BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
13. CHAPTER XIII.
"I shall be exceedingly obliged if you will look in on me here
occasionally, Mr. Lydgate," the banker observed, after a brief pause.
"If, as I dare to hope, I have the privilege of finding you a
valuable coadjutor in the interesting matter of hospital management,
there will be many questions which we shall need to discuss
in private. As to the new hospital, which is nearly finished,
I shall consider what you have said about the advantages of the special
destination for fevers. The decision will rest with me, for though
Lord Medlicote has given the land and timber for the building,
he is not disposed to give his personal attention to the object."
"There are few things better worth the pains in a provincial town
like this," said Lydgate. "A fine fever hospital in addition
to the old infirmary might be the nucleus of a medical school here,
when once we get our medical reforms; and what would do more for
medical education than the spread of such schools over the country?
A born provincial man who has a grain of public spirit as well as a
few ideas, should do what he can to resist the rush of everything
that is a little better than common towards London. Any valid
professional aims may often find a freer, if not a richer field,
in the provinces."
One of Lydgate's gifts was a voice habitually deep and sonorous,
yet capable of becoming very low and gentle at the right moment.
About his ordinary bearing there was a certain fling, a fearless
expectation of success, a confidence in his own powers and integrity
much fortified by contempt for petty obstacles or seductions of which
he had had no experience. But this proud openness was made lovable
by an expression of unaffected good-will. Mr. Bulstrode perhaps liked
him the better for the difference between them in pitch and manners;
he certainly liked him the better, as Rosamond did, for being a stranger
in Middlemarch. One can begin so many things with a new person!--
even begin to be a better man.