BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
72. CHAPTER LXXII.
Full souls are double mirrors, making still
An endless vista of fair things before,
Repeating things behind.
Dorothea's impetuous generosity, which would have leaped at once
to the vindication of Lydgate from the suspicion of having
accepted money as a bribe, underwent a melancholy check when she
came to consider all the circumstances of the case by the light
of Mr. Farebrother's experience.
"It is a delicate matter to touch," he said. "How can we begin
to inquire into it? It must be either publicly by setting the
magistrate and coroner to work, or privately by questioning Lydgate.
As to the first proceeding there is no solid ground to go upon,
else Hawley would have adopted it; and as to opening the subject
with Lydgate, I confess I should shrink from it. He would probably
take it as a deadly insult. I have more than once experienced the
difficulty of speaking to him on personal matters. And--one should
know the truth about his conduct beforehand, to feel very confident
of a good result."
"I feel convinced that his conduct has not been guilty: I believe that
people are almost always better than their neighbors think they are,"
said Dorothea. Some of her intensest experience in the last two
years had set her mind strongly in opposition to any unfavorable
construction of others; and for the first time she felt rather
discontented with Mr. Farebrother. She disliked this cautious
weighing of consequences, instead of an ardent faith in efforts
of justice and mercy, which would conquer by their emotional force.
Two days afterwards, he was dining at the Manor with her uncle
and the Chettams, and when the dessert was standing uneaten,
the servants were out of the room, and Mr. Brooke was nodding
in a nap, she returned to the subject with renewed vivacity.
"Mr. Lydgate would understand that if his friends hear a calumny
about him their first wish must be to justify him. What do we
live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?
I cannot be indifferent to the troubles of a man who advised me
in MY trouble, and attended me in my illness."