BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
59. CHAPTER LIX.
They said of old the Soul had human shape,
But smaller, subtler than the fleshly self,
So wandered forth for airing when it pleased.
And see! beside her cherub-face there floats
A pale-lipped form aerial whispering
Its promptings in that little shell her ear."
News is often dispersed as thoughtlessly and effectively as that
pollen which the bees carry off (having no idea how powdery they are)
when they are buzzing in search of their particular nectar.
This fine comparison has reference to Fred Vincy, who on that evening
at Lowick Parsonage heard a lively discussion among the ladies on
the news which their old servant had got from Tantripp concerning
Mr. Casaubon's strange mention of Mr. Ladislaw in a codicil to his will
made not long before his death. Miss Winifred was astounded to find
that her brother had known the fact before, and observed that Camden
was the most wonderful man for knowing things and not telling them;
whereupon Mary Garth said that the codicil had perhaps got mixed
up with the habits of spiders, which Miss Winifred never would
listen to. Mrs. Farebrother considered that the news had something
to do with their having only once seen Mr. Ladislaw at Lowick,
and Miss Noble made many small compassionate mewings.
Fred knew little and cared less about Ladislaw and the Casaubons,
and his mind never recurred to that discussion till one day calling
on Rosamond at his mother's request to deliver a message as he passed,
he happened to see Ladislaw going away. Fred and Rosamond had little
to say to each other now that marriage had removed her from collision
with the unpleasantness of brothers, and especially now that he had
taken what she held the stupid and even reprehensible step of giving
up the Church to take to such a business as Mr. Garth's. Hence
Fred talked by preference of what he considered indifferent news,
and "a propos of that young Ladislaw" mentioned what he had
heard at Lowick Parsonage.