BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
72. CHAPTER LXXII.
"But, my dear Mrs. Casaubon," said Mr. Farebrother, smiling gently
at her ardor, "character is not cut in marble--it is not something
solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing,
and may become diseased as our bodies do."
"Then it may be rescued and healed," said Dorothea "I should not
be afraid of asking Mr. Lydgate to tell me the truth, that I might
help him. Why should I be afraid? Now that I am not to have
the land, James, I might do as Mr. Bulstrode proposed, and take
his place in providing for the Hospital; and I have to consult
Mr. Lydgate, to know thoroughly what are the prospects of doing
good by keeping up the present plans. There is the best opportunity
in the world for me to ask for his confidence; and he would be able
to tell me things which might make all the circumstances clear.
Then we would all stand by him and bring him out of his trouble.
People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might
show on behalf of their nearest neighbors." Dorothea's eyes had
a moist brightness in them, and the changed tones of her voice
roused her uncle, who began to listen.
"It is true that a woman may venture on some efforts of sympathy which
would hardly succeed if we men undertook them," said Mr. Farebrother,
almost converted by Dorothea's ardor.
"Surely, a woman is bound to be cautious and listen to those who
know the world better than she does." said Sir James, with his
little frown. "Whatever you do in the end, Dorothea, you should
really keep back at present, and not volunteer any meddling with
this Bulstrode business. We don't know yet what may turn up.
You must agree with me?" he ended, looking at Mr. Farebrother.
"I do think it would be better to wait," said the latter.
"Yes, yes, my dear," said Mr. Brooke, not quite knowing at what point
the discussion had arrived, but coming up to it with a contribution
which was generally appropriate. "It is easy to go too far, you know.
You must not let your ideas run away with you. And as to being
in a hurry to put money into schemes--it won't do, you know.
Garth has drawn me in uncommonly with repairs, draining, that sort
of thing: I'm uncommonly out of pocket with one thing or another.
I must pull up. As for you, Chettam, you are spending a fortune on
those oak fences round your demesne."