BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.
60. CHAPTER LX.
"Everybody" that day did not include Mr. Bulstrode, whose health
could not well endure crowds and draughts. But Mrs. Bulstrode had
particularly wished to have a certain picture--a "Supper at Emmaus,"
attributed in the catalogue to Guido; and at the last moment
before the day of the sale Mr. Bulstrode had called at the office
of the "Pioneer," of which he was now one of the proprietors,
to beg of Mr. Ladislaw as a great favor that he would obligingly use
his remarkable knowledge of pictures on behalf of Mrs. Bulstrode,
and judge of the value of this particular painting--"if," added
the scrupulously polite banker, attendance at the sale would not
interfere with the arrangements for your departure, which I know
This proviso might have sounded rather satirically in Will's ear
if he had been in a mood to care about such satire. It referred
to an understanding entered into many weeks before with the
proprietors of the paper, that he should be at liberty any day
he pleased to hand over the management to the subeditor whom he
had been training; since he wished finally to quit Middlemarch.
But indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of
doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable; and we all know
the difficulty of carrying out a resolve when we secretly long
that it may turn out to be unnecessary. In such states of mind
the most incredulous person has a private leaning towards miracle:
impossible to conceive how our wish could be fulfilled, still--
very wonderful things have happened! Will did not confess this
weakness to himself, but he lingered. What was the use of going
to London at that time of the year? The Rugby men who would remember
him were not there; and so far as political writing was concerned,
he would rather for a few weeks go on with the "Pioneer." At the
present moment, however, when Mr. Bulstrode was speaking to him,
he had both a strengthened resolve to go and an equally strong
resolve not to go till he had once more seen Dorothea. Hence he
replied that he had reasons for deferring his departure a little,
and would be happy to go to the sale.