BOOK IV. THREE LOVE PROBLEMS.
39. CHAPTER XXXIX.
"If, as I have, you also doe,
Vertue attired in woman see,
And dare love that, and say so too,
And forget the He and She;
And if this love, though placed so,
From prophane men you hide,
Which will no faith on this bestow,
Or, if they doe, deride:
Then you have done a braver thing
Than all the Worthies did,
And a braver thence will spring,
Which is, to keep that hid."
Sir James Chettam's mind was not fruitful ill devices, but his growing
anxiety to "act on Brooke," once brought close to his constant
belief in Dorothea's capacity for influence, became formative,
and issued in a little plan; namely, to plead Celia's indisposition
as a reason for fetching Dorothea by herself to the Hall, and to
leave her at the Grange with the carriage on the way, after making
her fully aware of the situation concerning the management of the estate.
In this way it happened that one day near four o'clock, when
Mr. Brooke and Ladislaw were seated in the library, the door
opened and Mrs. Casaubon was announced.
Will, the moment before, had been low in the depths of boredom, and,
obliged to help Mr. Brooke in arranging "documents" about hanging
sheep-stealers, was exemplifying the power our minds have of riding
several horses at once by inwardly arranging measures towards getting
a lodging for himself in Middlemarch and cutting short his constant
residence at the Grange; while there flitted through all these steadier
images a tickling vision of a sheep-stealing epic written with
Homeric particularity. When Mrs. Casaubon was announced he started
up as from an electric shock, and felt a tingling at his finger-ends.
Any one observing him would have seen a change in his complexion,
in the adjustment of his facial muscles, in the vividness of his glance,
which might have made them imagine that every molecule in his
body had passed the message of a magic touch. And so it had.
For effective magic is transcendent nature; and who shall measure
the subtlety of those touches which convey the quality of soul
as well as body, and make a man's passion for one woman differ from
his passion for another as joy in the morning light over valley and
river and white mountain-top differs from joy among Chinese lanterns
and glass panels? Will, too, was made of very impressible stuff.
The bow of a violin drawn near him cleverly, would at one stroke
change the aspect of the world for him, and his point of view shifted--
as easily as his mood. Dorothea's entrance was the freshness of morning.