BOOK III. WAITING FOR DEATH.
26. CHAPTER XXVI.
This was a point on which Lydgate smarted as much as Wrench could desire.
To be puffed by ignorance was not only humiliating, but perilous,
and not more enviable than the reputation of the weather-prophet.
He was impatient of the foolish expectations amidst which all work
must be carried on, and likely enough to damage himself as much
as Mr. Wrench could wish, by an unprofessional openness.
However, Lydgate was installed as medical attendant on the Vincys,
and the event was a subject of general conversation in Middlemarch.
Some said, that the Vincys had behaved scandalously, that Mr. Vincy
had threatened Wrench, and that Mrs. Vincy had accused him of
poisoning her son. Others were of opinion that Mr. Lydgate's passing
by was providential, that he was wonderfully clever in fevers,
and that Bulstrode was in the right to bring him forward.
Many people believed that Lydgate's coming to the town at all was
really due to Bulstrode; and Mrs. Taft, who was always counting
stitches and gathered her information in misleading fragments
caught between the rows of her knitting, had got it into her head
that Mr. Lydgate was a natural son of Bulstrode's, a fact which
seemed to justify her suspicions of evangelical laymen.
She one day communicated this piece of knowledge to Mrs. Farebrother,
who did not fail to tell her son of it, observing--
"I should not be surprised at anything in Bulstrode, but I should
be sorry to think it of Mr. Lydgate."
"Why, mother," said Mr. Farebrother, after an explosive laugh,
"you know very well that Lydgate is of a good family in the North.
He never heard of Bulstrode before he came here."
"That is satisfactory so far as Mr. Lydgate is concerned, Camden,"
said the old lady, with an air of precision.--"But as to Bulstrode--
the report may be true of some other son."