the solidity of objects--that he had anequivalent centre of selfwhence the lights and shadows must alwaysfall with a certain difference.




CHAPTERXXII



  "Nous causames longtemps; elle etait simple et bonne.
  Ne sachant pas le malelle faisait le bien;
   Desrichesses du coeur elle me fit l'aumone
   Et tout enecoutant comme le coeur se donne
   Sans oser y penserje lui donnai le mien;
   Elle emporta ma vieet n'ensut jamais rien."
   --ALFRED DE MUSSET.



WillLadislaw was delightfully agreeable at dinner the next dayand gaveno opportunity for Mr. Casaubon to show disapprobation. On thecontrary it seemed to Dorothea that Will had a happier way of drawingher husband into conversation and of deferentially listening to himthan she had ever observed in any one before. To be surethelisteners about Tipton were not highly gifted! Will talked a gooddeal himselfbut what he said was thrown in with such rapidityandwith such an unimportant air of saying something by the waythat itseemed a gay little chime after the great bell. If Will was notalways perfectthis was certainly one of his good days. He describedtouches of incident among the poor people in Romeonly to be seen byone who could move about freely; he found himself in agreement withMr. Casaubon as to the unsound opinions of Middleton concerning therelations of Judaism and Catholicism; and passed easily to ahalf-enthusiastic half-playful picture of the enjoyment he got out ofthe very miscellaneousness of Romewhich made the mind flexible withconstant comparisonand saved you from seeing the world's ages as aset of box-like partitions without vital connection.  Mr.Casaubon's studiesWill observedhad always been of too broad akind for thatand he had perhaps never felt any such sudden effectbut for himself he confessed that Rome had given him quite a newsense of history as a whole: the fragments stimulated his imaginationand made him constructive. Then occasionallybut not too oftenheappealed to Dorotheaand discussed what she saidas if hersentiment were an item to be considered in the final judgment even ofthe Madonna di Foligno or the Laocoon.  A sense of contributingto form the world's opinion makes conversation particularly cheerful;and Mr. Casaubon too was not without his pride in his young wifewhospoke better than most womenas indeed he had perceived in choosingher.

Sincethings were going on so pleasantlyMr. Casaubon's statement that hislabors in the Library would be suspended for a couple of daysandthat after a brief renewal he should have no further reason forstaying in Romeencouraged Will to urge that Mrs. Casaubon shouldnot go away without seeing a studio or two.  Would not Mr.Casaubon take her?  That sort of thing ought not to be missed:it was quite special:  it was a form of life that grew like asmall fresh vegetation with its population of insects on hugefossils. Will would be happy to conduct them--not to anythingwearisomeonly to a few examples.

Mr.Casaubonseeing Dorothea look earnestly towards himcould not butask her if she would be interested in such visits: he was now at herservice during the whole day; and it was agreed that Will should comeon the morrow and drive with them.

Will couldnot omit Thorwaldsena living celebrity about whom even Mr. Casauboninquiredbut before the day was far advanced he led the way to thestudio of his friend Adolf Naumannwhom he mentioned as one of thechief renovators of Christian artone of those who had not onlyrevived but expanded that grand conception of supreme events asmysteries at which the successive ages were spectatorsand inrelation to which the great souls of all periods became as it werecontemporaries.  Will added that he had made himself Naumann'spupil for the nonce.

"Ihave been making some oil-sketches under him" said Will. "Ihate copying.  I must put something of my own in.  Naumannhas been painting the Saints drawing the Car of the Churchand Ihave been making a sketch of Marlowe's Tamburlaine Driving theConquered Kings in his Chariot.  I am not so ecclesiastical asNaumannand I sometimes twit him with his excess of meaning. But this time I mean to outdo him in breadth of intention.  Itake Tamburlaine in his chariot for the tremendous course of theworld's physical history lashing on the harnessed dynasties.  Inmy opinionthat is a good mythical interpretation."  Willhere looked at Mr. Casaubonwho received this offhand treatment ofsymbolism very uneasilyand bowed with a neutral air.

"Thesketch must be very grandif it conveys so much" saidDorothea. "I should need some explanation even of the meaningyou give. Do you intend Tamburlaine to represent earthquakes andvolcanoes?"

"Ohyes" said Willlaughing"and migrations of races andclearings of forests--and America and the steam-engine. Everythingyou can imagine!"

"Whata difficult kind of shorthand!" said Dorotheasmiling towardsher husband.  "It would require all your knowledge to beable to read it."

Mr.Casaubon blinked furtively at Will.  He had a suspicion that hewas being laughed at.  But it was not possible to includeDorothea in the suspicion.

They foundNaumann painting industriouslybut no model was present; hispictures were advantageously arrangedand his own plain vivaciousperson set off by a dove-colored blouse and a maroon velvet capsothat everything was as fortunate as if he had expected the beautifulyoung English lady exactly at that time.

Thepainter in his confident English gave little dissertations on hisfinished and unfinished subjectsseeming to observe Mr. Casaubon asmuch as he did Dorothea.  Will burst in here and there withardent words of praisemarking out particular merits in his friend'swork; and Dorothea felt that she was getting quite new notions as tothe significance of Madonnas seated under inexplicable canopiedthrones with the simple country as a backgroundand of saints witharchitectural models in their handsor knives accidentally wedged intheir skulls.  Some things which had seemed monstrous to herwere gathering intelligibility and even a natural meaning: but allthis was apparently a branch of knowledge in which Mr. Casaubon hadnot interested himself.

"Ithink I would rather feel that painting is beautiful than have toread it as an enigma; but I should learn to understand these picturessooner than yours with the very wide meaning" said Dorotheaspeaking to Will.

"Don'tspeak of my painting before Naumann" said Will.  "Hewill tell youit is all pfuschereiwhich is his most opprobriousword!"

"Isthat true?" said Dorotheaturning her sincere eyes on Naumannwho made a slight grimace and said--

"Ohhe does not mean it seriously with painting.  His walk must bebelles-lettres. That is wi-ide."

Naumann'spronunciation of the vowel seemed to stretch the word satirically. Will did not half like itbut managed to laugh: and Mr. Casaubonwhile he felt some disgust at the artist's German accentbegan toentertain a little respect for his judicious severity.

Therespect was not diminished when Naumannafter drawing Will aside fora moment and lookingfirst at a large canvasthen at Mr. Casauboncame forward again and said--

"Myfriend Ladislaw thinks you will pardon mesirif I say that asketch of your head would be invaluable to me for the St. ThomasAquinas in my picture there.  It is too much to ask; but I soseldom see just what I want--the idealistic in the real."

"Youastonish me greatlysir" said Mr. Casaubonhis looks improvedwith a glow of delight; "but if my poor physiognomywhich Ihave been accustomed to regard as of the commonest ordercan be ofany use to you in furnishing some traits for the angelical doctorIshall feel honored.  That is to sayif the operation will notbe a lengthy one; and if Mrs. Casaubon will not object to the delay."

As forDorotheanothing could have pleased her moreunless it had been amiraculous voice pronouncing Mr. Casaubon the wisest and worthiestamong the sons of men.  In that case her tottering faith wouldhave become firm again.

Naumann'sapparatus was at hand in wonderful completenessand the sketch wenton at once as well as the conversation.  Dorothea sat down andsubsided into calm silencefeeling happier than she had done for along while before.  Every one about her seemed goodand shesaid to herself that Romeif she had only been less ignorantwouldhave been full of beauty its sadness would have been winged withhope.  No nature could be less suspicious than hers: when shewas a child she believed in the gratitude of wasps and the honorablesusceptibility of sparrowsand was proportionately indignant whentheir baseness was made manifest.

The adroitartist was asking Mr. Casaubon questions about English politieswhich brought long answersandWill meanwhile had perched himselfon some steps in the background overlooking all.

PresentlyNaumann said--"Now if I could lay this by for half an hour andtake it up again--come and lookLadislaw--I think it is perfect sofar."

Willvented those adjuring interjections which imply that admiration istoo strong for syntax; and Naumann said in a tone of piteous regret--

"Ah--now--ifI could but have had more--but you have other engagements-- I couldnot ask it--or even to come again to-morrow."

"Ohlet us stay!" said Dorothea.  "We have nothing to doto-day except go abouthave we?" she addedlookingentreatingly at Mr. Casaubon. "It would be a pity not to makethe head as good as possible."

"I amat your servicesirin the matter" said Mr. Casaubonwithpolite condescension.  "Having given up the interior of myhead to idlenessit is as well that the exterior should work in thisway."

"Youare unspeakably good--now I am happy!" said Naumannand thenwent on in German to Willpointing here and there to the sketch asif he were considering that.  Putting it aside for a momenthelooked round vaguelyas if seeking some occupation for his visitorsand afterwards turning to Mr. Casaubonsaid--

"Perhapsthe beautiful bridethe gracious ladywould not be unwilling to letme fill up the time by trying to make a slight sketch of her--notofcourseas you seefor that picture-- only as a single study."

Mr.Casaubonbowingdoubted not that Mrs. Casaubon would oblige himand Dorothea saidat once"Where shall I put myself?"

Naumannwas all apologies in asking her to standand allow him to adjust herattitudeto which she submitted without any of the affected airs andlaughs frequently thought necessary on such occasionswhen thepainter said"It is as Santa Clara that I want you to stand--leaning sowith your cheek against your hand--so--looking at thatstoolpleaseso!"

Will wasdivided between the inclination to fall at the Saint's feet and kissher robeand the temptation to knock Naumann down while he wasadjusting her arm.  All this was impudence and desecrationandhe repented that he had brought her.

The artistwas diligentand Will recovering himself moved about and occupiedMr. Casaubon as ingeniously as he could; but he did not in the endprevent the time from seeming long to that gentlemanas was clearfrom his expressing a fear that Mrs. Casaubon would be tired. Naumann took the hint and said--

"Nowsirif you can oblige me again; I will release the lady-wife."

So Mr.Casaubon's patience held out furtherand when after all it turnedout that the head of Saint Thomas Aquinas would be more perfect ifanother sitting could be hadit was granted for the morrow. On themorrow Santa Clara too was retouched more than once. The result ofall was so far from displeasing to Mr. Casaubonthat he arranged forthe purchase of the picture in which Saint Thomas Aquinas sat amongthe doctors of the Church in a disputation too abstract to berepresentedbut listened to with more or less attention by anaudience above.  The Santa Clarawhich was spoken of in thesecond placeNaumann declared himself to be dissatisfied with-- hecould notin conscienceengage to make a worthy picture of it; soabout the Santa Clara the arrangement was conditional.

I will notdwell on Naumann's jokes at the expense of Mr. Casaubon that eveningor on his dithyrambs about Dorothea's charmin all which Willjoinedbut with a difference.  No sooner did Naumann mentionany detail of Dorothea's beautythan Will got exasperated at hispresumption:  there was grossness in his choice of the mostordinary wordsand what business had he to talk of her lips? She wasnot a woman to be spoken of as other women were.  Will could notsay just what he thoughtbut he became irritable.  And yetwhen after some resistance he had consented to take the Casaubons tohis friend's studiohe had been allured by the gratification of hispride in being the person who could grant Naumann such an opportunityof studying her loveliness--or rather her divinenessfor theordinary phrases which might apply to mere bodily prettiness were notapplicable to her.  (Certainly all Tipton and its neighborhoodas well as Dorothea herselfwould have been surprised at her beautybeing made so much of.  In that part of the world Miss Brookehad been only a "fine young woman.")

"Obligeme by letting the subject dropNaumann.  Mrs. Casaubon is notto be talked of as if she were a model" said Will. Naumannstared at him.

"Schon! I will talk of my Aquinas.  The head is not a bad typeafterall.  I dare say the great scholastic himself would have beenflattered to have his portrait asked for.  Nothing like thesestarchy doctors for vanity!  It was as I thought:  he caredmuch less for her portrait than his own."

"He'sa cursed white-blooded pedantic coxcomb" said Willwithgnashing impetuosity.  His obligations to Mr. Casaubon were notknown to his hearerbut Will himself was thinking of themandwishing that he could discharge them all by a check.

Naumanngave a shrug and said"It is good they go away soonmy dear.They are spoiling your fine temper."

All Will'shope and contrivance were now concentrated on seeing Dorothea whenshe was alone.  He only wanted her to take more emphatic noticeof him; he only wanted to be something more special in herremembrance than he could yet believe himself likely to be. He wasrather impatient under that open ardent good-willreach he saw washer usual state of feeling.  The remote worship of a womanthroned out of their reach plays a great part in men's livesbut inmost cases the worshipper longs for some queenly recognitionsomeapproving sign by which his soul's sovereign may cheer him withoutdescending from her high place.  That was precisely what Willwanted. But there were plenty of contradictions in his imaginativedemands. It was beautiful to see how Dorothea's eyes turned withwifely anxiety and beseeching to Mr. Casaubon:  she would havelost some of her halo if she had been without that duteouspreoccupation; and yet at the next moment the husband's sandyabsorption of such nectar was too intolerable; and Will's longing tosay damaging things about him was perhaps not the less tormentingbecause he felt the strongest reasons for restraining it.

Will hadnot been invited to dine the next day.  Hence he persuadedhimself that he was bound to calland that the only eligible timewas the middle of the daywhen Mr. Casaubon would not be at home.

Dorotheawho had not been made aware that her former reception of Will haddispleased her husbandhad no hesitation about seeing himespecially as he might be come to pay a farewell visit.  When heentered she was looking at some cameos which she had been buying forCelia. She greeted Will as if his visit were quite a matter ofcourseand said at oncehaving a cameo bracelet in her hand--

"I amso glad you are come.  Perhaps you understand all about cameosand can tell me if these are really good.  I wished to have youwith us in choosing thembut Mr. Casaubon objected:  he thoughtthere was not time.  He will finish his work to-morrowand weshall go away in three days.  I have been uneasy about thesecameos. Pray sit down and look at them."

"I amnot particularly knowingbut there can be no great mistake aboutthese little Homeric bits:  they are exquisitely neat. And thecolor is fine:  it will just suit you."

"Ohthey are for my sisterwho has quite a different complexion. You sawher with me at Lowick:  she is light-haired and very pretty-- atleast I think so.  We were never so long away from each other inour lives before.  She is a great pet and never was naughty inher life. I found out before I came away that she wanted me to buyher some cameosand I should be sorry for them not to be good--aftertheir kind." Dorothea added the last words with a smile.

"Youseem not to care about cameos" said Willseating himself atsome distance from herand observing her while she closed the oases.

"NofranklyI don't think them a great object in life" saidDorothea

"Ifear you are a heretic about art generally.  How is that? I should have expected you to be very sensitive to the beautifuleverywhere."

"Isuppose I am dull about many things" said Dorotheasimply. "Ishould like to make life beautiful--I mean everybody's life. And thenall this immense expense of artthat seems somehow to lie outsidelife and make it no better for the worldpains one. It spoils myenjoyment of anything when I am made to think that most people areshut out from it."

"Icall that the fanaticism of sympathy" said Willimpetuously."You might say the same of landscapeof poetryof allrefinement. If you carried it out you ought to be miserable in yourown goodnessand turn evil that you might have no advantage overothers. The best piety is to enjoy--when you can.  You are doingthe most then to save the earth's character as an agreeable planet.And enjoyment radiates.  It is of no use to try and take care ofall the world; that is being taken care of when you feel delight-- inart or in anything else.  Would you turn all the youth of theworld into a tragic choruswailing and moralizing over misery? Isuspect that you have some false belief in the virtues of miseryandwant to make your life a martyrdom."  Will had gone furtherthan he intendedand checked himself.  But Dorothea's thoughtwas not taking just the same direction as his ownand she answeredwithout any special emotion--

"Indeedyou mistake me.  I am not a sadmelancholy creature.  I amnever unhappy long together.  I am angry and naughty--not likeCelia: I have a great outburstand then all seems glorious again. Icannot help believing in glorious things in a blind sort of way. Ishould be quite willing to enjoy the art herebut there is so muchthat I don't know the reason of--so much that seems to me aconsecration of ugliness rather than beauty.  The painting andsculpture may be wonderfulbut the feeling is often low and brutaland sometimes even ridiculous.  Here and there I see what takesme at once as noble--something that I might compare with the AlbanMountains or the sunset from the Pincian Hill; but that makes it thegreater pity that there is so little of the best kind among all thatmass of things over which men have toiled so."

"Ofcourse there is always a great deal of poor work:  the rarerthings want that soil to grow in."

"Ohdear" said Dorotheataking up that thought into the chiefcurrent of her anxiety; "I see it must be very difficult to doanything good. I have often felt since I have been in Rome that mostof our lives would look much uglier and more bungling than thepicturesif they could be put on the wall."

Dorotheaparted her lips again as if she were going to say morebut changedher mind and paused.

"Youare too young--it is an anachronism for you to have such thoughts"said Willenergeticallywith a quick shake of the head habitual tohim. "You talk as if you had never known any youth.  It ismonstrous-- as if you had had a vision of Hades in your childhoodlike the boy in the legend.  You have been brought up in some ofthose horrible notions that choose the sweetest women to devour--likeMinotaurs And now you will go and be shut up in that stone prison atLowick: you will be buried alive.  It makes me savage to thinkof it! I would rather never have seen you than think of you with sucha prospect."

Will againfeared that he had gone too far; but the meaning we attach to wordsdepends on our feelingand his tone of angry regret had so muchkindness in it for Dorothea's heartwhich had always been giving outardor and had never been fed with much from the living beings aroundherthat she felt a new sense of gratitude and answered with agentle smile--

"Itis very good of you to be anxious about me.  It is because youdid not like Lowick yourself:  you had set your heart on anotherkind of life.  But Lowick is my chosen home."

The lastsentence was spoken with an almost solemn cadenceand Will did notknow what to saysince it would not be useful for him to embrace herslippersand tell her that he would die for her: it was clear thatshe required nothing of the sort; and they were both silent for amoment or twowhen Dorothea began again with an air of saying atlast what had been in her mind beforehand.

"Iwanted to ask you again about something you said the other day.Perhaps it was half of it your lively way of speaking:  I noticethat you like to put things strongly; I myself often exaggerate whenI speak hastily."

"Whatwas it?" said Willobserving that she spoke with a timidityquite new in her.  "I have a hyperbolical tongue:  itcatches fire as it goes.  I dare say I shall have to retract."

"Imean what you said about the necessity of knowing German--I meanforthe subjects that Mr. Casaubon is engaged in.  I have beenthinking about it; and it seems to me that with Mr. Casaubon'slearning he must have before him the same materials as Germanscholars--has he not?" Dorothea's timidity was due to anindistinct consciousness that she was in the strange situation ofconsulting a third person about the adequacy of Mr. Casaubon'slearning.

"Notexactly the same materials" said Willthinking that he wouldbe duly reserved.  "He is not an Orientalistyou know. Hedoes not profess to have more than second-hand knowledge there."

"Butthere are very valuable books about antiquities which were written along while ago by scholars who knew nothing about these modernthings; and they are still used.  Why should Mr. Casaubon's notbe valuablelike theirs?" said Dorotheawith more remonstrantenergy. She was impelled to have the argument aloudwhich she hadbeen having in her own mind.

"Thatdepends on the line of study taken" said Willalso getting atone of rejoinder.  "The subject Mr. Casaubon has chosen isas changing as chemistry:  new discoveries are constantly makingnew points of view.  Who wants a system on the basis of the fourelementsor a book to refute Paracelsus?  Do you not see thatit is no use now to be crawling a little way after men of the lastcentury-- men like Bryant--and correcting their mistakes?--living ina lumber-room and furbishing up broken-legged theories about Chus andMizraim?"

"Howcan you bear to speak so lightly?" said Dorotheawith a lookbetween sorrow and anger.  "If it were as you saywhatcould be sadder than so much ardent labor all in vain?  I wonderit does not affect you more painfullyif you really think that a manlike Mr. Casaubonof so much goodnesspowerand learningshouldin any way fail in what has been the labor of his best years."She was beginning to be shocked that she had got to such a point ofsuppositionand indignant with Will for having led her to it.

"Youquestioned me about the matter of factnot of feeling" saidWill.  "But if you wish to punish me for the factIsubmit. I am not in a position to express my feeling toward Mr.Casaubon: it would be at best a pensioner's eulogy."

"Prayexcuse me" said Dorotheacoloring deeply.  "I amawareas you saythat I am in fault in having introduced thesubject. IndeedI am wrong altogether.  Failure after longperseverance is much grander than never to have a striving goodenough to be called a failure."

"Iquite agree with you" said Willdetermined to change thesituation-- "so much so that I have made up my mind not to runthat risk of never attaining a failure.  Mr. Casaubon'sgenerosity has perhaps been dangerous to meand I mean to renouncethe liberty it has given me.  I mean to go back to Englandshortly and work my own way-- depend on nobody else than myself."

"Thatis fine--I respect that feeling" said Dorotheawith returningkindness.  "But Mr. CasaubonI am surehas never thoughtof anything in the matter except what was most for your welfare."

"Shehas obstinacy and pride enough to serve instead of lovenow she hasmarried him" said Will to himself.  Aloud he saidrising--

"Ishall not see you again."

"Ohstay till Mr. Casaubon comes" said Dorotheaearnestly. "I am so glad we met in Rome.  I wanted to know you."?

"AndI have made you angry" said Will.  "I have made youthink ill of me."

"Ohno.  My sister tells me I am always angry with people who do notsay just what I like.  But I hope I am not given to think ill ofthem.  In the end I am usually obliged to think ill of myself.for being so impatient."

"Stillyou don't like me; I have made myself an unpleasant thought to you."

"Notat all" said Dorotheawith the most open kindness. "Ilike you very much."

Will wasnot quite contentedthinking that he would apparently have been ofmore importance if he had been disliked.  He said nothingbutlooked lullnot to say sulky.

"AndI am quite interested to see what you will do" Dorothea went oncheerfully.  "I believe devoutly in a natural difference ofvocation. If it were not for that beliefI suppose I should be verynarrow-- there are so many thingsbesides paintingthat I am quiteignorant of.  You would hardly believe how little I have takenin of music and literaturewhich you know so much of.  I wonderwhat your vocation will turn out to be:  perhaps you will be apoet?"

"Thatdepends.  To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discernthat no shade of quality escapes itand so quick to feelthatdiscernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on thechords of emotion--a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneouslyinto feelingand feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.One may have that condition by fits only."

"Butyou leave out the poems" said Dorothea.  "I thinkthey are wanted to complete the poet.  I understand what youmean about knowledge passing into feelingfor that seems to be justwhat I experience. But I am sure I could never produce a poem."

"YouARE a poem--and that is to be the best part of a poet-- what makes upthe poet's consciousness in his best moods" said Willshowingsuch originality as we all share with the morning and the spring-timeand other endless renewals.

"I amvery glad to hear it" said Dorothealaughing out her words ina bird-like modulationand looking at Will with playful gratitude inher eyes.  "What very kind things you say to me!"

"Iwish I could ever do anything that would be what you call kind-- thatI could ever be of the slightest service to you I fear I shall neverhave the opportunity."  Will spoke with fervor.

"Ohyes" said Dorotheacordially.  "It will come; and Ishall remember how well you wish me.  I quite hoped that weshould be friends when I first saw you--because of your relationshipto Mr. Casaubon." There was a certain liquid brightness in hereyesand Will was conscious that his own were obeying a law ofnature and filling too. The allusion to Mr. Casaubon would havespoiled all if anything at that moment could have spoiled thesubduing powerthe sweet dignityof her noble unsuspiciousinexperience.

"Andthere is one thing even now that you can do" said Dorothearising and walking a little way under the strength of a recurringimpulse. "Promise me that you will not againto any onespeakof that subject-- I mean about Mr. Casaubon's writings--I mean inthat kind of way. It was I who led to it.  It was my fault. But promise me."

She hadreturned from her brief pacing and stood opposite Willlookinggravely at him.

"CertainlyI will promise you" said Willreddening however. If he neversaid a cutting word about Mr. Casaubon again and left off receivingfavors from himit would clearly be permissible to hate him themore.  The poet must know how to hatesays Goethe; and Will wasat least ready with that accomplishment.  He said that he mustgo now without waiting for Mr. Casaubonwhom he would come to takeleave of at the last moment.  Dorothea gave him her handandthey exchanged a simple "Good-by."

But goingout of the porte cochere he met Mr. Casaubonand that gentlemanexpressing the best wishes for his cousinpolitely waived thepleasure of any further leave-taking on the morrowwhich would besufficiently crowded with the preparations for departure.

"Ihave something to tell you about our cousin Mr. Ladislawwhich Ithink will heighten your opinion of him" said Dorothea to herhusband in the coarse of the evening.  She had mentionedimmediately on his entering that Will had just gone awayand wouldcome againbut Mr. Casaubon had said"I met him outsideandwe made our final adieuxI believe" saying this with the airand tone by which we imply that any subjectwhether private orpublicdoes not interest us enough to wish for a further remark uponit. So Dorothea had waited.

"Whatis thatmy love?" said Mr Casaubon (he always said "mylove" when his manner was the coldest).

"Hehas made up his mind to leave off wandering at onceand to give uphis dependence on your generosity.  He means soon to go back toEnglandand work his own way.  I thought you would considerthat a good sign" said Dorotheawith an appealing look intoher husband's neutral face.

"Didhe mention the precise order of occupation to which he would addicthimself?"

"No.But he said that he felt the danger which lay for him in yourgenerosity.  Of course he will write to you about it. Do you notthink better of him for his resolve?"

"Ishall await his communication on the subject" said Mr.Casaubon.

"Itold him I was sure that the thing you considered in all you did forhim was his own welfare.  I remembered your goodness in what yousaid about him when I first saw him at Lowick" said Dorotheaputting her hand on her husband's

"Ihad a duty towards him" said Mr. Casaubonlaying his otherhand on Dorothea's in conscientious acceptance of her caressbutwith a glance which he could not hinder from being uneasy. "Theyoung manI confessis not otherwise an object of interest to menor need weI thinkdiscuss his future coursewhich it is not oursto determine beyond the limits which I have sufficiently indicated."Dorothea did not mention Will again.




BOOKIII

WAITINGFOR DEATH




CHAPTERXXIII



  "Your horses of the Sun" he said
   "Andfirst-rate whip Apollo!
   Whate'er they beI'll eat myhead
   But I will beat them hollow."



FredVincywe have seen.  had a debt on his mindand though no suchimmaterial burthen could depress that buoyant-hearted young gentlemanfor many hours togetherthere were circumstances connected with thisdebt which made the thought of it unusually importunate. The creditorwas Mr. Bambridge a horse-dealer of the neighborhoodwhose companywas much sought in Middlemarch by young men understood to be"addicted to pleasure."  During the vacations Fred hadnaturally required more amusements than he had ready money forandMr. Bambridge had been accommodating enough not only to trust him forthe hire of horses and the accidental expense of ruining a finehunterbut also to make a small advance by which he might be able tomeet some losses at billiards.  The total debt was a hundred andsixty pounds. Bambridge was in no alarm about his moneybeing surethat young Vincy had backers; but he had required something to showfor itand Fred had at first given a bill with his own signature.Three months later he had renewed this bill with the signature ofCaleb Garth.  On both occasions Fred had felt confident that heshould meet the bill himselfhaving ample funds at disposal in hisown hopefulness.  You will hardly demand that his confidenceshould have a basis in external facts; such confidencewe knowissomething less coarse and materialistic:  it is a comfortabledisposition leading us to expect that the wisdom of providence or thefolly of our friendsthe mysteries of luck or the still greatermystery of our high individual value in the universewill bringabout agreeable issuessuch as are consistent with our good taste incostumeand our general preference for the best style of thing. Fredfelt sure that he should have a present from his unclethat heshould have a run of luckthat by dint of "swapping" heshould gradually metamorphose a horse worth forty pounds into a horsethat would fetch a hundred at any moment--"judgment" beingalways equivalent to an unspecified sum in hard cash.  And inany caseeven supposing negations which only a morbid distrust couldimagineFred had always (at that time) his father's pocket as a lastresourceso that his assets of hopefulness had a sort of gorgeoussuperfluity about them.  Of what might be the capacity of hisfather's pocketFred had only a vague notion:  was not tradeelastic? And would not the deficiencies of one year be made up for bythe surplus of another?  The Vincys lived in an easy profusewaynot with any new ostentationbut according to the family habitsand traditionsso that the children had no standard of economyandthe elder ones retained some of their infantine notion that theirfather might pay for anything if he would.  Mr. Vincy himselfhad expensive Middlemarch habits--spent money on coursingon hiscellarand on dinner-givingwhile mamma had those running accountswith tradespeoplewhich give a cheerful sense of getting everythingone wants without any question of payment.  But it was in thenature of fathersFred knewto bully one about expenses: there wasalways a little storm over his extravagance if he had to disclose adebtand Fred disliked bad weather within doors. He was too filialto be disrespectful to his fatherand he bore the thunder with thecertainty that it was transient; but in the mean time it wasdisagreeable to see his mother cryand also to be obliged to looksulky instead of having fun; for Fred was so good-tempered that if helooked glum under scoldingit was chiefly for propriety's sake. The easier course plainlywas to renew the bill with a friend'ssignature.  Why not?  With the superfluous securities ofhope at his commandthere was no reason why he should not haveincreased other people's liabilities to any extentbut for the factthat men whose names were good for anything were usually pessimistsindisposed to believe that the universal order of things wouldnecessarily be agreeable to an agreeable young gentleman.

With afavor to ask we review our list of friendsdo justice to their moreamiable qualitiesforgive their little offensesand concerning eachin turntry to arrive at the conclusion that he will be eager tooblige usour own eagerness to be obliged being as communicable asother warmth.  Still there is always a certain number who aredismissed as but moderately eager until the others have refused; andit happened that Fred checked off all his friends but oneon theground that applying to them would be disagreeable; being implicitlyconvinced that he at least (whatever might be maintained aboutmankind generally) had a right to be free from anythingdisagreeable.  That he should ever fall into a thoroughlyunpleasant position--wear trousers shrunk with washingeat coldmuttonhave to walk for want of a horseor to "duck under"in any sort of way--was an absurdity irreconcilable with thosecheerful intuitions implanted in him by nature.  And Fred wincedunder the idea of being looked down upon as wanting funds for smalldebts. Thus it came to pass that the friend whom he chose to apply towas at once the poorest and the kindest--namelyCaleb Garth.

The Garthswere very fond of Fredas he was of them; for when he and Rosamondwere little onesand the Garths were better offthe slightconnection between the two families through Mr. Featherstone's doublemarriage (the first to Mr. Garth's sisterand the second to Mrs.Vincy's) had led to an acquaintance which was carried on between thechildren rather than the parents: the children drank tea together outof their toy teacupsand spent whole days together in play. Mary was a little hoydenand Fred at six years old thought her thenicest girl in the world making her his wife with a brass ring whichhe had cut from an umbrella. Through all the stages of his educationhe had kept his affection for the Garthsand his habit of going totheir house as a second homethough any intercourse between them andthe elders of his family had long ceased.  Even when Caleb Garthwas prosperousthe Vincys were on condescending terms with him andhis wifefor there were nice distinctions of rank in Middlemarch;and though old manufacturers could not any more than dukes beconnected with none but equalsthey were conscious of an inherentsocial superiority which was defined with great nicety in practicethough hardly expressible theoretically.  Since then Mr. Garthhad failed in the building businesswhich he had unfortunately addedto his other avocations of surveyorvaluerand agenthad conductedthat business for a time entirely for the benefit of his assigneesand had been living narrowlyexerting himself to the utmost that hemight after all pay twenty shillings in the pound. He had nowachieved thisand from all who did not think it a bad precedenthishonorable exertions had won him due esteem; but in no part of theworld is genteel visiting founded on esteemin the absence ofsuitable furniture and complete dinner-service. Mrs. Vincy had neverbeen at her ease with Mrs. Garthand frequently spoke of her as awoman who had had to work for her bread-- meaning that Mrs. Garth hadbeen a teacher before her marriage; in which case an intimacy withLindley Murray and Mangnall's Questions was something like a draper'sdiscrimination of calico trademarksor a courier's acquaintance withforeign countries:  no woman who was better off needed that sortof thing.  And since Mary had been keeping Mr. Featherstone'shouseMrs. Vincy's want of liking for the Garths had been convertedinto something more positiveby alarm lest Fred should engagehimself to this plain girlwhose parents "lived in such a smallway."  Fredbeing aware of thisnever spoke at home ofhis visits to Mrs. Garthwhich had of late become more frequenttheincreasing ardor of his affection for Mary inclining him the moretowards those who belonged to her.

Mr. Garthhad a small office in the townand to this Fred went with hisrequest.  He obtained it without much difficultyfor a largeamount of painful experience had not sufficed to make Caleb Garthcautious about his own affairsor distrustful of his fellow-men whenthey had not proved themselves untrustworthy; and he had the highestopinion of Fredwas "sure the lad would turn out well--an openaffectionate fellowwith a good bottom to his character--you mighttrust him for anything." Such was Caleb's psychologicalargument.  He was one of those rare men who are rigid tothemselves and indulgent to others. He had a certain shame about hisneighbors' errorsand never spoke of them willingly; hence he wasnot likely to divert his mind from the best mode of hardening timberand other ingenious devices in order to preconceive those errors. If he had to blame any oneit was necessary for him to move all thepapers within his reachor describe various diagrams with his stickor make calculations with the odd money in his pocketbefore hecould begin; and he would rather do other men's work than find faultwith their doing. I fear he was a bad disciplinarian.

When Fredstated the circumstances of his debthis wish to meet it withouttroubling his fatherand the certainty that the money would beforthcoming so as to cause no one any inconvenienceCaleb pushed hisspectacles upwardlistenedlooked into his favorite's clear youngeyesand believed himnot distinguishing confidence about thefuture from veracity about the past; but he felt that it was anoccasion for a friendly hint as to conductand that before givinghis signature he must give a rather strong admonition. Accordinglyhe took the paper and lowered his spectaclesmeasuredthe space at his commandreached his pen and examined itdipped itin the ink and examined it againthen pushed the paper a little wayfrom himlifted up his spectacles againshowed a deepeneddepression in the outer angle of his bushy eyebrowswhich gave hisface a peculiar mildness (pardon these details for once--you wouldhave learned to love them if you had known Caleb Garth)and said ina comfortable tone--

"Itwas a misfortuneehthat breaking the horse's knees? And thenthese exchangesthey don't answer when you have 'cute jockeys todeal with.  You'll be wiser another timemy boy."

WhereuponCaleb drew down his spectaclesand proceeded to write his signaturewith the care which he always gave to that performance; for whateverhe did in the way of business he did well. He contemplated the largewell-proportioned letters and final flourishwith his head a trifleon one side for an instantthen handed it to Fredsaid "Good-by"and returned forthwith to his absorption in a plan for Sir JamesChettam's new farm-buildings.

Eitherbecause his interest in this work thrust the incident of thesignature from his memoryor for some reason of which Caleb was moreconsciousMrs. Garth remained ignorant of the affair.

Since itoccurreda change had come over Fred's skywhich altered his viewof the distanceand was the reason why his uncle Featherstone'spresent of money was of importance enough to make his color come andgofirst with a too definite expectationand afterwards with aproportionate disappointment.  His failure in passing hisexaminationhad made his accumulation of college debts the moreunpardonable by his fatherand there had been an unprecedented stormat home. Mr. Vincy had sworn that if he had anything more of thatsort to put up withFred should turn out and get his living how hecould; and he had never yet quite recovered his good-humored tone tohis sonwho had especially enraged him by saying at this stage ofthings that he did not want to be a clergymanand would rather not"go on with that."  Fred was conscious that he wouldhave been yet more severely dealt with if his family as well ashimself had not secretly regarded him as Mr. Featherstone's heir;that old gentleman's pride in himand apparent fondness for himserving in the stead of more exemplary conduct--just as when ayouthful nobleman steals jewellery we call the act kleptomaniaspeakof it with a philosophical smileand never think of his being sentto the house of correction as if he were a ragged boy who had stolenturnips.  In facttacit expectations of what would be done forhim by uncle Featherstone determined the angle at which most peopleviewed Fred Vincy in Middlemarch; and in his own consciousnesswhatuncle Featherstone would do for him in an emergencyor what he woulddo simply as an incorporated luckformed always an immeasurabledepth of aerial perspective.  But that present of bank-notesonce madewas measurableand being applied to the amount of thedebtshowed a deficit which had still to be filled up either byFred's "judgment" or by luck in some other shape. For thatlittle episode of the alleged borrowingin which he had made hisfather the agent in getting the Bulstrode certificatewas a newreason against going to his father for money towards meeting hisactual debt.  Fred was keen enough to foresee that anger wouldconfuse distinctionsand that his denial of having borrowedexpressly on the strength of his uncle's will would be taken as afalsehood. He had gone to his father and told him one vexatiousaffairand he had left another untold:  in such cases thecomplete revelation always produces the impression of a previousduplicity. Now Fred piqued himself on keeping clear of liesand evenfibs; he often shrugged his shoulders and made a significant grimaceat what he called Rosamond's fibs (it is only brothers who canassociate such ideas with a lovely girl); and rather than incur theaccusation of falsehood he would even incur some trouble andself-restraint. It was under strong inward pressure of this kind thatFred had taken the wise step of depositing the eighty pounds with hismother. It was a pity that he had not at once given them to Mr.Garth; but he meant to make the sum complete with another sixtyandwith a view to thishe had kept twenty pounds in his own pocket as asort of seed-cornwhichplanted by judgmentand watered by luckmight yield more than threefold--a very poor rate of multiplicationwhen the field is a young gentleman's infinite soulwith all thenumerals at command.

Fred wasnot a gambler:  he had not that specific disease in which thesuspension of the whole nervous energy on a chance or risk becomes asnecessary as the dram to the drunkard; he had only the tendency tothat diffusive form of gambling which has no alcoholic intensitybutis carried on with the healthiest chyle-fed bloodkeeping up ajoyous imaginative activity which fashions events according todesireand having no fears about its own weatheronly sees theadvantage there must be to others in going aboard with it.Hopefulness has a pleasure in making a throw of any kindbecause theprospect of success is certain; and only a more generous pleasure inoffering as many as possible a share in the stake. Fred liked playespecially billiardsas he liked hunting or riding a steeple-chase;and he only liked it the better because he wanted money and hoped towin.  But the twenty pounds' worth of seed-corn had been plantedin vain in the seductive green plot--all of it at least which had notbeen dispersed by the roadside--and Fred found himself close upon theterm of payment with no money at command beyond the eighty poundswhich he had deposited with his mother. The broken-winded horse whichhe rode represented a present which had been made to him a long whileago by his uncle Featherstone: his father always allowed him to keepa horseMr. Vincy's own habits making him regard this as areasonable demand even for a son who was rather exasperating. This horsethenwas Fred's propertyand in his anxiety to meet theimminent bill he determined to sacrifice a possession without whichlife would certainly be worth little. He made the resolution with asense of heroism--heroism forced on him by the dread of breaking hisword to Mr. Garthby his love for Mary and awe of her opinion. He would start for Houndsley horse-fair which was to be held the nextmorningand--simply sell his horsebringing back the money bycoach?--Wellthe horse would hardly fetch more than thirty poundsand there was no knowing what might happen; it would be folly to balkhimself of luck beforehand. It was a hundred to one that some goodchance would fall in his way; the longer he thought of itthe lesspossible it seemed that he should not have a good chanceand theless reasonable that he should not equip himself with the powder andshot for bringing it down. He would ride to Houndsley with Bambridgeand with Horrock "the vet" and without asking themanything expresslyhe should virtually get the benefit of theiropinion.  Before he set outFred got the eighty pounds from hismother.

Most ofthose who saw Fred riding out of Middlemarch in company withBambridge and Horrockon his way of course to Houndsley horse-fairthought that young Vincy was pleasure-seeking as usual; and but foran unwonted consciousness of grave matters on handhe himself wouldhave had a sense of dissipationand of doing what might be expectedof a gay young fellow.  Considering that Fred was not at allcoarsethat he rather looked down on the manners and speech of youngmen who had not been to the universityand that he had writtenstanzas as pastoral and unvoluptuous as his flute-playinghisattraction towards Bambridge and Horrock was an interesting factwhich even the love of horse-flesh would not wholly account forwithout that mysterious influence of Naming which determinates somuch of mortal choice.  Under any other name than "pleasure"the society of Messieurs Bambridge and Horrock must certainly havebeen regarded as monotonous; and to arrive with them at Houndsley ona drizzling afternoonto get down at the Red Lion in a street shadedwith coal-dustand dine in a room furnished with a dirt-enamelledmap of the countya bad portrait of an anonymous horse in a stableHis Majesty George the Fourth with legs and cravatand variousleaden spittoonsmight have seemed a hard businessbut for thesustaining power of nomenclature which determined that the pursuit ofthese things was "gay."

In Mr.Horrock there was certainly an apparent unfathomableness whichoffered play to the imagination.  Costumeat a glancegave hima thrilling association with horses (enough to specify the hat-brimwhich took the slightest upward angle just to escape the suspicion ofbending downwards)and nature had given him a face which by dint ofMongolian eyesand a nosemouthand chin seeming to follow hishat-brim in a moderate inclination upwardsgave the effect of asubdued unchangeable sceptical smileof all expressions the mosttyrannous over a susceptible mindandwhen accompanied by adequatesilencelikely to create the reputation of an invincibleunderstandingan infinite fund of humor-- too dry to flowandprobably in a state of immovable crust-- and a critical judgmentwhichif you could ever be fortunate enough to know itwould be THEthing and no other.  It is a physiognomy seen in all vocationsbut perhaps it has never been more powerful over the youth of Englandthan in a judge of horses.

Mr.Horrockat a question from Fred about his horse's fetlockturnedsideways in his saddleand watched the horse's action for the spaceof three minutesthen turned forwardtwitched his own bridleandremained silent with a profile neither more nor less sceptical thanit had been.

The partthus played in dialogue by Mr. Horrock was terribly effective. Amixture of passions was excited in Fred--a mad desire to thrashHorrock's opinion into utterancerestrained by anxiety to retain theadvantage of his friendship.  There was always the chance thatHorrock might say something quite invaluable at the right moment.

Mr.Bambridge had more open mannersand appeared to give forth his ideaswithout economy.  He was loudrobustand was sometimes spokenof as being "given to indulgence"--chiefly in swearingdrinkingand beating his wife.  Some people who had lost by himcalled him a vicious man; but he regarded horse-dealing as the finestof the artsand might have argued plausibly that it had nothing todo with morality.  He was undeniably a prosperous manbore hisdrinking better than others bore their moderationandon the wholeflourished like the green bay-tree. But his range of conversation waslimitedand like the fine old tune"Drops of brandy"gave you after a while a sense of returning upon itself in a way thatmight make weak heads dizzy.  But a slight infusion of Mr.Bambridge was felt to give tone and character to several circles inMiddlemarch; and he was a distinguished figure in the bar andbilliard-room at the Green Dragon.  He knew some anecdotes aboutthe heroes of the turfand various clever tricks of Marquesses andViscounts which seemed to prove that blood asserted its pre-eminenceeven among black-legs; but the minute retentiveness of his memory waschiefly shown about the horses he had himself bought and sold; thenumber of miles they would trot you in no time without turning a hairbeingafter the lapse of yearsstill a subject of passionateasseverationin which he would assist the imagination of his hearersby solemnly swearing that they never saw anything like it. In shortMr. Bambridge was a man of pleasure and a gay companion.

Fred wassubtleand did not tell his friends that he was going to Houndsleybent on selling his horse:  he wished to get indirectly at theirgenuine opinion of its valuenot being aware that a genuine opinionwas the last thing likely to be extracted from such eminent critics. It was not Mr. Bambridge's weakness to be a gratuitous flatterer. He had never before been so much struck with the fact that thisunfortunate bay was a roarer to a degree which required the roundestword for perdition to give you any idea of it.

"Youmade a bad hand at swapping when you went to anybody but meVincy! Whyyou never threw your leg across a finer horse than thatchestnutand you gave him for this brute. If you set him canteringhe goes on like twenty sawyers. I never heard but one worse roarer inmy lifeand that was a roan: it belonged to Pegwellthecorn-factor; he used to drive him in his gig seven years agoand hewanted me to take himbut I said`Thank youPegI don't deal inwind-instruments.' That was what I said.  It went the round ofthe countrythat joke did.  Butwhat the hell! the horse was apenny trumpet to that roarer of yours."

"Whyyou said just now his was worse than mine" said Fredmoreirritable than usual.

"Isaid a liethen" said Mr. Bambridgeemphatically. "There wasn't a penny to choose between 'em."

Fredspurred his horseand they trotted on a little way. When theyslackened againMr. Bambridge said--

"Notbut what the roan was a better trotter than yours."

"I'mquite satisfied with his pacesI know" said Fredwho requiredall the consciousness of being in gay company to support him; "Isay his trot is an uncommonly clean oneehHorrock?"

Mr.Horrock looked before him with as complete a neutrality as if he hadbeen a portrait by a great master.

Fred gaveup the fallacious hope of getting a genuine opinion; but onreflection he saw that Bambridge's depreciation and Horrock's silencewere both virtually encouragingand indicated that they thoughtbetter of the horse than they chose to say.

That veryeveningindeedbefore the fair had set inFred thought he saw afavorable opening for disposing advantageously of his horsebut anopening which made him congratulate himself on his foresight inbringing with him his eighty pounds.  A young farmeracquaintedwith Mr. Bambridgecame into the Red Lionand entered intoconversation about parting with a hunterwhich he introduced at onceas Diamondimplying that it was a public character. For himself heonly wanted a useful hackwhich would draw upon occasion; beingabout to marry and to give up hunting.  The hunter was in afriend's stable at some little distance; there was still time forgentlemen to see it before dark.  The friend's stable had to bereached through a back street where you might as easily have beenpoisoned without expense of drugs as in any grim street of thatunsanitary period.  Fred was not fortified against disgust bybrandyas his companions werebut the hope of having at last seenthe horse that would enable him to make money was exhilarating enoughto lead him over the same ground again the first thing in themorning. He felt sure that if he did not come to a bargain with thefarmerBambridge would; for the stress of circumstancesFred feltwas sharpening his acuteness and endowing him with all theconstructive power of suspicion.  Bambridge had run down Diamondin a way that he never would have done (the horse being a friend's)if he had not thought of buying it; every one who looked at theanimal--even Horrock--was evidently impressed with its merit. To getall the advantage of being with men of this sortyou must know howto draw your inferencesand not be a spoon who takes thingsliterally.  The color of the horse was a dappled grayand Fredhappened to know that Lord Medlicote's man was on the look-out forjust such a horse.  After all his running downBambridge let itout in the course of the eveningwhen the farmer was absentthat hehad seen worse horses go for eighty pounds.  Of course hecontradicted himself twenty times overbut when you know what islikely to be true you can test a man's admissions.  And Fredcould not but reckon his own judgment of a horse as worth something.The farmer had paused over Fred's respectable though broken-windedsteed long enough to show that he thought it worth considerationandit seemed probable that he would take itwith five-and-twenty poundsin additionas the equivalent of Diamond.  In that case Fredwhen he had parted with his new horse for at least eighty poundswould be fifty-five pounds in pocket by the transactionand wouldhave a hundred and thirty-five pounds towards meeting the bill; sothat the deficit temporarily thrown on Mr. Garth would at the utmostbe twenty-five pounds.  By the time he was hurrying on hisclothes in the morninghe saw so clearly the importance of notlosing this rare chancethat if Bambridge and Horrock had bothdissuaded himhe would not have been deluded into a directinterpretation of their purpose:  he would have been aware thatthose deep hands held something else than a young fellow's interest.With regard to horsesdistrust was your only clew.  Butscepticismas we knowcan never be thoroughly appliedelse lifewould come to a standstill:  something we must believe in anddoand whatever that something may be calledit is virtually ourown judgmenteven when it seems like the most slavish reliance onanother. Fred believed in the excellence of his bargainand evenbefore the fair had well set inhad got possession of the dappledgrayat the price of his old horse and thirty pounds inaddition--only five pounds more than he had expected to give.

But hefelt a little worried and weariedperhaps with mental debateandwithout waiting for the further gayeties of the horse-fairhe setout alone on his fourteen miles' journeymeaning to take it veryquietly and keep his horse fresh.




CHAPTERXXIV



  "The offender's sorrow brings but small relief
  To him who wears the strong offence's cross."
  --SHAKESPEARE:  Sonnets.



I am sorryto say that only the third day after the propitious events atHoundsley Fred Vincy had fallen into worse spirits than he had knownin his life before.  Not that he had been disappointed as to thepossible market for his horsebut that before the bargain could beconcluded with Lord Medlicote's manthis Diamondin which hope tothe amount of eighty pounds had been investedhad without theslightest warning exhibited in the stable a most vicious energy inkickinghad just missed killing the groomand had ended in laminghimself severely by catching his leg in a rope that overhung thestable-board. There was no more redress for this than for thediscovery of bad temper after marriage-- which of course oldcompanions were aware of before the ceremony. For some reason orotherFred had none of his usual elasticity under this stroke ofill-fortune:  he was simply aware that he had only fifty poundsthat there was no chance of his getting any more at presentand thatthe bill for a hundred and sixty would be presented in five days. Even if he had applied to his father on the plea that Mr. Garthshould be saved from lossFred felt smartingly that his father wouldangrily refuse to rescue Mr. Garth from the consequence of what hewould call encouraging extravagance and deceit.  He was soutterly downcast that he could frame no other project than to gostraight to Mr. Garth and tell him the sad truthcarrying with himthe fifty poundsand getting that sum at least safely out of his ownhands.  His fatherbeing at the warehousedid not yet know ofthe accident:  when he didhe would storm about the viciousbrute being brought into his stable; and before meeting that lesserannoyance Fred wanted to get away with all his courage to face thegreater.  He took his father's nagfor he had made up his mindthat when he had told Mr. Garthhe would ride to Stone Court andconfess all to Mary.  In factit is probable that but forMary's existence and Fred's love for herhis conscience would harebeen much less active both in previously urging the debt on histhought and impelling him not to spare himself after his usualfashion by deferring an unpleasant taskbut to act as directly andsimply as he could.  Even much stronger mortals than Fred Vincyhold half their rectitude in the mind of the being they love best. "The theatre of all my actions is fallen" said an antiquepersonage when his chief friend was dead; and they are fortunate whoget a theatre where the audience demands their best. Certainly itwould have made a considerable difference to Fred at that time ifMary Garth had had no decided notions as to what was admirable incharacter.

Mr. Garthwas not at the officeand Fred rode on to his housewhich was alittle way outside the town--a homely place with an orchard in frontof ita ramblingold-fashionedhalf-timbered buildingwhichbefore the town had spread had been a farm-housebut was nowsurrounded with the private gardens of the townsmen.  We get thefonder of our houses if they have a physiognomy of their ownas ourfriends have.  The Garth familywhich was rather a large onefor Mary had four brothers and one sisterwere very fond of theirold housefrom which all the best furniture had long been sold. Fredliked it tooknowing it by heart even to the attic which smeltdeliciously of apples and quincesand until to-day he had never cometo it without pleasant expectations; but his heart beat uneasily nowwith the sense that he should probably have to make his confessionbefore Mrs. Garthof whom he was rather more in awe than of herhusband. Not that she was inclined to sarcasm and to impulsivesalliesas Mary was.  In her present matronly age at leastMrs. Garth never committed herself by over-hasty speech; havingasshe saidborne the yoke in her youthand learned self-control. Shehad that rare sense which discerns what is unalterableand submitsto it without murmuring.  Adoring her husband's virtuesshe hadvery early made up her mind to his incapacity of minding his owninterestsand had met the consequences cheerfully.  She hadbeen magnanimous enough to renounce all pride in teapots orchildren's frillingand had never poured any pathetic confidencesinto the ears of her feminine neighbors concerning Mr. Garth's wantof prudence and the sums he might have had if he had been like othermen. Hence these fair neighbors thought her either proud oreccentricand sometimes spoke of her to their husbands as "yourfine Mrs. Garth." She was not without her criticism of them inreturnbeing more accurately instructed than most matrons inMiddlemarchand--where is the blameless woman?--apt to be a littlesevere towards her own sexwhich in her opinion was framed to beentirely subordinate. On the other handshe was disproportionatelyindulgent towards the failings of menand was often heard to saythat these were natural.  Alsoit must be admitted that Mrs.Garth was a trifle too emphatic in her resistance to what she held tobe follies: the passage from governess into housewife had wroughtitself a little too strongly into her consciousnessand she rarelyforgot that while her grammar and accent were above the townstandardshe wore a plain capcooked the family dinnerand darnedall the stockings.  She had sometimes taken pupils in aperipatetic fashionmaking them follow her about in the kitchen withtheir book or slate. She thought it good for them to see that shecould make an excellent lather while she corrected their blunders"without looking"-- that a woman with her sleeves tuckedup above her elbows might know all about the Subjunctive Mood or theTorrid Zone--thatin shortshe might possess "education"and other good things ending in "tion" and worthy to bepronounced emphaticallywithout being a useless doll.  When shemade remarks to this edifying effectshe had a firm little frown onher browwhich yet did not hinder her face from looking benevolentand her words which came forth like a procession were uttered in afervid agreeable contralto. Certainlythe exemplary Mrs. Garth hadher droll aspectsbut her character sustained her odditiesas avery fine wine sustains a flavor of skin.

TowardsFred Vincy she had a motherly feelingand had always been disposedto excuse his errorsthough she would probably not have excused Maryfor engaging herself to himher daughter being included in that morerigorous judgment which she applied to her own sex. But this veryfact of her exceptional indulgence towards him made it the harder toFred that he must now inevitably sink in her opinion. And thecircumstances of his visit turned out to be still more unpleasantthan he had expected; for Caleb Garth had gone out early to look atsome repairs not far off.  Mrs. Garth at certain hours wasalways in the kitchenand this morning she was carrying on severaloccupations at once there--making her pies at the well-scoured dealtable on one side of that airy roomobserving Sally's movements atthe oven and dough-tub through an open doorand giving lessons toher youngest boy and girlwho were standing opposite to her at thetable with their books and slates before them. A tub and aclothes-horse at the other end of the kitchen indicated anintermittent wash of small things also going on.

Mrs.Garthwith her sleeves turned above her elbowsdeftly handling herpastry--applying her rolling-pin and giving ornamental pincheswhileshe expounded with grammatical fervor what were the right views aboutthe concord of verbs and pronouns with "nouns of multitude orsignifying many" was a sight agreeably amusing. She was of thesame curly-hairedsquare-faced type as Marybut handsomerwithmore delicacy of featurea pale skina solid matronly figureand aremarkable firmness of glance. In her snowy-frilled cap she remindedone of that delightful Frenchwoman whom we have all seen marketingbasket on arm. Looking at the motheryou might hope that thedaughter would become like herwhich is a prospective advantageequal to a dowry--the mother too often standing behind the daughterlike a malignant prophecy-- "Such as I amshe will shortly be."

"Nowlet us go through that once more" said Mrs. Garthpinching anapple-puff which seemed to distract Benan energetic young male witha heavy browfrom due attention to the lesson. "`Not withoutregard to the import of the word as conveying unity or plurality ofidea'--tell me again what that meansBen."

(Mrs.Garthlike more celebrated educatorshad her favorite ancientpathsand in a general wreck of society would have tried to hold her"Lindley Murray" above the waves.)

"Oh--itmeans--you must think what you mean" said Benratherpeevishly. "I hate grammar.  What's the use of it?"

"Toteach you to speak and write correctlyso that you can beunderstood" said Mrs. Garthwith severe precision. "Shouldyou like to speak as old Job does?"

"Yes"said Benstoutly; "it's funnier.  He says`Yo goo'--that's just as good as `You go.'"

"Buthe says`A ship's in the garden' instead of `a sheep'" saidLettywith an air of superiority.  "You might think hemeant a ship off the sea."

"Noyou mightn'tif you weren't silly" said Ben.  "Howcould a ship off the sea come there?"

"Thesethings belong only to pronunciationwhich is the least part ofgrammar" said Mrs. Garth.  "That apple-peel is to beeaten by the pigsBen; if you eat itI must give them your piece ofpasty. Job has only to speak about very plain things.  How doyou think you would write or speak about anything more difficultifyou knew no more of grammar than he does?  You would use wrongwordsand put words in the wrong placesand instead of makingpeople understand youthey would turn away from you as a tiresomeperson. What would you do then?"

"Ishouldn't careI should leave off" said Benwith a sense thatthis was an agreeable issue where grammar was concerned.

"Isee you are getting tired and stupidBen" said Mrs. Garthaccustomed to these obstructive arguments from her male offspring.Having finished her piesshe moved towards the clothes-horseandsaid"Come here and tell me the story I told you on Wednesdayabout Cincinnatus."

"Iknow! he was a farmer" said Ben.

"NowBenhe was a Roman--let ME tell" said Lettyusing her elbowcontentiously.

"Yousilly thinghe was a Roman farmerand he was ploughing."

"Yesbut before that--that didn't come first--people wanted him"said Letty.

"Wellbut you must say what sort of a man he was first" insistedBen.  "He was a wise manlike my fatherand that made thepeople want his advice.  And he was a brave manand couldfight. And so could my father--couldn't hemother?"

"NowBenlet me tell the story straight onas mother told it us"said Lettyfrowning.  "Pleasemothertell Ben not tospeak."

"LettyI am ashamed of you" said her motherwringing out the capsfrom the tub.  "When your brother beganyou ought to havewaited to see if he could not tell the story.  How rude youlookpushing and frowningas if you wanted to conquer with yourelbows! CincinnatusI am surewould have been sorry to see hisdaughter behave so."  (Mrs. Garth delivered this awfulsentence with much majesty of enunciationand Letty felt thatbetween repressed volubility and general disesteemthat of theRomans inclusivelife was already a painful affair.) "NowBen."

"Well--oh--well--whythere was a great deal of fightingand they were all blockheadsand--I can't tell it just how you told it-- but they wanted a man tobe captain and king and everything--"

"Dictatornow" said Lettywith injured looksand not without a wish tomake her mother repent.

"Verywelldictator!" said Bencontemptuously.  "But thatisn't a good word:  he didn't tell them to write on slates."

"ComecomeBenyou are not so ignorant as that" said Mrs. Garthcarefully serious.  "Harkthere is a knock at the door! RunLettyand open it."

The knockwas Fred's; and when Letty said that her father was not in yetbutthat her mother was in the kitchenFred had no alternative. He couldnot depart from his usual practice of going to see Mrs. Garth in thekitchen if she happened to be at work there. He put his arm roundLetty's neck silentlyand led her into the kitchen without his usualjokes and caresses.

Mrs. Garthwas surprised to see Fred at this hourbut surprise was not afeeling that she was given to expressand she only saidquietlycontinuing her work--

"YouFredso early in the day?  You look quite pale. Has anythinghappened?"

"Iwant to speak to Mr. Garth" said Frednot yet ready to saymore-- "and to you also" he addedafter a little pausefor he had no doubt that Mrs. Garth knew everything about the billand he must in the end speak of it before herif not to her solely.

"Calebwill be in again in a few minutes" said Mrs. Garthwhoimagined some trouble between Fred and his father.  "He issure not to be longbecause he has some work at his desk that mustbe done this morning. Do you mind staying with mewhile I finish mymatters here?"

"Butwe needn't go on about Cincinnatusneed we?" said Benwho hadtaken Fred's whip out of his handand was trying its efficiency onthe eat.

"Nogo out now.  But put that whip down.  How very mean of youto whip poor old Tortoise!  Pray take the whip from himFred."

"Comeold boygive it me" said Fredputting out his hand.

"Willyou let me ride on your horse to-day?" said Benrendering upthe whipwith an air of not being obliged to do it.

"Notto-day--another time.  I am not riding my own horse."

"Shallyou see Mary to-day?"

"YesI think so" said Fredwith an unpleasant twinge.

"Tellher to come home soonand play at forfeitsand make fun."

"EnoughenoughBen! run away" said Mrs. Garthseeing that Fred wasteased. . .

"AreLetty and Ben your only pupils nowMrs. Garth?" said Fredwhenthe children were gone and it was needful to say something that wouldpass the time.  He was not yet sure whether he should wait forMr. Garthor use any good opportunity in conversation to confess toMrs. Garth herselfgive her the money and ride away.

"One--onlyone.  Fanny Hackbutt comes at half past eleven. I am not gettinga great income now" said Mrs. Garthsmiling. "I am at alow ebb with pupils.  But I have saved my little purse forAlfred's premium:  I have ninety-two pounds. He can go to Mr.Hanmer's now; he is just at the right age."

This didnot lead well towards the news that Mr. Garth was on the brink oflosing ninety-two pounds and more.  Fred was silent. "Younggentlemen who go to college are rather more costly than that"Mrs. Garth innocently continuedpulling out the edging on acap-border. "And Caleb thinks that Alfred will turn out adistinguished engineer: he wants to give the boy a good chance. There he is!  I hear him coming in.  We will go to him inthe parlorshall we?"

When theyentered the parlor Caleb had thrown down his hat and was seated athis desk.

"What! Fredmy boy!" he saidin a tone of mild surpriseholding hispen still undipped; "you are here betimes."  Butmissing the usual expression of cheerful greeting in Fred's faceheimmediately added"Is there anything up at home?--anything thematter?"

"YesMr. GarthI am come to tell something that I am afraid will give youa bad opinion of me.  I am come to tell you and Mrs. Garth thatI can't keep my word.  I can't find the money to meet the billafter all.  I have been unfortunate; I have only got these fiftypounds towards the hundred and sixty."

While Fredwas speakinghe had taken out the notes and laid them on the deskbefore Mr. Garth.  He had burst forth at once with the plainfactfeeling boyishly miserable and without verbal resources. Mrs.Garth was mutely astonishedand looked at her husband for anexplanation.  Caleb blushedand after a little pause said--

"OhI didn't tell youSusan:  I put my name to a bill for Fred; itwas for a hundred and sixty pounds.  He made sure he could meetit himself."

There wasan evident change in Mrs. Garth's facebut it was like a changebelow the surface of water which remains smooth. She fixed her eyeson Fredsaying--

"Isuppose you have asked your father for the rest of the money and hehas refused you."

"No"said Fredbiting his lipand speaking with more difficulty; "butI know it will be of no use to ask him; and unless it were of useIshould not like to mention Mr. Garth's name in the matter."

"Ithas come at an unfortunate time" said Calebin his hesitatingwaylooking down at the notes and nervously fingering the paper"Christmas upon us--I'm rather hard up just now.  You seeI have to cut out everything like a tailor with short measure. What can we doSusan?  I shall want every farthing we have inthe bank. It's a hundred and ten poundsthe deuce take it!"

"Imust give you the ninety-two pounds that I have put by for Alfred'spremium" said Mrs. Garthgravely and decisivelythough a niceear might have discerned a slight tremor in some of the words. "And I have no doubt that Mary has twenty pounds saved from hersalary by this time.  She will advance it."

Mrs. Garthhad not again looked at Fredand was not in the least calculatingwhat words she should use to cut him the most effectively. Like theeccentric woman she wasshe was at present absorbed in consideringwhat was to be doneand did not fancy that the end could be betterachieved by bitter remarks or explosions.  But she had made Fredfeel for the first time something like the tooth of remorse.Curiously enoughhis pain in the affair beforehand had consistedalmost entirely in the sense that he must seem dishonorableand sinkin the opinion of the Garths:  he had not occupied himself withthe inconvenience and possible injury that his breach might occasionthemfor this exercise of the imagination on other people's needs isnot common with hopeful young gentlemen. Indeed we are most of usbrought up in the notion that the highest motive for not doing awrong is something irrespective of the beings who would suffer thewrong.  But at this moment he suddenly saw himself as a pitifulrascal who was robbing two women of their savings.

"Ishall certainly pay it allMrs. Garth--ultimately" hestammered out.

"Yesultimately" said Mrs. Garthwho having a special dislike tofine words on ugly occasionscould not now repress an epigram. "Butboys cannot well be apprenticed ultimately:  they should beapprenticed at fifteen."  She had never been so littleinclined to make excuses for Fred.

"Iwas the most in the wrongSusan" said Caleb.  "Fredmade sure of finding the money.  But I'd no business to befingering bills. I suppose you have looked all round and tried allhonest means?" he addedfixing his merciful gray eyes on Fred. Caleb was too delicateto specify Mr. Featherstone.

"YesI have tried everything--I really have.  I should have had ahundred and thirty pounds ready but for a misfortune with a horsewhich I was about to sell.  My uncle had given me eighty poundsand I paid away thirty with my old horse in order to get anotherwhich I was going to sell for eighty or more--I meant to go without ahorse-- but now it has turned out vicious and lamed itself.  Iwish I and the horses too had been at the devilbefore I had broughtthis on you. There's no one else I care so much for:  you andMrs. Garth have always been so kind to me.  Howeverit's no usesaying that. You will always think me a rascal now."

Fredturned round and hurried out of the roomconscious that he wasgetting rather womanishand feeling confusedly that his being sorrywas not of much use to the Garths.  They could see him mountand quickly pass through the gate.

"I amdisappointed in Fred Vincy" said Mrs. Garth.  "Iwould not have believed beforehand that he would have drawn you intohis debts. I knew he was extravagantbut I did not think that hewould be so mean as to hang his risks on his oldest friendwho couldthe least afford to lose."

"Iwas a foolSusan:"

"Thatyou were" said the wifenodding and smiling.  "But Ishould not have gone to publish it in the market-place. Why shouldyou keep such things from me?  It is just so with your buttons:you let them burst off without telling meand go out with yourwristband hanging.  If I had only known I might have been readywith some better plan."

"Youare sadly cut upI knowSusan" said Caleblooking feelinglyat her.  "I can't abide your losing the money you'vescraped together for Alfred."

"Itis very well that I HAD scraped it together; and it is you who willhave to sufferfor you must teach the boy yourself. You must give upyour bad habits.  Some men take to drinkingand you have takento working without pay.  You must indulge yourself a little lessin that.  And you must ride over to Maryand ask the child whatmoney she has."

Caleb hadpushed his chair backand was leaning forwardshaking his headslowlyand fitting his finger-tips together with much nicety.

"PoorMary!" he said.  "Susan" he went on in a loweredtone"I'm afraid she may be fond of Fred."

"Ohno!  She always laughs at him; and he is not likely to think ofher in any other than a brotherly way."

Caleb madeno rejoinderbut presently lowered his spectaclesdrew up his chairto the deskand said"Deuce take the bill-- I wish it was atHanover!  These things are a sad interruption to business!"

The firstpart of this speech comprised his whole store of maledictoryexpressionand was uttered with a slight snarl easy to imagine. Butit would be difficult to convey to those who never heard him utterthe word "business" the peculiar tone of fervidvenerationof religious regardin which he wrapped itas aconsecrated symbol is wrapped in its gold-fringed linen.

CalebGarth often shook his head in meditation on the valuetheindispensable might of that myriad-headedmyriad-handed labor bywhich the social body is fedclothedand housed.  It had laidhold of his imagination in boyhood.  The echoes of the greathammer where roof or keel were a-makingthe signal-shouts of theworkmenthe roar of the furnacethe thunder and plash of theenginewere a sublime music to him; the felling and lading oftimberand the huge trunk vibrating star-like in the distance alongthe highwaythe crane at work on the wharfthe piled-up produce inwarehousesthe precision and variety of muscular effort whereverexact work had to be turned out--all these sights of his youth hadacted on him as poetry without the aid of the poets. had made aphilosophy for him without the aid of philosophersa religionwithout the aid of theology.  His early ambition had been tohave as effective a share as possible in this sublime laborwhichwas peculiarly dignified by him with the name of "business;"and though he had only been a short time under a surveyorand hadbeen chiefly his own teacherhe knew more of landbuildingandmining than most of the special men in the county.

Hisclassification of human employments was rather crudeandlike thecategories of more celebrated menwould not be acceptable in theseadvanced times.  He divided them into "businesspoliticspreachinglearningand amusement."  He had nothing to sayagainst the last four; but he regarded them as a reverential paganregarded other gods than his own.  In the same wayhe thoughtvery well of all ranksbut he would not himself have liked to be ofany rank in which he had not such close contact with "business"as to get often honorably decorated with marks of dust and mortarthe damp of the engineor the sweet soil of the woods and fields. Though he had never regarded himself as other than an orthodoxChristianand would argue on prevenient grace if the subject wereproposed to himI think his virtual divinities were good practicalschemesaccurate workand the faithful completion of undertakings: his prince of darkness was a slack workman.  But there was nospirit of denial in Caleband the world seemed so wondrous to himthat he was ready to accept any number of systemslike any number offirmamentsif they did not obviously interfere with the bestland-drainagesolid buildingcorrect measuringand judiciousboring (for coal). In facthe had a reverential soul with a strongpractical intelligence.  But he could not manage finance: he knew values wellbut he had no keenness of imagination formonetary results in the shape of profit and loss: and havingascertained this to his costhe determined to give up all forms ofhis beloved "business" which required that talent. He gavehimself up entirely to the many kinds of work which he could dowithout handling capitaland was one of those precious men withinhis own district whom everybody would choose to work for thembecause he did his work wellcharged very littleand often declinedto charge at all.  It is no wonderthenthat the Garths werepoorand "lived in a small way."  Howeverthey didnot mind it.




CHAPTERXXV



  "Love seeketh not itself to please
   Nor foritself hath any care
   But for another gives itsease
   And builds a heaven in hell's despair.
  .   .   .   .   .  .   .
   Love seeketh only self to please
  To bind another to its delight
   Joys in another'sloss of ease

 

  Andbuilds a hell in heaven's despite."
   --W. BLAKE: Songs of Experience



Fred Vincywanted to arrive at Stone Court when Mary could not expect himandwhen his uncle was not down-stairs in that case she might be sittingalone in the wainscoted parlor.  He left his horse in the yardto avoid making a noise on the gravel in frontand entered theparlor without other notice than the noise of the door-handle. Marywas in her usual cornerlaughing over Mrs. Piozzi's recollections ofJohnsonand looked up with the fun still in her face. It graduallyfaded as she saw Fred approach her without speakingand stand beforeher with his elbow on the mantel-piecelooking ill. She too wassilentonly raising her eyes to him inquiringly.

"Mary"he began"I am a good-for-nothing blackguard."

"Ishould think one of those epithets would do at a time" saidMarytrying to smilebut feeling alarmed.

"Iknow you will never think well of me any more.  You will thinkme a liar.  You will think me dishonest.  You will think Ididn't care for youor your father and mother.  You always domake the worst of meI know."

"Icannot deny that I shall think all that of youFredif you give megood reasons.  But please to tell me at once what you have done.I would rather know the painful truth than imagine it."

"Iowed money--a hundred and sixty pounds.  I asked your father toput his name to a bill.  I thought it would not signify to him. I made sure of paying the money myselfand I have tried as hard as Icould. And nowI have been so unlucky--a horse has turned outbadly-- I can only pay fifty pounds.  And I can't ask my fatherfor the money: he would not give me a farthing.  And my unclegave me a hundred a little while ago.  So what can I do? And now your father has no ready money to spareand your mother willhave to pay away her ninety-two pounds that she has savedand shesays your savings must go too. You see what a--"

"Ohpoor motherpoor father!" said Maryher eyes filling withtearsand a little sob rising which she tried to repress. She lookedstraight before her and took no notice of Fredall the consequencesat home becoming present to her.  He too remained silent forsome momentsfeeling more miserable than ever. "I wouldn't havehurt you for the worldMary" he said at last. "You cannever forgive me."

"Whatdoes it matter whether I forgive you?" said Marypassionately."Would that make it any better for my mother to lose the moneyshe has been earning by lessons for four yearsthat she might sendAlfred to Mr. Hanmer's? Should you think all that pleasant enough ifI forgave you?"

"Saywhat you likeMary.  I deserve it all."

"Idon't want to say anything" said Marymore quietly"andmy anger is of no use."  She dried her eyesthrew asideher bookrose and fetched her sewing.

Fredfollowed her with his eyeshoping that they would meet hersand inthat way find access for his imploring penitence.  But no! Marycould easily avoid looking upward.

"I docare about your mother's money going" he saidwhen she wasseated again and sewing quickly.  "I wanted to ask youMary-- don't you think that Mr. Featherstone--if you were to tellhim-- tell himI meanabout apprenticing Alfred--would advance themoney?"

"Myfamily is not fond of beggingFred.  We would rather work forour money.  Besidesyou say that Mr. Featherstone has latelygiven you a hundred pounds.  He rarely makes presents; he hasnever made presents to us.  I am sure my father will not ask himfor anything; and even if I chose to beg of himit would be of nouse."

"I amso miserableMary--if you knew how miserable I amyou would besorry for me."

"Thereare other things to be more sorry for than that.  But selfishpeople always think their own discomfort of more importance thananything else in the world.  I see enough of that every day."

"Itis hardly fair to call me selfish.  If you knew what thingsother young men doyou would think me a good way off the worst."

"Iknow that people who spend a great deal of money on themselveswithout knowing how they shall paymust be selfish. They are alwaysthinking of what they can get for themselvesand not of what otherpeople may lose."

"Anyman may be unfortunateMaryand find himself unable to pay when hemeant it.  There is not a better man in the world than yourfatherand yet he got into trouble."

"Howdare you make any comparison between my father and youFred?"said Maryin a deep tone of indignation.  "He never gotinto trouble by thinking of his own idle pleasuresbut because hewas always thinking of the work he was doing for other people. And hehas fared hardand worked hard to make good everybody's loss."

"Andyou think that I shall never try to make good anythingMary. It isnot generous to believe the worst of a man.  When you have gotany power over himI think you might try and use it to make himbetter i but that is what you never do.  HoweverI'm going"Fred endedlanguidly.  "I shall never speak to you aboutanything again. I'm very sorry for all the trouble I'vecaused--that's all."

Mary haddropped her work out of her hand and looked up. There is oftensomething maternal even in a girlish loveand Mary's hard experiencehad wrought her nature to an impressibility very different from thathard slight thing which we call girlishness. At Fred's last words shefelt an instantaneous pangsomething like what a mother feels at theimagined sobs or cries of her naughty truant childwhich may loseitself and get harm.  And whenlooking upher eyes met hisdull despairing glanceher pity for him surmounted her anger and allher other anxieties.

"OhFredhow ill you look!  Sit down a moment.  Don't go yet.Let me tell uncle that you are here.  He has been wondering thathe has not seen you for a whole week."  Mary spokehurriedlysaying the words that came first without knowing very wellwhat they werebut saying them in a half-soothing half-beseechingtoneand rising as if to go away to Mr. Featherstone.  Ofcourse Fred felt as if the clouds had parted and a gleam had come: he moved and stood in her way.

"Sayone wordMaryand I will do anything.  Say you will not thinkthe worst of me--will not give me up altogether."

"Asif it were any pleasure to me to think ill of you" said Maryin a mournful tone.  "As if it were not very painful to meto see you an idle frivolous creature.  How can you bear to beso contemptiblewhen others are working and strivingand there areso many things to be done--how can you bear to be fit for nothing inthe world that is useful?  And with so much good in yourdispositionFred-- you might be worth a great deal."

"Iwill try to be anything you likeMaryif you will say that you loveme."

"Ishould be ashamed to say that I loved a man who must always behanging on othersand reckoning on what they would do for him. Whatwill you be when you are forty?  Like Mr. BowyerI suppose--just as idleliving in Mrs. Beck's front parlor--fat and shabbyhoping somebody will invite you to dinner--spending your morning inlearning a comic song--oh no! learning a tune on the flute."

Mary'slips had begun to curl with a smile as soon as she had asked thatquestion about Fred's future (young souls are mobile)and before sheendedher face had its full illumination of fun. To him it was likethe cessation of an ache that Mary could laugh at himand with apassive sort of smile he tried to reach her hand; but she slippedaway quickly towards the door and said"I shall tell uncle. You MUST see him for a moment or two."

Fredsecretly felt that his future was guaranteed against the fulfilmentof Mary's sarcastic propheciesapart from that "anything"which he was ready to do if she would define it He never dared inMary's presence to approach the subject of his expectations from Mr.Featherstoneand she always ignored themas if everything dependedon himself.  But if ever he actually came into the propertyshemust recognize the change in his position.  All this passedthrough his mind somewhat languidlybefore he went up to see hisuncle. He stayed but a little whileexcusing himself on the groundthat he had a cold; and Mary did not reappear before he left thehouse. But as he rode homehe began to be more conscious of beingillthan of being melancholy.

When CalebGarth arrived at Stone Court soon after duskMary was not surprisedalthough he seldom had leisure for paying her a visitand was not atall fond of having to talk with Mr. Featherstone. The old manon theother handfelt himself ill at ease with a brother-in-law whom hecould not annoywho did not mind about being considered poorhadnothing to ask of himand understood all kinds of farming and miningbusiness better than he did. But Mary had felt sure that her parentswould want to see herand if her father had not comeshe would haveobtained leave to go home for an hour or two the next day. After discussing prices during tea with Mr. Featherstone Caleb roseto bid him good-byand said"I want to speak to youMary."

She took acandle into another large parlorwhere there was no fireandsetting down the feeble light on the dark mahogany tableturnedround to her fatherand putting her arms round his neck kissed himwith childish kisses which he delighted in--the expression of hislarge brows softening as the expression of a great beautiful dogsoftens when it is caressed.  Mary was his favorite childandwhatever Susan might sayand right as she was on all other subjectsCaleb thought it natural that Fred or any one else should think Marymore lovable than other girls.

"I'vegot something to tell youmy dear" said Caleb in hishesitating way.  "No very good news; but then it might beworse."

"Aboutmoneyfather?  I think I know what it is."

"Ay?how can that be?  You seeI've been a bit of a fool againandput my name to a billand now it comes to paying; and your motherhas got to part with her savingsthat's the worst of itand eventhey won't quite make things even.  We wanted a hundred and tenpounds: your mother has ninety-twoand I have none to spare in thebank; and she thinks that you have some savings."

"Ohyes; I have more than four-and-twenty pounds.  I thought youwould comefatherso I put it in my bag.  See! beautiful whitenotes and gold."

Mary tookout the folded money from her reticule and put it into her father'shand.

"Wellbut how--we only want eighteen--hereput the rest backchild--buthow did you know about it?" said Calebwhoin hisunconquerable indifference to moneywas beginning to be chieflyconcerned about the relation the affair might have to Mary'saffections.

"Fredtold me this morning."

"Ah! Did he come on purpose?"

"YesI think so.  He was a good deal distressed."

"I'mafraid Fred is not to be trustedMary" said the fatherwithhesitating tenderness.  "He means better than he actsperhaps. But I should think it a pity for any body's happiness to bewrapped up in himand so would your mother."

"Andso should Ifather" said Marynot looking upbut putting theback of her father's hand against her cheek.

"Idon't want to prymy dear.  But I was afraid there might besomething between you and Fredand I wanted to caution you. You seeMary"--here Caleb's voice became more tender; he had beenpushing his hat about on the table and looking at itbut finally heturned his eyes on his daughter--"a womanlet her be as good asshe mayhas got to put up with the life her husband makes for her.Your mother has had to put up with a good deal because of me."

Maryturned the back of her father's hand to her lips and smiled at him.

"Wellwellnobody's perfectbut"--here Mr. Garth shook his head tohelp out the inadequacy of words--"what I am thinking of is--what it must be for a wife when she's never sure of her husbandwhenhe hasn't got a principle in him to make him more afraid of doing thewrong thing by others than of getting his own toes pinched. That'sthe long and the short of itMary.  Young folks may get fond ofeach other before they know what life isand they may think it allholiday if they can only get together; but it soon turns into workingdaymy dear.  Howeveryou have more sense than mostand youhaven't been kept in cotton-wool: there may be no occasion for me tosay thisbut a father trembles for his daughterand you are all byyourself here."

"Don'tfear for mefather" said Marygravely meeting her father'seyes; "Fred has always been very good to me; he is kind-heartedand affectionateand not falseI thinkwith all hisself-indulgence. But I will never engage myself to one who has nomanly independenceand who goes on loitering away his time on thechance that others will provide for him. You and my mother havetaught me too much pride for that."

"That'sright--that's right.  Then I am easy" said Mr. Garthtaking up his {hat or bet. ????}  But it's hard to run away withyour earningseh child."

"Father!"said Maryin her deepest tone of remonstrance. "Take pocketfulsof love besides to them all at home" was her last word beforehe closed the outer door on himself.

"Isuppose your father wanted your earnings" said old Mr.Featherstonewith his usual power of unpleasant surmisewhen Maryreturned to him.  "He makes but a tight fitI reckon. You're of age now; you ought to be saving for yourself."

"Iconsider my father and mother the best part of myselfsir"said Marycoldly.

Mr.Featherstone grunted:  he could not deny that an ordinary sortof girl like her might be expected to be usefulso he thought ofanother rejoinderdisagreeable enough to be always apropos. "IfFred Vincy comes to-morrownowdon't you keep him chattering: lethim come up to me."




CHAPTERXXVI



"Hebeats me and I rail at him:  O worthy satisfaction! would itwere otherwise--that I could beat him while he railed at me.--"
  --Troilus and Cressida.



But Freddid not go to Stone Court the next dayfor reasons that were quiteperemptory.  From those visits to unsanitary Houndsley streetsin search of Diamondhe had brought back not only a bad bargain inhorse-fleshbut the further misfortune of some ailment which for aday or two had deemed mere depression and headachebut which got somuch worse when he returned from his visit to Stone Court thatgoinginto the dining-roomhe threw himself on the sofaand in answer tohis mother's anxious questionsaid"I feel very ill: I thinkyou must send for Wrench."

Wrenchcamebut did not apprehend anything seriousspoke of a "slightderangement" and did not speak of coming again on the morrow.He had a due value for the Vincys' housebut the wariest men are aptto be dulled by routineand on worried mornings will sometimes gothrough their business with the zest of the daily bell-ringer. Mr.Wrench was a smallneatbilious manwith a well-dressed wig: hehad a laborious practicean irascible tempera lymphatic wife andseven children; and he was already rather late before setting out ona four-miles drive to meet Dr. Minchin on the other side of Tiptonthe decease of Hicksa rural practitionerhaving increasedMiddlemarch practice in that direction.  Great statesmen errand why not small medical men?  Mr. Wrench did not neglectsending the usual white parcelswhich this time had black anddrastic contents.  Their effect was not alleviating to poorFredwhohoweverunwilling as he said to believe that he was "infor an illness" rose at his usual easy hour the next morningand went down-stairs meaning to breakfastbut succeeded in nothingbut in sitting and shivering by the fire. Mr. Wrench was again sentforbut was gone on his roundsand Mrs. Vincy seeing her darling'schanged looks and general miserybegan to cry and said she wouldsend for Dr. Sprague.

"Ohnonsensemother!  It's nothing" said Fredputting outhis hot dry hand to her"I shall soon be all right.  Imust have taken cold in that nasty damp ride."

"Mamma!"said Rosamondwho was seated near the window (the dining-roomwindows looked on that highly respectable street called Lowick Gate)"there is Mr. Lydgatestopping to speak to some one. If I wereyou I would call him in.  He has cured Ellen Bulstrode. They sayhe cures every one."

Mrs. Vincysprang to the window and opened it in an instantthinking only ofFred and not of medical etiquette.  Lydgate was only two yardsoff on the other side of some iron palisadingand turned round atthe sudden sound of the sashbefore she called to him.  In twominutes he was in the roomand Rosamond went outafter waiting justlong enough to show a pretty anxiety conflicting with her sense ofwhat was becoming.

Lydgatehad to hear a narrative in which Mrs. Vincy's mind insisted withremarkable instinct on every point of minor importanceespecially onwhat Mr. Wrench had said and had not said about coming again. That there might be an awkward affair with WrenchLydgate saw atonce; but the ease was serious enough to make him dismiss thatconsideration:  he was convinced that Fred was in thepink-skinned stage of typhoid feverand that he had taken just thewrong medicines.  He must go to bed immediatelymust have aregular nurseand various appliances and precautions must be usedabout which Lydgate was particular.  Poor Mrs. Vincy's terror atthese indications of danger found vent in such words as came mosteasily. She thought it "very ill usage on the part of Mr.Wrenchwho had attended their house so many years in preference toMr. Peacockthough Mr. Peacock was equally a friend.  Why Mr.Wrench should neglect her children more than othersshe could notfor the life of her understand.  He had not neglected Mrs.Larcher's when they had the measlesnor indeed would Mrs. Vincy havewished that he should. And if anything should happen--"

Here poorMrs. Vincy's spirit quite broke downand her Niobe throat andgood-humored face were sadly convulsed.  This was in the hallout of Fred's hearingbut Rosamond had opened the drawing-room doorand now came forward anxiously.  Lydgate apologized for Mr.Wrenchsaid that the symptoms yesterday might have been disguisingand that this form of fever was very equivocal in its beginnings: hewould go immediately to the druggist's and have a prescription madeup in order to lose no timebut he would write to Mr. Wrench andtell him what had been done.

"Butyou must come again--you must go on attending Fred.  I can'thave my boy left to anybody who may come or not.  I bear nobodyill-willthank Godand Mr. Wrench saved me in the pleurisybuthe'd better have let me die--if--if--"

"Iwill meet Mr. Wrench herethenshall I?" said Lydgatereallybelieving that Wrench was not well prepared to deal wisely with acase of this kind.

"Praymake that arrangementMr. Lydgate" said Rosamondcoming toher mother's aidand supporting her arm to lead her away.

When Mr.Vincy came home he was very angry with Wrenchand did not care if henever came into his house again.  Lydgate should go on nowwhether Wrench liked it or not.  It was no joke to have fever inthe house.  Everybody must be sent to nownot to come to dinneron Thursday.  And Pritchard needn't get up any wine: brandy wasthe best thing against infection.  "I shall drink brandy"added Mr. Vincyemphatically--as much as to saythis was not anoccasion for firing with blank-cartridges. "He's an uncommonlyunfortunate ladis Fred.  He'd need have--some luck by-and-byto make up for all this--else I don't know who'd have an eldest son."

"Don'tsay soVincy" said the motherwith a quivering lip"ifyou don't want him to be taken from me."

"Itwill worret you to deathLucy; THAT I can see" said Mr. Vincymore mildly.  "HoweverWrench shall know what I think ofthe matter." (What Mr. Vincy thought confusedly wasthat thefever might somehow have been hindered if Wrench had shown the propersolicitude about his-- the Mayor's--family.) "I'm the last manto give in to the cry about new doctorsor new parsonseither--whether they're Bulstrode's men or not.  But Wrenchshall know what I thinktake it as he will."

Wrench didnot take it at all well.  Lydgate was as polite as he could bein his offhand waybut politeness in a man who has placed you at adisadvantage is only an additional exasperationespecially if hehappens to have been an object of dislike beforehand. Countrypractitioners used to be an irritable speciessusceptible on thepoint of honor; and Mr. Wrench was one of the most irritable amongthem.  He did not refuse to meet Lydgate in the eveningbut histemper was somewhat tried on the occasion.  He had to hear Mrs.Vincy say--

"OhMr. Wrenchwhat have I ever done that you should use me so?-- To goawayand never to come again!  And my boy might have beenstretched a corpse!"

Mr. Vincywho had been keeping up a sharp fire on the enemy Infectionand wasa good deal heated in consequencestarted up when he heard Wrenchcome inand went into the hall to let him know what he thought.

"I'lltell you whatWrenchthis is beyond a joke" said the Mayorwho of late had had to rebuke offenders with an official airand howbroadened himself by putting his thumbs in his armholes.-- "Tolet fever get unawares into a house like this.  There are somethings that ought to be actionableand are not so-- that's myopinion."

Butirrational reproaches were easier to bear than the sense of beinginstructedor rather the sense that a younger manlike Lydgateinwardly considered him in need of instructionfor "in point offact" Mr. Wrench afterwards saidLydgate paraded flightyforeign notionswhich would not wear.  He swallowed his ire forthe momentbut he afterwards wrote to decline further attendance inthe case. The house might be a good onebut Mr. Wrench was not goingto truckle to anybody on a professional matter.  He reflectedwith much probability on his sidethat Lydgate would by-and-by becaught tripping tooand that his ungentlemanly attempts to discreditthe sale of drugs by his professional brethrenwould by-and-byrecoil on himself. He threw out biting remarks on Lydgate's tricksworthy only of a quackto get himself a factitious reputation withcredulous people. That cant about cures was never got up by soundpractitioners.

This was apoint on which Lydgate smarted as much as Wrench could desire. To bepuffed by ignorance was not only humiliatingbut perilousand notmore enviable than the reputation of the weather-prophet. He wasimpatient of the foolish expectations amidst which all work must becarried onand likely enough to damage himself as much as Mr. Wrenchcould wishby an unprofessional openness.

HoweverLydgate was installed as medical attendant on the Vincysand theevent was a subject of general conversation in Middlemarch. Somesaidthat the Vincys had behaved scandalouslythat Mr. Vincy hadthreatened Wrenchand that Mrs. Vincy had accused him of poisoningher son.  Others were of opinion that Mr. Lydgate's passing bywas providentialthat he was wonderfully clever in feversand thatBulstrode was in the right to bring him forward. Many people believedthat Lydgate's coming to the town at all was really due to Bulstrode;and Mrs. Taftwho was always counting stitches and gathered herinformation in misleading fragments caught between the rows of herknittinghad got it into her head that Mr. Lydgate was a natural sonof Bulstrode'sa fact which seemed to justify her suspicions ofevangelical laymen.

She oneday communicated this piece of knowledge to Mrs. Farebrotherwho didnot fail to tell her son of itobserving--

"Ishould not be surprised at anything in Bulstrodebut I should besorry to think it of Mr. Lydgate."

"Whymother" said Mr. Farebrotherafter an explosive laugh"youknow very well that Lydgate is of a good family in the North. Henever heard of Bulstrode before he came here."

"Thatis satisfactory so far as Mr. Lydgate is concernedCamden"said the old ladywith an air of precision.--"But as toBulstrode-- the report may be true of some other son."




CHAPTERXXVII



Letthe high Muse chant loves Olympian:

Weare but mortalsand must sing of man.



An eminentphilosopher among my friendswho can dignify even your uglyfurniture by lifting it into the serene light of sciencehas shownme this pregnant little fact.  Your pier-glass or extensivesurface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaidwill beminutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but placenow against it a lighted candle as a centre of illuminationand lo!the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series ofconcentric circles round that little sun.  It is demonstrablethat the scratches are going everywhere impartially and it is onlyyour candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentricarrangementits light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable.  The scratches are eventsand thecandle is the egoism of any person now absent-- of Miss Vincyforexample.  Rosamond had a Providence of her own who had kindlymade her more charming than other girlsand who seemed to havearranged Fred's illness and Mr. Wrench's mistake in order to bringher and Lydgate within effective proximity. It would have been tocontravene these arrangements if Rosamond had consented to go away toStone Court or elsewhereas her parents wished her to doespeciallysince Mr. Lydgate thought the precaution needless.  Thereforewhile Miss Morgan and the children were sent away to a farmhouse themorning after Fred's illness had declared itselfRosamond refused toleave papa and mamma.

Poor mammaindeed was an object to touch any creature born of woman; and Mr.Vincywho doted on his wifewas more alarmed on her account than onFred's. But for his insistence she would have taken no rest: her brightness was all bedimmed; unconscious of her costume which hadalways been se fresh and gayshe was like a sick bird with languideye and plumage ruffledher senses dulled to the sights and soundsthat used most to interest her. Fred's deliriumin which he seemedto be wandering out of her reachtore her heart.  After herfirst outburst against-Mr. Wrench she went about very quietly: her one low cry was to Lydgate. She would follow him out of the roomand put her hand on his arm moaning out"Save my boy." Once she pleaded"He has always been good to meMr. Lydgate: he never had a hard word for his mother"-- as if poor Fred'ssuffering were an accusation against him. All the deepest fibres ofthe mother's memory were stirredand the young man whose voice tooka gentler tone when he spoke to herwas one with the babe whom shehad lovedwith a love new to herbefore he was born.

"Ihave good hopeMrs. Vincy" Lydgate would say.  "Comedown with me and let us talk about the food."  In that wayhe led her to the parlor where Rosamond wasand made a change forhersurprising her into taking some tea or broth which had beenprepared for her. There was a constant understanding between him andRosamond on these matters.  He almost always saw her beforegoing to the sickroomand she appealed to him as to what she coulddo for mamma. Her presence of mind and adroitness in carrying out hishints were admirableand it is not wonderful that the idea of seeingRosamond began to mingle itself with his interest in the case.Especially when the critical stage was passedand he began to feelconfident of Fred's recovery.  In the more doubtful timehe hadadvised calling in Dr. Sprague (whoif he couldwould rather haveremained neutral on Wrench's account); but after two consultationsthe conduct of the case was left to Lydgateand there was everyreason to make him assiduous.  Morning and evening he was at Mr.Vincy'sand gradually the visits became cheerful as Fred becamesimply feebleand lay not only in need of the utmost petting butconscious of itso that Mrs. Vincy felt as ifafter alltheillness had made a festival for her tenderness.

Bothfather and mother held it an added reason for good spiritswhen oldMr. Featherstone sent messages by Lydgatesaying that Fred-must makehaste and get wellas hePeter Featherstonecould not do withouthimand missed his visits sadly.  The old man himself wasgetting bedridden.  Mrs. Vincy told these messages to Fred whenhe could listenand he turned towards her his delicatepinchedfacefrom which all the thick blond hair had been cut awayand inwhich the eyes seemed to have got largeryearning for some wordabout Mary--wondering what she felt about his illness. No word passedhis lips; but "to hear with eyes belongs to love's rare wit"and the mother in the fulness of her heart not only divined Fred'slongingbut felt ready for any sacrifice in order to satisfy him.

"If Ican only see my boy strong again" she saidin her lovingfolly; "and who knows?--perhaps master of Stone Court! and hecan marry anybody he likes then."

"Notif they won't have memother" said Fred.  The illness hadmade him childishand tears came as he spoke.

"Ohtake a bit of jellymy dear" said Mrs. Vincysecretlyincredulous of any such refusal.

She neverleft Fred's side when her husband was not in the houseand thusRosamond was in the unusual position of being much alone. Lydgatenaturallynever thought of staying long with heryet it seemed thatthe brief impersonal conversations they had together were creatingthat peculiar intimacy which consists in shyness. They were obligedto look at each other in speakingand somehow the looking could notbe carried through as the matter of course which it really was. Lydgate began to feel this sort of consciousness unpleasant and oneday looked downor anywherelike an ill-worked puppet. But thisturned out badly:  the next dayRosamond looked downand theconsequence was that when their eyes met againboth were moreconscious than before.  There was no help for this in scienceand as Lydgate did not want to flirtthere seemed to be no help forit in folly.  It was therefore a relief when neighbors no longerconsidered the house in quarantineand when the chances of seeingRosamond alone were very much reduced.

But thatintimacy of mutual embarrassmentin which each feels that the otheris feeling somethinghaving once existedits effect is not to bedone away with.  Talk about the weather and other well-bredtopics is apt to seem a hollow deviceand behavior can hardly becomeeasy unless it frankly recognizes a mutual fascination--which ofcourse need not mean anything deep or serious.  This was the wayin which Rosamond and Lydgate slid gracefully into easeand madetheir intercourse lively again. Visitors came and went as usualthere was once more music in the drawing-roomand all the extrahospitality of Mr. Vincy's mayoralty returned.  Lydgatewhenever he couldtook his seat by Rosamond's sideand lingered tohear her musiccalling himself her captive--meaningall the whilenot to be her captive. The preposterousness of the notion that hecould at once set up a satisfactory establishment as a married manwas a sufficient guarantee against danger.  This play at being alittle in love was agreeableand did not interfere with graverpursuits.  Flirtationafter allwas not necessarily a singeingprocess.  Rosamondfor her parthad never enjoyed the days somuch in her life before:  she was sure of being admired by someone worth captivatingand she did not distinguish flirtation fromloveeither in herself or in another. She seemed to be sailing witha fair wind just whither she would goand her thoughts were muchoccupied with a handsome house in Lowick Gate which she hoped wouldby-and-by be vacant.  She was quite determinedwhen she wasmarriedto rid herself adroitly of all the visitors who were notagreeable to her at her father's; and she imagined the drawing-roomin her favorite house with various styles of furniture.

Certainlyher thoughts were much occupied with Lydgate himself; he seemed toher almost perfect:  if he had known his notes so that hisenchantment under her music had been less like an emotionalelephant'sand if he had been able to discriminate better therefinements of her taste in dressshe could hardly have mentioned adeficiency in him. How different he was from young Plymdale or Mr.Caius Larcher! Those young men had not a notion of Frenchand couldspeak on no subject with striking knowledgeexcept perhaps thedyeing and carrying tradeswhich of course they were ashamed tomention; they were Middlemarch gentryelated with theirsilver-headed whips and satin stocksbut embarrassed in theirmannersand timidly jocose: even Fred was above themhaving atleast the accent and manner of a university man.  WhereasLydgate was always listened tobore himself with the carelesspoliteness of conscious superiorityand seemed to have the rightclothes on by a certain natural affinitywithout ever having tothink about them.  Rosamond was proud when he entered the roomand when he approached her with a distinguishing smileshe had adelicious sense that she was the object of enviable homage. IfLydgate had been aware of all the pride he excited in that delicatebosomhe might have been just as well pleased as any other maneventhe most densely ignorant of humoral pathology or fibrous tissue: he held it one of the prettiest attitudes of the feminine mind toadore a man's pre-eminence without too precise a knowledge of what itconsisted in.  But Rosamond was not one of those helpless girlswho betray themselves unawaresand whose behavior is awkwardlydriven by their impulsesinstead of being steered by wary grace andpropriety.  Do you imagine that her rapid forecast andrumination concerning house-furniture and society were everdiscernible in her conversationeven with her mamma? On thecontraryshe would have expressed the prettiest surprise anddisapprobation if she had heard that another young lady had beendetected in that immodest prematureness--indeedwould probably havedisbelieved in its possibility.  For Rosamond never showed anyunbecoming knowledgeand was always that combination of correctsentimentsmusicdancingdrawingelegant note-writingprivatealbum for extracted verseand perfect blond lovelinesswhich madethe irresistible woman for the doomed man of that date. Think nounfair evil of herpray:  she had no wicked plotsnothingsordid or mercenary; in factshe never thought of money except assomething necessary which other people would always provide. She wasnot in the habit of devising falsehoodsand if her statements wereno direct clew to factwhythey were not intended in that light--they were among her elegant accomplishmentsintended to please.Nature had inspired many arts in finishing Mrs. Lemon's favoritepupilwho by general consent (Fred's excepted) was a rare compoundof beautyclevernessand amiability.

Lydgatefound it more and more agreeable to be with herand there was noconstraint nowthere was a delightful interchange of influence intheir eyesand what they said had that superfluity of meaning forthemwhich is observable with some sense of flatness by a thirdperson; still they had no interviews or asides from which a thirdperson need have been excluded.  In factthey flirted; andLydgate was secure in the belief that they did nothing else. If a mancould not love and be wisesurely he could flirt and be wise at thesame time?  Reallythe men in Middlemarchexcept Mr.Farebrotherwere great boresand Lydgate did not care aboutcommercial politics or cards:  what was he to do for relaxation?He was often invited to the Bulstrodes'; but the girls there werehardly out of the schoolroom; and Mrs. Bulstrode's NAIVE way ofconciliating piety and worldlinessthe nothingness of this life andthe desirability of cut glassthe consciousness at once of filthyrags and the best damaskwas not a sufficient relief from the weightof her husband's invariable seriousness.  The Vincys' housewith all its faultswas the pleasanter by contrast; besidesitnourished Rosamond--sweet to look at as a half-opened blush-roseandadorned with accomplishments for the refined amusement of man.

But hemade some enemiesother than medicalby his success with MissVincy.  One evening he came into the drawing-room rather latewhen several other visitors were there.  The card-table haddrawn off the eldersand Mr. Ned Plymdale (one of the good matchesin Middlemarchthough not one of its leading minds) was intete-a-tete with Rosamond.  He had brought the last "Keepsake"the gorgeous watered-silk publication which marked modern progress atthat time; and he considered himself very fortunate that he could bethe first to look over it with herdwelling on the ladies andgentlemen with shiny copper-plate cheeks and copper-plate smilesandpointing to comic verses as capital and sentimental stories asinteresting.  Rosamond was graciousand Mr. Ned was satisfiedthat he had the very best thing in art and literature as a medium for"paying addresses"--the very thing to please a nice girl.He had also reasonsdeep rather than ostensiblefor being satisfiedwith his own appearance.  To superficial observers his chin hadtoo vanishing an aspectlooking as if it were being graduallyreabsorbed. And it did indeed cause him some difficulty about the fitof his satin stocksfor which chins were at that time useful.

"Ithink the Honorable Mrs. S. is something like you" said Mr.Ned. He kept the book open at the bewitching portraitand looked atit rather languishingly.

"Herback is very large; she seems to have sat for that" saidRosamondnot meaning any satirebut thinking how red youngPlymdale's hands wereand wondering why Lydgate did not come. Shewent on with her tatting all the while.

"Idid not say she was as beautiful as you are" said Mr. Nedventuring to look from the portrait to its rival.

"Isuspect you of being an adroit flatterer" said Rosamondfeeling sure that she should have to reject this young gentleman asecond time.

But nowLydgate came in; the book was closed before he reached Rosamond'scornerand as he took his seat with easy confidence on the otherside of heryoung Plymdale's jaw fell like a barometer towards thecheerless side of change.  Rosamond enjoyed not only Lydgate'spresence but its effect:  she liked to excite jealousy.

"Whata late comer you are!" she saidas they shook hands. "Mammahad given you up a little while ago.  How do you find Fred?"

"Asusual; going on wellbut slowly.  I want him to go away-- toStone Courtfor example.  But your mamma seems to have someobjection."

"Poorfellow!" said Rosamondprettily.  "You will see Fredso changed" she addedturning to the other suitor; "wehave looked to Mr. Lydgate as our guardian angel during thisillness."

Mr. Nedsmiled nervouslywhile Lydgatedrawing the "Keepsake"towards him and opening itgave a short scornful laugh and tossed uphis chillas if in wonderment at human folly.

"Whatare you laughing at so profanely?" said Rosamondwith blandneutrality.

"Iwonder which would turn out to be the silliest--the engravings or thewriting here" said Lydgatein his most convinced tonewhilehe turned over the pages quicklyseeming to see all through the bookin no timeand showing his large white hands to much advantageasRosamond thought.  "Do look at this bridegroom coming outof church: did you ever see such a `sugared invention'--as theElizabethans used to say?  Did any haberdasher ever look sosmirking?  Yet I will answer for it the story makes him one ofthe first gentlemen in the land."

"Youare so severeI am frightened at you" said Rosamondkeepingher amusement duly moderate.  Poor young Plymdale had lingeredwith admiration over this very engravingand his spirit was stirred.

"Thereare a great many celebrated people writing in the `Keepsake' at allevents" he saidin a tone at once piqued and timid. "Thisis the first time I have heard it called silly."

"Ithink I shall turn round on you and accuse you of being a Goth"said Rosamondlooking at Lydgate with a smile.  "I suspectyou know nothing about Lady Blessington and L. E. L." Rosamondherself was not without relish for these writersbut she did notreadily commit herself by admirationand was alive to the slightesthint that anything was notaccording to Lydgatein the very highesttaste.

"ButSir Walter Scott--I suppose Mr. Lydgate knows him" said youngPlymdalea little cheered by this advantage.

"OhI read no literature now" said Lydgateshutting the bookandpushing it away.  "I read so much when I was a ladthat Isuppose it will last me all my life.  I used to know Scott'spoems by heart."

"Ishould like to know when you left off" said Rosamond"becausethen I might be sure that I knew something which you did not know."

"Mr.Lydgate would say that was not worth knowing" said Mr. Nedpurposely caustic.

"Onthe contrary" said Lydgateshowing no smart; but smiling withexasperating confidence at Rosamond.  "It would be worthknowing by the fact that Miss Vincy could tell it me."

YoungPlymdale soon went to look at the whist-playingthinking thatLydgate was one of the most conceitedunpleasant fellows it had everbeen his ill-fortune to meet.

"Howrash you are!" said Rosamondinwardly delighted.  "Doyou see that you have given offence?"

"What!is it Mr. Plymdale's book?  I am sorry.  I didn't thinkabout it."

"Ishall begin to admit what you said of yourself when you first camehere--that you are a bearand want teaching by the birds."

"Wellthere is a bird who can teach me what she will.  Don't I listento her willingly?"

ToRosamond it seemed as if she and Lydgate were as good as engaged.That they were some time to be engaged had long been an idea in hermind; and ideaswe knowtend to a more solid kind of existencethenecessary materials being at hand.  It is trueLydgate had thecounter-idea of remaining unengaged; but this was a mere negativeashadow east by other resolves which themselves were capable ofshrinking. Circumstance was almost sure to be on the side ofRosamond's ideawhich had a shaping activity and looked throughwatchful blue eyeswhereas Lydgate's lay blind and unconcerned as ajelly-fish which gets melted without knowing it.

Thatevening when he went homehe looked at his phials to see how aprocess of maceration was going onwith undisturbed interest; and hewrote out his daily notes with as much precision as usual. Thereveries from which it was difficult for him to detach himself wereideal constructions of something else than Rosamond's virtuesandthe primitive tissue was still his fair unknown.  Moreoverhewas beginning to feel some zest for the growing thoughhalf-suppressed feud between him and the other medical menwhich waslikely to become more manifestnow that Bulstrode's method ofmanaging the new hospital was about to be declared; and there werevarious inspiriting signs that his non-acceptance by some ofPeacock's patients might be counterbalanced by the impression he hadproduced in other quarters. Only a few days laterwhen he hadhappened to overtake Rosamond on the Lowick road and had got downfrom his horse to walk by her side until he had quite protected herfrom a passing drovehe had been stopped by a servant on horsebackwith a message calling him in to a house of some importance wherePeacock had never attended; and it was the second instance of thiskind.  The servant was Sir James Chettam'sand the house wasLowick Manor.




CHAPTERXXVIII



  1st Gent.  All times are good to seek your wedded home
  Bringing a mutual delight.

  2d Gent.   Whytrue.
   The calendar hath notan evil day
   For souls made one by loveand evendeath
   Were sweetnessif it came like rollingwaves
   While they two clasped each otherandforesaw
   No life apart.



Mr. andMrs. Casaubonreturning from their wedding journeyarrived atLowick Manor in the middle of January.  A light snow was fallingas they descended at the doorand in the morningwhen Dorotheapassed from her dressing-room avenue the blue-green boudoir that weknow ofshe saw the long avenue of limes lifting their trunks from awhite earthand spreading white branches against the dun andmotionless sky.  The distant flat shrank in uniform whitenessand low-hanging uniformity of cloud. The very furniture in the roomseemed to have shrunk since she saw it before:  the slag in thetapestry looked more like a ghost in his ghostly blue-green world;the volumes of polite literature in the bookcase looked morn likeimmovable imitations of books. The bright fire of dry oak-boughsburning on the dogs seemed an incongruous renewal of life andglow--like the figure of Dorothea herself as she entered carrying thered-leather cases containing the cameos for Celia.

She wasglowing from her morning toilet as only healthful youth can glow: there was gem-like brightness on her coiled hair and in her hazeleyes; there was warm red life in her lips; her throat had a breathingwhiteness above the differing white of the fur which itself seemed towind about her neck and cling down her blue-gray pelisse with atenderness gathered from her owna sentient commingled innocencewhich kept its loveliness against the crystalline purity of theoutdoor snow.  As she laid the cameo- cases on the table in thebow-windowshe unconsciously kept her hands on themimmediatelyabsorbed in looking out on the stillwhite enclosure which made hervisible world.

Mr.Casaubonwho had risen early complaining of palpitationwas in thelibrary giving audience to his curate Mr. Tucker. By-and-by Celiawould come in her quality of bridesmaid as well as sisterandthrough the next weeks there would be wedding visits received andgiven; all in continuance of that transitional life understood tocorrespond with the excitement of bridal felicityand keeping up thesense of busy ineffectivenessas of a dream which the dreamer beginsto suspect.  The duties of her married lifecontemplated as sogreat beforehandseemed to be shrinking with the furniture and thewhite vapor-walled landscape.  The clear heights where sheexpected to walk in full communion had become difficult to see evenin her imagination; the delicious repose of the soul on a completesuperior had been shaken into uneasy effort and alarmed with dimpresentiment.  When would the days begin of that active wifelydevotion which was to strengthen her husband's life and exalt herown?  Never perhapsas she had preconceived them; but somehow--still somehow.  In this solemnly pledged union of her lifedutywould present itself in some new form of inspiration and give a newmeaning to wifely love.

Meanwhilethere was the snow and the low arch of dun vapor-- there was thestifling oppression of that gentlewoman's worldwhere everything wasdone for her and none asked for her aid-- where the sense ofconnection with a manifold pregnant existence had to be kept uppainfully as an inward visioninstead of coming from without inclaims that would have shaped her energies.-- "What shall I do?""Whatever you pleasemy dear:  "that had been herbrief history since she had left off learning morning lessons andpractising silly rhythms on the hated piano.  Marriagewhichwas to bring guidance into worthy and imperative occupationhad notyet freed her from the gentlewoman's oppressive liberty:  it hadnot even filled her leisure with the ruminant joy of uncheckedtenderness. Her blooming full-pulsed youth stood there in a moralimprisonment which made itself one with the chillcolorlessnarrowed landscapewith the shrunken furniturethe never-readbooksand the ghostly stag in a pale fantastic world that seemed tobe vanishing from the daylight.

In thefirst minutes when Dorothea looked out she felt nothing but thedreary oppression; then came a keen remembranceand turning awayfrom the window she walked round the room.  The ideas and hopeswhich were living in her mind when she first saw this room nearlythree months before were present now only as memories: she judgedthem as we judge transient and departed things. All existence seemedto beat with a lower pulse than her ownand her religious faith wasa solitary crythe struggle out of a nightmare in which every objectwas withering and shrinking away from her.  Each rememberedthing in the room was disenchantedwas deadened as an unlittransparencytill her wandering gaze came to the group ofminiaturesand there at last she saw something which had gatherednew breath and meaning:  it was the miniature of Mr. Casaubon'saunt Juliawho had made the unfortunate marriage-- of WillLadislaw's grandmother.  Dorothea could fancy that it was alivenow--the delicate woman's face which yet had a headstrong lookapeculiarity difficult to interpret.  Was it only her friends whothought her marriage unfortunate? or did she herself find it out tobe a mistakeand taste the salt bitterness of her tears in themerciful silence of the night?  What breadths of experienceDorothea seemed to have passed over since she first looked at thisminiature!  She felt a new companionship with itas if it hadan ear for her and could see how she was looking at it. Here was awoman who had known some difficulty about marriage. Naythe colorsdeepenedthe lips and chin seemed to get largerthe hair and eyesseemed to be sending out lightthe face was masculine and beamed onher with that full gaze which tells her on whom it falls that she istoo interesting for the slightest movement of her eyelid to passunnoticed and uninterpreted. The vivid presentation came like apleasant glow to Dorothea: she felt herself smilingand turning fromthe miniature sat down and looked up as if she were again talking toa figure in front of her. But the smile disappeared as she went onmeditatingand at last she said aloud--

"Ohit was cruel to speak so!  How sad--how dreadful!"

She rosequickly and went out of the roomhurrying along the corridorwiththe irresistible impulse to go and see her husband and inquire if shecould do anything for him.  Perhaps Mr. Tucker was gone and Mr.Casaubon was alone in the library.  She felt as if all hermorning's gloom would vanish if she could see her husband gladbecause of her presence.

But whenshe reached the head of the dark oak there was Celia coming upandbelow there was Mr. Brookeexchanging welcomes and congratulationswith Mr. Casaubon.

"Dodo!"said Celiain her quiet staccato; then kissed her sisterwhose armsencircled herand said no more.  I think they both cried alittle in a furtive mannerwhile Dorothea ran down-stairs to greether uncle.

"Ineed not ask how you aremy dear" said Mr. Brookeafterkissing her forehead.  "Rome has agreed with youIsee--happinessfrescosthe antique--that sort of thing.  Wellit's very pleasant to have you back againand you understand allabout art noweh? But Casaubon is a little paleI tell him--alittle paleyou know. Studying hard in his holidays is carrying itrather too far. I overdid it at one time"--Mr. Brooke still heldDorothea's handbut had turned his face to Mr. Casaubon--"abouttopographyruinstemples--I thought I had a clewbut I saw itwould carry me too farand nothing might come of it.  You maygo any length in that sort of thingand nothing may come of ityouknow."

Dorothea'seyes also were turned up to her husband's face with some anxiety atthe idea that those who saw him afresh after absence might be awareof signs which she had not noticed.

"Nothingto alarm youmy dear" said Mr. Brookeobserving herexpression.  "A little English beef and mutton will soonmake a difference.  It was all very well to look palesittingfor the portrait of Aquinasyou know--we got your letter just intime. But Aquinasnow--he was a little too subtlewasn't he? Doesanybody read Aquinas?"

"Heis not indeed an author adapted to superficial minds" said Mr.Casaubonmeeting these timely questions with dignified patience.

"Youwould like coffee in your own roomuncle?" said Dorotheacoming to the rescue.

"Yes;and you must go to Celia:  she has great news to tell youyouknow.  I leave it all to her."

Theblue-green boudoir looked much more cheerful when Celia was seatedthere in a pelisse exactly like her sister'ssurveying the cameoswith a placid satisfactionwhile the conversation passed on to othertopics.

"Doyou think it nice to go to Rome on a wedding journey?" saidCeliawith her ready delicate blush which Dorothea was used to onthe smallest occasions.

"Itwould not suit all--not youdearfor example" said Dorotheaquietly. No one would ever know what she thought of a wedding journeyto Rome.

"Mrs.Cadwallader says it is nonsensepeople going a long journey whenthey are married.  She says they get tired to death of eachotherand can't quarrel comfortablyas they would at home. And LadyChettam says she went to Bath."  Celia's color changedagain and again--seemed



To comeand go with tidings from the heart As it a running messengerhad been.

It mustmean more than Celia's blushing usually did.

"Celia!has something happened?" said Dorotheain a tone full ofsisterly feeling.  "Have you really any great news to tellme?"

"Itwas because you went awayDodo.  Then there was nobody but mefor Sir James to talk to" said Celiawith a certainroguishness in her eyes.

"Iunderstand.  It is as I used to hope and believe" saidDorotheataking her sister's face between her handsand looking ather half anxiously.  Celia's marriage seemed more serious thanit used to do.

"Itwas only three days ago" said Celia.  "And LadyChettam is very kind."

"Andyou are very happy?"

"Yes. We are not going to be married yet.  Because every thing is tobe got ready.  And I don't want to be married so very soonbecause I think it is nice to be engaged.  And we shall bemarried all our lives after."

"I dobelieve you could not marry betterKitty.  Sir James is a goodhonorable man" said Dorotheawarmly.

"Hehas gone on with the cottagesDodo.  He will tell you aboutthem when he comes.  Shall you be glad to see him?"

"Ofcourse I shall.  How can you ask me?"

"OnlyI was afraid you would be getting so learned" said Celiaregarding Mr. Casaubon's learning as a kind of damp which might indue time saturate a neighboring body.




CHAPTERXXIX



 

"Ifound that no genius in another could please me.  My unfortunate

paradoxeshad entirely dried up that source of comfort."--GOLDSMITH.



Onemorningsome weeks after her arrival at LowickDorothea-- but whyalways Dorothea?  Was her point of view the only possible onewith regard to this marriage? protest against all our interestallour effort at understanding being given to the young skins that lookblooming in spite of trouble; for these too will get fadedand willknow the older and more eating griefs which we are helping toneglect.  In spite of the blinking eyes and white molesobjectionable to Celiaand the want of muscular curve which wasmorally painful to Sir JamesMr. Casaubon had an intenseconsciousness within himand was spiritually a-hungered like therest of us.  He had done nothing exceptional inmarrying--nothing but what society sanctionsand considers anoccasion for wreaths and bouquets.  It had occurred to him thathe must not any longer defer his intention of matrimonyand he hadreflected that in taking a wifea man of good position should expectand carefully choose a blooming young lady--the younger the betterbecause more educable and submissive--of a rank equal to his ownofreligious principlesvirtuous dispositionand good understanding. On such a young lady he would make handsome settlementsand he wouldneglect no arrangement for her happiness: in returnhe shouldreceive family pleasures and leave behind him that copy of himselfwhich seemed so urgently required of a man-- to the sonneteers of thesixteenth century.  Times had altered since thenand nosonneteer had insisted on Mr. Casaubon's leaving a copy of himself;moreoverhe had not yet succeeded in issuing copies of hismythological key; but he had always intended to acquit himself bymarriageand the sense that he was fast leaving the years behindhimthat the world was getting dimmer and that he felt lonelywas areason to him for losing no more time in overtaking domestic delightsbefore they too were left behind by the years.

And whenhe had seen Dorothea he believed that he had found even more than hedemanded:  she might really be such a helpmate to him as wouldenable him to dispense with a hired secretaryan aid which Mr.Casaubon had never yet employed and had a suspicious dread of. (Mr. Casaubon was nervously conscious that he was expected tomanifest a powerful mind.) Providencein its kindnesshad suppliedhim with the wife he needed.  A wifea modest young ladywiththe purely appreciativeunambitious abilities of her sexis sure tothink her husband's mind powerful. Whether Providence had taken equalcare of Miss Brooke in presenting her with Mr. Casaubon was an ideawhich could hardly occur to him. Society never made the preposterousdemand that a man should think as much about his own qualificationsfor making a charming girl happy as he thinks of hers for makinghimself happy.  As if a man could choose not only his wife huthis wife's husband!  Or as if he were bound to provide charmsfor his posterity in his own person!-- When Dorothea accepted himwith effusionthat was only natural; and Mr. Casaubon believed thathis happiness was going to begin.

He had nothad much foretaste of happiness in his previous life. To know intensejoy without a strong bodily frameone must have an enthusiasticsoul.  Mr. Casaubon had never had a strong bodily frameand hissoul was sensitive without being enthusiastic:  it was toolanguid to thrill out of self-consciousness into passionate delight;it went on fluttering in the swampy ground where it was hatchedthinking of its wings and never flying.  His experience was ofthat pitiable kind which shrinks from pityand fears most of allthat it should be known:  it was that proud narrow sensitivenesswhich has not mass enough to spare for transformation into sympathyand quivers thread-like in small currents of self-preoccupation or atbest of an egoistic scrupulosity.  And Mr. Casaubon had manyscruples:  he was capable of a severe self-restraint; he wasresolute in being a man of honor according to the code; he would beunimpeachable by any recognized opinion.  In conduct these endshad been attained; but the difficulty of making his Key to allMythologies unimpeachable weighed like lead upon his mind; and thepamphlets--or "Parerga" as he called them--by which hetested his public and deposited small monumental records of hismarchwere far from having been seen in all their significance. Hesuspected the Archdeacon of not having read them; he was in painfuldoubt as to what was really thought of them by the leading minds ofBrasenoseand bitterly convinced that his old acquaintance Carp hadbeen the writer of that depreciatory recension which was kept lockedin a small drawer of Mr. Casaubon's deskand also in a dark closetof his verbal memory.  These were heavy impressions to struggleagainstand brought that melancholy embitterment which is theconsequence of all excessive claim: even his religious faith waveredwith his wavering trust in his own authorshipand the consolationsof the Christian hope in immortality seemed to lean on theimmortality of the still unwritten Key to all Mythologies.  Formy part I am very sorry for him. It is an uneasy lot at bestto bewhat we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy:  to be presentat this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from asmall hungry shivering self-- never to be fully possessed by theglory we beholdnever to have our consciousness rapturouslytransformed into the vividness of a thoughtthe ardor of a passionthe energy of an actionbut always to be scholarly and uninspiredambitious and timidscrupulous and dim-sighted. Becoming a dean oreven a bishop would make little differenceI fearto Mr. Casaubon'suneasiness. Doubtless some ancient Greek has observed that behind thebig mask and the speaking-trumpetthere must always be our poorlittle eyes peeping as usual and our timorous lips more or less underanxious control.

To thismental estate mapped out a quarter of a century beforetosensibilities thus fenced inMr. Casaubon had thought of annexinghappiness with a lovely young bride; but even before marriageas wehave seenhe found himself under a new depression in theconsciousness that the new bliss was not blissful to him. Inclinationyearned back to its oldeasier custom.  And the deeper he wentin domesticity the more did the sense of acquitting himself andacting with propriety predominate over any other satisfaction.Marriagelike religion and eruditionnaylike authorship itselfwas fated to become an outward requirementand Edward Casaubon wasbent on fulfilling unimpeachably all requirements.  Even drawingDorothea into use in his studyaccording to his own intention beforemarriagewas an effort which he was always tempted to deferand butfor her pleading insistence it might never have begun. But she hadsucceeded in making it a matter of course that she should take herplace at an early hour in the library and have work either of readingaloud or copying assigned her.  The work had been easier todefine because Mr. Casaubon had adopted an immediate intention: therewas to be a new Parergona small monograph on some lately tracedindications concerning the Egyptian mysteries whereby certainassertions of Warburton's could be corrected. References wereextensive even herebut not altogether shoreless; and sentences wereactually to be written in the shape wherein they would be scanned byBrasenose and a less formidable posterity. These minor monumentalproductions were always exciting to Mr. Casaubon; digestion was madedifficult by the interference of citationsor by the rivalry ofdialectical phrases ringing against each other in his brain. And from the first there was to be a Latin dedication about whicheverything was uncertain except that it was not to be addressed toCarp:  it was a poisonous regret to Mr. Casaubon that he hadonce addressed a dedication to Carp in which he had numbered thatmember of the animal kingdom among the viros nullo aevo periturosamistake which would infallibly lay the dedicator open to ridicule inthe next ageand might even be chuckled over by Pike and Tench inthe present.

Thus Mr.Casaubon was in one of his busiest epochsand as I began to say alittle while agoDorothea joined him early in the library where hehad breakfasted alone.  Celia at this time was on a second visitto Lowickprobably the last before her marriageand was in thedrawing-room expecting Sir James.

Dorotheahad learned to read the signs of her husband's moodand she saw thatthe morning had become more foggy there during the last hour. She wasgoing silently to her desk when he saidin that distant tone whichimplied that he was discharging a disagreeable duty--

"Dorotheahere is a letter for youwhich was enclosed in one addressed to me."

It was aletter of two pagesand she immediately looked at the signature.

"Mr.Ladislaw!  What can he have to say to me?" she exclaimedin a tone of pleased surprise.  "But" she addedlooking at Mr. Casaubon"I can imagine what he has written toyou about."

"Youcanif you pleaseread the letter" said Mr. Casaubonseverely pointing to it with his penand not looking at her. "ButI may as well say beforehandthat I must decline the proposal itcontains to pay a visit here.  I trust I may be excused fordesiring an interval of complete freedom from such distractions ashave been hitherto inevitableand especially from guests whosedesultory vivacity makes their presence a fatigue."

There hadbeen no clashing of temper between Dorothea and her husband sincethat little explosion in Romewhich had left such strong traces inher mind that it had been easier ever since to quell emotion than toincur the consequence of venting it. But this ill-temperedanticipation that she could desire visits which might be disagreeableto her husbandthis gratuitous defence of himself against selfishcomplaint on her partwas too sharp a sting to be meditated on untilafter it had been resented. Dorothea had thought that she could havebeen patient with John Miltonbut she had never imagined himbehaving in this way; and for a moment Mr. Casaubon seemed to bestupidly undiscerning and odiously unjust. Pitythat "new-bornbabe" which was by-and-by to rule many a storm within herdidnot "stride the blast" on this occasion. With her firstwordsuttered in a tone that shook himshe startled Mr. Casauboninto looking at herand meeting the flash of her eyes.

"Whydo you attribute to me a wish for anything that would annoy you? Youspeak to me as if I were something you had to contend against. Waitat least till I appear to consult my own pleasure apart from yours."

"Dorotheayou are hasty" answered Mr. Casaubonnervously.

Decidedlythis woman was too young to be on the formidable level ofwifehood--unless she had been pale and feature less and takeneverything for granted.

"Ithink it was you who were first hasty in your false suppositionsabout my feeling" said Dorotheain the same tone.  Thefire was not dissipated yetand she thought it was ignoble in herhusband not to apologize to her.

"Wewillif you pleasesay no more on this subjectDorothea. I haveneither leisure nor energy for this kind of debate."

Here Mr.Casaubon dipped his pen and made as if he would return to hiswritingthough his hand trembled so much that the words seemed to bewritten in an unknown character.  There are answers whichinturning away wrathonly send it to the other end of the roomand tohave a discussion coolly waived when you feel that justice is all onyour own side is even more exasperating in marriage than inphilosophy.

Dorothealeft Ladislaw's two letters unread on her husband's writing-table andwent to her own placethe scorn and indignation within her rejectingthe reading of these lettersjust as we hurl away any trash towardswhich we seem to have been suspected of mean cupidity.  She didnot in the least divine the subtle sources of her husband's badtemper about these letters: she only knew that they had caused him tooffend her.  She began to work at onceand her hand did nottremble; on the contraryin writing out the quotations which hadbeen given to her the day beforeshe felt that she was forming herletters beautifullyand it seemed to her that she saw theconstruction of the Latin she was copyingand which she wasbeginning to understandmore clearly than usual.  In herindignation there was a sense of superioritybut it went out for thepresent in firmness of strokeand did not compress itself into aninward articulate voice pronouncing the once "affable archangel"a poor creature.

There hadbeen this apparent quiet for half an hourand Dorothea had notlooked away from her own tablewhen she heard the loud bang of abook on the floorand turning quickly saw Mr. Casaubon on thelibrary steps clinging forward as if he were in some bodily distress.She started up and bounded towards him in an instant:  he wasevidently in great straits for breath.  Jumping on a stool shegot close to his elbow and said with her whole soul melted intotender alarm--

"Canyou lean on medear?"

He wasstill for two or three minuteswhich seemed endless to herunableto speak or movegasping for breath.  When at last he descendedthe three steps and fell backward in the large chair which Dorotheahad drawn close to the foot of the ladderhe no longer gasped butseemed helpless and about to faint. Dorothea rang the bell violentlyand presently Mr. Casaubon was helped to the couch:  he did notfaintand was gradually revivingwhen Sir James Chettam came inhaving been met in the hall with the news that Mr. Casaubon had "hada fit in the library."

"GoodGod! this is just what might have been expected" was hisimmediate thought.  If his prophetic soul had been urged toparticularizeit seemed to him that "fits" would have beenthe definite expression alighted upon.  He asked his informantthe butlerwhether the doctor had been sent for.  The butlernever knew his master want the doctor before; but would it not beright to send for a physician?

When SirJames entered the libraryhoweverMr. Casaubon could make somesigns of his usual politenessand Dorotheawho in the reaction fromher first terror had been kneeling and sobbing by his side now roseand herself proposed that some one should ride off for a medical man.

"Irecommend you to send for Lydgate" said Sir James.  "Mymother has called him inand she has found him uncommonly clever.She has had a poor opinion of the physicians since my father'sdeath."

Dorotheaappealed to her husbandand he made a silent sign of approval. SoMr. Lydgate was sent for and he came wonderfully soonfor themessengerwho was Sir James Chettam's man and knew Mr. Lydgatemethim leading his horse along the Lowick road and giving his arm toMiss Vincy.

Celiainthe drawing-roomhad known nothing of the trouble till Sir Jamestold her of it.  After Dorothea's accounthe no longerconsidered the illness a fitbut still something "of thatnature."

"Poordear Dodo--how dreadful!" said Celiafeeling as much grieved asher own perfect happiness would allow.  Her little hands wereclaspedand enclosed by Sir James's as a bud is enfolded by aliberal calyx. "It is very shocking that Mr. Casaubon should beill; but I never did like him.  And I think he is not half fondenough of Dorothea; and he ought to befor I am sure no one elsewould have had him-- do you think they would?"

"Ialways thought it a horrible sacrifice of your sister" said SirJames.

"Yes. But poor Dodo never did do what other people doand I think shenever will."

"Sheis a noble creature" said the loyal-hearted Sir James. He hadjust had a fresh impression of this kindas he had seen Dorotheastretching her tender arm under her husband's neck and looking at himwith unspeakable sorrow.  He did not know how much penitencethere was in the sorrow.

"Yes"said Celiathinking it was very well for Sir James to say sobut HEwould not have been comfortable with Dodo.  "Shall I go toher?  Could I help herdo you think?"

"Ithink it would be well for you just to go and see her before Lydgatecomes" said Sir Jamesmagnanimously.  "Only don'tstay long."

WhileCelia was gone he walked up and down remembering what he hadoriginally felt about Dorothea's engagementand feeling a revival ofhis disgust at Mr. Brooke's indifference.  If Cadwallader-- ifevery one else had regarded the affair as heSir Jameshad donethe marriage might have been hindered.  It was wicked to let ayoung girl blindly decide her fate in that waywithout any effort tosave her.  Sir James had long ceased to have any regrets on hisown account:  his heart was satisfied with his engagement toCelia. But he had a chivalrous nature (was not the disinterestedservice of woman among the ideal glories of old chivalry?): hisdisregarded love had not turned to bitterness; its death had madesweet odors-- floating memories that clung with a consecrating effectto Dorothea. He could remain her brotherly friendinterpreting heractions with generous trustfulness.




CHAPTERXXX



  "Qui veut delasser hors de proposlasse."--PASCAL.



Mr.Casaubon had no second attack of equal severity with the firstandin a few days began to recover his usual condition. But Lydgateseemed to think the case worth a great deal of attention. He not onlyused his stethoscope (which had not become a matter of course inpractice at that time)but sat quietly by his patient and watchedhim.  To Mr. Casaubon's questions about himselfhe replied thatthe source of the illness was the common error of intellectual men--atoo eager and monotonous application: the remedy wasto be satisfiedwith moderate workand to seek variety of relaxation.  Mr.Brookewho sat by on one occasionsuggested that Mr. Casaubonshould go fishingas Cadwallader didand have a turning-roommaketoystable-legsand that kind of thing.

"Inshortyou recommend me to anticipate the arrival of my secondchildhood" said poor Mr. Casaubonwith some bitterness. "Thesethings" he addedlooking at Lydgate"would be to me suchrelaxation as tow-picking is to prisoners in a house of correction."

"Iconfess" said Lydgatesmiling"amusement is rather anunsatisfactory prescription.  It is something like tellingpeople to keep up their spirits.  Perhaps I had better saythatyou must submit to be mildly bored rather than to go on working."

"Yesyes" said Mr. Brooke.  "Get Dorothea to play back. gammon with you in the evenings.  And shuttlecocknow--I don'tknow a finer game than shuttlecock for the daytime.  I rememberit all the fashion. To be sureyour eyes might not stand thatCasaubon.  But you must unbendyou know.  Whyyou mighttake to some light study: conchologynow:  it always think thatmust be a light study. Or get Dorothea to read you light thingsSmollett--`Roderick Random' `Humphrey Clinker:'  they are alittle broadbut she may read anything now she's marriedyou know. I remember they made me laugh uncommonly--there's a droll bit about apostilion's breeches. We have no such humor now.  I have gonethrough all these thingsbut they might be rather new to you."

"Asnew as eating thistles" would have been an answer to representMr. Casaubon's feelings.  But he only bowed resignedlywith duerespect to his wife's uncleand observed that doubtless the works hementioned had "served as a resource to a certain order ofminds."

"Yousee" said the able magistrate to Lydgatewhen they wereoutside the door"Casaubon has been a little narrow:  itleaves him rather at a loss when you forbid him his particular workwhich I believe is something very deep indeed--in the line ofresearchyou know.  I would never give way to that; I wasalways versatile. But a clergyman is tied a little tight.  Ifthey would make him a bishopnow!--he did a very good pamphlet forPeel.  He would have more movement thenmore show; he might geta little flesh. But I recommend you to talk to Mrs. Casaubon. She is clever enough for anythingis my niece.  Tell herherhusband wants livelinessdiversion:  put her on amusingtactics."

WithoutMr. Brooke's adviceLydgate had determined on speaking to Dorothea. She had not been present while her uncle was throwing out hispleasant suggestions as to the mode in which life at Lowick might beenlivenedbut she was usually by her husband's sideand theunaffected signs of intense anxiety in her face and voice aboutwhatever touched his mind or healthmade a drama which Lydgate wasinclined to watch.  He said to himself that he was only doingright in telling her the truth about her husband's probable futurebut he certainly thought also that it would be interesting to talkconfidentially with her.  A medical man likes to makepsychological observationsand sometimes in the pursuit of suchstudies is too easily tempted into momentous prophecy which life anddeath easily set at nought. Lydgate had often been satirical on thisgratuitous predictionand he meant now to be guarded.

He askedfor Mrs. Casaubonbut being told that she was out walkinghe wasgoing awaywhen Dorothea and Celia appearedboth glowing from theirstruggle with the March wind.  When Lydgate begged to speak withher aloneDorothea opened the library door which happened to be thenearestthinking of nothing at the moment but what he might have tosay about Mr. Casaubon.  It was the first time she had enteredthis room since her husband had been taken illand the servant hadchosen not to open the shutters.  But there was light enough toread by from the narrow upper panes of the windows.

"Youwill not mind this sombre light" said Dorotheastanding in themiddle of the room.  "Since you forbade booksthe libraryhas been out of the question.  But Mr. Casaubon will soon behere againI hope.  Is he not making progress?"

"Yesmuch more rapid progress than I at first expected. Indeedhe isalready nearly in his usual state of health."

"Youdo not fear that the illness will return?" said Dorotheawhosequick ear had detected some significance in Lydgate's tone.

"Suchcases are peculiarly difficult to pronounce upon" said Lydgate."The only point on which I can be confident is that it will bedesirable to be very watchful on Mr. Casaubon's accountlest heshould in any way strain his nervous power."

"Ibeseech you to speak quite plainly" said Dorotheain animploring tone.  "I cannot bear to think that there mightbe something which I did not knowand whichif I had known itwould have made me act differently."  The words came outlike a cry: it was evident that they were the voice of some mentalexperience which lay not very far off.

"Sitdown" she addedplacing herself on the nearest chairandthrowing off her bonnet and gloveswith an instinctive discarding offormality where a great question of destiny was concerned.

"Whatyou say now justifies my own view" said Lydgate.  "Ithink it is one's function as a medical man to hinder regrets of thatsort as far as possible.  But I beg you to observe that Mr.Casaubon's case is precisely of the kind in which the issue is mostdifficult to pronounce upon.  He may possibly live for fifteenyears or morewithout much worse health than he has had hitherto."

Dorotheahad turned very paleand when Lydgate paused she said in a lowvoice"You mean if we are very careful."

"Yes--carefulagainst mental agitation of all kindsand against excessiveapplication."

"Hewould be miserableif he had to give up his work" saidDorotheawith a quick prevision of that wretchedness.

"I amaware of that.  The only course is to try by all meansdirectand indirectto moderate and vary his occupations. With a happyconcurrence of circumstancesthere isas I saidno immediatedanger from that affection of the heartwhich I believe to have beenthe cause of his late attack.  On the other handit is possiblethat the disease may develop itself more rapidly: it is one of thoseeases in which death is sometimes sudden. Nothing should be neglectedwhich might be affected by such an issue."

There wassilence for a few momentswhile Dorothea sat as if she had beenturned to marblethough the life within her was so intense that hermind had never before swept in brief time over an equal range ofscenes and motives.

"Helpmepray" she saidat lastin the same low voice as before."Tell me what I can do."

"Whatdo you think of foreign travel?  You have been lately in RomeIthink."

Thememories which made this resource utterly hopeless were a new currentthat shook Dorothea out of her pallid immobility.

"Ohthat would not do--that would be worse than anything" she saidwith a more childlike despondencywhile the tears rolled down."Nothing will be of any use that he does not enjoy."

"Iwish that I could have spared you this pain" said Lydgatedeeply touchedyet wondering about her marriage.  Women justlike Dorothea had not entered into his traditions.

"Itwas right of you to tell me.  I thank you for telling me thetruth."

"Iwish you to understand that I shall not say anything to enlighten Mr.Casaubon himself.  I think it desirable for him to know nothingmore than that he must not overwork him selfand must observecertain rules.  Anxiety of any kind would be precisely the mostunfavorable condition for him."

Lydgateroseand Dorothea mechanically rose at the same time? unclasping hercloak and throwing it off as if it stifled her. He was bowing andquitting herwhen an impulse which if she had been alone would haveturned into a prayermade her say with a sob in her voice--

"Ohyou are a wise manare you not?  You know all about life anddeath.  Advise me.  Think what I can do.  He has beenlaboring all his life and looking forward.  He minds aboutnothing else.-- And I mind about nothing else--"

For yearsafter Lydgate remembered the impression produced in him by thisinvoluntary appeal--this cry from soul to soulwithout otherconsciousness than their moving with kindred natures in the sameembroiled mediumthe same troublous fitfully illuminated life. Butwhat could he say now except that he should see Mr. Casaubon againto-morrow?

When hewas goneDorothea's tears gushed forthand relieved her stiflingoppression.  Then she dried her eyesreminded that her distressmust not be betrayed to her husband; and looked round the roomthinking that she must order the servant to attend to it as usualsince Mr. Casaubon might now at any moment wish to enter.  Onhis writing-table there were letters which had lain untouched sincethe morning when he was taken illand among themas Dorothea. well rememberedthere were young Ladislaw's lettersthe oneaddressed to her still unopened.  The associations of theseletters had been made the more painful by that sudden attack ofillness which she felt that the agitation caused by her anger mighthave helped to bring on:  it would be time enough to read themwhen they were again thrust upon herand she had had no inclinationto fetch them from the library.  But now it occurred to her thatthey should be put out of her husband's sight: whatever might havebeen the sources of his annoyance about themhe mustif possiblenot be annoyed again; and she ran her eyes first over the letteraddressed to him to assure herself whether or not it would benecessary to write in order to hinder the offensive visit.

Will wrotefrom Romeand began by saying that his obligations to Mr. Casaubonwere too deep for all thanks not to seem impertinent. It was plainthat if he were not gratefulhe must be the poorest-spirited rascalwho had ever found a generous friend. To expand in wordy thanks wouldbe like saying"I am honest." But Will had come toperceive that his defects--defects which Mr. Casaubon had himselfoften pointed to--needed for their correction that more strenuousposition which his relative's generosity had hitherto prevented frombeing inevitable.  He trusted that he should make the bestreturnif return were possibleby showing the effectiveness of theeducation for which he was indebtedand by ceasing in future to needany diversion towards himself of funds on which others might have abetter claim.  He was coming to Englandto try his fortuneasmany other young men were obliged to do whose only capital was intheir brains.  His friend Naumann had desired him to take chargeof the "Dispute"--the picture painted for Mr. Casaubonwith whose permissionand Mrs. Casaubon'sWill would convey it toLowick in person.  A letter addressed to the Poste Restante inParis within the fortnight would hinder himif necessaryfromarriving at an inconvenient moment.  He enclosed a letter toMrs. Casaubon in which he continued a discussion about artbegunwith her in Rome.

Openingher own letter Dorothea saw that it was a lively continuation of hisremonstrance with her fanatical sympathy and her want of sturdyneutral delight in things as they were--an outpouring of his youngvivacity which it was impossible to read just now.  She hadimmediately to consider what was to be done about the other letter:there was still time perhaps to prevent Will from coming to Lowick.Dorothea ended by giving the letter to her unclewho was still inthe houseand begging him to let Will know that Mr. Casaubon hadbeen illand that his health would not allow the reception of anyvisitors.

No onemore ready than Mr. Brooke to write a letter:  his onlydifficulty was to write a short oneand his ideas in this caseexpanded over the three large pages and the inward foldings. He hadsimply said to Dorothea--

"Tobe sureI will writemy dear.  He's a very clever youngfellow-- this young Ladislaw--I dare say will be a rising young man.It's a good letter--marks his sense of thingsyou know. HoweverIwill tell him about Casaubon."

But theend of Mr. Brooke's pen was a thinking organevolving sentencesespecially of a benevolent kindbefore the rest of his mind couldwell overtake them.  It expressed regrets and proposed remedieswhichwhen Mr. Brooke read themseemed felicitously worded--surprisingly the right thingand determined a sequel which he hadnever before thought of.  In this casehis pen found it such apity young Ladislaw should not have come into the neighborhood. justat that timein order that Mr. Brooke might make his acquaintancemore fullyand that they might go over the long-neglected Italiandrawings together--it also felt such an interest in a young man whowas starting in life with a stock of ideas--that by the end of thesecond page it had persuaded Mr. Brooke to invite young Ladislawsince he could not be received at Lowickto come to Tipton Grange.Why not?  They could find a great many things to do togetherand this was a period of peculiar growth--the political horizon wasexpandingand--in shortMr. Brooke's pen went off into a littlespeech which it had lately reported for that imperfectly edited organthe "Middlemarch Pioneer."  While Mr. Brooke wassealing this letterhe felt elated with an influx of dimprojects:--a young man capable of putting ideas into formthe"Pioneer" purchased to clear the pathway for a newcandidatedocuments utilized--who knew what might come of it all? Since Celia was going to marry immediatelyit would be very pleasantto have a young fellow at table with himat least for a time.

But hewent away without telling Dorothea what he had put into the letterfor she was engaged with her husbandand--in factthese things wereof no importance to her.




CHAPTERXXXI



  How will you know the pitch of that great bell
   Toolarge for you to stir?  Let but a flute
   Play'neath the fine-mixed metal listen close
   Till theright note flows fortha silvery rill.
   Then shallthe huge bell tremble--then the mass
   With myriadwaves concurrent shall respond
     In lowsoft unison.



Lydgatethat evening spoke to Miss Vincy of Mrs. Casaubonand laid someemphasis on the strong feeling she appeared to have for that formalstudious man thirty years older than herself.

"Ofcourse she is devoted to her husband" said Rosamondimplying anotion of necessary sequence which the scientific man regarded as theprettiest possible for a woman; but she was thinking at the same timethat it was not so very melancholy to be mistress of Lowick Manorwith a husband likely to die soon. "Do you think her veryhandsome?"

"Shecertainly is handsomebut I have not thought about it" saidLydgate.

"Isuppose it would be unprofessional" said Rosamonddimpling."But how your practice is spreading!  You were called inbefore to the ChettamsI think; and nowthe Casaubons."

"Yes"said Lydgatein a tone of compulsory admission.  "But Idon't really like attending such people so well as the poor. Thecases are more monotonousand one has to go through more fuss andlisten more deferentially to nonsense."

"Notmore than in Middlemarch" said Rosamond.  "And atleast you go through wide corridors and have the scent of rose-leaveseverywhere."

"Thatis trueMademoiselle de Montmorenci" said Lydgatejustbending his head to the table and lifting with his fourth finger herdelicate handkerchief which lay at the mouth of her reticuleas ifto enjoy its scentwhile he looked at her with a smile.

But thisagreeable holiday freedom with which Lydgate hovered about the flowerof Middlemarchcould not continue indefinitely. It was not morepossible to find social isolation in that town than elsewhereandtwo people persistently flirting could by no means escape from "thevarious entanglementsweightsblowsclashingsmotionsby whichthings severally go on." Whatever Miss Vincy did must beremarkedand she was perhaps the more conspicuous to admirers andcritics because just now Mrs. Vincyafter some strugglehad gonewith Fred to stay a little while at Stone Courtthere being no otherway of at once gratifying old Featherstone and keeping watch againstMary Garthwho appeared a less tolerable daughter-in-law inproportion as Fred's illness disappeared.

AuntBulstrodefor examplecame a little oftener into Lowick Gate to seeRosamondnow she was alone.  For Mrs. Bulstrode had a truesisterly feeling for her brother; always thinking that he might havemarried betterbut wishing well to the children. Now Mrs. Bulstrodehad a long-standing intimacy with Mrs. Plymdale. They had nearly thesame preferences in silkspatterns for underclothingchina-wareand clergymen; they confided their little troubles of health andhousehold management to each otherand various little points ofsuperiority on Mrs. Bulstrode's sidenamelymore decidedseriousnessmore admiration for mindand a house outside the townsometimes served to give color to their conversation without dividingthem--well-meaning women bothknowing very little of their ownmotives.

Mrs.Bulstrodepaying a morning visit to Mrs. Plymdalehappened to saythat she could not stay longerbecause she was going to see poorRosamond.

"Whydo you say `poor Rosamond'?" said Mrs. Plymdalea round-eyedsharp little womanlike a tamed falcon.

"Sheis so prettyand has been brought up in such thoughtlessness. Themotheryou knowhad always that levity about herwhich makes meanxious for the children."

"WellHarrietif I am to speak my mind" said Mrs. Plymdalewithemphasis"I must sayanybody would suppose you and Mr.Bulstrode would be delighted with what has happenedfor you havedone everything to put Mr. Lydgate forward."

"Selinawhat do you mean?" said Mrs. Bulstrodein genuine surprise.

"Notbut what I am truly thankful for Ned's sake" said Mrs.Plymdale. "He could certainly better afford to keep such a wifethan some people can; but I should wish him to look elsewhere. Stilla mother has anxietiesand some young men would take to a bad lifein consequence.  Besidesif I was obliged to speakI shouldsay I was not fond of strangers coming into a town."

"Idon't knowSelina" said Mrs. Bulstrodewith a little emphasisin her turn.  "Mr. Bulstrode was a stranger here at onetime. Abraham and Moses were strangers in the landand we are toldto entertain strangers.  And especially" she addedaftera slight pause"when they are unexceptionable."

"Iwas not speaking in a religious senseHarriet.  I spoke as amother."

"SelinaI am sure you have never heard me say anything against a niece ofmine marrying your son."

"Ohit is pride in Miss Vincy--I am sure it is nothing else" saidMrs. Plymdalewho had never before given all her confidence to"Harriet" on this subject.  "No young man inMiddlemarch was good enough for her:  I have heard her mothersay as much. That is not a Christian spiritI think.  But nowfrom all I hearshe has found a man AS proud as herself."

"Youdon't mean that there is anything between Rosamond and Mr. Lydgate?"said Mrs. Bulstroderather mortified at finding out her ownignorance

"Isit possible you don't knowHarriet?"

"OhI go about so little; and I am not fond of gossip; I really neverhear any.  You see so many people that I don't see. Your circleis rather different from ours."

"Wellbut your own niece and Mr. Bulstrode's great favorite-- and yourstooI am sureHarriet!  I thoughtat one timeyou meant himfor Katewhen she is a little older."

"Idon't believe there can be anything serious at present" saidMrs. Bulstrode.  "My brother would certainly have told me."

"Wellpeople have different waysbut I understand that nobody can see MissVincy and Mr. Lydgate together without taking them to be engaged. Howeverit is not my business.  Shall I put up the pattern ofmittens?"

After thisMrs. Bulstrode drove to her niece with a mind newly weighted. She washerself handsomely dressedbut she noticed with a little more regretthan usual that Rosamondwho was just come in and met her inwalking-dresswas almost as expensively equipped. Mrs. Bulstrode wasa feminine smaller edition of her brotherand had none of herhusband's low-toned pallor.  She had a good honest glance andused no circumlocution.

"Youare aloneI seemy dear" she saidas they entered thedrawing-room togetherlooking round gravely.  Rosamond feltsure that her aunt had something particular to sayand they sat downnear each other.  Neverthelessthe quilling inside Rosamond'sbonnet was so charming that it was impossible not to desire the samekind of thing for Kateand Mrs. Bulstrode's eyeswhich were ratherfinerolled round that ample quilled circuitwhile she spoke.

"Ihave just heard something about you that has surprised me very muchRosamond."

"Whatis thataunt?"  Rosamond's eyes also were roaming over heraunt's large embroidered collar.

"Ican hardly believe it--that you should be engaged without my knowingit--without your father's telling me."  Here Mrs.Bulstrode's eyes finally rested on Rosamond'swho blushed deeplyand said--

"I amnot engagedaunt."

"Howis it that every one says sothen--that it is the town's talk?"

"Thetown's talk is of very little consequenceI think" saidRosamondinwardly gratified.

"Ohmy dearbe more thoughtful; don't despise your neighbors so.Remember you are turned twenty-two nowand you will have no fortune:your fatherI am surewill not be able to spare you anything. Mr.Lydgate is very intellectual and clever; I know there is anattraction in that.  I like talking to such men myself; and youruncle finds him very useful.  But the profession is a poor onehere. To be surethis life is not everything; but it is seldom amedical man has true religious views--there is too much pride ofintellect. And you are not fit to marry a poor man.

"Mr.Lydgate is not a poor manaunt.  He has very high connections."

"Hetold me himself he was poor."

"Thatis because he is used to people who have a high style

"Mydear RosamondYOU must not think of living in high style."

Rosamondlooked down and played with her reticule.  She was not a fieryyoung lady and had no sharp answersbut she meant to live as shepleased.

"Thenit is really true?" said Mrs. Bulstrodelooking very earnestlyat her niece.  "You are thinking of Mr. Lydgate--there issome understanding between youthough your father doesn't know. Be openmy dear Rosamond:  Mr. Lydgate has really made you anoffer?"

PoorRosamond's feelings were very unpleasant.  She had been quiteeasy as to Lydgate's feeling and intentionbut now when her aunt putthis question she did not like being unable to say Yes. Her pride washurtbut her habitual control of manner helped her.

"Prayexcuse meaunt.  I would rather not speak on the subject."

"Youwould not give your heart to a man without a decided prospectItrustmy dear.  And think of the two excellent offers I know ofthat you have refused!--and one still within your reachif you willnot throw it away.  I knew a very great beauty who married badlyat lastby doing so.  Mr. Ned Plymdale is a nice young man--some might think good-looking; and an only son; and a large businessof that kind is better than a profession.  Not that marrying iseverything I would have you seek first the kingdom of God. But a girlshould keep her heart within her own power."

"Ishould never give it to Mr. Ned Plymdaleif it were.  I havealready refused him.  If I lovedI should love at once andwithout change" said Rosamondwith a great sense of being aromantic heroineand playing the part prettily.

"Isee how it ismy dear" said Mrs. Bulstrodein a melancholyvoicerising to go.  "You have allowed your affections tobe engaged without return."

"Noindeedaunt" said Rosamondwith emphasis.

"Thenyou are quite confident that Mr. Lydgate has a serious attachment toyou?"

Rosamond'scheeks by this time were persistently burningand she felt muchmortification.  She chose to be silentand her aunt went awayall the more convinced.

Mr.Bulstrode in things worldly and indifferent was disposed to do whathis wife bade himand she nowwithout telling her reasonsdesiredhim on the next opportunity to find out in conversation with Mr.Lydgate whether he had any intention of marrying soon. The result wasa decided negative.  Mr. Bulstrodeon being cross-questionedshowed that Lydgate had spoken as no man would who had any attachmentthat could issue in matrimony. Mrs. Bulstrode now felt that she had aserious duty before herand she soon managed to arrange atete-a-tete with Lydgatein which she passed from inquiries aboutFred Vincy's healthand expressions of her sincere anxiety for herbrother's large familyto general remarks on the dangers which laybefore young people with regard to their settlement in life. Young men were often wild and disappointingmaking little return forthe money spent on themand a girl was exposed to many circumstanceswhich might interfere with her prospects.

"Especiallywhen she has great attractionsand her parents see much company"said Mrs. Bulstrode "Gentlemen pay her attentionand engrossher all to themselvesfor the mere pleasure of the momentand thatdrives off others.  I think it is a heavy responsibilityMr.Lydgateto interfere with the prospects of any girl." Here Mrs.Bulstrode fixed her eyes on himwith an unmistakable purpose ofwarningif not of rebuke.

"Clearly"said Lydgatelooking at her--perhaps even staring a little inreturn.  "On the other handa man must be a great coxcombto go about with a notion that he must not pay attention to a younglady lest she should fall in love with himor lest others shouldthink she must."

"OhMr. Lydgateyou know well what your advantages are. You know thatour young men here cannot cope with you.  Where you frequent ahouse it may militate very much against a girl's making a desirablesettlement in lifeand prevent her from accepting offers even ifthey are made."

Lydgatewas less flattered by his advantage over the Middlemarch Orlandosthan he was annoyed by the perception of Mrs. Bulstrode's meaning.She felt that she had spoken as impressively as it was necessary todoand that in using the superior word "militate" she hadthrown a noble drapery over a mass of particulars which were stillevident enough.

Lydgatewas fuming a littlepushed his hair back with one handfeltcuriously in his waistcoat-pocket with the otherand then stooped tobeckon the tiny black spanielwhich had the insight to decline hishollow caresses.  It would not have been decent to go awaybecause he had been dining with other guestsand had just taken tea.But Mrs. Bulstrodehaving no doubt that she had been understoodturned the conversation.

Solomon'sProverbsI thinkhave omitted to saythat as the sore palatefindeth gritso an uneasy consciousness heareth innuendoes. The nextday Mr. Farebrotherparting from Lydgate in the streetsupposedthat they should meet at Vincy's in the evening. Lydgate answeredcurtlyno--he had work to do--he must give up going out in theevening.

"What!you are going to get lashed to the mastehand are stopping yourears?" said the Vicar.  "Wellif you don't mean to bewon by the sirensyou are right to take precautions in time."

A few daysbeforeLydgate would have taken no notice of these words as anythingmore than the Vicar's usual way of putting things. They seemed now toconvey an innuendo which confirmed the impression that he had beenmaking a fool of himself and behaving so as to be misunderstood: nothe believedby Rosamond herself; shehe felt suretookeverything as lightly as he intended it.  She had an exquisitetact and insight in relation to all points of manners; but the peopleshe lived among were blunderers and busybodies. Howeverthe mistakeshould go no farther.  He resolved--and kept hisresolution--that he would not go to Mr. Vincy's except on business.

Rosamondbecame very unhappy.  The uneasiness first stirred by her aunt'squestions grew and grew till at the end of ten days that she had notseen Lydgateit grew into terror at the blank that might possiblycome--into foreboding of that readyfatal sponge which so cheaplywipes out the hopes of mortals. The world would have a new drearinessfor heras a wilderness that a magician's spells had turned for alittle while into a garden. She felt that she was beginning to knowthe pang of disappointed loveand that no other man could be theoccasion of such delightful aerial building as she had been enjoyingfor the last six months. Poor Rosamond lost her appetite and felt asforlorn as Ariadne-- as a charming stage Ariadne left behind with allher boxes full of costumes and no hope of a coach.

There aremany wonderful mixtures in the world which are all alike called loveand claim the privileges of a sublime rage which is an apology foreverything (in literature and the drama). Happily Rosamond did notthink of committing any desperate act: she plaited her fair hair asbeautifully as usualand kept herself proudly calm.  Her mostcheerful supposition was that her aunt Bulstrode had interfered insome way to hinder Lydgate's visits: everything was better than aspontaneous indifference in him. Any one who imagines ten days tooshort a time--not for falling into leannesslightnessor othermeasurable effects of passionbut-- for the whole spiritual circuitof alarmed conjecture and disappointmentis ignorant of what can goon in the elegant leisure of a young lady's mind.

On theeleventh dayhoweverLydgate when leaving Stone Court was requestedby Mrs. Vincy to let her husband know that there was a marked changein Mr. Featherstone's healthand that she wished him to come toStone Court on that day.  Now Lydgate might have called at thewarehouseor might have written a message on a leaf of hispocket-book and left it at the door. Yet these simple devicesapparently did not occur to himfrom which we may conclude that hehad no strong objection to calling at the house at an hour when Mr.Vincy was not at homeand leaving the message with Miss Vincy. A man mayfrom various motivesdecline to give his companybutperhaps not even a sage would be gratified that nobody missed him. It would be a gracefuleasy way of piecing on the new habits to theoldto have a few playful words with Rosamond about his resistanceto dissipationand his firm resolve to take long fasts even fromsweet sounds. It must be confessedalsothat momentary speculationsas to all the possible grounds for Mrs. Bulstrode's hints had managedto get woven like slight clinging hairs into the more substantial webof his thoughts.

Miss Vincywas aloneand blushed so deeply when Lydgate came in that he felt acorresponding embarrassmentand instead of any playfulnesshe beganat once to speak of his reason for callingand to beg heralmostformallyto deliver the message to her father.  Rosamondwhoat the first moment felt as if her happiness were returningwaskeenly hurt by Lydgate's manner; her blush had departedand sheassented coldlywithout adding an unnecessary wordsome trivialchain-work which she had in her hands enabling her to avoid lookingat Lydgate higher than his chin.  In all failuresthe beginningis certainly the half of the whole.  After sitting two longmoments while he moved his whip and could say nothingLydgate roseto goand Rosamondmade nervous by her struggle betweenmortification and the wish not to betray itdropped her chain as ifstartledand rose toomechanically.  Lydgate instantaneouslystooped to pick up the chain.  When he rose he was very near toa lovely little face set on a fair long neck which he had been usedto see turning about under the most perfect management ofself-contented grace. But as he raised his eyes now he saw a certainhelpless quivering which touched him quite newlyand made him lookat Rosamond with a questioning flash.  At this moment she was asnatural as she had ever been when she was five years old:  shefelt that her tears had risenand it was no use to try to doanything else than let them stay like water on a blue flower or letthem fall over her cheekseven as they would.

Thatmoment of naturalness was the crystallizing feather-touch: it shookflirtation into love.  Remember that the ambitious man who waslooking at those Forget-me-nots under the water was very warm-heartedand rash.  He did not know where the chain went; an idea hadthrilled through the recesses within him which had a miraculouseffect in raising the power of passionate love lying buried there inno sealed sepulchrebut under the lightesteasily pierced mould. His words were quite abrupt and awkward; but the tone made them soundlike an ardentappealing avowal.

"Whatis the matter? you are distressed.  Tell mepray."

Rosamondhad never been spoken to in such tones before.  I am not surethat she knew what the words were:  but she looked at Lydgateand the tears fell over her cheeks.  There could have been nomore complete answer than that silenceand Lydgateforgettingeverything elsecompletely mastered by the outrush of tenderness atthe sudden belief that this sweet young creature depended on him forher joyactually put his arms round herfolding her gently andprotectingly-- he was used to being gentle with the weak andsuffering--and kissed each of the two large tears.  This was astrange way of arriving at an understandingbut it was a short way. Rosamond was not angrybut she moved backward a little in timidhappinessand Lydgate could now sit near her and speak lessincompletely. Rosamond had to make her little confessionand hepoured out words of gratitude and tenderness with impulsivelavishment.  In half an hour he left the house an engaged manwhose soul was not his ownbut the woman's to whom he had boundhimself.

He cameagain in the evening to speak with Mr. Vincywhojust returned fromStone Courtwas feeling sure that it would not be long before heheard of Mr. Featherstone's demise.  The felicitous word"demise" which had seasonably occurred to himhad raisedhis spirits even above their usual evening pitch.  The rightword is always a powerand communicates its definiteness to ouraction.  Considered as a demiseold Featherstone's deathassumed a merely legal aspectso that Mr. Vincy could tap hissnuff-box over it and be jovialwithout even an intermittentaffectation of solemnity; and Mr. Vincy hated both solemnity andaffectation.  Who was ever awe struck about a testatoror sanga hymn on the title to real property? Mr. Vincy was inclined to takea jovial view of all things that evening: he even observed to Lydgatethat Fred had got the family constitution after alland would soonbe as fine a fellow as ever again; and when his approbation ofRosamond's engagement was asked forhe gave it with astonishingfacilitypassing at once to general remarks on the desirableness ofmatrimony for young men and maidensand apparently deducing from thewhole the appropriateness of a little more punch.




CHAPTERXXXII



  "They'll take suggestion as a cat laps milk."
  --SHAKESPEARE:  Tempest.



Thetriumphant confidence of the Mayor founded on Mr. Featherstone'sinsistent demand that Fred and his mother should not leave himwas afeeble emotion compared with all that was agitating the breasts ofthe old man's blood-relationswho naturally manifested more theirsense of the family tie and were more visibly numerous now that hehad become bedridden.  Naturally:  for when "poorPeter" had occupied his arm-chair in the wainscoted parlornoassiduous beetles for whom the cook prepares boiling water could havebeen less welcome on a hearth which they had reasons for preferringthan those persons whose Featherstone blood was ill-nourishednotfrom penuriousness on their partbut from poverty.  BrotherSolomon and Sister Jane were richand the family candor and totalabstinence from false politeness with which they were always receivedseemed to them no argument that their brother in the solemn act ofmaking his will would overlook the superior claims of wealth.Themselves at least he had never been unnatural enough to banish fromhis houseand it seemed hardly eccentric that he should hare keptaway Brother JonahSister Marthaand the restwho had no shadow ofsuch claims.  They knew Peter's maximthat money was a goodeggand should be laid in a warm nest.

ButBrother JonahSister Marthaand all the needy exilesheld adifferent point of view.  Probabilities are as various as thefaces to be seen at will in fretwork or paper-hangings: every form istherefrom Jupiter to Judyif you only look with creativeinclination. To the poorer and least favored it seemed likely thatsince Peter had done nothing for them in his lifehe would rememberthem at the last.  Jonah argued that men liked to make asurprise of their willswhile Martha said that nobody need besurprised if he left the best part of his money to those who leastexpected it. Also it was not to be thought but that an own brother"lying there" with dropsy in his legs must come to feelthat blood was thicker than waterand if he didn't alter his willhe might have money by him.  At any rate some blood-relationsshould be on the premises and on the watch against those who werehardly relations at all. Such things had been known as forged willsand disputed willswhich seemed to have the golden-hazy advantage ofsomehow enabling non-legatees to live out of them.  Againthosewho were no blood-relations might be caught making away withthings--and poor Peter "lying there" helpless! Somebody should be on the watch. But in this conclusion they were atone with Solomon and Jane; alsosome nephewsniecesand cousinsarguing with still greater subtilty as to what might be done by a manable to "will away" his property and give himself largetreats of oddityfelt in a handsome sort of way that there was afamily interest to be attended toand thought of Stone Court as aplace which it would be nothing but right for them to visit. Sister Marthaotherwise Mrs. Cranchliving with some wheeziness inthe Chalky Flatscould not undertake the journey; but her sonasbeing poor Peter's own nephewcould represent her advantageouslyand watch lest his uncle Jonah should make an unfair use of theimprobable things which seemed likely to happen.  In fact therewas a general sense running in the Featherstone blood that everybodymust watch everybody elseand that it would be well for everybodyelse to reflect that the Almighty was watching him.

Thus StoneCourt continually saw one or other blood-relation alighting ordepartingand Mary Garth had the unpleasant task of carrying theirmessages to Mr. Featherstonewho would see none of themand senther down with the still more unpleasant task of telling them so. As manager of the household she felt bound to ask them in goodprovincial fashion to stay and eat; but she chose to consult Mrs.Vincy on the point of extra down-stairs consumption now that Mr.Featherstone was laid up.

"Ohmy dearyou must do things handsomely where there's last illness anda property.  God knowsI don't grudge them every ham in thehouse--onlysave the best for the funeral.  Have some stuffedveal alwaysand a fine cheese in cut.  You must expect to keepopen house in these last illnesses" said liberal Mrs. Vincyonce more of cheerful note and bright plumage.

But someof the visitors alighted and did not depart after the handsometreating to veal and ham.  Brother Jonahfor example (there aresuch unpleasant people in most families; perhaps even in the highestaristocracy there are Brobdingnag specimensgigantically in debt andbloated at greater expense)--Brother JonahI sayhaving come downin the worldwas mainly supported by a calling which he was modestenough not to boast ofthough it was much better than swindlingeither on exchange or turfbut which did not require his presence atBrassing so long as he had a good corner to sit in and a supply offood.  He chose the kitchen-cornerpartly because he liked itbestand partly because he did not want to sit with Solomonconcerning whom he had a strong brotherly opinion.  Seated in afamous arm-chair and in his best suitconstantly within sight ofgood cheerhe had a comfortable consciousness of being on thepremisesmingled with fleeting suggestions of Sunday and the bar atthe Green Man; and he informed Mary Garth that he should not go outof reach of his brother Peter while that poor fellow was aboveground.  The troublesome ones in a family are usually either thewits or the idiots. Jonah was the wit among the Featherstonesandjoked with the maid- servants when they came about the hearthbutseemed to consider Miss Garth a suspicious characterand followedher with cold eyes.

Mary wouldhave borne this one pair of eyes with comparative easebutunfortunately there was young Cranchwhohaving come all the wayfrom the Chalky Flats to represent his mother and watch his uncleJonahalso felt it his duty to stay and to sit chiefly in thekitchen to give his uncle company.  Young Cranch was not exactlythe balancing point between the wit and the idiot-- verging slightlytowards the latter typeand squinting so as to leave everything indoubt about his sentiments except that they were not of a forciblecharacter.  When Mary Garth entered the kitchen and Mr. JonahFeatherstone began to follow her with his cold detective eyesyoungCranch turning his head in the same direction seemed to insist on itthat she should remark how he was squintingas if he did it withdesignlike the gypsies when Borrow read the New Testament to them. This was rather too much for poor Mary; sometimes it made herbilioussometimes it upset her gravity. One day that she had anopportunity she could not resist describing the kitchen scene toFredwho would not be hindered from immediately going to see itaffecting simply to pass through. But no sooner did he face the foureyes than he had to rush through the nearest door which happened tolead to the dairyand there under the high roof and among the panshe gave way to laughter which made a hollow resonance perfectlyaudible in the kitchen. He fled by another doorwaybut Mr. Jonahwho had not before seen Fred's white complexionlong legsandpinched delicacy of faceprepared many sarcasms in which thesepoints of appearance were wittily combined with the lowest moralattributes.

"WhyTomYOU don't wear such gentlemanly trousers-- you haven't got halfsuch fine long legs" said Jonah to his nephewwinking at thesame timeto imply that there was something more in these statementsthan their undeniableness.  Tom looked at his legsbut left ituncertain whether he preferred his moral advantages to a more viciouslength of limb and reprehensible gentility of trouser.

In thelarge wainscoted parlor too there were constantly pairs of eyes onthe watchand own relatives eager to be "sitters-up." Manycamelunchedand departedbut Brother Solomon and the lady who hadbeen Jane Featherstone for twenty-five years before she was Mrs.Waule found it good to be there every day for hoarswithout othercalculable occupation than that of observing the cunning Mary Garth(who was so deep that she could be found out in nothing) and givingoccasional dry wrinkly indications of crying-- as if capable oftorrents in a wetter season--at the thought that they were notallowed to go into Mr. Featherstone's room. For the old man's dislikeof his own family seemed to get stronger as he got less able to amusehimself by saying biting things to them. Too languid to stinghe hadthe more venom refluent in his blood.

Not fullybelieving the message sent through Mary Garththey had presentedthemselves together within the door of the bedroomboth inblack--Mrs. Waule having a white handkerchief partially unfolded inher hand--and both with faces in a sort of half-mourning purple;while Mrs. Vincy with her pink cheeks and pink ribbons flying wasactually administering a cordial to their own brotherand thelight-complexioned Fredhis short hair curling as might be expectedin a gambler'swas lolling at his ease in a large chair.

OldFeatherstone no sooner caught sight of these funereal figuresappearing in spite of his orders than rage came to strengthen himmore successfully than the cordial.  He was propped up on abed-restand always had his gold-headed stick lying by him. Heseized it now and swept it backwards and forwards in as large an areaas he couldapparently to ban these ugly spectrescrying in ahoarse sort of screech--

"BackbackMrs. Waule!  BackSolomon!"

"OhBrother.  Peter" Mrs. Waule began--but Solomon put hishand before her repressingly.  He was a large-cheeked mannearly seventywith small furtive eyesand was not only of muchblander temper but thought himself much deeper than his brotherPeter; indeed not likely to be deceived in any of his fellow-meninasmuch as they could not well be more greedy and deceitful than hesuspected them of being. Even the invisible powershe thoughtwerelikely to be soothed by a bland parenthesis here and there--comingfrom a man of propertywho might have been as impious as others.

"BrotherPeter" he saidin a wheedling yet gravely official tone"It'snothing but right I should speak to you about the Three Crofts andthe Manganese.  The Almighty knows what I've got on my mind--"

"Thenhe knows more than I want to know" said Peterlaying down hisstick with a show of truce which had a threat in it toofor hereversed the stick so as to make the gold handle a club in case ofcloser fightingand looked hard at Solomon's bald head.

"There'sthings you might repent ofBrotherfor want of speaking to me"said Solomonnot advancinghowever.  "I could sit up withyou to-nightand Jane with mewillinglyand you might take yourown time to speakor let me speak."

"YesI shall take my own time--you needn't offer me yours" saidPeter.

"Butyou can't take your own time to die inBrother" began Mrs.Waulewith her usual woolly tone.  "And when you liespeechless you may be tired of having strangers about youand youmay think of me and my children"--but here her voice broke underthe touching thought which she was attributing to her speechlessbrother; the mention of ourselves being naturally affecting.

"NoI shan't" said old Featherstonecontradictiously. "Ishan't think of any of you.  I've made my willI tell youI'vemade my will."  Here he turned his head towards Mrs. Vincyand swallowed some more of his cordial.

"Somepeople would be ashamed to fill up a place belonging by rights toothers" said Mrs. Wauleturning her narrow eyes in the samedirection.

"Ohsister" said Solomonwith ironical softness"you and meare not fineand handsomeand clever enough:  we must behumble and let smart people push themselves before us."

Fred'sspirit could not bear this:  rising and looking at Mr.Featherstonehe said"Shall my mother and I leave the roomsirthat you may be alone with your friends?"

"SitdownI tell you" said old Featherstonesnappishly. "Stopwhere you are.  Good-bySolomon" he addedtrying towield his stick againbut failing now that he had reversed thehandle. "Good-byMrs. Waule.  Don't you come again."

"Ishall be down-stairsBrotherwhether or no" said Solomon. "Ishall do my dutyand it remains to be seen what the Almighty willallow."

"Yesin property going out of families" said Mrs. Wauleincontinuation--"and where there's steady young men to carry on.But I pity them who are not suchand I pity their mothers. Good-byBrother Peter."

"RememberI'm the eldest after youBrotherand prospered from the firstjustas you didand have got land already by the name of Featherstone"said Solomonrelying much on that reflectionas one which might besuggested in the watches of the night. "But I bid you good-byfor the present."

Their exitwas hastened by their seeing old Mr. Featherstone pull his wig oneach side and shut his eyes with his mouth-widening grimaceas if hewere determined to be deaf and blind.

None theless they came to Stone Court daily and sat below at the post ofdutysometimes carrying on a slow dialogue in an undertone in whichthe observation and response were so far apartthat any one hearingthem might have imagined himself listening to speaking automatainsome doubt whether the ingenious mechanism would really workor winditself up for a long time in order to stick and be silent. Solomonand Jane would have been sorry to be quick:  what that led tomight be seen on the other side of the wall in the person of BrotherJonah.

But theirwatch in the wainscoted parlor was sometimes varied by the presenceof other guests from far or near.  Now that Peter Featherstonewas up-stairshis property could be discussed with all that localenlightenment to be found on the spot:  some rural andMiddlemarch neighbors expressed much agreement with the family andsympathy with their interest against the Vincysand femininevisitors were even moved to tearsin conversation with Mrs. Waulewhen they recalled the fact that they themselves had beendisappointed in times past by codicils and marriages for spite on thepart of ungrateful elderly gentlemenwhoit might have beensupposedhad been spared for something better.  Suchconversation paused suddenlylike an organ when the bellows are letdropif Mary Garth came into the room; and all eyes were turned onher as a possible legateeor one who might get access to ironchests.

But theyounger men who were relatives or connections of the familyweredisposed to admire her in this problematic lightas a girl whoshowed much conductand who among all the chances that were flyingmight turn out to be at least a moderate prize.  Hence she hadher share of compliments and polite attentions.

Especiallyfrom Mr. Borthrop Trumbulla distinguished bachelor and auctioneerof those partsmuch concerned in the sale of land and cattle: a public characterindeedwhose name was seen on widely distributedplacardsand who might reasonably be sorry for those who did notknow of him.  He was second cousin to Peter Featherstoneandhad been treated by him with more amenity than any other relativebeing useful in matters of business; and in that programme of hisfuneral which the old man had himself dictatedhe had been named asa Bearer.  There was no odious cupidity in Mr. BorthropTrumbull-- nothing more than a sincere sense of his own meritwhichhe was awarein case of rivalry might tell against competitors; sothat if Peter Featherstonewho so far as heTrumbullwasconcernedhad behaved like as good a soul as ever breathedshouldhave done anything handsome by himall he could say wasthat he hadnever fished and fawnedbut had advised him to the best of hisexperiencewhich now extended over twenty years from the time of hisapprenticeship at fifteenand was likely to yield a knowledge of nosurreptitious kind. His admiration was far from being confined tohimselfbut was accustomed professionally as well as privately todelight in estimating things at a high rate.  He was an amateurof superior phrasesand never used poor language without immediatelycorrecting himself-- which was fortunateas he was rather loudandgiven to predominatestanding or walking about frequentlypullingdown his waistcoat with the air of a man who is very much of his ownopiniontrimming himself rapidly with his fore-fingerand markingeach new series in these movements by a busy play with his largeseals. There was occasionally a little fierceness in his demeanorbut it was directed chiefly against false opinionof which there isso much to correct in the world that a man of some reading andexperience necessarily has his patience tried.  He felt that theFeatherstone family generally was of limited understandingbut beinga man of the world and a public charactertook everything as amatter of courseand even went to converse with Mr. Jonah and youngCranch in the kitchennot doubting that he had impressed the lattergreatly by his leading questions concerning the Chalky Flats. If anybody had observed that Mr. Borthrop Trumbullbeing anauctioneerwas bound to know the nature of everythinghe would havesmiled and trimmed himself silently with the sense that he camepretty near that.  On the wholein an auctioneering wayhe wasan honorable mannot ashamed of his businessand feeling that "thecelebrated Peelnow Sir Robert" if introduced to himwouldnot fail to recognize his importance.

"Idon't mind if I have a slice of that hamand a glass of that aleMiss Garthif you will allow me" he saidcoming into theparlor at half-past elevenafter having had the exceptionalprivilege of seeing old Featherstoneand standing with his back tothe fire between Mrs. Waule and Solomon.

"It'snot necessary for you to go out;--let me ring the bell."

"Thankyou" said Mary"I have an errand."

"WellMr. Trumbullyou're highly favored" said Mrs. Waule.

"What!seeing the old man?" said the auctioneerplaying with his sealsdispassionately. "Ahyou see he has relied on me considerably."Here he pressed his lips togetherand frowned meditatively.

"Mightanybody ask what their brother has been saying?" said Solomonin a soft tone of humilityin which he had a sense of luxuriouscunninghe being a rich man and not in need of it.

"Ohyesanybody may ask" said Mr. Trumbullwith loud andgood-humored though cutting sarcasm.  "Anybody mayinterrogate. Any one may give their remarks an interrogative turn"he continuedhis sonorousness rising with his style.  "Thisis constantly done by good speakerseven when they anticipate noanswer.  It is what we call a figure of speech--speech at a highfigureas one may say." The eloquent auctioneer smiled at hisown ingenuity.

"Ishouldn't be sorry to hear he'd remembered youMr. Trumbull"said Solomon.  "I never was against the deserving. It's the undeserving I'm against."

"Ahthere it isyou seethere it is" said Mr. Trumbullsignificantly.  "It can't be denied that undeserving peoplehave been legateesand even residuary legatees.  It is sowithtestamentary dispositions."  Again he pursed up his lipsand frowned a little.

"Doyou mean to say for certainMr. Trumbullthat my brother has lefthis land away from our family?" said Mrs. Wauleon whomas anunhopeful womanthose long words had a depressing effect.

"Aman might as well turn his land into charity land at once as leave itto some people" observed Solomonhis sister's question havingdrawn no answer.

"WhatBlue-Coat land?" said Mrs. Wauleagain.  "OhMr.Trumbullyou never can mean to say that.  It would be flying inthe face of the Almighty that's prospered him."

While Mrs.Waule was speakingMr. Borthrop Trumbull walked away from thefireplace towards the windowpatrolling with his fore-finger roundthe inside of his stockthen along his whiskers and the curves ofhis hair.  He now walked to Miss Garth's work-tableopened abook which lay there and read the title aloud with pompous emphasisas if he were offering it for sale:

"`Anneof Geierstein' (pronounced Jeersteen) or the `Maiden of the Mistbythe author of Waverley.'"  Then turning the pagehe begansonorously--"The course of four centuries has well-nigh elapsedsince the series of events which are related in the followingchapters took place on the Continent."  He pronounced thelast truly admirable word with the accent on the last syllablenotas unaware of vulgar usagebut feeling that this novel deliveryenhanced the sonorous beauty which his reading had given to thewhole.

And nowthe servant came in with the trayso that the moments for answeringMrs. Waule's question had gone by safelywhile she and Solomonwatching Mr. Trumbull's movementswere thinking that high learninginterfered sadly with serious affairs.  Mr. Borthrop Trumbullreally knew nothing about old Featherstone's will; but he couldhardly have been brought to declare any ignorance unless he had beenarrested for misprision of treason.

"Ishall take a mere mouthful of ham and a glass of ale" he saidreassuringly.  "As a man with public businessI take asnack when I can.  I will back this ham" he addedafterswallowing some morsels with alarming haste"against any ham inthe three kingdoms. In my opinion it is better than the hams atFreshitt Hall-- and I think I am a tolerable judge."

"Somedon't like so much sugar in their hams" said Mrs. Waule. "Butmy poor brother would always have sugar."

"Ifany person demands betterhe is at liberty to do so; butGod blessmewhat an aroma!  I should be glad to buy in that qualityIknow.  There is some gratification to a gentleman"-- hereMr. Trumbull's voice conveyed an emotional remonstrance-- "inhaving this kind of ham set on his table."

He pushedaside his platepoured out his glass of ale and drew his chair alittle forwardprofiting by the occasion to look at the inner sideof his legswhich he stroked approvingly-- Mr. Trumbull having allthose less frivolous airs and gestures which distinguish thepredominant races of the north.

"Youhave an interesting work thereI seeMiss Garth" he observedwhen Mary re-entered. "It is by the author of `Waverley': thatis Sir Walter Scott.  I have bought one of his works myself-- avery nice thinga very superior publicationentitled `Ivanhoe.' Youwill not get any writer to beat him in a hurryI think-- he willnotin my opinionbe speedily surpassed.  I have just beenreading a portion at the commencement of `Anne of Jeersteen.' Itcommences well."  (Things never began with Mr. BorthropTrumbull: they al ways commencedboth in private life and on hishandbills.) "You are a readerI see.  Do you subscribe toour Middlemarch library?"

"No"said Mary.  "Mr. Fred Vincy brought this book."

"I ama great bookman myself" returned Mr. Trumbull. "I have noless than two hundred volumes in calfand I flatter myself they arewell selected.  Also pictures by MurilloRubensTeniersTitianVandyckand others. I shall be happy to lend you any workyou like to mentionMiss Garth."

"I ammuch obliged" said Maryhastening away again"but I havelittle time for reading."

"Ishould say my brother has done something for HER in his will"said Mr. Solomonin a very low undertonewhen she had shut the doorbehind herpointing with his head towards the absent Mary.

"Hisfirst wife was a poor match for himthough" said Mrs. Waule."She brought him nothing:  and this young woman is only herniece-- and very proud.  And my brother has always paid herwage."

"Asensible girl thoughin my opinion" said Mr. Trumbullfinishing his ale and starting up with an emphatic adjustment of hiswaistcoat. "I have observed her when she has been mixingmedicine in drops. She minds what she is doingsir.  That is agreat point in a womanand a great point for our friend up-stairspoor dear old soul. A man whose life is of any value should think ofhis wife as a nurse: that is what I should doif I married; and Ibelieve I have lived single long enough not to make a mistake in thatline.  Some men must marry to elevate themselves a littlebutwhen I am in need of thatI hope some one will tell me so--I hopesome individual will apprise me of the fact.  I wish you goodmorningMrs. Waule. Good morningMr. Solomon.  I trust weshall meet under less melancholy auspices."

When Mr.Trumbull had departed with a fine bowSolomonleaning forwardobserved to his sister"You may dependJanemy brother hasleft that girl a lumping sum."

"Anybodywould think sofrom the way Mr. Trumbull talks" said Jane. Thenafter a pause"He talks as if my daughters wasn't to betrusted to give drops."

"Auctioneerstalk wild" said Solomon.  "Not but what Trumbull hasmade money."




CHAPTERXXXIII



  "Close up his eyes and draw the curtain close;
  And let us all to meditation."
   --2 Henry VI.



That nightafter twelve o'clock Mary Garth relieved the watch in Mr.Featherstone's roomand sat there alone through the small hours. Sheoften chose this taskin which she found some pleasurenotwithstanding the old man's testiness whenever he demanded herattentions.  There were intervals in which she could sitperfectly stillenjoying the outer stillness and the subdued light.The red fire with its gently audible movement seemed like a solemnexistence calmly independent of the petty passionsthe imbeciledesiresthe straining after worthless uncertaintieswhich weredaily moving her contempt.  Mary was fond of her own thoughtsand could amuse herself well sitting in twilight with her hands inher lap; forhaving early had strong reason to believe that thingswere not likely to be arranged for her peculiar satisfactionshewasted no time in astonishment and annoyance at that fact.  Andshe had already come to take life very much as a comedy in which shehad a proudnaya generous resolution not to act the mean ortreacherous part. Mary might have become cynical if she had not hadparents whom she honoredand a well of affectionate gratitude withinherwhich was all the fuller because she had learned to make nounreasonable claims.

She satto-night revolvingas she was wontthe scenes of the dayher lipsoften curling with amusement at the oddities to which her fancy addedfresh drollery:  people were so ridiculous with their illusionscarrying their fool's caps unawaresthinking their own lies opaquewhile everybody else's were transparentmaking themselves exceptionsto everythingas if when all the world looked yellow under a lampthey alone were rosy.  Yet there were some illusions underMary's eyes which were not quite comic to her.  She was secretlyconvincedthough she had no other grounds than her close observationof old Featherstone's naturethat in spite of his fondness forhaving the Vincys about himthey were as likely to be disappointedas any of the relations whom he kept at a distance. She had a gooddeal of disdain for Mrs. Vincy's evident alarm lest she and Fredshould be alone togetherbut it did not hinder her from thinkinganxiously of the way in which Fred would be affectedif it shouldturn out that his uncle had left him as poor as ever. She could makea butt of Fred when he was presentbut she did not enjoy his follieswhen he was absent.

Yet sheliked her thoughts:  a vigorous young mind not overbalanced bypassionfinds a good in making acquaintance with lifeand watchesits own powers with interest.  Mary had plenty of merrimentwithin.

Herthought was not veined by any solemnity or pathos about the old manon the bed:  such sentiments are easier to affect than to feelabout an aged creature whose life is not visibly anything but aremnant of vices.  She had always seen the most disagreeableside of Mr. Featherstone.  he was not proud of herand she wasonly useful to him.  To be anxious about a soul that is alwayssnapping at you must be left to the saints of the earth; and Mary wasnot one of them.  She had never returned him a harsh wordandhad waited on him faithfully:  that was her utmost. OldFeatherstone himself was not in the least anxious about his soulandhad declined to see Mr. Tucker on the subject.

To-nighthe had not snappedand for the first hour or two he lay remarkablystilluntil at last Mary heard him rattling his bunch of keysagainst the tin box which he always kept in the bed beside him. Aboutthree o'clock he saidwith remarkable distinctness"Missycome here!"

Maryobeyedand found that he had already drawn the tin box from underthe clothesthough he usually asked to have this done for him; andhe had selected the key.  He now unlocked the boxanddrawingfrom it another keylooked straight at her with eyes that seemed tohave recovered all their sharpness and said"How many of 'emare in the house?"

"Youmean of your own relationssir" said Marywell used to theold man's way of speech.  He nodded slightly and she went on.

"Mr.Jonah Featherstone and young Cranch are sleeping here."

"Ohaythey stickdo they? and the rest--they come every dayI'llwarrant--Solomon and Janeand all the young uns? They come peepingand counting and casting up?"

"Notall of them every day.  Mr. Solomon and Mrs. Waule are hereevery dayand the others come often."

The oldman listened with a grimace while she spokeand then saidrelaxinghis face"The more fools they.  You hearkenmissy. It'sthree o'clock in the morningand I've got all my faculties as wellas ever I had in my life.  I know all my propertyand where themoney's put outand everything.  And I've made everything readyto change my mindand do as I like at the last. Do you hearmissy? I've got my faculties."

"Wellsir?" said Maryquietly.

He nowlowered his tone with an air of deeper cunning.  "I've madetwo willsand I'm going to burn one.  Now you do as I tell you.This is the key of my iron chestin the closet there.  You pushwell at the side of the brass plate at the toptill it goes like abolt: then you can put the key in the front lock and turn it. See and do that; and take out the topmost paper--Last Will andTestament-- big printed."

"Nosir" said Maryin a firm voice"I cannot do that."

"Notdo it?  I tell youyou must" said the old manhis voicebeginning to shake under the shock of this resistance.

"Icannot touch your iron chest or your will.  I must refuse to doanything that might lay me open to suspicion."

"Itell youI'm in my right mind.  Shan't I do as I like at thelast? I made two wills on purpose.  Take the keyI say."

"NosirI will not" said Marymore resolutely still. Herrepulsion was getting stronger.

"Itell youthere's no time to lose."

"Icannot help thatsir.  I will not let the close of your lifesoil the beginning of mine.  I will not touch your iron chest oryour will."  She moved to a little distance from thebedside.

The oldman paused with a blank stare for a little whileholding the one keyerect on the ring; then with an agitated jerk he began to work withhis bony left hand at emptying the tin box before him.

"Missy"he began to sayhurriedly"look here! take the money-- thenotes and gold--look here--take it--you shall have it all-- do as Itell you."

He made aneffort to stretch out the key towards her as far as possibleandMary again retreated.

"Iwill not touch your key or your moneysir.  Pray don't ask meto do it again.  If you doI must go and call your brother."

He let hishand falland for the first time in her life Mary saw old PeterFeatherstone begin to cry childishly.  She saidin as gentle atone as she could command"Pray put up your moneysir;"and then went away to her seat by the firehoping this would help toconvince him that it was useless to say more. Presently he ralliedand said eagerly--

"Lookherethen.  Call the young chap.  Call Fred Vincy."

Mary'sheart began to beat more quickly.  Various ideas rushed throughher mind as to what the burning of a second will might imply. She hadto make a difficult decision in a hurry.

"Iwill call himif you will let me call Mr. Jonah and others withhim."

"NobodyelseI say.  The young chap.  I shall do as I like."

"Waittill broad daylightsirwhen every one is stirring. Or let me callSimmons nowto go and fetch the lawyer?  He can be here in lessthan two hours."

"Lawyer? What do I want with the lawyer?  Nobody shall know--I saynobody shall know.  I shall do as I like."

"Letme call some one elsesir" said Marypersuasively.  Shedid not like her position--alone with the old manwho seemed to showa strange flaring of nervous energy which enabled him to speak againand again without falling into his usual cough; yet she desired notto push unnecessarily the contradiction which agitated him. "Letmepraycall some one else."

"Youlet me aloneI say.  Look heremissy.  Take the money.You'll never have the chance again.  It's pretty nigh twohundred-- there's more in the boxand nobody knows how much therewas. Take it and do as I tell you."

Marystanding by the firesaw its red light falling on the old manpropped up on his pillows and bed-restwith his bony hand holdingout the keyand the money lying on the quilt before him.  Shenever forgot that vision of a man wanting to do as he liked at thelast. But the way in which he had put the offer of the money urgedher to speak with harder resolution than ever.

"Itis of no usesir.  I will not do it.  Put up your money. Iwill not touch your money.  I will do anything else I can tocomfort you; but I will not touch your keys or your money."

"Anythingelse anything else!" said old Featherstonewith hoarse ragewhichas if in a nightmaretried to be loudand yet was only justaudible.  "I want nothing else.  You come here--youcome here."

Maryapproached him cautiouslyknowing him too well.  She saw himdropping his keys and trying to grasp his stickwhile he looked ather like an aged hyenathe muscles of his face getting distortedwith the effort of his hand.  She paused at a safe distance.

"Letme give you some cordial" she saidquietly"and try tocompose yourself.  You will perhaps go to sleep.  Andto-morrow by daylight you can do as you like."

He liftedthe stickin spite of her being beyond his reachand threw it witha hard effort which was but impotence. It fellslipping over thefoot of the bed.  Mary let it lieand retreated to her chair bythe fire.  By-and-by she would go to him with the cordial. Fatigue would make him passive. It was getting towards the chillestmoment of the morningthe fire had got lowand she could seethrough the chink between the moreen window-curtains the lightwhitened by the blind. Having put some wood on the fire and thrown ashawl over hershe sat downhoping that Mr. Featherstone might nowfall asleep. If she went near him the irritation might be kept up. He had said nothing after throwing the stickbut she had seen himtaking his keys again and laying his right hand on the money. He did not put it uphoweverand she thought that he was droppingoff to sleep.

But Maryherself began to be more agitated by the remembrance of what she hadgone throughthan she had been by the reality-- questioning thoseacts of hers which had come imperatively and excluded all question inthe critical moment.

Presentlythe dry wood sent out a flame which illuminated every creviceandMary saw that the old man was lying quietly with his head turned alittle on one side.  She went towards him with inaudible stepsand thought that his face looked strangely motionless; but the nextmoment the movement of the flame communicating itself to all objectsmade her uncertain.  The violent beating of her heart renderedher perceptions so doubtful that even when she touched him andlistened for his breathingshe could not trust her conclusions. Shewent to the window and gently propped aside the curtain and blindsothat the still light of the sky fell on the bed.

The nextmoment she ran to the bell and rang it energetically. In a verylittle while there was no longer any doubt that Peter Featherstonewas deadwith his right hand clasping the keysand his left handlying on the heap of notes and gold.





BOOK IV

THREE LOVEPROBLEMS




CHAPTERXXXIV



   1st Gent. Such men as this are featherschipsand straws.
  Carry no weightno force.
   2d Gent.   Butlevity
   Is causal tooand makes the sum of weight.
    For power finds its place in lack of power;
  Advance is cessionand the driven ship
   May runaground because the helmsman's thought
   Lacked forceto balance opposites."



It was ona morning of May that Peter Featherstone was buried. In the prosaicneighborhood of MiddlemarchMay was not always warm and sunnyandon this particular morning a chill wind was blowing the blossoms fromthe surrounding gardens on to the green mounds of Lowick churchyard. Swiftly moving clouds only now and then allowed a gleam to light upany objectwhether ugly or beautifulthat happened to stand withinits golden shower.  In the churchyard the objects wereremarkably variousfor there was a little country crowd waiting tosee the funeral.  The news had spread that it was to be a "bigburying;" the old gentleman had left written directions abouteverything and meant to have a funeral "beyond his betters." This was true; for old Featherstone had not been a Harpagon whosepassions had all been devoured by the ever-lean and ever-hungrypassion of savingand who would drive a bargain with his undertakerbeforehand.  He loved moneybut he also loved to spend it ingratifying his peculiar tastesand perhaps he loved it best of allas a means of making others feel his power more or lessuncomfortably.  If any one will here contend that there musthave been traits of goodness in old FeatherstoneI will not presumeto deny this; but I must observe that goodness is of a modest natureeasily discouragedand when much privacyelbowed in early life byunabashed vicesis apt to retire into extreme privacyso that it ismore easily believed in by those who construct a selfish oldgentleman theoreticallythan by those who form the narrowerjudgments based on his personal acquaintance. In any casehe hadbeen bent on having a handsome funeraland on having persons "bid"to it who would rather have stayed at home. He had even desired thatfemale relatives should follow him to the graveand poor sisterMartha had taken a difficult journey for this purpose from the ChalkyFlats.  She and Jane would have been altogether cheered (in atearful manner) by this sign that a brother who disliked seeing themwhile he was living had been prospectively fond of their presencewhen he should have become a testatorif the sign had not been madeequivocal by being extended to Mrs. Vincywhose expense in handsomecrape seemed to imply the most presumptuous hopesaggravated by abloom of complexion which told pretty plainly that she was not ablood-relationbut of that generally objectionable class calledwife's kin.

We are allof us imaginative in some form or otherfor images are the brood ofdesire; and poor old Featherstonewho laughed much at the way inwhich others cajoled themselvesdid not escape the fellowship ofillusion.  In writing the programme for his burial he certainlydid not make clear to himself that his pleasure in the little dramaof which it formed a part was confined to anticipation. In chucklingover the vexations he could inflict by the rigid clutch of his deadhandhe inevitably mingled his consciousness with that lividstagnant presenceand so far as he was preoccupied with a futurelifeit was with one of gratification inside his coffin. Thus oldFeatherstone was imaginativeafter his fashion.

Howeverthe three mourning-coaches were filled according to the writtenorders of the deceased.  There were pall-bearers on horsebackwith the richest scarfs and hatbandsand even the under-bearers hadtrappings of woe which were of a good well-priced quality. The blackprocessionwhen dismountedlooked the larger for the smallness ofthe churchyard; the heavy human faces and the black draperiesshivering in the wind seemed to tell of a world strangely incongruouswith the lightly dropping blossoms and the gleams of sunshine on thedaisies.  The clergyman who met the procession was Mr.Cadwallader--also according to the request of Peter Featherstoneprompted as usual by peculiar reasons. Having a contempt for curateswhom he always called understrappershe was resolved to be buried bya beneficed clergyman.  Mr. Casaubon was out of the questionnot merely because he declined duty of this sortbut becauseFeatherstone had an especial dislike to him as the rector of his ownparishwho had a lien on the land in the shape of tithealso as thedeliverer of morning sermonswhich the old manbeing in his pew andnot at all sleepyhad been obliged to sit through with an inwardsnarl.  He had an objection to a parson stuck up above his headpreaching to him. But his relations with Mr. Cadwallader had been ofa different kind: the trout-stream which ran through Mr. Casaubon'sland took its course through Featherstone's alsoso that Mr.Cadwallader was a parson who had had to ask a favor instead ofpreaching.  Moreoverhe was one of the high gentry living fourmiles away from Lowickand was thus exalted to an equal sky with thesheriff of the county and other dignities vaguely regarded asnecessary to the system of things. There would be a satisfaction inbeing buried by Mr. Cadwalladerwhose very name offered a fineopportunity for pronouncing wrongly if you liked.

Thisdistinction conferred on the Rector of Tipton and Freshitt was thereason why Mrs. Cadwallader made one of the group that watched oldFeatherstone's funeral from an upper window of the manor. She was notfond of visiting that housebut she likedas she saidto seecollections of strange animals such as there would be at thisfuneral; and she had persuaded Sir James and the young Lady Chettamto drive the Rector and herself to Lowick in order that the visitmight be altogether pleasant.

"Iwill go anywhere with youMrs. Cadwallader" Celia had said;"but I don't like funerals."

"Ohmy dearwhen you have a clergyman in your family you mustaccommodate your tastes:  I did that very early.  When Imarried Humphrey I made up my mind to like sermonsand I set out byliking the end very much.  That soon spread to the middle andthe beginningbecause I couldn't have the end without them."

"Noto be sure not" said the Dowager Lady Chettamwith statelyemphasis.

The upperwindow from which the funeral could be well seen was in the roomoccupied by Mr. Casaubon when he had been forbidden to work; but hehad resumed nearly his habitual style of life now in spite ofwarnings and prescriptionsand after politely welcoming Mrs.Cadwallader had slipped again into the library to chew a cud oferudite mistake about Cush and Mizraim.

But forher visitors Dorothea too might have been shut up in the libraryandwould not have witnessed this scene of old Featherstone's funeralwhichaloof as it seemed to be from the tenor of her lifealwaysafterwards came back to her at the touch of certain sensitive pointsin memoryjust as the vision of St. Peter's at Rome was inwoven withmoods of despondency.  Scenes which make vital changes in ourneighbors' lot are but the background of our ownyetlike aparticular aspect of the fields and treesthey become associated forus with the epochs of our own historyand make a part of that unitywhich lies in the selection of our keenest consciousness.

Thedream-like association of something alien and ill-understood with thedeepest secrets of her experience seemed to mirror that sense ofloneliness which was due to the very ardor of Dorothea's nature. Thecountry gentry of old time lived in a rarefied social air: dottedapart on their stations up the mountain they looked down withimperfect discrimination on the belts of thicker life below. AndDorothea was not at ease in the perspective and chilliness of thatheight.

"Ishall not look any more" said Celiaafter the train hadentered the churchplacing herself a little behind her husband'selbow so that she could slyly touch his coat with her cheek.  "Idare say Dodo likes it:  she is fond of melancholy things andugly people."

"I amfond of knowing something about the people I live among" saidDorotheawho had been watching everything with the interest of amonk on his holiday tour.  "It seems to me we know nothingof our neighborsunless they are cottagers. One is constantlywondering what sort of lives other people leadand how they takethings.  I am quite obliged to Mrs. Cadwallader for coming andcalling me out of the library."

"Quiteright to feel obliged to me" said Mrs. Cadwallader. "Yourrich Lowick farmers are as curious as any buffaloes or bisonsand Idare say you don't half see them at church.  They are quitedifferent from your uncle's tenants or Sir James's--monsters--farmers without landlords--one can't tell how to class them."

"Mostof these followers are not Lowick people" said Sir James; "Isuppose they are legatees from a distanceor from Middlemarch.Lovegood tells me the old fellow has left a good deal of money aswell as land."

"Thinkof that now! when so many younger sons can't dine at their ownexpense" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "Ah" turninground at the sound of the opening door"here is Mr. Brooke. I felt that we were incomplete beforeand here is the explanation.You are come to see this odd funeralof course?"

"NoI came to look after Casaubon--to see how he goes onyou know. And to bring a little news--a little newsmy dear" said Mr.Brookenodding at Dorothea as she came towards him. "I lookedinto the libraryand I saw Casaubon over his books. I told him itwouldn't do:  I said`This will never doyou know: think ofyour wifeCasaubon.'  And he promised me to come up.  Ididn't tell him my news:  I saidhe must come up."

"Ahnow they are coming out of church" Mrs. Cadwallader exclaimed."Dear mewhat a wonderfully mixed set!  Mr. Lydgate asdoctorI suppose.  But that is really a good looking womanandthe fair young man must be her son.  Who are theySir Jamesdoyou know?"

"Isee Vincythe Mayor of Middlemarch; they are probably his wife andson" said Sir Jameslooking interrogatively at Mr. Brookewhonodded and said--

"Yesa very decent family--a very good fellow is Vincy; a credit to themanufacturing interest.  You have seen him at my houseyouknow."

"Ahyes:  one of your secret committee" said Mrs. Cadwalladerprovokingly.

"Acoursing fellowthough" said Sir Jameswith a fox-hunter'sdisgust.

"Andone of those who suck the life out of the wretched handloom weaversin Tipton and Freshitt.  That is how his family look so fair andsleek" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "Those darkpurple-faced people are an excellent foil.  Dear methey arelike a set of jugs! Do look at Humphrey:  one might fancy him anugly archangel towering above them in his white surplice."

"It'sa solemn thingthougha funeral" said Mr. Brooke"ifyou take it in that lightyou know."

"ButI am not taking it in that light.  I can't wear my solemnity toooftenelse it will go to rags.  It was time the old man diedand none of these people are sorry."

"Howpiteous!" said Dorothea.  "This funeral seems to methe most dismal thing I ever saw.  It is a blot on the morning Icannot bear to think that any one should die and leave no lovebehind."

She wasgoing to say morebut she saw her husband enter and seat himself alittle in the background.  The difference his presence made toher was not always a happy one:  she felt that he often inwardlyobjected to her speech.

"Positively"exclaimed Mrs. Cadwallader"there is a new face come out frombehind that broad man queerer than any of them: a little round headwith bulging eyes--a sort of frog-face--do look. He must be ofanother bloodI think."

"Letme see!" said Celiawith awakened curiositystanding behindMrs. Cadwallader and leaning forward over her head.  "Ohwhat an odd face!" Then with a quick change to another sort ofsurprised expressionshe added"WhyDodoyou never told methat Mr. Ladislaw was come again!"

Dorotheafelt a shock of alarm:  every one noticed her sudden paleness asshe looked up immediately at her unclewhile Mr. Casaubon looked ather.

"Hecame with meyou know; he is my guest--puts up with me at theGrange" said Mr. Brookein his easiest tonenodding atDorotheaas if the announcement were just what she might haveexpected. "And we have brought the picture at the top of thecarriage. I knew you would be pleased with the surpriseCasaubon. There you are to the very life--as Aquinasyou know.  Quite theright sort of thing.  And you will hear young Ladislaw talkabout it. He talks uncommonly well--points out thisthatand theother-- knows art and everything of that kind--companionableyouknow--is up with you in any track--what I've been wanting a longwhile."

Mr.Casaubon bowed with cold politenessmastering his irritationbutonly so far as to be silent.  He remembered Will's letter quiteas well as Dorothea did; he had noticed that it was not among theletters which had been reserved for him on his recoveryand secretlyconcluding that Dorothea had sent word to Will not to come to Lowickhe had shrunk with proud sensitiveness from ever recurring to thesubject.  He now inferred that she had asked her uncle to inviteWill to the Grange; and she felt it impossible at that moment toenter into any explanation.

Mrs.Cadwallader's eyesdiverted from the churchyardsaw a good deal ofdumb show which was not so intelligible to her as she could havedesiredand could not repress the question"Who is Mr.Ladislaw?"

"Ayoung relative of Mr. Casaubon's" said Sir Jamespromptly. Hisgood-nature often made him quick and clear-seeing in personalmattersand he had divined from Dorothea's glance at her husbandthat there was some alarm in her mind.

"Avery nice young fellow--Casaubon has done everything for him"explained Mr. Brooke.  "He repays your expense in himCasaubon" he went onnodding encouragingly.  "I hopehe will stay with me a long while and we shall make something of mydocuments.  I have plenty of ideas and factsyou knowand Ican see he is just the man to put them into shape--remembers what theright quotations areomne tulit punctumand that sort ofthing--gives subjects a kind of turn.  I invited him some timeago when you were illCasaubon; Dorothea said you couldn't haveanybody in the houseyou knowand she asked me to write."

PoorDorothea felt that every word of her uncle's was about as pleasant asa grain of sand in the eye to Mr. Casaubon.  It would bealtogether unfitting now to explain that she had not wished her uncleto invite Will Ladislaw.  She could not in the least make clearto herself the reasons for her husband's dislike to his presence-- adislike painfully impressed on her by the scene in the library; butshe felt the unbecomingness of saying anything that might convey anotion of it to others.  Mr. Casaubonindeedhad notthoroughly represented those mixed reasons to himself; irritatedfeeling with himas with all of usseeking rather for justificationthan for self-knowledge. But he wished to repress outward signsandonly Dorothea could discern the changes in her husband's face beforehe observed with more of dignified bending and sing-song than usual--

"Youare exceedingly hospitablemy dear sir; and I owe youacknowledgments for exercising your hospitality towards a relative ofmine."

Thefuneral was ended nowand the churchyard was being cleared.

"Nowyou can see himMrs. Cadwallader" said Celia.  "Heis just like a miniature of Mr. Casaubon's aunt that hangs inDorothea's boudoir-- quite nice-looking."

"Avery pretty sprig" said Mrs. Cadwalladerdryly.  "Whatis your nephew to beMr. Casaubon?"

"Pardonmehe is not my nephew.  He is my cousin."

"Wellyou know" interposed Mr. Brooke"he is trying his wings.He is just the sort of young fellow to rise.  I should be gladto give him an opportunity.  He would make a good secretarynowlike HobbesMiltonSwift--that sort of man."

"Iunderstand" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "One who canwrite speeches."

"I'llfetch him in nowehCasaubon?" said Mr. Brooke. "Hewouldn't come in till I had announced himyou know.  And we'llgo down and look at the picture.  There you are to the life: adeep subtle sort of thinker with his fore-finger on the pagewhileSaint Bonaventure or somebody elserather fat and floridis lookingup at the Trinity.  Everything is symbolicalyou know-- thehigher style of art:  I like that up to a certain pointbut nottoo far--it's rather straining to keep up withyou know. But you areat home in thatCasaubon.  And your painter's flesh isgood--soliditytransparencyeverything of that sort. I went intothat a great deal at one time.  HoweverI'll go and fetchLadislaw."




CHAPTERXXXV



  "Nonje ne comprends pas de plus charmant plaisir
  Que de voir d'heritiers une troupe affligee
   Lemaintien interditet la mine allongee
   Lire un longtestament ou palesetonnes
   On leur laisse un bonsoiravec un pied de nez.
   Pour voir au naturel leurtristesse profonde
   Je reviendraisje croisexpresde l'autre monde."
   --REGNARD:  LeLegataire Universel.



When theanimals entered the Ark in pairsone may imagine that allied speciesmade much private remark on each otherand were tempted to thinkthat so many forms feeding on the same store of fodder were eminentlysuperfluousas tending to diminish the rations. (I fear the partplayed by the vultures on that occasion would be too painful for artto representthose birds being disadvantageously naked about thegulletand apparently without rites and ceremonies.)

The samesort of temptation befell the Christian Carnivora who formed PeterFeatherstone's funeral procession; most of them having their mindsbent on a limited store which each would have liked to get the mostof. The long-recognized blood-relations and connections by marriagemade already a goodly numberwhichmultiplied by possibilitiespresented a fine range for jealous conjecture and pathetichopefulness. Jealousy of the Vincys had created a fellowship inhostility among all persons of the Featherstone bloodso that in theabsence of any decided indication that one of themselves was to havemore than the restthe dread lest that long-legged Fred Vincy shouldhave the land was necessarily dominantthough it left abundantfeeling and leisure for vaguer jealousiessuch as were entertainedtowards Mary Garth.  Solomon found time to reflect that Jonahwas undeservingand Jonah to abuse Solomon as greedy; Janetheelder sisterheld that Martha's children ought not to expect so muchas the young Waules; and Marthamore lax on the subject ofprimogeniturewas sorry to think that Jane was so "having." These nearest of kin were naturally impressed with theunreasonableness of expectations in cousins and second cousinsandused their arithmetic in reckoning the large sums that small legaciesmight mount toif there were too many of them.  Two cousinswere present to hear the willand a second cousin besides Mr.Trumbull.  This second cousin was a Middlemarch mercer of politemanners and superfluous aspirates. The two cousins were elderly menfrom Brassingone of them conscious of claims on the score ofinconvenient expense sustained by him in presents of oysters andother eatables to his rich cousin Peter; the other entirelysaturnineleaning his hands and chin on a stickand conscious ofclaims based on no narrow performance but on merit generally: both blameless citizens of Brassingwho wished that JonahFeatherstone did not live there. The wit of a family is usually bestreceived among strangers.

"WhyTrumbull himself is pretty sure of five hundred--THAT you maydepend--I shouldn't wonder if my brother promised him" saidSolomonmusing aloud with his sistersthe evening before thefuneral.

"Deardear!" said poor sister Marthawhose imagination of hundredshad been habitually narrowed to the amount of her unpaid rent.

But in themorning all the ordinary currents of conjecture were disturbed by thepresence of a strange mourner who had plashed among them as if fromthe moon.  This was the stranger described by Mrs. Cadwalladeras frog-faced:  a man perhaps about two or three and thirtywhose prominent eyesthin-lippeddownward-curved mouthand hairsleekly brushed away from a forehead that sank suddenly above theridge of the eyebrowscertainly gave his face a batrachianunchangeableness of expression.  Hereclearlywas a newlegatee; else why was he bidden as a mourner?  Here were newpossibilitiesraising a new uncertaintywhich almost checked remarkin the mourning-coaches. We are all humiliated by the suddendiscovery of a fact which has existed very comfortably and perhapsbeen staring at us in private while we have been making up our worldentirely without it.  No one had seen this questionable strangerbefore except Mary Garthand she knew nothing more of him than thathe had twice been to Stone Court when Mr. Featherstone wasdown-stairsand had sat alone with him for several hours.  Shehad found an opportunity of mentioning this to her fatherandperhaps Caleb's were the only eyesexcept the lawyer'swhichexamined the stranger with more of inquiry than of disgust orsuspicion.  Caleb Garthhaving little expectation and lesscupiditywas interested in the verification of his own guessesandthe calmness with which he half smilingly rubbed his chin and shotintelligent glances much as if he were valuing a treemade a finecontrast with the alarm or scorn visible in other faces when theunknown mournerwhose name was understood to be Riggentered thewainscoted parlor and took his seat near the door to make part of theaudience when the will should be read.  Just then Mr. Solomonand Mr. Jonah were gone up-stairs with the lawyer to search for thewill; and Mrs. Wauleseeing two vacant seats between herself and Mr.Borthrop Trumbullhad the spirit to move next to that greatauthoritywho was handling his watch-seals and trimming his outlineswith a determination not to show anything so compromising to a man ofability as wonder or surprise.

"Isuppose you know everything about what my poor brother's doneMr.Trumbull" said Mrs. Waulein the lowest of her woolly toneswhile she turned her crape-shadowed bonnet towards Mr. Trumbull'sear.

"Mygood ladywhatever was told me was told in confidence" saidthe auctioneerputting his hand up to screen that secret.

"Themwho've made sure of their good-luck may be disappointed yet"Mrs. Waule continuedfinding some relief in this communication.

"Hopesare often delusive" said Mr. Trumbullstill in confidence.

"Ah!"said Mrs. Waulelooking across at the Vincysand then moving backto the side of her sister Martha.

"It'swonderful how close poor Peter was" she saidin the sameundertones.  "We none of us know what he might have had onhis mind. I only hope and trust he wasn't a worse liver than we thinkofMartha."

Poor Mrs.Cranch was bulkyandbreathing asthmaticallyhad the additionalmotive for making her remarks unexceptionable and giving them ageneral bearingthat even her whispers were loud and liable tosudden bursts like those of a deranged barrel-organ.

"Inever WAS covetiousJane" she replied; "but I have sixchildren and have buried threeand I didn't marry into money. Theeldestthat sits thereis but nineteen--so I leave you to guess.And stock always shortand land most awkward.  But if ever I'vebegged and prayed; it's been to God above; though where there's onebrother a bachelor and the other childless after twice marrying--anybody might think!"

MeanwhileMr. Vincy had glanced at the passive face of Mr. Riggand had takenout his snuff-box and tapped itbut had put it again unopened as anindulgence whichhowever clarifying to the judgmentwas unsuited tothe occasion.  "I shouldn't wonder if Featherstone hadbetter feelings than any of us gave him credit for" heobservedin the ear of his wife.  "This funeral shows athought about everybody: it looks well when a man wants to befollowed by his friendsand if they are humblenot to be ashamed ofthem.  I should be all the better pleased if he'd left lots ofsmall legacies. They may be uncommonly useful to fellows in a smallway."

"Everythingis as handsome as could becrape and silk and everything" saidMrs. Vincycontentedly.

But I amsorry to say that Fred was under some difficulty in repressing alaughwhich would have been more unsuitable than his father'ssnuff-box. Fred had overheard Mr. Jonah suggesting something about a"love-child" and with this thought in his mindthestranger's facewhich happened to be opposite himaffected him tooludicrously. Mary Garthdiscerning his distress in the twitchings ofhis mouthand his recourse to a coughcame cleverly to his rescueby asking him to change seats with herso that he got into a shadowycorner. Fred was feeling as good-naturedly as possible towardseverybodyincluding Rigg; and having some relenting towards allthese people who were less lucky than he was aware of being himselfhe would not for the world have behaved amiss; stillit wasparticularly easy to laugh.

But theentrance of the lawyer and the two brothers drew every one'sattention.  The lawyer was Mr. Standishand he had come toStone Court this morning believing that he knew thoroughly well whowould be pleased and who disappointed before the day was over. Thewill he expected to read was the last of three which he had drawn upfor Mr. Featherstone.  Mr. Standish was not a man who varied hismanners:  he behaved with the same deep-voicedoff-handcivility to everybodyas if he saw no difference in themand talkedchiefly of the hay-cropwhich would be "very fineby God!"of the last bulletins concerning the Kingand of the Duke ofClarencewho was a sailor every inch of himand just the man torule over an island like Britain.

OldFeatherstone had often reflected as he sat looking at the fire thatStandish would be surprised some day:  it is true that if he haddone as he liked at the lastand burnt the will drawn up by anotherlawyerhe would not have secured that minor end; still he had hadhis pleasure in ruminating on it.  And certainly Mr. Standishwas surprisedbut not at all sorry; on the contraryhe ratherenjoyed the zest of a little curiosity in his own mindwhich thediscovery of a second will added to the prospective amazement on thepart of the Featherstone family.

As to thesentiments of Solomon and Jonahthey were held in utter suspense: it seemed to them that the old will would have a certain validityand that there might be such an interlacement of poor Peter's formerand latter intentions as to create endless "lawing" beforeanybody came by their own--an inconvenience which would have at leastthe advantage of going all round.  Hence the brothers showed athoroughly neutral gravity as they re-entered with Mr. Standish; butSolomon took out his white handkerchief again with a sense that inany case there would be affecting passagesand crying at funeralshowever drywas customarily served up in lawn.

Perhapsthe person who felt the most throbbing excitement at this moment wasMary Garthin the consciousness that it was she who had virtuallydetermined the production of this second willwhich might havemomentous effects on the lot of some persons present. No soul exceptherself knew what had passed on that final night.

"Thewill I hold in my hand" said Mr. Standishwhoseated at thetable in the middle of the roomtook his time about everythingincluding the coughs with which he showed a disposition to clear hisvoice"was drawn up by myself and executed by our deceasedfriend on the 9th of August1825.  But I find that there is asubsequent instrument hitherto unknown to mebearing date the 20thof July1826hardly a year later than the previous one. And thereis fartherI see"--Mr. Standish was cautiously travelling overthe document with his spectacles--"a codicil to this latterwillbearing date March 11828."

"Deardear!" said sister Marthanot meaning to be audiblebut drivento some articulation under this pressure of dates.

"Ishall begin by reading the earlier will" continued Mr.Standish"since suchas appears by his not having destroyedthe documentwas the intention of deceased."

Thepreamble was felt to be rather longand several besides Solomonshook their heads patheticallylooking on the ground: all eyesavoided meeting other eyesand were chiefly fixed either on thespots in the table-cloth or on Mr. Standish's bald head; exceptingMary Garth's. When all the rest were trying to look nowhere inparticularit was safe for her to look at them. And at the sound ofthe first "give and bequeath" she could see all complexionschanging subtlyas if some faint vibration were passing throughthemsave that of Mr. Rigg.  He sat in unaltered calmandinfactthe companypreoccupied with more important problemsand withthe complication of listening to bequests which might or might not berevokedhad ceased to think of him.  Fred blushedand Mr.Vincy found it impossible to do without his snuff-box in his handthough he kept it closed.

The smallbequests came firstand even the recollection that there was anotherwill and that poor Peter might have thought better of itcould notquell the rising disgust and indignation.  One likes to be donewell by in every tensepastpresentand future. And here was Petercapable five years ago of leaving only two hundred apiece to his ownbrothers and sistersand only a hundred apiece to his own nephewsand nieces:  the Garths were not mentionedbut Mrs. Vincy andRosamond were each to have a hundred. Mr. Trumbull was to have thegold-headed cane and fifty pounds; the other second cousins and thecousins present were each to have the like handsome sumwhichasthe saturnine cousin observedwas a sort of legacy that left a mannowhere; and there was much more of such offensive dribbling in favorof persons not present-- problematicalandit was to be fearedlowconnections. Altogetherreckoning hastilyhere were about threethousand disposed of.  Where then had Peter meant the rest ofthe money to go-- and where the land? and what was revoked and whatnot revoked-- and was the revocation for better or for worse? All emotion must be conditionaland might turn out to be the wrongthing. The men were strong enough to bear up and keep quiet underthis confused suspense; some letting their lower lip fallotherspursing it upaccording to the habit of their muscles.  ButJane and Martha sank under the rush of questionsand began to cry;poor Mrs. Cranch being half moved with the consolation of getting anyhundreds at all without working for themand half aware that hershare was scanty; whereas Mrs. Waule's mind was entirely flooded withthe sense of being an own sister and getting littlewhile somebodyelse was to have much.  The general expectation now was that the"much" would fall to Fred Vincybut the Vincys themselveswere surprised when ten thousand pounds in specified investments weredeclared to be bequeathed to him:--was the land coming too? Fred bit his lips: it was difficult to help smilingand Mrs. Vincyfelt herself the happiest of women--possible revocation shrinking outof sight in this dazzling vision.

There wasstill a residue of personal property as well as the landbut thewhole was left to one personand that person was-- O possibilities! O expectations founded on the favor of "close" oldgentlemen!  O endless vocatives that would still leaveexpression slipping helpless from the measurement of mortal folly!--that residuary legatee was Joshua Riggwho was also sole executorand who was to take thenceforth the name of Featherstone.

There wasa rustling which seemed like a shudder running round the room. Every one stared afresh at Mr. Riggwho apparently experienced nosurprise.

"Amost singular testamentary disposition!" exclaimed Mr. Trumbullpreferring for once that he should be considered ignorant in thepast. "But there is a second will--there is a further document. We have not yet heard the final wishes of the deceased."

Mary Garthwas feeling that what they had yet to hear were not the finalwishes.  The second will revoked everything except the legaciesto the low persons before mentioned (some alterations in these beingthe occasion of the codicil)and the bequest of all the land lyingin Lowick parish with all the stock and household furnituretoJoshua Rigg.  The residue of the property was to be devoted tothe erection and endowment of almshouses for old mento be calledFeatherstone's Alms-Housesand to be built on a piece of land nearMiddlemarch already bought for the purpose by the testatorhewishing--so the document declared--to please God Almighty. Nobodypresent had a farthing; but Mr. Trumbull had the gold-headed cane. Ittook some time for the company to recover the power of expression.Mary dared not look at Fred.

Mr. Vincywas the first to speak--after using his snuff- box energetically--andhe spoke with loud indignation. "The most unaccountable will Iever heard!  I should say he was not in his right mind when hemade it.  I should say this last will was void" added Mr.Vincyfeeling that this expression put the thing in the true light. "Eh Standish?"

"Ourdeceased friend always knew what he was aboutI think" saidMr. Standish.  "Everything is quite regular.  Here isa letter from Clemmens of Brassing tied with the will.  He drewit up. A very respectable solicitor."

"Inever noticed any alienation of mind--any aberration of intellect inthe late Mr. Featherstone" said Borthrop Trumbull"but Icall this will eccentric.  I was always willingly of service tothe old soul; and he intimated pretty plainly a sense of obligationwhich would show itself in his will.  The gold-headed cane isfarcical considered as an acknowledgment to me; but happily I amabove mercenary considerations."

"There'snothing very surprising in the matter that I can see" saidCaleb Garth.  "Anybody might have had more reason forwondering if the will had been what you might expect from anopen-minded straightforward man.  For my partI wish there wasno such thing as a will."

"That'sa strange sentiment to come from a Christian manby God!" saidthe lawyer.  "I should like to know how you will back thatupGarth!"

"Oh"said Calebleaning forwardadjusting his finger-tips with nicetyand looking meditatively on the ground.  It always seemed to himthat words were the hardest part of "business."

But hereMr. Jonah Featherstone made himself heard.  "Wellhealways was a fine hypocritewas my brother Peter.  But thiswill cuts out everything.  If I'd knowna wagon and six horsesshouldn't have drawn me from Brassing.  I'll put a white hat anddrab coat on to-morrow."

"Deardear" wept Mrs. Cranch"and we've been at the expense oftravellingand that poor lad sitting idle here so long! It's thefirst time I ever heard my brother Peter was so wishful to please GodAlmighty; but if I was to be struck helpless I must say it's hard--Ican think no other."

"It'lldo him no good where he's gonethat's my belief" said Solomonwith a bitterness which was remarkably genuinethough his tone couldnot help being sly.  "Peter was a bad liverand almshouseswon't cover itwhen he's had the impudence to show it at the last."

"Andall the while had got his own lawful family--brothers and sisters andnephews and nieces--and has sat in church with 'em whenever hethought well to come" said Mrs. Waule.  "And mighthave left his property so respectableto them that's never been usedto extravagance or unsteadiness in no manner of way--and not so poorbut what they could have saved every penny and made more of it. Andme--the trouble I've been attimes and timesto come here and besisterly--and him with things on his mind all the while that mightmake anybody's flesh creep.  But if the Almighty's allowed ithe means to punish him for it.  Brother SolomonI shall begoingif you'll drive me."

"I'veno desire to put my foot on the premises again" said Solomon."I've got land of my own and property of my own to will away."

"It'sa poor tale how luck goes in the world" said Jonah. "Itnever answers to have a bit of spirit in you.  You'd better be adog in the manger.  But those above ground might learn a lesson.One fool's will is enough in a family."

"There'smore ways than one of being a fool" said Solomon. "Ishan't leave my money to be poured down the sinkand I shan't leaveit to foundlings from Africay.  I like Featherstones that werebrewed suchand not turned Featherstones with sticking the name on'em."

Solomonaddressed these remarks in a loud aside to Mrs. Waule as he rose toaccompany her.  Brother Jonah felt himself capable of much morestinging wit than thisbut he reflected that there was no use inoffending the new proprietor of Stone Courtuntil you were certainthat he was quite without intentions of hospitality towards witty menwhose name he was about to bear.

Mr. JoshuaRiggin factappeared to trouble himself little about anyinnuendoesbut showed a notable change of mannerwalking coolly upto Mr. Standish and putting business questions with much coolness. He had a high chirping voice and a vile accent. Fredwhom he nolonger moved to laughterthought him the lowest monster he had everseen.  But Fred was feeling rather sick. The Middlemarch mercerwaited for an opportunity of engaging Mr. Rigg in conversation: there was no knowing how many pairs of legs the new proprietor mightrequire hose forand profits were more to be relied on thanlegacies.  Alsothe merceras a second cousinwasdispassionate enough to feel curiosity.

Mr. Vincyafter his one outbursthad remained proudly silentthough too muchpreoccupied with unpleasant feelings to think of movingtill heobserved that his wife had gone to Fred's side and was cryingsilently while she held her darling's hand. He rose immediatelyandturning his back on the company while he said to her in anundertone--"Don't give wayLucy; don't make a fool ofyourselfmy dearbefore these people" he added in his usualloud voice--"Go and order the phaetonFred; I have no time towaste."

Mary Garthhad before this been getting ready to go home with her father. Shemet Fred in the halland now for the first time had the courage tolook at him He had that withered sort of paleness which willsometimes come on young facesand his hand was very cold when sheshook it.  Mary too was agitated; she was conscious thatfatallywithout will of her ownshe had perhaps made a greatdifference to Fred's lot.

"Good-by"she saidwith affectionate sadness.  "Be braveFred. I dobelieve you are better without the money.  What was the good ofit to Mr. Featherstone?"

"That'sall very fine" said Fredpettishly.  "What is afellow to do?  I must go into the Church now."  (Heknew that this would vex Mary:  very well; then she must tellhim what else he could do.) "And I thought I should be able topay your father at once and make everything right.  And you havenot even a hundred pounds left you. What shall you do nowMary?"

"Takeanother situationof courseas soon as I can get one. My father hasenough to do to keep the restwithout me.  Good-by."

In a veryshort time Stone Court was cleared of well-brewed Featherstones andother long-accustomed visitors.  Another stranger had beenbrought to settle in the neighborhood of Middlemarchbut in the caseof Mr. Rigg Featherstone there was more discontent with immediatevisible consequences than speculation as to the effect which hispresence might have in the future.  No soul was prophetic enoughto have any foreboding as to what might appear on the trial of JoshuaRigg.

And here Iam naturally led to reflect on the means of elevating a low subject. Historical parallels are remarkably efficient in this way.  Thechief objection to them isthat the diligent narrator may lackspaceor (what is often the same thing) may not be able to think ofthem with any degree of particularitythough he may have aphilosophical confidence that if known they would be illustrative. Itseems an easier and shorter way to dignityto observe that-- sincethere never was a true story which could not be told in parableswhere you might put a monkey for a margraveand vice versa--whatever has been or is to be narrated by me about low peoplemay beennobled by being considered a parable; so that if any bad habits andugly consequences are brought into viewthe reader may have therelief of regarding them as not more than figuratively ungenteelandmay feel himself virtually in company with persons of some style.Thus while I tell the truth about loobiesmy reader's imaginationneed not be entirely excluded from an occupation with lords; and thepetty sums which any bankrupt of high standing would be sorry toretire uponmay be lifted to the level of high commercialtransactions by the inexpensive addition of proportional ciphers.

As to anyprovincial history in which the agents are all of high moral rankthat must be of a date long posterior to the first Reform BillandPeter Featherstoneyou perceivewas dead and buried some monthsbefore Lord Grey came into office.




CHAPTERXXXVI




  "'Tis strange to see the humors of these men
  These great aspiring spiritsthat should be wise:
   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .
   For being the nature ofgreat spirits to love
   To be where they may be mosteminent;
   Theyrating of themselves so farre above
  Us in conceitwith whom they do frequent
   Imaginehow we wonder and esteeme
   All that they do or say;which makes them strive
   To make our admiration moreextreme
   Which they suppose they cannot'less theygive
   Notice of their extreme and highest thoughts.
  --DANIEL:  Tragedy of Philotas.



Mr. Vincywent home from the reading of the will with his point of viewconsiderably changed in relation to many subjects.  He was anopen-minded manbut given to indirect modes of expressing himself:when he was disappointed in a market for his silk braidshe swore atthe groom; when his brother-in-law Bulstrode had vexed himhe madecutting remarks on Methodism; and it was now apparent that heregarded Fred's idleness with a sudden increase of severityby histhrowing an embroidered cap out of the smoking-room on to thehall-floor.

"Wellsir" he observedwhen that young gentleman was moving off tobed"I hope you've made up your mind now to go up next term andpass your examination.  I've taken my resolutionso I adviseyou to lose no time in taking yours."

Fred madeno answer:  he was too utterly depressed.  Twenty-fourhours ago he had thought that instead of needing to know what heshould dohe should by this time know that he needed to do nothing: that he should hunt in pinkhave a first-rate hunterride to coveron a fine hackand be generally respected for doing so; moreoverthat he should be able at once to pay Mr. Garthand that Mary couldno longer have any reason for not marrying him.  And all thiswas to have come without study or other inconveniencepurely by thefavor of providence in the shape of an old gentleman's caprice. But nowat the end of the twenty-four hoursall those firmexpectations were upset. It was "rather hard lines" thatwhile he was smarting under this disappointment he should be treatedas if he could have helped it. But he went away silently and hismother pleaded for him.

"Don'tbe hard on the poor boyVincy.  He'll turn out well yetthoughthat wicked man has deceived him.  I feel as sure as I sit hereFred will turn out well--else why was he brought back from the brinkof the grave?  And I call it a robbery:  it was like givinghim the landto promise it; and what is promisingif makingeverybody believe is not promising?  And you see he did leavehim ten thousand poundsand then took it away again."

"Tookit away again!" said Mr. Vincypettishly.  "I tellyou the lad's an unlucky ladLucy.  And you've always spoiledhim."

"WellVincyhe was my firstand you made a fine fuss with him when hecame.  You were as proud as proud" said Mrs. Vincyeasilyrecovering her cheerful smile.

"Whoknows what babies will turn to?  I was fool enoughI dare say"said the husband--more mildlyhowever.

"Butwho has handsomerbetter children than ours?  Fred is farbeyond other people's sons:  you may hear it in his speechthathe has kept college company.  And Rosamond--where is there agirl like her?  She might stand beside any lady in the landandonly look the better for it.  You see--Mr. Lydgate has kept thehighest company and been everywhereand he fell in love with her atonce. Not but what I could have wished Rosamond had not engagedherself. She might have met somebody on a visit who would have been afar better match; I mean at her schoolfellow Miss Willoughby's. Thereare relations in that family quite as high as Mr. Lydgate's."

"Damnrelations!" said Mr. Vincy; "I've had enough of them. Idon't want a son-in-law who has got nothing but his relations torecommend him."

"Whymy dear" said Mrs. Vincy"you seemed as pleased as couldbe about it.  It's trueI wasn't at home; but Rosamond told meyou hadn't a word to say against the engagement.  And she hasbegun to buy in the best linen and cambric for her underclothing."

"Notby my will" said Mr. Vincy.  "I shall have enough todo this yearwith an idle scamp of a sonwithout paying forwedding-clothes. The times are as tight as can be; everybody is beingruined; and I don't believe Lydgate has got a farthing.  Ishan't give my consent to their marrying.  Let 'em waitastheir elders have done before 'em."

"Rosamondwill take it hardVincyand you know you never could bear to crossher."

"YesI could.  The sooner the engagement's offthe better. I don'tbelieve he'll ever make an incomethe way he goes on. He makesenemies; that's all I hear of his making."

"Buthe stands very high with Mr. Bulstrodemy dear.  The marriagewould please HIMI should think."

"Pleasethe deuce!" said Mr. Vincy.  "Bulstrode won't pay fortheir keep.  And if Lydgate thinks I'm going to give money forthem to set up housekeepinghe's mistakenthat's all.  Iexpect I shall have to put down my horses soon.  You'd bettertell Rosy what I say."

This was anot infrequent procedure with Mr. Vincy--to be rash in jovial assentand on becoming subsequently conscious that he had been rashtoemploy others in making the offensive retractation. HoweverMrs.Vincywho never willingly opposed her husbandlost no time the nextmorning in letting Rosamond know what he had said.  Rosamondexamining some muslin-worklistened in silenceand at the end gavea certain turn of her graceful neckof which only long experiencecould teach you that it meant perfect obstinacy.

"Whatdo you saymy dear?" said her motherwith affectionatedeference.

"Papadoes not mean anything of the kind" said Rosamondquitecalmly. "He has always said that he wished me to marry the man Iloved. And I shall marry Mr. Lydgate.  It is seven weeks nowsince papa gave his consent.  And I hope we shall have Mrs.Bretton's house."

"Wellmy dearI shall leave you to manage your papa.  You always domanage everybody.  But if we ever do go and get damaskSadler'sis the place--far better than Hopkins's. Mrs. Bretton's is verylargethough:  I should love you to have such a house; but itwill take a great deal of furniture--carpeting and everythingbesides plate and glass.  And you hearyour papa says he willgive no money.  Do you think Mr. Lydgate expects it?"

"Youcannot imagine that I should ask himmamma.  Of course heunderstands his own affairs."

"Buthe may have been looking for moneymy dearand we all thought ofyour having a pretty legacy as well as Fred;--and now everything isso dreadful--there's no pleasure in thinking of anythingwith thatpoor boy disappointed as he is."

"Thathas nothing to do with my marriagemamma.  Fred must leave offbeing idle.  I am going up-stairs to take this work to MissMorgan: she does the open hemming very well.  Mary Garth mightdo some work for me nowI should think.  Her sewing isexquisite; it is the nicest thing I know about Mary.  I shouldso like to have all my cambric frilling double-hemmed. And it takes along time."

Mrs.Vincy's belief that Rosamond could manage her papa was well founded. Apart from his dinners and his coursingMr. Vincyblustering as hewashad as little of his own way as if he had been a primeminister:  the force of circumstances was easily too much forhimas it is for most pleasure-loving florid men; and thecircumstance called Rosamond was particularly forcible by means ofthat mild persistence whichas we knowenables a white soft livingsubstance to make its way in spite of opposing rock. Papa was not arock:  he had no other fixity than that fixity of alternatingimpulses sometimes called habitand this was altogether unfavorableto his taking the only decisive line of conduct in relation to hisdaughter's engagement--namelyto inquire thoroughly into Lydgate'scircumstancesdeclare his own inability to furnish moneyand forbidalike either a speedy marriage or an engagement which must be toolengthy.  That seems very simple and easy in the statement; buta disagreeable resolve formed in the chill hours of the morning hadas many conditions against it as the early frostand rarelypersisted under the warming influences of the day.  The indirectthough emphatic expression of opinion to which Mr. Vincy was pronesuffered much restraint in this case:  Lydgate was a proud mantowards whom innuendoes were obviously unsafeand throwing his haton the floor was out of the question.  Mr. Vincy was a little inawe of hima little vain that he wanted to marry Rosamonda littleindisposed to raise a question of money in which his own position wasnot advantageousa little afraid of being worsted in dialogue with aman better educated and more highly bred than himselfand a littleafraid of doing what his daughter would not like. The part Mr. Vincypreferred playing was that of the generous host whom nobodycriticises.  In the earlier half of the day there was businessto hinder any formal communication of an adverse resolve; in thelater there was dinnerwinewhistand general satisfaction. And inthe mean while the hours were each leaving their little deposit andgradually forming the final reason for inactionnamelythat actionwas too late.  The accepted lover spent most of his evenings inLowick Gateand a love-making not at all dependent on money-advancesfrom fathers-in-lawor prospective income from a professionwent onflourishingly under Mr. Vincy's own eyes. Young love-making--thatgossamer web!  Even the points it clings to--the things whenceits subtle interlacings are swung-- are scarcely perceptible: momentary touches of fingertipsmeetings of rays from blue and darkorbsunfinished phraseslightest changes of cheek and lipfaintesttremors.  The web itself is made of spontaneous beliefs andindefinable joysyearnings of one life towards anothervisions ofcompletenessindefinite trust. And Lydgate fell to spinning that webfrom his inward self with wonderful rapidityin spite of experiencesupposed to be finished off with the drama of Laure--in spite too ofmedicine and biology; for the inspection of macerated muscle or ofeyes presented in a dish (like Santa Lucia's)and other incidents ofscientific inquiryare observed to be less incompatible with poeticlove than a native dulness or a lively addiction to the lowestprose.  As for Rosamondshe was in the water-lily's expandingwonderment at its own fuller lifeand she too was spinningindustriously at the mutual web.  All this went on in the cornerof the drawing-room where the piano stoodand subtle as it wasthelight made it a sort of rainbow visible to many observers besides Mr.Farebrother.  The certainty that Miss Vincy and Mr. Lydgate wereengaged became general in Middlemarch without the aid of formalannouncement.

AuntBulstrode was again stirred to anxiety; but this time she addressedherself to her brothergoing to the warehouse expressly to avoidMrs. Vincy's volatility.  His replies were not satisfactory.

"Walteryou never mean to tell me that you have allowed all this to go onwithout inquiry into Mr. Lydgate's prospects?" said Mrs.Bulstrodeopening her eyes with wider gravity at her brotherwhowas in his peevish warehouse humor.  "Think of this girlbrought up in luxury--in too worldly a wayI am sorry to say-- whatwill she do on a small income?"

"Ohconfound itHarriet I what can I do when men come into the townwithout any asking of mine?  Did you shut your house up againstLydgate?  Bulstrode has pushed him forward more than anybody. Inever made any fuss about the young fellow.  You should go andtalk to your husband about itnot me."

"WellreallyWalterhow can Mr. Bulstrode be to blame? I am sure he didnot wish for the engagement."

"Ohif Bulstrode had not taken him by the handI should never haveinvited him."

"Butyou called him in to attend on Fredand I am sure that was a mercy"said Mrs. Bulstrodelosing her clew in the intricacies of thesubject.

"Idon't know about mercy" said Mr. Vincytestily.  "Iknow I am worried more than I like with my family.  I was a goodbrother to youHarrietbefore you married Bulstrodeand I must sayhe doesn't always show that friendly spirit towards your family thatmight have been expected of him."  Mr. Vincy was verylittle like a Jesuitbut no accomplished Jesuit could have turned aquestion more adroitly. Harriet had to defend her husband instead ofblaming her brotherand the conversation ended at a point as farfrom the beginning as some recent sparring between thebrothers-in-law at a vestry meeting.

Mrs.Bulstrode did not repeat her brother's complaints to her husbandbutin the evening she spoke to him of Lydgate and Rosamond. He did notshare her warm interesthowever; and only spoke with resignation ofthe risks attendant on the beginning of medical practice and thedesirability of prudence.

"I amsure we are bound to pray for that thoughtless girl-- brought up asshe has been" said Mrs. Bulstrodewishing to rouse herhusband's feelings.

"Trulymy dear" said Mr. Bulstrodeassentingly.  "Those whoare not of this world can do little else to arrest the errors of theobstinately worldly.  That is what we must accustom ourselves torecognize with regard to your brother's family.  I could havewished that Mr. Lydgate had not entered into such a union; but myrelations with him are limited to that use of his gifts for God'spurposes which is taught us by the divine government under eachdispensation."

Mrs.Bulstrode said no moreattributing some dissatisfaction which shefelt to her own want of spirituality.  She believed that herhusband was one of those men whose memoirs should be written whenthey died.

As toLydgate himselfhaving been acceptedhe was prepared to accept allthe consequences which he believed himself to foresee with perfectclearness.  Of course he must be married in a year-- perhapseven in half a year.  This was not what he had intended; butother schemes would not be hindered:  they would simply adjustthemselves anew.  Marriageof coursemust be prepared for inthe usual way.  A house must be taken instead of the rooms he atpresent occupied; and Lydgatehaving heard Rosamond speak withadmiration of old Mrs. Bretton's house (situated in Lowick Gate)took notice when it fell vacant after the old lady's deathandimmediately entered into treaty for it.

He didthis in an episodic wayvery much as he gave orders to his tailorfor every requisite of perfect dresswithout any notion of beingextravagant.  On the contraryhe would have despised anyostentation of expense; his profession had familiarized him with allgrades of povertyand he cared much for those who sufferedhardships. He would have behaved perfectly at a table where the saucewas served in a jug with the handle offand he would have rememberednothing about a grand dinner except that a man was there who talkedwell. But it had never occurred to him that he should live in anyother than what he would have called an ordinary waywith greenglasses for hockand excellent waiting at table.  In warminghimself at French social theories he had brought away no smell ofscorching. We may handle even extreme opinions with impunity whileour furnitureour dinner-givingand preference for armorialbearings in our own easelink us indissolubly with the establishedorder. And Lydgate's tendency was not towards extreme opinions: he would have liked no barefooted doctrinesbeing particular abouthis boots: he was no radical in relation to anything but medicalreform and the prosecution of discovery.  In the rest ofpractical life he walked by hereditary habit; half from that personalpride and unreflecting egoism which I have already called commonnessand half from that naivete which belonged to preoccupation withfavorite ideas.

Any inwarddebate Lydgate had as to the consequences of this engagement whichhad stolen upon himturned on the paucity of time rather than ofmoney.  Certainlybeing in love and being expected continuallyby some one who always turned out to be prettier than memory couldrepresent her to bedid interfere with the diligent use of sparehours which might serve some "plodding fellow of a German"to make the greatimminent discovery. This was really an argumentfor not deferring the marriage too longas he implied to Mr.Farebrotherone day that the Vicar came to his room with somepond-products which he wanted to examine under a better microscopethan his ownandfinding Lydgate's tableful of apparatus andspecimens in confusionsaid sarcastically--

"Eroshas degenerated; he began by introducing order and harmonyand nowhe brings back chaos."

"Yesat some stages" said Lydgatelifting his brows and smilingwhile he began to arrange his microscope.  "But a betterorder will begin after."

"Soon?"said the Vicar.

"Ihope soreally.  This unsettled state of affairs uses up thetimeand when one has notions in scienceevery moment is anopportunity. I feel sure that marriage must be the best thing for aman who wants to work steadily.  He has everything at homethen--no teasing with personal speculations--he can get calmness andfreedom."

"Youare an enviable dog" said the Vicar"to have such aprospect-- Rosamondcalmness and freedomall to your share. Here am I with nothing but my pipe and pond-animalcules. Noware youready?"

Lydgatedid not mention to the Vicar another reason he had for wishing toshorten the period of courtship.  It was rather irritating tohimeven with the wine of love in his veinsto be obliged to mingleso often with the family party at the Vincys'and to enter so muchinto Middlemarch gossipprotracted good cheerwhist-playingandgeneral futility.  He had to be deferential when Mr. Vincydecided questions with trenchant ignoranceespecially as to thoseliquors which were the best inward picklepreserving you from theeffects of bad air.  Mrs. Vincy's openness and simplicity werequite unstreaked with suspicion as to the subtle offence she mightgive to the taste of her intended son-in-law; and altogether Lydgatehad to confess to himself that he was descending a little in relationto Rosamond's family.  But that exquisite creature herselfsuffered in the same sort of way:-- it was at least one delightfulthought that in marrying herhe could give her a much-neededtransplantation.

"Dear!"he said to her one eveningin his gentlest toneas he sat down byher and looked closely at her face--

But I mustfirst say that he had found her alone in the drawing-roomwhere thegreat old-fashioned windowalmost as large as the side of the roomwas opened to the summer scents of the garden at the back of thehouse.  Her father and mother were gone to a partyand the restwere all out with the butterflies.

"Dear!your eyelids are red."

"Arethey?" said Rosamond.  "I wonder why."  Itwas not in her nature to pour forth wishes or grievances.  Theyonly came forth gracefully on solicitation.

"Asif you could hide it from me!"? said Lydgatelaying his handtenderly on both of hers.  "Don't I see a tiny drop on oneof the lashes? Things trouble youand you don't tell me.  Thatis unloving."

"Whyshould I tell you what you cannot alter?  They are every-daythings:--perhaps they have been a little worse lately."

"Familyannoyances.  Don't fear speaking.  I guess them."

"Papahas been more irritable lately.  Fred makes him angryand thismorning there was a fresh quarrel because Fred threatens to throw hiswhole education awayand do something quite beneath him. Andbesides--"

Rosamondhesitatedand her cheeks were gathering a slight flush. Lydgate hadnever seen her in trouble since the morning of their engagementandhe had never felt so passionately towards her as at this moment. He kissed the hesitating lips gentlyas if to encourage them.

"Ifeel that papa is not quite pleased about our engagement"Rosamond continuedalmost in a whisper; "and he said last nightthat he should certainly speak to you and say it must be given up."

"Willyou give it up?" said Lydgatewith quick energy--almostangrily.

"Inever give up anything that I choose to do" said Rosamondrecovering her calmness at the touching of this chord.

"Godbless you!" said Lydgatekissing her again.  Thisconstancy of purpose in the right place was adorable.  He wenton:--

"Itis too late now for your father to say that our engagement must begiven up.  You are of ageand I claim you as mine. If anythingis done to make you unhappy--that is a reason for hastening ourmarriage."

Anunmistakable delight shone forth from the blue eyes that met hisandthe radiance seemed to light up all his future with mild sunshine.Ideal happiness (of the kind known in the Arabian Nightsin whichyou are invited to step from the labor and discord of the street intoa paradise where everything is given to you and nothing claimed)seemed to be an affair of a few weeks' waitingmore or less.

"Whyshould we defer it?" he saidwith ardent insistence. "Ihave taken the house now:  everything else can soon be gotready-- can it not?  You will not mind about new clothes. Those can be bought afterwards."

"Whatoriginal notions you clever men have!" said Rosamonddimplingwith more thorough laughter than usual at this humorous incongruity."This is the first time I ever heard of wedding-clothes beingbought after marriage."

"Butyou don't mean to say you would insist on my waiting months for thesake of clothes?" said Lydgatehalf thinking that Rosamond wastormenting him prettilyand half fearing that she really shrank fromspeedy marriage.  "Rememberwe are looking forward to abetter sort of happiness even than this--being continually togetherindependent of othersand ordering our lives as we will. Comedeartell me how soon you can be altogether mine."

There wasa serious pleading in Lydgate's toneas if he felt that she would beinjuring him by any fantastic delays.  Rosamond became serioustooand slightly meditative; in factshe was going through manyintricacies of lace-edging and hosiery and petticoat-tuckinginorder to give an answer that would at least be approximative.

"Sixweeks would be ample--say soRosamond" insisted Lydgatereleasing her hands to put his arm gently round her.

One littlehand immediately went to pat her hairwhile she gave her neck ameditative turnand then said seriously--

"Therewould be the house-linen and the furniture to be prepared. Stillmamma could see to those while we were away."

"Yesto be sure.  We must be away a week or so."

"Ohmore than that!" said Rosamondearnestly.  She wasthinking of her evening dresses for the visit to Sir GodwinLydgate'swhich she had long been secretly hoping for as adelightful employment of at least one quarter of the honeymoonevenif she deferred her introduction to the uncle who was a doctor ofdivinity (also a pleasing though sober kind of rankwhen sustainedby blood). She looked at her lover with some wondering remonstranceas she spokeand he readily understood that she might wish tolengthen the sweet time of double solitude.

"Whateveryou wishmy darlingwhen the day is fixed.  But let us take adecided courseand put an end to any discomfort you may besuffering.  Six weeks!--I am sure they would be ample."

"Icould certainly hasten the work" said Rosamond.  "Willyouthenmention it to papa?--I think it would be better to writeto him." She blushed and looked at him as the garden flowerslook at us when we walk forth happily among them in the transcendentevening light: is there not a soul beyond utterancehalf nymphhalfchildin those delicate petals which glow and breathe about thecentres of deep color?

He touchedher ear and a little bit of neck under it with his lipsand they satquite still for many minutes which flowed by them like a smallgurgling brook with the kisses of the sun upon it. Rosamond thoughtthat no one could be more in love than she was; and Lydgate thoughtthat after all his wild mistakes and absurd credulityhe had foundperfect womanhood--felt as If already breathed upon by exquisitewedded affection such as would be bestowed by an accomplishedcreature who venerated his high musings and momentous labors andwould never interfere with them; who would create order in the homeand accounts with still magicyet keep her fingers ready to touchthe lute and transform life into romance at any moment; who wasinstructed to the true womanly limit and not a hair's- breadthbeyond--docilethereforeand ready to carry out behests which camefrom that limit.  It was plainer now than ever that his notionof remaining much longer a bachelor had been a mistake: marriagewould not be an obstruction but a furtherance. And happening the nextday to accompany a patient to Brassinghe saw a dinner-service therewhich struck him as so exactly the right thing that he bought it atonce.  It saved time to do these things just when you thought ofthemand Lydgate hated ugly crockery. The dinner-service in questionwas expensivebut that might be in the nature of dinner-services.Furnishing was necessarily expensive; but then it had to be done onlyonce.

"Itmust be lovely" said Mrs. Vincywhen Lydgate mentioned hispurchase with some descriptive touches.  "Just what Rosyought to have.  I trust in heaven it won't be broken!"

"Onemust hire servants who will not break things" said Lydgate.(Certainlythis was reasoning with an imperfect vision of sequences.But at that period there was no sort of reasoning which was not moreor less sanctioned by men of science.)

Of courseit was unnecessary to defer the mention of anything to mammawho didnot readily take views that were not cheerfuland being a happy wifeherselfhad hardly any feeling but pride in her daughter'smarriage.  But Rosamond had good reasons for suggesting toLydgate that papa should be appealed to in writing. She prepared forthe arrival of the letter by walking with her papa to the warehousethe next morningand telling him on the way that Mr. Lydgate wishedto be married soon.

"Nonsensemy dear!" said Mr. Vincy.  "What has he got to marryon? You'd much better give up the engagement.  I've told you sopretty plainly before this.  What have you had such an educationforif you are to go and marry a poor man?  It's a cruel thingfor a father to see."

"Mr.Lydgate is not poorpapa.  He bought Mr. Peacock's practicewhichthey sayis worth eight or nine hundred a-year."

"Stuffand nonsense!  What's buying a practice?  He might as wellbuy next year's swallows.  It'll all slip through his fingers."

"Onthe contrarypapahe will increase the practice.  See how hehas been called in by the Chettams and Casaubons."

"Ihope he knows I shan't give anything--with this disappointment aboutFredand Parliament going to be dissolvedand machine-breakingeverywhereand an election coming on--"

"Dearpapa! what can that have to do with my marriage?"

"Apretty deal to do with it!  We may all be ruined for what Iknow-- the country's in that state!  Some say it's the end ofthe worldand be hanged if I don't think it looks like it! Anyhowit's not a time for me to be drawing money out of mybusinessand I should wish Lydgate to know that."

"I amsure he expects nothingpapa.  And he has such very highconnections:  he is sure to rise in one way or another. He isengaged in making scientific discoveries."

Mr. Vincywas silent.

"Icannot give up my only prospect of happinesspapa Mr. Lydgate is agentleman.  I could never love any one who was not a perfectgentleman.  You would not like me to go into a consumptionasArabella Hawley did.  And you know that I never change my mind."

Again papawas silent.

"Promisemepapathat you will consent to what we wish. We shall never giveeach other up; and you know that you have always objected to longcourtships and late marriages."

There wasa little more urgency of this kindtill Mr. Vincy said"Wellwellchildhe must write to me first before I car answer him"--and Rosamond was certain that she had gained her point.

Mr.Vincy's answer consisted chiefly in a demand that Lydgate shouldinsure his life--a demand immediately conceded.  This was adelightfully reassuring idea supposing that Lydgate diedbut in themean time not a self-supporting idea.  Howeverit seemed tomake everything comfortable about Rosamond's marriage; and thenecessary purchases went on with much spirit.  Not withoutprudential considerationshowever.  A bride (who is going tovisit at a baronet's) must have a few first-ratepocket-handkerchiefs; but beyond the absolutely necessary half-dozenRosamond contented herself without the very highest style ofembroidery and Valenciennes. Lydgate alsofinding that his sum ofeight hundred pounds had been considerably reduced since he had cometo Middlemarchrestrained his inclination for some plate of an oldpattern which was shown to him when he went into Kibble'sestablishment at Brassing to buy forks and spoons.  He was tooproud to act as if he presupposed that Mr. Vincy would advance moneyto provide furniture-; and thoughsince it would not be necessary topay for everything at oncesome bills would be left standing overhe did not waste time in conjecturing how much his father-in-lawwould give in the form of dowryto make payment easy.  He wasnot going to do anything extravagantbut the requisite things mustbe boughtand it would be bad economy to buy them of a poorquality.  All these matters were by the bye. Lydgate foresawthat science and his profession were the objects he should alonepursue enthusiastically; but he could not imagine himself pursuingthem in such a home as Wrench had--the doors all openthe oil-clothwornthe children in soiled pinaforesand lunch lingering in theform of bonesblack-handled knivesand willow-pattern. But Wrenchhad a wretched lymphatic wife who made a mummy of herself indoors ina large shawl; and he must have altogether begun with an ill-chosendomestic apparatus.

Rosamondhoweverwas on her side much occupied with conjecturesthough herquick imitative perception warned her against betraying them toocrudely.

"Ishall like so much to know your family" she said one daywhenthe wedding journey was being discussed.  "We might perhapstake a direction that would allow us to see them as we returned.Which of your uncles do you like best?"

"Oh--myuncle GodwinI think.  He is a good-natured old fellow."

"Youwere constantly at his house at Quallinghamwhen you were a boywere you not?  I should so like to see the old spot andeverything you were used to.  Does he know you are going to bemarried?"

"No"said Lydgatecarelesslyturning in his chair and rubbing his hairup.

"Dosend him word of ityou naughty undutiful nephew.  He willperhaps ask you to take me to Quallingham; and then you could show meabout the groundsand I could imagine you there when you were aboy.  Rememberyou see me in my homejust as it has been sinceI was a child.  It is not fair that I should be so ignorant ofyours. But perhaps you would be a little ashamed of me.  Iforgot that."

Lydgatesmiled at her tenderlyand really accepted the suggestion that theproud pleasure of showing so charming a bride was worth sometrouble.  And now he came to think of ithe would like to seethe old spots with Rosamond.

"Iwill write to himthen.  But my cousins are bores."

It seemedmagnificent to Rosamond to be able to speak so slightingly of abaronet's familyand she felt much contentment in the prospect ofbeing able to estimate them contemptuously on her own account.

But mammawas near spoiling alla day or two laterby saying--

"Ihope your uncle Sir Godwin will not look down on RosyMr. Lydgate. Ishould think he would do something handsome.  A thousand or twocan be nothing to a baronet."

"Mamma!"said Rosamondblushing deeply; and Lydgate pitied her so much thathe remained silent and went to the other end of the room to examine aprint curiouslyas if he had been absent-minded. Mamma had a littlefilial lecture afterwardsand was docile as usual. But Rosamondreflected that if any of those high-bred cousins who were boresshould be induced to visit Middlemarchthey would see many things inher own family which might shock them.  Hence it seemeddesirable that Lydgate should by-and-by get some first-rate positionelsewhere than in Middlemarch; and this could hardly be difficult inthe case of a man who had a titled uncle and could make discoveries. Lydgateyou perceivehad talked fervidly to Rosamond of his hopesas to the highest uses of his lifeand had found it delightful to belistened to by a creature who would bring him the sweet furtheranceof satisfying affection--beauty--repose--such help as our thoughtsget from the summer sky and the flower-fringed meadows.

Lydgaterelied much on the psychological difference between what for the sakeof variety I will call goose and gander: especially on the innatesubmissiveness of the goose as beautifully corresponding to thestrength of the gander.




CHAPTERXXXVII



  "Thrice happy she that is so well assured
   Untoherself and settled so in heart
   That neither will forbetter be allured
   Ne fears to worse with any chanceto start
   But like a steddy ship doth stronglypart
   The raging waves and keeps her course aright;
  Ne aught for tempest doth from it depart
   Ne aughtfor fairer weather's false delight.
   Suchself-assurance need not fear the spight

 

  Ofgrudging foes; ne favour seek of friends;
   But in thestay of her own stedfast might
   Neither to one herselfnor other bends.
   Most happy she that most assureddoth rest
   But he most happy who such one lovesbest."
   --SPENSER.



The doubthinted by Mr. Vincy whether it were only the general election or theend of the world that was coming onnow that George the Fourth wasdeadParliament dissolvedWellington and Peel generally depreciatedand the new King apologeticwas a feeble type of the uncertaintiesin provincial opinion at that time. With the glow-worm lights ofcountry placeshow could men see which were their own thoughts inthe confusion of a Tory Ministry passing Liberal measuresof Torynobles and electors being anxious to return Liberals rather thanfriends of the recreant Ministersand of outcries for remedies whichseemed to have a mysteriously remote bearing on private interestandwere made suspicious by the advocacy of disagreeable neighbors? Buyers of the Middlemarch newspapers found themselves in an anomalousposition:  during the agitation on the Catholic Question manyhad given up the "Pioneer"--which had a motto from CharlesJames Fox and was in the van of progress-- because it had takenPeel's side about the Papistsand had thus blotted its Liberalismwith a toleration of Jesuitry and Baal; but they were illsatisfiedwith the "Trumpet" which--since its blasts against Romeand in the general flaccidity of the public mind (nobody knowing whowould support whom)--had become feeble in its blowing.

It was atimeaccording to a noticeable article in the "Pioneer"when the crying needs of the country might well counteract areluctance to public action on the part of men whose minds had fromlong experience acquired breadth as well as concentrationdecisionof judgment as well as tolerancedispassionateness as well asenergy-- in factall those qualities which in the melancholyexperience of mankind have been the least disposed to share lodgings.

Mr.Hackbuttwhose fluent speech was at that time floating more widelythan usualand leaving much uncertainty as to its ultimate channelwas heard to say in Mr. Hawley's office that the article in question"emanated" from Brooke of Tiptonand that Brooke hadsecretly bought the "Pioneer" some months ago.

"Thatmeans mischiefeh?" said Mr. Hawley.  "He's got thefreak of being a popular man nowafter dangling about like a straytortoise. So much the worse for him.  I've had my eye on him forsome time. He shall be prettily pumped upon.  He's a damned badlandlord. What business has an old county man to come currying favorwith a low set of dark-blue freemen?  As to his paperI onlyhope he may do the writing himself.  It would be worth ourpaying for."

"Iunderstand he has got a very brilliant young fellow to edit itwhocan write the highest style of leading articlequite equal toanything in the London papers.  And he means to take very highground on Reform."

"LetBrooke reform his rent-roll. He's a cursed old screwand thebuildings all over his estate are going to rack. I sup pose thisyoung fellow is some loose fish from London."

"Hisname is Ladislaw.  He is said to be of foreign extraction."

"Iknow the sort" said Mr. Hawley; "some emissary. He'll begin with flourishing about the Rights of Man and end withmurdering a wench. That's the style."

"Youmust concede that there are abusesHawley" said Mr. Hackbuttforeseeing some political disagreement with his family lawyer. "Imyself should never favor immoderate views--in fact I take my standwith Huskisson--but I cannot blind myself to the consideration thatthe non-representation of large towns--"

"Largetowns be damned!" said Mr. Hawleyimpatient of exposition. "Iknow a little too much about Middlemarch elections.  Let 'emquash every pocket borough to-morrowand bring in every mushroomtown in the kingdom--they'll only increase the expense of gettinginto Parliament.  I go upon facts."

Mr.Hawley's disgust at the notion of the "Pioneer" beingedited by an emissaryand of Brooke becoming actively political-- asif a tortoise of desultory pursuits should protrude its small headambitiously and become rampant--was hardly equal to the annoyancefelt by some members of Mr. Brooke's own family. The result had oozedforth graduallylike the discovery that your neighbor has set up anunpleasant kind of manufacture which will be permanently under yournostrils without legal remedy.  The "Pioneer" had beensecretly bought even before Will Ladislaw's arrivalthe expectedopportunity having offered itself in the readiness of the proprietorto part with a valuable property which did not pay; and in theinterval since Mr. Brooke had written his invitationthose germinalideas of making his mind tell upon the world at large which had beenpresent in him from his younger yearsbut had hitherto lain in someobstructionhad been sprouting under cover.

Thedevelopment was much furthered by a delight in his guest which provedgreater even than he had anticipated.  For it seemed that Willwas not only at home in all those artistic and literary subjectswhich Mr. Brooke had gone into at one timebut that he wasstrikingly ready at seizing the points of the political situationand dealing with them in that large spirit whichaided by adequatememorylends itself to quotation and general effectiveness oftreatment.

"Heseems to me a kind of Shelleyyou know" Mr. Brooke took anopportunity of sayingfor the gratification of Mr. Casaubon. "Idon't mean as to anything objectionable--laxities or atheismoranything of that kindyou know--Ladislaw's sentiments in every way Iam sure are good--indeedwe were talking a great deal together lastnight.  But he has the same sort of enthusiasm for libertyfreedomemancipation--a fine thing under guidance-- under guidanceyou know.  I think I shall be able to put him on the right tack;and I am the more pleased because he is a relation of yoursCasaubon."

If theright tack implied anything more precise than the rest of Mr.Brooke's speechMr. Casaubon silently hoped that it referred to someoccupation at a great distance from Lowick. He had disliked Willwhile he helped himbut he had begun to dislike him still more nowthat Will had declined his help.  That is the way with us whenwe have any uneasy jealousy in our disposition: if our talents arechiefly of the burrowing kindour honey-sipping cousin (whom we havegrave reasons for objecting to) is likely to have a secret contemptfor usand any one who admires him passes an oblique criticism onourselves.  Having the scruples of rectitude in our soulsweare above the meanness of injuring him-- rather we meet all hisclaims on us by active benefits; and the drawing of cheeks for himbeing a superiority which he must recognizegives our bitterness amilder infusion.  Now Mr. Casaubon had been deprived of thatsuperiority (as anything more than a remembrance) in a suddencapricious manner.  His antipathy to Will did not spring fromthe common jealousy of a winter-worn husband: it was somethingdeeperbred by his lifelong claims and discontents; but Dorotheanow that she was present--Dorotheaas a young wife who herself hadshown an offensive capability of criticismnecessarily gaveconcentration to the uneasiness which had before been vague.

WillLadislaw on his side felt that his dislike was flourishing at theexpense of his gratitudeand spent much inward discourse injustifying the dislike.  Casaubon hated him--he knew that verywell; on his first entrance he could discern a bitterness in themouth and a venom in the glance which would almost justify declaringwar in spite of past benefits.  He was much obliged to Casaubonin the pastbut really the act of marrying this wife was a set-offagainst the obligation It was a question whether gratitude whichrefers to what is done for one's self ought not to give way toindignation at what is done against another.  And Casaubon haddone a wrong to Dorothea in marrying her.  A man was bound toknow himself better than thatand if he chose to grow gray crunchingbones in a cavernhe had no business to be luring a girl into hiscompanionship. "It is the most horrible of virgin-sacrifices"said Will; and he painted to himself what were Dorothea's inwardsorrows as if he had been writing a choric wail.  But he wouldnever lose sight of her: he would watch over her--if he gave upeverything else in life he would watch over herand she should knowthat she had one slave in the worldWill had--to use Sir ThomasBrowne's phrase-- a "passionate prodigality" of statementboth to himself and others. The simple truth was that nothing theninvited him so strongly as the presence of Dorothea.

Invitationsof the formal kind had been wantinghoweverfor Will had never beenasked to go to Lowick.  Mr. Brookeindeedconfident of doingeverything agreeable which Casaubonpoor fellowwas too muchabsorbed to think ofhad arranged to bring Ladislaw to Lowickseveral times (not neglecting meanwhile to introduce him elsewhere onevery opportunity as "a young relative of Casaubon's"). Andthough Will had not seen Dorothea alonetheir interviews had beenenough to restore her former sense of young companionship with onewho was cleverer than herselfyet seemed ready to be swayed by her.Poor Dorothea before her marriage had never found much room in otherminds for what she cared most to say; and she had notas we knowenjoyed her husband's superior instruction so much as she hadexpected.  If she spoke with any keenness of interest to Mr.Casaubonhe heard her with an air of patience as if she had given aquotation from the Delectus familiar to him from his tender yearsand sometimes mentioned curtly what ancient sects or personages hadheld similar ideasas if there were too much of that sort in stockalready; at other times he would inform her that she was mistakenand reassert what her remark had questioned.

But WillLadislaw always seemed to see more in what she said than she herselfsaw.  Dorothea had little vanitybut she had the ardent woman'sneed to rule beneficently by making the joy of another soul. Hencethe mere chance of seeing Will occasionally was like a lunette openedin the wall of her prisongiving her a glimpse of the sunny air; andthis pleasure began to nullify her original alarm at what her husbandmight think about the introduction of Will as her uncle's guest. Onthis subject Mr. Casaubon had remained dumb.

But Willwanted to talk with Dorothea aloneand was impatient of slowcircumstance.  However slight the terrestrial intercoursebetween Dante and Beatrice or Petrarch and Lauratime changes theproportion of thingsand in later days it is preferable to havefewer sonnets and more conversation.  Necessity excusedstratagembut stratagem was limited by the dread of offendingDorothea. He found out at last that he wanted to take a particularsketch at Lowick; and one morning when Mr. Brooke had to drive alongthe Lowick road on his way to the county townWill asked to be setdown with his sketch-book and camp-stool at Lowickand withoutannouncing himself at the Manor settled himself to sketch in aposition where he must see Dorothea if she came out to walk-- and heknew that she usually walked an hour in the morning.

But thestratagem was defeated by the weather.  Clouds gathered withtreacherous quicknessthe rain came downand Will was obliged totake shelter in the house.  He intendedon the strength ofrelationshipto go into the drawing-room and wait there withoutbeing announced; and seeing his old acquaintance the butler in thehallhe said"Don't mention that I am herePratt; I will waittill luncheon; I know Mr. Casaubon does not like to be disturbed whenhe is in the library."

"Masteris outsir; there's only Mrs. Casaubon in the library. I'd bettertell her you're heresir" said Pratta red-cheeked man givento lively converse with Tantrippand often agreeing with her that itmust be dull for Madam.

"Ohvery well; this confounded rain has hindered me from sketching"said Willfeeling so happy that he affected indifference withdelightful ease.

In anotherminute he was in the libraryand Dorothea was meeting him with hersweet unconstrained smile.

"Mr.Casaubon has gone to the Archdeacon's" she saidat once. "Idon't know whether he will be at home again long before dinner. Hewas uncertain how long he should be.  Did you want to sayanything particular to him?"

"No;I came to sketchbut the rain drove me in.  Else I would nothave disturbed you yet.  I supposed that Mr. Casaubon was hereand I know he dislikes interruption at this hour."

"I amindebted to the rainthen.  I am so glad to see you."Dorothea uttered these common words with the simple sincerity of anunhappy childvisited at school.

"Ireally came for the chance of seeing you alone" said Willmysteriously forced to be just as simple as she was.  He couldnot stay to ask himselfwhy not?  "I wanted to talk aboutthingsas we did in Rome.  It always makes a difference whenother people are present."

"Yes"said Dorotheain her clear full tone of assent.  "Sitdown." She seated herself on a dark ottoman with the brown booksbehind herlooking in her plain dress of some thin woollen-whitematerialwithout a single ornament on her besides her wedding-ringas if she were under a vow to be different from all other women; andWill sat down opposite her at two yards' distancethe light fallingon his bright curls and delicate but rather petulant profilewithits defiant curves of lip and chin.  Each looked at the other asif they had been two flowers which had opened then and there.Dorothea for the moment forgot her husband's mysterious irritationagainst Will:  it seemed fresh water at her thirsty lips tospeak without fear to the one person whom she had found receptive;for in looking backward through sadness she exaggerated a pastsolace.

"Ihave often thought that I should like to talk to you again" shesaidimmediately.  "It seems strange to me how many thingsI said to you."

"Iremember them all" said Willwith the unspeakable content inhis soul of feeling that he was in the presence of a creature worthyto be perfectly loved.  I think his own feelings at that momentwere perfectfor we mortals have our divine momentswhen love issatisfied in the completeness the beloved object.

"Ihave tried to learn a great deal since we were in Rome" saidDorothea.  "I can read Latin a littleand I am beginningto understand just a little Greek.  I can help Mr. Casaubonbetter now. I can find out references for him and save his eyes inmany ways. But it is very difficult to be learned; it seems as ifpeople were worn out on the way to great thoughtsand can neverenjoy them because they are too tired."

"If aman has a capacity for great thoughtshe is likely to overtake thembefore he is decrepit" said Willwith irrepressible quickness.But through certain sensibilities Dorothea was as quick as heandseeing her face changehe addedimmediately"But it is quitetrue that the best minds have been sometimes overstrained in workingout their ideas."

"Youcorrect me" said Dorothea.  "I expressed myself ill.I should have said that those who have great thoughts get too muchworn in working them out.  I used to feel about thateven whenI was a little girl; and it always seemed to me that the use I shouldlike to make of my life would be to help some one who did greatworksso that his burthen might be lighter."

Dorotheawas led on to this bit of autobiography without any sense of making arevelation.  But she had never before said anything to Willwhich threw so strong a light on her marriage. He did not shrug hisshoulders; and for want of that muscular outlet he thought the moreirritably of beautiful lips kissing holy skulls and other emptinessesecclesiastically enshrined. Also he had to take care that his speechshould not betray that thought.

"Butyou may easily carry the help too far" he said"and getover-wrought yourself.  Are you not too much shut up?  Youalready look paler.  It would be better for Mr. Casaubon to havea secretary; he could easily get a man who would do half his work forhim. It would save him more effectuallyand you need only help himin lighter ways."

"Howcan you think of that?" said Dorotheain a tone of earnestremonstrance.  "I should have no happiness if I did nothelp him in his work.  What could I do?  There is no goodto be done in Lowick.  The only thing I desire is to help himmore. And he objects to a secretary:  please not to mention thatagain."

"Certainlynotnow I know your feeling.  But I have heard both Mr. Brookeand Sir James Chettam express the same wish."

"Yes?"said Dorothea"but they don't understand--they want me to be agreat deal on horsebackand have the garden altered and newconservatoriesto fill up my days.  I thought you couldunderstand that one's mind has other wants" she addedratherimpatiently-- "besidesMr. Casaubon cannot bear to hear of asecretary."

"Mymistake is excusable" said Will.  "In old days I usedto hear Mr. Casaubon speak as if he looked forward to having asecretary. Indeed he held out the prospect of that office to me. But I turned out to be--not good enough for it."

Dorotheawas trying to extract out of this an excuse for her husband's evidentrepulsionas she saidwith a playful smile"You were not asteady worker enough."

"No"said Willshaking his head backward somewhat after the manner ofa-spirited horse.  And thenthe old irritable demon promptinghim to give another good pinch at the moth-wings of poor Mr.Casaubon's gloryhe went on"And I have seen since that Mr.Casaubon does not like any one to overlook his work.  and knowthoroughly what he is doing.  He is too doubtful--too uncertainof himself.  I may not be good for muchbut he dislikes mebecause I disagree with him."

Will wasnot without his intentions to be always generousbut our tongues arelittle triggers which have usually been pulled before generalintentions can be brought to bear.  And it was too intolerablethat Casaubon's dislike of him should not be fairly accounted for toDorothea.  Yet when he had spoken he was rather uneasy as to theeffect on her.

ButDorothea was strangely quiet--not immediately indignantas she hadbeen on a like occasion in Rome.  And the cause lay deep. Shewas no longer struggling against the perception of factsbutadjusting herself to their clearest perception; and now when shelooked steadily at her husband's failurestill more at his possibleconsciousness of failureshe seemed to be looking along the onetract where duty became tenderness.  Will's want of reticencemight have been met with more severityif he had not already beenrecommended to her mercy by her husband's dislikewhich must seemhard to her till she saw better reason for it.

She didnot answer at oncebut after looking down ruminatingly she saidwith some earnestness"Mr. Casaubon must have overcome hisdislike of you so far as his actions were concerned: and that isadmirable."

"Yes;he has shown a sense of justice in family matters. It was anabominable thing that my grandmother should have been disinheritedbecause she made what they called a mesalliancethough there wasnothing to be said against her husband except that he was a Polishrefugee who gave lessons for his bread."

"Iwish I knew all about her!" said Dorothea.  "I wonderhow she bore the change from wealth to poverty:  I wonderwhether she was happy with her husband!  Do you know much aboutthem?"

"No;only that my grandfather was a patriot--a bright fellow-- could speakmany languages--musical--got his bread by teaching all sorts ofthings.  They both died rather early.  And I never knewmuch of my fatherbeyond what my mother told me; but he inheritedthe musical talents.  I remember his slow walk and his long thinhands; and one day remains with me when he was lying illand I wasvery hungryand had only a little bit of bread."

"Ahwhat a different life from mine!" said Dorotheawith keeninterestclasping her hands on her lap.  "I have alwayshad too much of everything.  But tell me how it was-- Mr.Casaubon could not have known about you then."

"No;but my father had made himself known to Mr. Casaubonand that was mylast hungry day.  My father died soon afterand my mother and Iwere well taken care of.  Mr. Casaubon always expresslyrecognized it as his duty to take care of us because of the harshinjustice which had been shown to his mother's sister. But now I amtelling you what is not new to you."

In hisinmost soul Will was conscious of wishing to tell Dorothea what wasrather new even in his own construction of things-- namelythat Mr.Casaubon had never done more than pay a debt towards him.  Willwas much too good a fellow to be easy under the sense of beingungrateful.  And when gratitude has become a matter of reasoningthere are many ways of escaping from its bonds.

"No"answered Dorothea; "Mr. Casaubon has always avoided dwelling onhis own honorable actions."  She did not feel that herhusband's conduct was depreciated; but this notion of what justicehad required in his relations with Will Ladislaw took strong hold onher mind. After a moment's pauseshe added"He had never toldme that he supported your mother.  Is she still living?"

"No;she died by an accident--a fall--four years ago.  It is curiousthat my mothertooran away from her familybut not for the sakeof her husband.  She never would tell me anything about herfamilyexcept that she forsook them to get her own living--went onthe stagein fact.  She was a dark-eyed creaturewith crispringletsand never seemed to be getting old.  You see I come ofrebellious blood on both sides" Will endedsmiling brightly atDorotheawhile she was still looking with serious intentness beforeherlike a child seeing a drama for the first time.

But herfacetoobroke into a smile as she said"That is yourapologyI supposefor having yourself been rather rebellious; Imeanto Mr. Casaubon's wishes.  You must remember that you havenot done what he thought best for you.  And if he dislikes you--you were speaking of dislike a little while ago--but I should rathersayif he has shown any painful feelings towards youyou mustconsider how sensitive he has become from the wearing effect ofstudy.  Perhaps" she continuedgetting into a pleadingtone"my uncle has not told you how serious Mr. Casaubon'sillness was. It would be very petty of us who are well and can bearthingsto think much of small offences from those who carry a weightof trial."

"Youteach me better" said Will.  "I will never grumble onthat subject again."  There was a gentleness in his tonewhich came from the unutterable contentment of perceiving--whatDorothea was hardly conscious of--that she was travelling into theremoteness of pure pity and loyalty towards her husband.  Willwas ready to adore her pity and loyaltyif she would associatehimself with her in manifesting them.  "I have reallysometimes been a perverse fellow" he went on"but I willnever againif I can help itdo or say what you would disapprove."

"Thatis very good of you" said Dorotheawith another open smile. "Ishall have a little kingdom thenwhere I shall give laws. But youwill soon go awayout of my ruleI imagine.  You will soon betired of staying at the Grange."

"Thatis a point I wanted to mention to you--one of the reasons why Iwished to speak to you alone.  Mr. Brooke proposes that I shouldstay in this neighborhood.  He has bought one of the Middlemarchnewspapersand he wishes me to conduct thatand also to help him inother ways."

"Wouldnot that be a sacrifice of higher prospects for you?" saidDorothea.

"Perhaps;but I have always been blamed for thinking of prospectsand notsettling to anything.  And here is something offered to me. Ifyou would not like me to accept itI will give it up. Otherwise Iwould rather stay in this part of the country than go away. I belongto nobody anywhere else."

"Ishould like you to stay very much" said Dorotheaat onceassimply and readily as she had spoken at Rome.  There was not theshadow of a reason in her mind at the moment why she should not sayso.

"ThenI WILL stay" said Ladislawshaking his head backwardrisingand going towards the windowas if to see whether the rain hadceased.

But thenext momentDorotheaaccording to a habit which was gettingcontinually strongerbegan to reflect that her husband feltdifferently from herselfand she colored deeply under the doubleembarrassment of having expressed what might be in opposition to herhusband's feelingand of having to suggest this opposition to Will.If is face was not turned towards herand this made it easier tosay--

"Butmy opinion is of little consequence on such a subject. I think youshould be guided by Mr. Casaubon.  I spoke without thinking ofanything else than my own feelingwhich has nothing to do with thereal question.  But it now occurs to me-- perhaps Mr. Casaubonmight see that the proposal was not wise. Can you not wait now andmention it to him?"

"Ican't wait to-day" said Willinwardly seared by thepossibility that Mr. Casaubon would enter.  "The rain isquite over now.  I told Mr. Brooke not to call for me:  Iwould rather walk the five miles. I shall strike across HalsellCommonand see the gleams on the wet grass.  I like that."

Heapproached her to shake hands quite hurriedlylonging but not daringto say"Don't mention the subject to Mr. Casaubon." Nohedared notcould not say it.  To ask her to be less simple anddirect would be like breathing on the crystal that you want to seethe light through.  And there was always the other great dread--of himself becoming dimmed and forever ray-shorn in her eyes.

"Iwish you could have stayed" said Dorotheawith a touch ofmournfulnessas she rose and put out her hand.  She also hadher thought which she did not like to express:--Will certainly oughtto lose no time in consulting Mr. Casaubon's wishesbut for her tourge this might seem an undue dictation.

So theyonly said "Good-by" and Will quitted the housestrikingacross the fields so as not to run any risk of encountering Mr.Casaubon's carriagewhichhoweverdid not appear at the gate untilfour o'clock. That was an unpropitious hour for coming home: it wastoo early to gain the moral support under ennui of dressing hisperson for dinnerand too late to undress his mind of the day'sfrivolous ceremony and affairsso as to be prepared for a goodplunge into the serious business of study.  On such occasions heusually threw into an easy-chair in the libraryand allowed Dorotheato read the London papers to himclosing his eyes the while. To-dayhoweverhe declined that reliefobserving that he had already hadtoo many public details urged upon him; but he spoke more cheerfullythan usualwhen Dorothea asked about his fatigueand added withthat air of formal effort which never forsook him even when he spokewithout his waistcoat and cravat--

"Ihave had the gratification of meeting my former acquaintanceDr.Spanningto-dayand of being praised by one who is himself a worthyrecipient of praise.  He spoke very handsomely of my latetractate on the Egyptian Mysteries--usingin factterms which itwould not become me to repeat."  In uttering the lastclauseMr. Casaubon leaned over the elbow of his chairand swayedhis head up and downapparently as a muscular outlet instead of thatrecapitulation which would not have been becoming.

"I amvery glad you have had that pleasure" said Dorotheadelightedto see her husband less weary than usual at this hour. "Beforeyou came I had been regretting that you happened to be out to-day."

"Whysomy dear?" said Mr. Casaubonthrowing himself backwardagain.

"BecauseMr. Ladislaw has been here; and he has mentioned a proposal of myuncle's which I should like to know your opinion of." Herhusband she felt was really concerned in this question. Even with herignorance of the world she had a vague impression that the positionoffered to Will was out of keeping with his family connectionsandcertainly Mr. Casaubon had a claim to be consulted. He did not speakbut merely bowed.

"Dearuncleyou knowhas many projects.  It appears that he hasbought one of the Middlemarch newspapersand he has asked Mr.Ladislaw to stay in this neighborhood and conduct the paper for himbesides helping him in other ways."

Dorothealooked at her husband while she spokebut he had at first blinkedand finally closed his eyesas if to save them; while his lipsbecame more tense.  "What is your opinion?" she addedrather timidlyafter a slight pause.

"DidMr. Ladislaw come on purpose to ask my opinion?" said Mr.Casaubonopening his eyes narrowly with a knife-edged look atDorothea. She was really uncomfortable on the point he inquiredaboutbut she only became a little more seriousand her eyes didnot swerve.

"No"she answered immediately"he did not say that he came to askyour opinion.  But when he mentioned the proposalhe of courseexpected me to tell you of it."

Mr.Casaubon was silent.

"Ifeared that you might feel some objection.  But certainly ayoung man with so much talent might be very useful to my uncle--might help him to do good in a better way.  And Mr. Ladislawwishes to have some fixed occupation.  He has been blamedhesaysfor not seeking something of that kindand he would like tostay in this neighborhood because no one cares for him elsewhere."

Dorotheafelt that this was a consideration to soften her husband. Howeverhedid not speakand she presently recurred to Dr. Spanning and theArchdeacon's breakfast.  But there was no longer sunshine onthese subjects.

The nextmorningwithout Dorothea's knowledgeMr. Casaubon despatched thefollowing letterbeginning "Dear Mr. Ladislaw" (he hadalways before addressed him as "Will"):--



"Mrs.Casaubon informs me that a proposal has been made to youand(according to an inference by no means stretched) has on your partbeen in some degree entertainedwhich involves your residence inthis neighborhood in a capacity which I am justified in sayingtouches my own position in such a way as renders it not only naturaland warrantable IN me when that effect is viewed under the influenceof legitimate feelingbut incumbent on me when the same effect isconsidered in the light of my responsibilitiesto state at once thatyour acceptance of the proposal above indicated would be highlyoffensive to me.  That I have some claim to the exercise of aveto herewould notI believebe denied by any reasonable personcognizant of the relations between us:  relations whichthoughthrown into the past by your recent procedureare not therebyannulled in their character of determining antecedents. I will nothere make reflections on any person's judgment. It is enough for meto point out to yourself that there are certain social fitnesses andproprieties which should hinder a somewhat near relative of mine frombecoming any wise conspicuous in this vicinity in a status not onlymuch beneath my ownbut associated at best with the sciolism ofliterary or political adventurers. At any ratethe contrary issuemust exclude you from further reception at my house.
  Yours faithfully
   "EDWARD CASAUBON."



MeanwhileDorothea's mind was innocently at work towards the furtherembitterment of her husband; dwellingwith a sympathy that grew toagitationon what Will had told her about his parents andgrandparents. Any private hours in her day were usually spent in herblue-green boudoirand she had come to be very fond of its pallidquaintness. Nothing had been outwardly altered there; but while thesummer had gradually advanced over the western fields beyond theavenue of elmsthe bare room had gathered within it those memoriesof an inward life which fill the air as with a cloud of good or hadangelsthe invisible yet active forms of our spiritual triumphs orour spiritual falls. She had been so used to struggle for and to findresolve in looking along the avenue towards the arch of western lightthat the vision itself had gained a communicating power.  Eventhe pale stag seemed to have reminding glances and to mean mutely"Yeswe know." And the group of delicately touchedminiatures had made an audience as of beings no longer disturbedabout their own earthly lotbut still humanly interested. Especially the mysterious "Aunt Julia" about whom Dorotheahad never found it easy to question her husband.

And nowsince her conversation with Willmany fresh images had gatheredround that Aunt Julia who was Will's grandmother; the presence ofthat delicate miniatureso like a living face that she knewhelpingto concentrate her feelings.  What a wrongto cut off the girlfrom the family protection and inheritance only because she hadchosen a man who was poor!  Dorotheaearly troubling her elderswith questions about the facts around herhad wrought herself intosome independent clearness as to the historicalpolitical reasonswhy eldest sons had superior rightsand why land should beentailed:  those reasonsimpressing her with a certain awemight be weightier than she knewbut here was a question of tieswhich left them uninfringed.  Here was a daughter whose child--even according to the ordinary aping of aristocratic institutions bypeople who are no more aristocratic than retired grocersand whohave no more land to "keep together" than a lawn and apaddock-- would have a prior claim.  Was inheritance a questionof liking or of responsibility?  All the energy of Dorothea'snature went on the side of responsibility--the fulfilment of claimsfounded on our own deedssuch as marriage and parentage.

It wastrueshe said to herselfthat Mr. Casaubon had a debt to theLadislaws--that he had to pay back what the Ladislaws had beenwronged of.  And now she began to think of her husband's willwhich had been made at the time of their marriageleaving the bulkof his property to herwith proviso in case of her having children.That ought to be altered; and no time ought to be lost.  Thisvery question which had just arisen about Will Ladislaw's occupationwas the occasion for placing things on a newright footing. Herhusbandshe felt sureaccording to all his previous conductwouldbe ready to take the just viewif she proposed it--shein whoseinterest an unfair concentration of the property had been urged. Hissense of right had surmounted and would continue to surmount anythingthat might be called antipathy.  She suspected that her uncle'sscheme was disapproved by Mr. Casaubonand this made it seem all themore opportune that a fresh understanding should be begunso thatinstead of Will's starting penniless and accepting the first functionthat offered itselfhe should find himself in possession of arightful income which should be paid by her husband during his lifeandby an immediate alteration of the willshould be secured at hisdeath.  The vision of all this as what ought to be done seemedto Dorothea like a sudden letting in of daylightwaking her from herprevious stupidity and incurious self-absorbed ignorance about herhusband's relation to others.  Will Ladislaw had refused Mr.Casaubon's future aid on a ground that no longer appeared right toher; and Mr. Casaubon had never himself seen fully what was the claimupon him.  "But he will!" said Dorothea. "Thegreat strength of his character lies here.  And what are wedoing with our money?  We make no use of half of our income. My own money buys me nothing but an uneasy conscience."

There wasa peculiar fascination for Dorothea in this division of propertyintended for herselfand always regarded by her as excessive. Shewas blindyou seeto many things obvious to others-- likely totread in the wrong placesas Celia had warned her; yet her blindnessto whatever did not lie in her own pure purpose carried her safely bythe side of precipices where vision would have been perilous withfear.

Thethoughts which had gathered vividness in the solitude of her boudoiroccupied her incessantly through the day on which Mr. Casaubon hadsent his letter to Will.  Everything seemed hindrance to hertill she could find an opportunity of opening her heart to herhusband. To his preoccupied mind all subjects were to be approachedgentlyand she had never since his illness lost from herconsciousness the dread of agitating him.  Bat when young ardoris set brooding over the conception of a prompt deedthe deed itselfseems to start forth with independent lifemastering idealobstacles. The day passed in a sombre fashionnot unusualthoughMr. Casaubon was perhaps unusually silent; but there were hours ofthe night which might be counted on as opportunities of conversation;for Dorotheawhen aware of her husband's sleeplessnesshadestablished a habit of risinglighting a candleand reading him tosleep again.  And this night she was from the beginningsleeplessexcited by resolves. He slept as usual for a few hoursbut she had risen softly and had sat in the darkness for nearly anhour before he said--

"Dorotheasince you are upwill you light a candle?"

"Doyou feel illdear?" was her first questionas she obeyed him.

"Nonot at all; but I shall be obligedsince you are upif you willread me a few pages of Lowth."

"MayI talk to you a little instead?" said Dorothea.

"Certainly."

"Ihave been thinking about money all day--that I have always had toomuchand especially the prospect of too much."

"Thesemy dear Dorotheaare providential arrangements."

"Butif one has too much in consequence of others being wrongedit seemsto me that the divine voice which tells us to set that wrong rightmust be obeyed."

"Whatmy loveis the bearing of your remark?"

"Thatyou have been too liberal in arrangements for me--I meanwith regardto property; and that makes me unhappy."

"Howso?  I have none but comparatively distant connections."

"Ihave been led to think about your aunt Juliaand how she was left inpoverty only because she married a poor manan act which was notdisgracefulsince he was not unworthy.  It was on that groundI knowthat you educated Mr. Ladislaw and provided for his mother."

Dorotheawaited a few moments for some answer that would help her onward. Nonecameand her next words seemed the more forcible to herfallingclear upon the dark silence.

"Butsurely we should regard his claim as a much greater oneeven to thehalf of that property which I know that you have destined for me. AndI think he ought at once to be provided for on that understanding. Itis not right that he should be in the dependence of poverty while weare rich.  And if there is any objection to the proposal hementionedthe giving him his true place and his true share would setaside any motive for his accepting it."

"Mr.Ladislaw has probably been speaking to you on this subject?"said Mr. Casaubonwith a certain biting quickness not habitual tohim.

"Indeedno!" said Dorotheaearnestly.  "How can you imagineitsince he has so lately declined everything from you?  I fearyou think too hardly of himdear.  He only told me a littleabout his parents and grandparentsand almost all in answer to myquestions. You are so goodso just--you have done everything youthought to be right.  But it seems to me clear that more thanthat is right; and I must speak about itsince I am the person whowould get what is called benefit by that `more' not being done."

There wasa perceptible pause before Mr. Casaubon repliednot quickly asbeforebut with a still more biting emphasis.

"Dorotheamy lovethis is not the first occasionbut it were well that itshould be the laston which you have assumed a judgment on subjectsbeyond your scope.  Into the question how far conductespecially in the matter of alliancesconstitutes a forfeiture offamily claimsI do not now enter.  Suffice itthat you are nothere qualified to discriminate.  What I now wish you tounderstand isthat I accept no revisionstill less dictation withinthat range of affairs which I have deliberated upon as distinctly andproperly mine.  It is not for you to interfere between me andMr. Ladislawand still less to encourage communications from him toyou which constitute a criticism on my procedure."

PoorDorotheashrouded in the darknesswas in a tumult of conflictingemotions.  Alarm at the possible effect on himself of herhusband's strongly manifested angerwould have checked anyexpression of her own resentmenteven if she had been quite freefrom doubt and compunction under the consciousness that there mightbe some justice in his last insinuation.  Hearing him breathequickly after he had spokenshe sat listeningfrightenedwretched--with a dumb inward cry for help to bear this nightmare of alife in which every energy was arrested by dread.  But nothingelse happenedexcept that they both remained a long while sleeplesswithout speaking again.

The nextdayMr. Casaubon received the following answer from Will Ladislaw:--



"DEARMR. CASAUBON--I have given all due consideration to your letter ofyesterdaybut I am unable to take precisely your view of our mutualposition.  With the fullest acknowledgment of your generousconduct to me in the pastI must still maintain that an obligationof this kind cannot fairly fetter me as you appear to expect that itshould.  Granted that a benefactor's wishes may constitute aclaim; there must always be a reservation as to the quality of thosewishes. They may possibly clash with more imperative considerations.Or a benefactor's veto might impose such a negation on a man's lifethat the consequent blank might be more cruel than the benefactionwas generous.  I am merely using strong illustrations.  Inthe present case I am unable to take your view of the bearing whichmy acceptance of occupation--not enriching certainlybut notdishonorable-- will have on your own position which seems to me toosubstantial to be affected in that shadowy manner.  And though Ido not believe that any change in our relations will occur (certainlynone has yet occurred) which can nullify the obligations imposed onme by the pastpardon me for not seeing that those obligationsshould restrain me from using the ordinary freedom of living where Ichooseand maintaining myself by any lawful occupation I may choose.Regretting that there exists this difference between us as to arelation in which the conferring of benefits has been entirely onyour side--
   I remainyours with persistentobligation
   WILL LADISLAW."



Poor Mr.Casaubon felt (and must not webeing impartialfeel with him alittle?) that no man had juster cause for disgust and suspicion thanhe.  Young Ladislawhe was suremeant to defy and annoy himmeant to win Dorothea's confidence and sow her mind with disrespectand perhaps aversiontowards her husband.  Some motive beneaththe surface had been needed to account for Will's sudden change of inrejecting Mr. Casaubon's aid and quitting his travels; and thisdefiant determination to fix himself in the neighborhood by taking upsomething so much at variance with his former choice as Mr. Brooke'sMiddlemarch projectsrevealed clearly enough that the undeclaredmotive had relation to Dorothea.  Not for one moment did Mr.Casaubon suspect Dorothea of any doubleness:  he had nosuspicions of herbut he had (what was little less uncomfortable)the positive knowledge that her tendency to form opinions about herhusband's conduct was accompanied with a disposition to regard WillLadislaw favorably and be influenced by what he said. His own proudreticence had prevented him from ever being undeceived in thesupposition that Dorothea had originally asked her uncle to inviteWill to his house.

And nowon receiving Will's letterMr. Casaubon had to consider his duty. He would never have been easy to call his action anything else thanduty; but in this casecontending motives thrust him back intonegations.

Should heapply directly to Mr. Brookeand demand of that troublesomegentleman to revoke his proposal?  Or should he consult SirJames Chettamand get him to concur in remonstrance against a stepwhich touched the whole family?  In either case Mr. Casaubon wasaware that failure was just as probable as success.  It wasimpossible for him to mention Dorothea's name in the matterandwithout some alarming urgency Mr. Brooke was as likely as notaftermeeting all representations with apparent assentto wind up bysaying"Never fearCasaubon! Depend upon ityoung Ladislawwill do you credit.  Depend upon itI have put my finger on theright thing."  And Mr. Casaubon shrank nervously fromcommunicating on the subject with Sir James Chettambetween whom andhimself there had never been any cordialityand who wouldimmediately think of Dorothea without any mention of her.

Poor Mr.Casaubon was distrustful of everybody's feeling towards himespecially as a husband.  To let any one suppose that he wasjealous would be to admit their (suspected) view of hisdisadvantages: to let them know that he did not find marriageparticularly blissful would imply his conversion to their (probably)earlier disapproval. It would be as bad as letting CarpandBrasenose generallyknow how backward he was in organizing thematter for his "Key to all Mythologies."  All throughhis life Mr. Casaubon had been trying not to admit even to himselfthe inward sores of self-doubt and jealousy.  And on the mostdelicate of all personal subjectsthe habit of proud suspiciousreticence told doubly.

Thus Mr.Casaubon remained proudlybitterly silent.  But he hadforbidden Will to come to Lowick Manorand he was mentally preparingother measures of frustration.




CHAPTERXXXVIII



"C'estbeaucoup que le jugement des hommes sur les actions humaines;

totou tard il devient efficace."--GUIZOT.



Sir JamesChettam could not look with any satisfaction on Mr. Brooke's newcourses; but it was easier to object than to hinder. Sir Jamesaccounted for his having come in alone one day to lunch with theCadwalladers by saying--

"Ican't talk to you as I wantbefore Celia:  it might hurt her.Indeedit would not be right."

"Iknow what you mean--the `Pioneer' at the Grange!" darted in Mrs.Cadwalladeralmost before the last word was off her friend'stongue.  "It is frightful--this taking to buying whistlesand blowing them in everybody's hearing.  Lying in bed all dayand playing at dominoeslike poor Lord Plessywould be more privateand bearable."

"Isee they are beginning to attack our friend Brooke in the `Trumpet'"said the Rectorlounging back and smiling easilyas he would havedone if he had been attacked himself.  "There aretremendous sarcasms against a landlord not a hundred miles fromMiddlemarchwho receives his own rentsand makes no returns."

"I dowish Brooke would leave that off" said Sir Jameswith hislittle frown of annoyance.

"Ishe really going to be put in nominationthough?" said Mr.Cadwallader.  "I saw Farebrother yesterday-- he's Whiggishhimselfhoists Brougham and Useful Knowledge; that's the worst Iknow of him;--and he says that Brooke is getting up a pretty strongparty.  Bulstrodethe bankeris his foremost man.  But hethinks Brooke would come off badly at a nomination."

"Exactly"said Sir Jameswith earnestness.  "I have been inquiringinto the thingfor I've never known anything about Middlemarchpolitics before--the county being my business.  What Brooketrusts tois that they are going to turn out Oliver because he is aPeelite. But Hawley tells me that if they send up a Whig at all it issure to be Bagsterone of those candidates who come from heavenknows wherebut dead against Ministersand an experiencedParliamentary man. Hawley's rather rough:  he forgot that he wasspeaking to me. He said if Brooke wanted a peltinghe could get itcheaper than by going to the hustings."

"Iwarned you all of it" said Mrs. Cadwalladerwaving her handsoutward.  "I said to Humphrey long agoMr. Brooke is goingto make a splash in the mud.  And now he has done it."

"Wellhe might have taken it into his head to marry" said the Rector."That would have been a graver mess than a little flirtationwith politics."

"Hemay do that afterwards" said Mrs. Cadwallader--"when hehas come out on the other side of the mud with an ague."

"WhatI care for most is his own dignity" said Sir James. "Ofcourse I care the more because of the family.  But he's gettingon in life nowand I don't like to think of his exposing himself.They will be raking up everything against him."

"Isuppose it's no use trying any persuasion" said the Rector."There's such an odd mixture of obstinacy and changeableness inBrooke. Have you tried him on the subject?"

"Wellno" said Sir James; "I feel a delicacy in appearing todictate. But I have been talking to this young Ladislaw that Brookeis making a factotum of.  Ladislaw seems clever enough foranything. I thought it as well to hear what he had to say; and he isagainst Brooke's standing this time.  I think he'll turn himround: I think the nomination may be staved off."

"Iknow" said Mrs. Cadwalladernodding.  "Theindependent member hasn't got his speeches well enough by heart."

"Butthis Ladislaw--there again is a vexatious business" said SirJames.  "We have had him two or three times to dine at theHall (you have met himby the bye) as Brooke's guest and a relationof Casaubon'sthinking he was only on a flying visit. And now I findhe's in everybody's mouth in Middlemarch as the editor of the`Pioneer.'  There are stories going about him as a quill-drivingaliena foreign emissaryand what not."

"Casaubonwon't like that" said the Rector.

"ThereIS some foreign blood in Ladislaw" returned Sir James. "Ihope he won't go into extreme opinions and carry Brooke on."

"Ohhe's a dangerous young sprigthat Mr. Ladislaw" said Mrs.Cadwallader"with his opera songs and his ready tongue. A sortof Byronic hero--an amorous conspiratorit strikes me. And ThomasAquinas is not fond of him.  I could see thatthe day thepicture was brought."

"Idon't like to begin on the subject with Casaubon" said SirJames. "He has more right to interfere than I. But it's adisagreeable affair all round.  What a character for anybodywith decent connections to show himself in!--one of those newspaperfellows! You have only to look at Keckwho manages the `Trumpet.' Isaw him the other day with Hawley.  His writing is sound enoughI believebut he's such a low fellowthat I wished he had been onthe wrong side."

"Whatcan you expect with these peddling Middlemarch papers?" said theRector.  "I don't suppose you could get a high style of mananywhere to be writing up interests he doesn't really care aboutandfor pay that hardly keeps him in at elbows."

"Exactly: that makes it so annoying that Brooke should have put a man who has asort of connection with the family in a position of that kind. For my partI think Ladislaw is rather a fool for accepting."

"Itis Aquinas's fault" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "Whydidn't he use his interest to get Ladislaw made an attache or sent toIndia? That is how families get rid of troublesome sprigs."

"Thereis no knowing to what lengths the mischief may go" said SirJamesanxiously.  "But if Casaubon says nothingwhat canI do?"

"Ohmy dear Sir James" said the Rector"don't let us make toomuch of all this.  It is likely enough to end in mere smoke.After a month or two Brooke and this Master Ladislaw will get tiredof each other; Ladislaw will take wing; Brooke will sell the`Pioneer' and everything will settle down again as usual."

"Thereis one good chance--that he will not like to feel his money oozingaway" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "If I knew the items ofelection expenses I could scare him.  It's no use plying himwith wide words like Expenditure:  I wouldn't talk ofphlebotomyI would empty a pot of leeches upon him.  What wegood stingy people don't likeis having our sixpences sucked awayfrom us."

"Andhe will not like having things raked up against him" said SirJames.  "There is the management of his estate.  theyhave begun upon that already.  And it really is painful for meto see. It is a nuisance under one's very nose.  I do think oneis bound to do the best for one's land and tenantsespecially inthese hard times."

"Perhapsthe `Trumpet' may rouse him to make a changeand some good may comeof it all" said the Rector.  "I know I should beglad. I should hear less grumbling when my tithe is paid.  Idon't know what I should do if there were not a modus in Tipton."

"Iwant him to have a proper man to look after things--I want him totake on Garth again" said Sir James.  "He got rid ofGarth twelve years agoand everything has been going wrong since. Ithink of getting Garth to manage for me--he has made such a capitalplan for my buildings; and Lovegood is hardly up to the mark. ButGarth would not undertake the Tipton estate again unless Brooke leftit entirely to him."

"Inthe right of it too" said the Rector.  "Garth is anindependent fellow:  an originalsimple-minded fellow. One daywhen he was doing some valuation for mehe told mepoint-blank that clergymen seldom understood anything about businessand did mischief when they meddled; but he said it as quietly andrespectfully as if he had been talking to me about sailors.  Hewould make a different parish of Tiptonif Brooke would let himmanage. I wishby the help of the `Trumpet' you could bring thatround."

"IfDorothea had kept near her unclethere would have been some chance"said Sir James.  "She might have got some power over him intimeand she was always uneasy about the estate. She had wonderfullygood notions about such things.  But now Casaubon takes her upentirely.  Celia complains a good deal. We can hardly get her todine with ussince he had that fit." Sir James ended with alook of pitying disgustand Mrs. Cadwallader shrugged her shouldersas much as to say that SHE was not likely to see anything new in thatdirection.

"PoorCasaubon!" the Rector said.  "That was a nasty attack.I thought he looked shattered the other day at the Archdeacon's."

"Inpoint of fact" resumed Sir Jamesnot choosing to dwell on"fits" "Brooke doesn't mean badly by his tenants orany one elsebut he has got that way of paring and clipping atexpenses."

"Comethat's a blessing" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "Thathelps him to find himself in a morning.  He may not know his ownopinionsbut he does know his own pocket."

"Idon't believe a man is in pocket by stinginess on his land"said Sir James.

"Ohstinginess may be abused like other virtues:  it will not do tokeep one's own pigs lean" said Mrs. Cadwalladerwho had risento look out of the window.  "But talk of an independentpolitician and he will appear."

"What! Brooke?" said her husband.

"Yes. Nowyou ply him with the `Trumpet' Humphrey; and I will put theleeches on him.  What will you doSir James?"

"Thefact isI don't like to begin about it with Brookein our mutualposition; the whole thing is so unpleasant.  I do wish peoplewould behave like gentlemen" said the good baronetfeelingthat this was a simple and comprehensive programme for socialwell-being.

"Hereyou all areeh?" said Mr. Brookeshuffling round and shakinghands.  "I was going up to the Hall by-and-byChettam. Butit's pleasant to find everybodyyou know.  Wellwhat do youthink of things?--going on a little fast!  It was true enoughwhat Lafitte said--`Since yesterdaya century has passed away:'--they're in the next centuryyou knowon the other side of thewater. Going on faster than we are."

"Whyyes" said the Rectortaking up the newspaper.  "Hereis the `Trumpet' accusing you of lagging behind--did you see?"

"Eh?no" said Mr. Brookedropping his gloves into his hat andhastily adjusting his eye-glass. But Mr. Cadwallader kept the paperin his handsayingwith a smile in his eyes--

"Lookhere! all this is about a landlord not a hundred miles fromMiddlemarchwho receives his own rents. They say he is the mostretrogressive man in the county. I think you must have taught themthat word in the `Pioneer.'"

"Ohthat is Keek--an illiterate fellowyou know.  Retrogressivenow! Comethat's capital.  He thinks it means destructive: they want to make me out a destructiveyou know" said Mr.Brookewith that cheerfulness which is usually sustained by anadversary's ignorance.

"Ithink he knows the meaning of the word.  Here is a sharp strokeor two.  If we had to describe a man who is retrogressive in themost evil sense of the word--we should sayhe is one who would dubhimself a reformer of our constitutionwhile every interest forwhich he is immediately responsible is going to decay: aphilanthropist who cannot bear one rogue to be hangedbut does notmind five honest tenants being half-starved: a man who shrieks atcorruptionand keeps his farms at rack-rent: who roars himself redat rotten boroughsand does not mind if every field on his farms hasa rotten gate:  a man very open-hearted to Leeds and Manchesterno doubt; he would give any number of representatives who will payfor their seats out of their own pockets:  what he objects togivingis a little return on rent-days to help a tenant to buystockor an outlay on repairs to keep the weather out at a tenant'sbarn-door or make his house look a little less like an Irishcottier's. But we all know the wag's definition of a philanthropist: a man whose charity increases directly as the square of the distance.And so on. All the rest is to show what sort of legislator aphilanthropist is likely to make" ended the Rectorthrowingdown the paperand clasping his hands at the back of his headwhilehe looked at Mr. Brooke with an air of amused neutrality.

"Comethat's rather goodyou know" said Mr. Brooketaking up thepaper and trying to bear the attack as easily as his neighbor didbut coloring and smiling rather nervously; "that about roaringhimself red at rotten boroughs--I never made a speech about rottenboroughs in my life.  And as to roaring myself red and that kindof thing-- these men never understand what is good satire. Satireyou knowshould be true up to a certain point.  Irecollect they said that in `The Edinburgh' somewhere--it must betrue up to a certain point."

"Wellthat is really a hit about the gates" said Sir Jamesanxiousto tread carefully.  "Dagley complained to me the other daythat he hadn't got a decent gate on his farm.  Garth hasinvented a new pattern of gate--I wish you would try it.  Oneought to use some of one's timber in that way."

"Yougo in for fancy farmingyou knowChettam" said Mr. Brookeappearing to glance over the columns of the "Trumpet.""That's your hobbyand you don't mind the expense."

"Ithought the most expensive hobby in the world was standing forParliament" said Mrs. Cadwallader.  "They said thelast unsuccessful candidate at Middlemarch--Gileswasn't his name?--spent ten thousand pounds and failed because he did not bribe enough.What a bitter reflection for a man!"

"Somebodywas saying" said the Rectorlaughingly"that EastRetford was nothing to Middlemarchfor bribery."

"Nothingof the kind" said Mr. Brooke.  "The Tories bribeyouknow:  Hawley and his set bribe with treatinghot codlingsandthat sort of thing; and they bring the voters drunk to the poll. Butthey are not going to have it their own way in future-- not infutureyou know.  Middlemarch is a little backwardI admit--the freemen are a little backward.  But we shall educate them--we shall bring them onyou know.  The best people there are onour side."

"Hawleysays you have men on your side who will do you harm" remarkedSir James.  "He says Bulstrode the banker will do youharm."

"Andthat if you got pelted" interposed Mrs. Cadwallader"halfthe rotten eggs would mean hatred of your committee-man. Goodheavens! Think what it must be to be pelted for wrong opinions. And I seem to remember a story of a man they pretended to chair andlet him fall into a dust-heap on purpose!"

"Peltingis nothing to their finding holes in one's coat" said theRector.  "I confess that's what I should be afraid ofifwe parsons had to stand at the hustings for preferment. I should beafraid of their reckoning up all my fishing days. Upon my wordIthink the truth is the hardest missile one can be pelted with."

"Thefact is" said Sir James"if a man goes into public lifehe must be prepared for the consequences.  He must make himselfproof against calumny."

"Mydear Chettamthat is all very fineyou know" said Mr. Brooke."But how will you make yourself proof against calumny?  Youshould read history--look at ostracismpersecutionmartyrdomandthat kind of thing.  They always happen to the best menyouknow. But what is that in Horace?--'fiat justitiaruat . . .something or other."

"Exactly"said Sir Jameswith a little more heat than usual. "What I meanby being proof against calumny is being able to point to the fact asa contradiction."

"Andit is not martyrdom to pay bills that one has run into one's self"said Mrs. Cadwallader.

But it wasSir James's evident annoyance that most stirred Mr. Brooke. "Wellyou knowChettam" he saidrisingtaking up his hat andleaning on his stick"you and I have a different system. Youare all for outlay with your farms.  I don't want to make outthat my system is good under all circumstances--under allcircumstancesyou know."

"Thereought to be a new valuation made from time to time" said SirJames.  "Returns are very well occasionallybut I like afair valuation.  What do you sayCadwallader?"

"Iagree with you.  If I were BrookeI would choke the `Trumpet'at once by getting Garth to make a new valuation of the farmsandgiving him carte blanche about gates and repairs: that's my view ofthe political situation" said the Rectorbroadening himself bysticking his thumbs in his armholesand laughing towards Mr. Brooke.

"That'sa showy sort of thing to doyou know" said Mr. Brooke. "ButI should like you to tell me of another landlord who has distressedhis tenants for arrears as little as I have.  I let the oldtenants stay on.  I'm uncommonly easylet me tell youuncommonly easy.  I have my own ideasand I take my stand onthemyou know.  A man who does that is always charged witheccentricityinconsistencyand that kind of thing.  When Ichange my line of actionI shall follow my own ideas."

AfterthatMr. Brooke remembered that there was a packet which he hadomitted to send off from the Grangeand he bade everybody hurriedlygood-by.

"Ididn't want to take a liberty with Brooke" said Sir James; "Isee he is nettled.  But as to what he says about old tenantsinpoint of fact no new tenant would take the farms on the presentterms."

"Ihave a notion that he will be brought round in time" said theRector.  "But you were pulling one wayElinorand we werepulling another.  You wanted to frighten him away from expenseand we want to frighten him into it.  Better let him try to bepopular and see that his character as a landlord stands in his way. Idon't think it signifies two straws about the `Pioneer' or Ladislawor Brooke's speechifying to the Middlemarchers. But it does signifyabout the parishioners in Tipton being comfortable."

"Excusemeit is you two who are on the wrong tack" said Mrs.Cadwallader.  "You should have proved to him that he losesmoney by bad managementand then we should all have pulled together.If you put him a-horseback on politicsI warn you of theconsequences. It was all very well to ride on sticks at home and callthem ideas."




CHAPTERXXXIX



  "Ifas I haveyou also doe
   Vertue attired inwoman see
   And dare love thatand say so too
  And forget the He and She;

  And if this lovethough placed so
   From prophane menyou hide
   Which will no faith on this bestow
  Orif they doederide:

  Then you have done a braver thing
   Than all theWorthies did
   And a braver thence will spring
  Which isto keep that hid."
   --DR. DONNE.



Sir JamesChettam's mind was not fruitful ill devicesbut his growing anxietyto "act on Brooke" once brought close to his constantbelief in Dorothea's capacity for influencebecame formativeandissued in a little plan; namelyto plead Celia's indisposition as areason for fetching Dorothea by herself to the Halland to leave herat the Grange with the carriage on the wayafter making her fullyaware of the situation concerning the management of the estate.

In thisway it happened that one day near four o'clockwhen Mr. Brooke andLadislaw were seated in the librarythe door opened and Mrs.Casaubon was announced.

Willthemoment beforehad been low in the depths of boredomandobliged tohelp Mr. Brooke in arranging "documents" about hangingsheep-stealerswas exemplifying the power our minds have of ridingseveral horses at once by inwardly arranging measures towards gettinga lodging for himself in Middlemarch and cutting short his constantresidence at the Grange; while there flitted through all thesesteadier images a tickling vision of a sheep-stealing epic writtenwith Homeric particularity.  When Mrs. Casaubon was announced hestarted up as from an electric shockand felt a tingling at hisfinger-ends. Any one observing him would have seen a change in hiscomplexionin the adjustment of his facial musclesin the vividnessof his glancewhich might have made them imagine that every moleculein his body had passed the message of a magic touch.  And so ithad. For effective magic is transcendent nature; and who shallmeasure the subtlety of those touches which convey the quality ofsoul as well as bodyand make a man's passion for one woman differfrom his passion for another as joy in the morning light over valleyand river and white mountain-top differs from joy among Chineselanterns and glass panels?  Willtoowas made of veryimpressible stuff. The bow of a violin drawn near him cleverlywouldat one stroke change the aspect of the world for himand his pointof view shifted-- as easily as his mood.  Dorothea's entrancewas the freshness of morning.

"Wellmy dearthis is pleasantnow" said Mr. Brookemeeting andkissing her.  "You have left Casaubon with his booksIsuppose. That's right.  We must not have you getting too learnedfor a womanyou know."

"Thereis no fear of thatuncle" said Dorotheaturning to Will andshaking hands with open cheerfulnesswhile she made no other form ofgreetingbut went on answering her uncle.  "I am veryslow. When I want to be busy with booksI am often playing truantamong my thoughts.  I find it is not so easy to be learned as toplan cottages."

She seatedherself beside her uncle opposite to Willand was evidentlypreoccupied with something that made her almost unmindful of him. Hewas ridiculously disappointedas if he had imagined that her cominghad anything to do with him.

"Whyyesmy dearit was quite your hobby to draw plans. But it was goodto break that off a little.  Hobbies are apt to ran away withusyou know; it doesn't do to be run away with. We must keep thereins.  I have never let myself be run away with; I alwayspulled up.  That is what I tell Ladislaw.  He and I arealikeyou know:  he likes to go into everything.  We areworking at capital punishment.  We shall do a great dealtogetherLadislaw and I."

"Yes"said Dorotheawith characteristic directness"Sir James hasbeen telling me that he is in hope of seeing a great change made soonin your management of the estate--that you are thinking of having thefarms valuedand repairs madeand the cottages improvedso thatTipton may look quite another place.  Ohhow happy!"-- shewent onclasping her handswith a return to that more childlikeimpetuous mannerwhich had been subdued since her marriage. "IfI were at home stillI should take to riding againthat I might goabout with you and see all that!  And you are going to engageMr. Garthwho praised my cottagesSir James says."

"Chettamis a little hastymy dear" said Mr. Brookecoloring slightly;"a little hastyyou know.  I never said I should doanything of the kind.  I never said I should NOT do ityouknow."

"Heonly feels confident that you will do it" said Dorotheain avoice as clear and unhesitating as that of a young chorister chantinga credo"because you mean to enter Parliament as a member whocares for the improvement of the peopleand one of the first thingsto be made better is the state of the land and the laborers. Think ofKit Downesunclewho lives with his wife and seven children in ahouse with one sitting room and one bedroom hardly larger than thistable!--and those poor Dagleysin their tumble-down farmhousewherethey live in the back kitchen and leave the other rooms to the rats! That is one reason why I did not like the pictures heredearuncle--which you think me stupid about.  I used to come from thevillage with all that dirt and coarse ugliness like a pain within meand the simpering pictures in the drawing-room seemed to me like awicked attempt to find delight in what is falsewhile we don't mindhow hard the truth is for the neighbors outside our walls. I think wehave no right to come forward and urge wider changes for gooduntilwe have tried to alter the evils which lie under our own hands."

Dorotheahad gathered emotion as she went onand had forgotten everythingexcept the relief of pouring forth her feelingsunchecked: anexperience once habitual with herbut hardly ever present since hermarriagewhich had been a perpetual struggle of energy with fear.For the momentWill's admiration was accompanied with a chillingsense of remoteness.  A man is seldom ashamed of feeling that hecannot love a woman so well when he sees a certain greatness in her:nature having intended greatness for men.  But nature hassometimes made sad oversights in carrying out her intention; as inthe case of good Mr. Brookewhose masculine consciousness was atthis moment in rather a stammering condition under the eloquence ofhis niece. He could not immediately find any other mode of expressinghimself than that of risingfixing his eye-glassand fingering thepapers before him.  At last he said--

"Thereis something in what you saymy dearsomething in what you say--butnot everything--ehLadislaw?  You and I don't like our picturesand statues being found fault with. Young ladies are a little ardentyou know--a little one-sidedmy dear.  Fine artpoetrythatkind of thingelevates a nation-- emollit mores--you understand alittle Latin now.  But--eh? what?"

Theseinterrogatives were addressed to the footman who had come in to saythat the keeper had found one of Dagley's boys with a leveret in hishand just killed.

"I'llcomeI'll come.  I shall let him off easilyyou know"said Mr. Brooke aside to Dorotheashuffling away very cheerfully.

"Ihope you feel how right this change is that I--that Sir James wishesfor" said Dorothea to Willas soon as her uncle was gone.

"Idonow I have heard you speak about it.  I shall not forgetwhat you have said.  But can you think of something else at thismoment? I may not have another opportunity of speaking to you aboutwhat has occurred" said Willrising with a movement ofimpatienceand holding the back of his chair with both hands.

"Praytell me what it is" said Dorotheaanxiouslyalso rising andgoing to the open windowwhere Monk was looking inpanting andwagging his tail.  She leaned her back against the window-frameand laid her hand on the dog's head; for thoughas we knowshe wasnot fond of pets that must be held in the hands or trodden onshewas always attentive to the feelings of dogsand very polite if shehad to decline their advances.

Willfollowed her only with his eyes and said"I presume you knowthat Mr. Casaubon has forbidden me to go to his house."

"NoI did not" said Dorotheaafter a moment's pause.  She wasevidently much moved.  "I am veryvery sorry" sheaddedmournfully. She was thinking of what Will had no knowledgeof--the conversation between her and her husband in the darkness; andshe was anew smitten with hopelessness that she could influence Mr.Casaubon's action. But the marked expression of her sorrow convincedWill that it was not all given to him personallyand that Dorotheahad not been visited by the idea that Mr. Casaubon's dislike andjealousy of him turned upon herself.  He felt an odd mixture ofdelight and vexation: of delight that he could dwell and be cherishedin her thought as in a pure homewithout suspicion and withoutstint--of vexation because he was of too little account with herwasnot formidable enoughwas treated with an unhesitating benevolencewhich did not flatter him. But his dread of any change in Dorotheawas stronger than his discontentand he began to speak again in atone of mere explanation.

"Mr.Casaubon's reason ishis displeasure at my taking a position herewhich he considers unsuited to my rank as his cousin. I have told himthat I cannot give way on this point.  It is a little too hardon me to expect that my course in life is to be hampered byprejudices which I think ridiculous.  Obligation may bestretched till it is no better than a brand of slavery stamped on uswhen we were too young to know its meaning.  I would not haveaccepted the position if I had not meant to make it useful andhonorable. I am not bound to regard family dignity in any otherlight."

Dorotheafelt wretched.  She thought her husband altogether in the wrongon more grounds than Will had mentioned.

"Itis better for us not to speak on the subject" she saidwith atremulousness not common in her voice"since you and Mr.Casaubon disagree.  You intend to remain?"  She waslooking out on the lawnwith melancholy meditation.

"Yes;but I shall hardly ever see you now" said Willin a tone ofalmost boyish complaint.

"No"said Dorotheaturning her eyes full upon him"hardly ever. ButI shall hear of you.  I shall know what you are doing for myuncle."

"Ishall know hardly anything about you" said Will.  "Noone will tell me anything."

"Ohmy life is very simple" said Dorotheaher lips curling with anexquisite smilewhich irradiated her melancholy. "I am alwaysat Lowick."

"Thatis a dreadful imprisonment" said Willimpetuously.

"Nodon't think that" said Dorothea.  "I have nolongings."

He did notspeakbut she replied to some change in his expression. "Imeanfor myself.  Except that I should like not to have so muchmore than my share without doing anything for others.  But Ihave a belief of my ownand it comforts me."

"Whatis that?" said Willrather jealous of the belief.

"Thatby desiring what is perfectly goodeven when we don't quite knowwhat it is and cannot do what we wouldwe are part of the divinepower against evil--widening the skirts of light and making thestruggle with darkness narrower."

"Thatis a beautiful mysticism--it is a--"

"Pleasenot to call it by any name" said Dorotheaputting out herhands entreatingly.  "You will say it is Persianorsomething else geographical.  It is my life.  I have foundit outand cannot part with it.  I have always been finding outmy religion since I was a little girl.  I used to pray somuch--now I hardly ever pray. I try not to have desires merely formyselfbecause they may not be good for othersand I have too muchalready.  I only told youthat you might know quite well how mydays go at Lowick."

"Godbless you for telling me!" said Willardentlyand ratherwondering at himself.  They were looking at each other like twofond children who were talking confidentially of birds.

"Whatis YOUR religion?" said Dorothea.  "I mean--not whatyou know about religionbut the belief that helps you most?"

"Tolove what is good and beautiful when I see it" said Will. "ButI am a rebel:  I don't feel boundas you doto submit to whatI don't like."

"Butif you like what is goodthat comes to the same thing" saidDorotheasmiling.

"Nowyou are subtle" said Will.

"Yes;Mr. Casaubon often says I am too subtle.  I don't feel as if Iwere subtle" said Dorotheaplayfully.  "But how longmy uncle is! I must go and look for him.  I must really go on tothe Hall. Celia is expecting me."

Willoffered to tell Mr. Brookewho presently came and said that he wouldstep into the carriage and go with Dorothea as far as Dagley'stospeak about the small delinquent who had been caught with theIeveret.  Dorothea renewed the subject of the estate as theydrove alongbut Mr. Brookenot being taken unawaresgot the talkunder his own control.

"Chettamnow" he replied; "he finds fault with memy dear; but Ishould not preserve my game if it were not for Chettamand he can'tsay that that expense is for the sake of the tenantsyou know. It's a little against my feeling:--poachingnowif you come to lookinto it--I have often thought of getting up the subject. Not longagoFlavellthe Methodist preacherwas brought up for knockingdown a hare that came across his path when he and his wife werewalking out together.  He was pretty quickand knocked it onthe neck."

"Thatwas very brutalI think" said Dorothea

"Wellnowit seemed rather black to meI confessin a Methodistpreacheryou know.  And Johnson said`You may judge what ahypoCRITE he is.'  And upon my wordI thought Flavell lookedvery little like `the highest style of man'-- as somebody calls theChristian--Youngthe poet YoungI think-- you know Young? WellnowFlavell in his shabby black gaiterspleading that hethought the Lord had sent him and his wife a good dinnerand he hada right to knock it downthough not a mighty hunter before the Lordas Nimrod was--I assure you it was rather comic: Fielding would havemade something of it--or Scottnow--Scott might have worked it up. But reallywhen I came to think of itI couldn't help liking thatthe fellow should have a bit of hare to say grace over.  It'sall a matter of prejudice--prejudice with the law on its sideyouknow--about the stick and the gaitersand so on.  Howeveritdoesn't do to reason about things; and law is law.  But I gotJohnson to be quietand I hushed the matter up. I doubt whetherChettam would not have been more severeand yet he comes down on meas if I were the hardest man in the county. But here we are atDagley's."

Mr. Brookegot down at a farmyard-gateand Dorothea drove on. It is wonderfulhow much uglier things will look when we only suspect that we areblamed for them.  Even our own persons in the glass are apt tochange their aspect for us after we have heard some frank remark ontheir less admirable points; and on the other hand it is astonishinghow pleasantly conscience takes our encroachments on those who nevercomplain or have nobody to complain for them. Dagley's homesteadnever before looked so dismal to Mr. Brooke as it did todaywith hismind thus sore about the fault-finding of the "Trumpet"echoed by Sir James.

It is truethat an observerunder that softening influence of the fine artswhich makes other people's hardships picturesquemight have beendelighted with this homestead called Freeman's End: the old house haddormer-windows in the dark red rooftwo of the chimneys were chokedwith ivythe large porch was blocked up with bundles of sticksandhalf the windows were closed with gray worm-eaten shutters aboutwhich the jasmine-boughs grew in wild luxuriance; the moulderinggarden wall with hollyhocks peeping over it was a perfect study ofhighly mingled subdued colorand there was an aged goat (keptdoubtless on interesting superstitious grounds) lying against theopen back-kitchen door. The mossy thatch of the cow-shedthe brokengray barn-doorsthe pauper laborers in ragged breeches who hadnearly finished unloading a wagon of corn into the barn ready forearly thrashing; the scanty dairy of cows being tethered for milkingand leaving one half of the shed in brown emptiness; the very pigsand white ducks seeming to wander about the uneven neglected yard asif in low spirits from feeding on a too meagre quality of rinsings--all these objects under the quiet light of a sky marbled with highclouds would have made a sort of picture which we have all pausedover as a "charming bit" touching other sensibilities thanthose which are stirred by the depression of the agriculturalinterestwith the sad lack of farming capitalas seen constantly inthe newspapers of that time.  But these troublesome associationswere just now strongly present to Mr. Brookeand spoiled the scenefor him.  Mr. Dagley himself made a figure in the landscapecarrying a pitchfork and wearing his milking-hat--a very old beaverflattened in front.  His coat and breeches were the best he hadand he would not have been wearing them on this weekday occasion ifhe had not been to market and returned later than usualhaving givenhimself the rare treat of dining at the public table of the BlueBull.  How he came to fall into this extravagance would perhapsbe matter of wonderment to himself on the morrow; but before dinnersomething in the state of the countrya slight pause in the harvestbefore the Far Dips were cutthe stories about the new King and thenumerous handbills on the wallshad seemed to warrant a littlerecklessness.  It was a maxim about Middlemarchand regarded asself-evidentthat good meat should have good drinkwhich lastDagley interpreted as plenty of table ale well followed up byrum-and-water. These liquors have so far truth in them that they werenot false enough to make poor Dagley seem merry: they only made hisdiscontent less tongue-tied than usual. He had also taken too much inthe shape of muddy political talka stimulant dangerously disturbingto his farming conservatismwhich consisted in holding that whateverisis badand any change is likely to be worse.  He wasflushedand his eyes had a decidedly quarrelsome stare as he stoodstill grasping his pitchforkwhile the landlord approached with hiseasy shuffling walkone hand in his trouser-pocket and the otherswinging round a thin walking-stick.

"Dagleymy good fellow" began Mr. Brookeconscious that he was goingto be very friendly about the boy.

"OhayI'm a good felleram I?  Thank yesirthank ye"said Dagleywith a loud snarling irony which made Fag the sheep-dogstir from his seat and prick his ears; but seeing Monk enter the yardafter some outside loiteringFag seated himself again in an attitudeof observation.  "I'm glad to hear I'm a good feller."

Mr. Brookereflected that it was market-dayand that his worthy tenant hadprobably been diningbut saw no reason why he should not go onsince he could take the precaution of repeating what he had to say toMrs. Dagley.

"Yourlittle lad Jacob has been caught killing a leveretDagley: I havetold Johnson to lock him up in the empty stable an hour or twojustto frighten himyou know.  But he will be brought homeby-and-bybefore night:  and you'll just look after himwillyouand give him a reprimandyou know?"

"NoI woon't: I'll be dee'd if I'll leather my boy to please you oranybody elsenot if you was twenty landlords istid o' oneand thata bad un."

Dagley'swords were loud enough to summon his wife to the back-kitchendoor--the only entrance ever usedand one always open except in badweather--and Mr. Brookesaying soothingly"WellwellI'llspeak to your wife--I didn't mean beatingyou know" turned towalk to the house.  But Dagleyonly the more inclined to "havehis say" with a gentleman who walked away from himfollowed atoncewith Fag slouching at his heels and sullenly evading some smalland probably charitable advances on the part of Monk.

"Howdo you doMrs. Dagley?" said Mr. Brookemaking some haste. "Icame to tell you about your boy:  I don't want you to give himthe stickyou know."  He was careful to speak quiteplainly this time.

OverworkedMrs. Dagley--a thinworn womanfrom whose life pleasure had soentirely vanished that she had not even any Sunday clothes whichcould give her satisfaction in preparing for church-- had already hada misunderstanding with her husband since he had come homeand wasin low spiritsexpecting the worst. But her husband was beforehandin answering.

"Nonor he woon't hev the stickwhether you want it or no" pursuedDagleythrowing out his voiceas if he wanted it to hit hard."You've got no call to come an' talk about sticks o' theseprimisesas you woon't give a stick tow'rt mending.  Go toMiddlemarch to ax for YOUR charrickter."

"You'dfar better hold your tongueDagley" said the wife"andnot kick your own trough over.  When a man as is father of afamily has been an' spent money at market and made himself the worsefor liquorhe's done enough mischief for one day. But I should liketo know what my boy's donesir."

"Niverdo you mind what he's done" said Dagleymore fiercely"it'smy business to speakan' not yourn.  An' I wull speaktoo.I'll hev my say--supper or no.  An' what I say isas I've livedupo' your ground from my father and grandfather afore mean' hevdropped our money into'tan' me an' my children might lie an' rot onthe ground for top-dressin' as we can't find the money to buyif theKing wasn't to put a stop."

"Mygood fellowyou're drunkyou know" said Mr. Brookeconfidentially but not judiciously.  "Another dayanotherday" he addedturning as if to go.

But Dagleyimmediately fronted himand Fag at his heels growled lowas hismaster's voice grew louder and more insultingwhile Monk also drewclose in silent dignified watch.  The laborers on the wagon werepausing to listenand it seemed wiser to be quite passive than toattempt a ridiculous flight pursued by a bawling man.

"I'mno more drunk nor you arenor so much" said Dagley. "Ican carry my liquoran' I know what I meean.  An' I meean asthe King 'ull put a stop to 'tfor them say it as knows itasthere's to be a Rinformand them landlords as never done the rightthing by their tenants 'ull be treated i' that way as they'll hev toscuttle off.  An' there's them i' Middlemarch knows what theRinform is--an' as knows who'll hev to scuttle.  Says they`Iknow who YOUR landlord is.'  An' says I`I hope you're thebetter for knowin' himI arn't.' Says they`He's a close-fistedun.' `Ay ay' says I. `He's a man for the Rinform' says they. That'swhat they says.  An' I made out what the Rinform were-- an' itwere to send you an' your likes a-scuttlin' an' wi' prettystrong-smellin' things too.  An' you may do as you like nowforI'm none afeard on you.  An' you'd better let my boy aloanan'look to yoursenafore the Rinform has got upo' your back. That's what I'n got to say" concluded Mr. Dagleystriking hisfork into the ground with a firmness which proved inconvenient as hetried to draw it up again.

At thislast action Monk began to bark loudlyand it was a moment for Mr.Brooke to escape.  He walked out of the yard as quickly as hecouldin some amazement at the novelty of his situation. He hadnever been insulted on his own land beforeand had been inclined toregard himself as a general favorite (we are all apt to do sowhenwe think of our own amiability more than of what other people arelikely to want of us). When he had quarrelled with Caleb Garth twelveyears before he had thought that the tenants would be pleased at thelandlord's taking everything into his own hands.

Some whofollow the narrative of his experience may wonder at the midnightdarkness of Mr. Dagley; but nothing was easier in those times thanfor an hereditary farmer of his grade to be ignorantin spitesomehow of having a rector in the twin parish who was a gentleman tothe backbonea curate nearer at hand who preached more learnedlythan the rectora landlord who had gone into everythingespeciallyfine art and social improvementand all the lights of Middlemarchonly three miles off.  As to the facility with which mortalsescape knowledgetry an average acquaintance in the intellectualblaze of Londonand consider what that eligible person for adinner-party would have been if he had learned scant skill in"summing" from the parish-clerk of Tiptonand read achapter in the Bible with immense difficultybecause such names asIsaiah or Apollos remained unmanageable after twice spelling. PoorDagley read a few verses sometimes on a Sunday eveningand the worldwas at least not darker to him than it had been before. Some thingshe knew thoroughlynamelythe slovenly habits of farmingand theawkwardness of weatherstock and cropsat Freeman's End-- so calledapparently by way of sarcasmto imply that a man was free to quit itif he chosebut that there was no earthly "beyond" open tohim.



CHAPTERXL



  Wise in his daily work was he:
   To fruits ofdiligence
   And not to faiths or polity
  He plied his utmost sense.
   These perfect in theirlittle parts
   Whose work is all their prize--
  Without them how could lawsor arts

 

   Or towered cities rise?



Inwatching effectsif only of an electric batteryit is oftennecessary to change our place and examine a particular mixture orgroup at some distance from the point where the movement we areinterested in was set up.  The group I am moving towards is atCaleb Garth's breakfast-table in the large parlor where the maps anddesk were:  fathermotherand five of the children. Mary wasjust now at home waiting for a situationwhile Ch