BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
62. CHAPTER LXII.
"He was a squyer of lowe degre,
That loved the king's daughter of Hungrie.
Will Ladislaw's mind was now wholly bent on seeing Dorothea again,
and forthwith quitting Middlemarch. The morning after his agitating
scene with Bulstrode he wrote a brief letter to her, saying that
various causes had detained him in the neighborhood longer than he
had expected, and asking her permission to call again at Lowick
at some hour which she would mention on the earliest possible day,
he being anxious to depart, but unwilling to do so until she
had granted him an interview. He left the letter at the office,
ordering the messenger to carry it to Lowick Manor, and wait for
Ladislaw felt the awkwardness of asking for more last words.
His former farewell had been made in the hearing of Sir James Chettam,
and had been announced as final even to the butler. It is certainly
trying to a man's dignity to reappear when he is not expected to do so:
a first farewell has pathos in it, but to come back for a second
lends an opening to comedy, and it was possible even that there
might be bitter sneers afloat about Will's motives for lingering.
Still it was on the whole more satisfactory to his feeling to take
the directest means of seeing Dorothea, than to use any device
which might give an air of chance to a meeting of which he
wished her to understand that it was what he earnestly sought.
When he had parted from her before, he had been in ignorance
of facts which gave a new aspect to the relation between them,
and made a more absolute severance than he had then believed in.
He knew nothing of Dorothea's private fortune, and being
little used to reflect on such matters, took it for granted
that according to Mr. Casaubon's arrangement marriage to him,
Will Ladislaw, would mean that she consented to be penniless.
That was not what he could wish for even in his secret heart,
or even if she had been ready to meet such hard contrast for his sake.
And then, too, there was the fresh smart of that disclosure about
his mother's family, which if known would be an added reason why
Dorothea's friends should look down upon him as utterly below her.
The secret hope that after some years he might come back with the
sense that he had at least a personal value equal to her wealth,
seemed now the dreamy continuation of a dream. This change would surely
justify him in asking Dorothea to receive him once more.