BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
59. CHAPTER LIX.
Now Lydgate, like Mr. Farebrother, knew a great deal more than
he told, and when he had once been set thinking about the relation
between Will and Dorothea his conjectures had gone beyond the fact.
He imagined that there was a passionate attachment on both sides,
and this struck him as much too serious to gossip about.
He remembered Will's irritability when he had mentioned Mrs. Casaubon,
and was the more circumspect. On the whole his surmises, in addition
to what he knew of the fact, increased his friendliness and tolerance
towards Ladislaw, and made him understand the vacillation which kept
him at Middlemarch after he had said that he should go away.
It was significant of the separateness be tween Lydgate's mind and
Rosamond's that he had no impulse to speak to her on the subject;
indeed, he did not quite trust her reticence towards Will.
And he was right there; though he had no vision of the way
in which her mind would act in urging her to speak.
When she repeated Fred's news to Lydgate, he said, "Take care you
don't drop the faintest hint to Ladislaw, Rosy. He is likely to fly
out as if you insulted him. Of course it is a painful affair."
Rosamond turned her neck and patted her hair, looking the image
of placid indifference. But the next time Will came when Lydgate
was away, she spoke archly about his not going to London as he
"I know all about it. I have a confidential little bird," said she,
showing very pretty airs of her head over the bit of work held
high between her active fingers. "There is a powerful magnet
in this neighborhood."
"To be sure there is. Nobody knows that better than you," said Will,
with light gallantry, but inwardly prepared to be angry.
"It is really the most charming romance: Mr. Casaubon jealous,
and foreseeing that there was no one else whom Mrs. Casaubon would
so much like to marry, and no one who would so much like to marry
her as a certain gentleman; and then laying a plan to spoil all
by making her forfeit her property if she did marry that gentleman--
and then--and then--and then--oh, I have no doubt the end will be