BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
74. CHAPTER LXXIV.
"But `worse' can never mean finding out that your husband is fit
for Newgate," said Mrs. Hackbutt. "Fancy living with such a man!
I should expect to be poisoned."
"Yes, I think myself it is an encouragement to crime if such men are
to be taken care of and waited on by good wives," said Mrs. Tom Toller.
"And a good wife poor Harriet has been," said Mrs. Plymdale.
"She thinks her husband the first of men. It's true he has never
denied her anything."
"Well, we shall see what she will do," said Mrs. Hackbutt.
"I suppose she knows nothing yet, poor creature. I do hope and trust
I shall not see her, for I should be frightened to death lest I
should say anything about her husband. Do you think any hint has
"I should hardly think so," said Mrs. Tom Toller. "We hear that he
is ill, and has never stirred out of the house since the meeting
on Thursday; but she was with her girls at church yesterday,
and they had new Tuscan bonnets. Her own had a feather in it.
I have never seen that her religion made any difference in her dress."
"She wears very neat patterns always," said Mrs. Plymdale,
a little stung. "And that feather I know she got dyed a pale
lavender on purpose to be consistent. I must say it of Harriet
that she wishes to do right."
"As to her knowing what has happened, it can't be kept from her long,"
said Mrs. Hackbutt. "The Vincys know, for Mr. Vincy was at the meeting.
It will he a great blow to him. There is his daughter as well
as his sister."
"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Sprague. "Nobody supposes that Mr. Lydgate
can go on holding up his head in Middlemarch, things look so black
about the thousand pounds he took just at that man's death.
It really makes one shudder."
"Pride must have a fall," said Mrs. Hackbutt.