BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
16. CHAPTER XVI.
Rosamond, in fact, was entirely occupied not exactly with Tertius
Lydgate as he was in himself, but with his relation to her; and it
was excusable in a girl who was accustomed to hear that all young
men might, could, would be, or actually were in love with her,
to believe at once that Lydgate could be no exception. His looks
and words meant more to her than other men's, because she cared
more for them: she thought of them diligently, and diligently
attended to that perfection of appearance, behavior, sentiments,
and all other elegancies, which would find in Lydgate a more
adequate admirer than she had yet been conscious of.
For Rosamond, though she would never do anything that was disagreeable
to her, was industrious; and now more than ever she was active in
sketching her landscapes and market-carts and portraits of friends,
in practising her music, and in being from morning till night her
own standard of a perfect lady, having always an audience in her
own consciousness, with sometimes the not unwelcome addition of a more
variable external audience in the numerous visitors of the house.
She found time also to read the best novels, and even the second best,
and she knew much poetry by heart. Her favorite poem was "Lalla Rookh."
"The best girl in the world! He will be a happy fellow who gets her!"
was the sentiment of the elderly gentlemen who visited the Vincys;
and the rejected young men thought of trying again, as is the fashion
in country towns where the horizon is not thick with coming rivals.
But Mrs. Plymdale thought that Rosamond had been educated to a
ridiculous pitch, for what was the use of accomplishments which would
be all laid aside as soon as she was married? While her aunt Bulstrode,
who had a sisterly faithfulness towards her brother's family,
had two sincere wishes for Rosamond--that she might show a more
serious turn of mind, and that she might meet with a husband whose
wealth corresponded to her habits.