BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
75. CHAPTER LXXV.
It came shortly before the memorable meeting at the town-hall,
and was nothing less than a letter from Will Ladislaw to Lydgate,
which turned indeed chiefly on his new interest in plans of colonization,
but mentioned incidentally, that he might find it necessary to pay
a visit to Middlemarch within the next few weeks--a very pleasant
necessity, he said, almost as good as holidays to a schoolboy.
He hoped there was his old place on the rug, and a great deal of
music in store for him. But he was quite uncertain as to the time.
While Lydgate was reading the letter to Rosamond, her face looked
like a reviving flower--it grew prettier and more blooming.
There was nothing unendurable now: the debts were paid, Mr. Ladislaw
was coming, and Lydgate would be persuaded to leave Middlemarch
and settle in London, which was "so different from a provincial town."
That was a bright bit of morning. But soon the sky became black
over poor Rosamond. The presence of a new gloom in her husband,
about which he was entirely reserved towards her--for he dreaded
to expose his lacerated feeling to her neutrality and misconception--
soon received a painfully strange explanation, alien to all her
previous notions of what could affect her happiness. In the new
gayety of her spirits, thinking that Lydgate had merely a worse fit
of moodiness than usual, causing him to leave her remarks unanswered,
and evidently to keep out of her way as much as possible, she chose,
a few days after the meeting, and without speaking to him on
the subject, to send out notes of invitation for a small evening party,
feeling convinced that this was a judicious step, since people seemed
to have been keeping aloof from them, and wanted restoring to the
old habit of intercourse. When the invitations had been accepted,
she would tell Lydgate, and give him a wise admonition as to how
a medical man should behave to his neighbors; for Rosamond had
the gravest little airs possible about other people's duties.
But all the invitations were declined, and the last answer came
into Lydgate's hands.
"This is Chichely's scratch. What is he writing to you about?"
said Lydgate, wonderingly, as he handed the note to her.
She was obliged to let him see it, and, looking at her severely,