Dorothea had learned to read the signs of her husband's mood, and she saw that the morning had become more foggy there during the last hour. She was going silently to her desk when he said, in that distant tone which implied that he was discharging a disagreeable duty—
"Dorothea, here is a letter for you, which was enclosed in one addressed to me."
It was a letter of two pages, and she immediately looked at the signature.
"Mr Ladislaw! What can he have to say to me?" she exclaimed, in a tone of pleased surprise. "But," she added, looking at Mr Casaubon, "I can imagine what he has written to you about."
"You can, if you please, read the letter," said Mr Casaubon, severely pointing to it with his pen, and not looking at her. "But I may as well say beforehand, that I must decline the proposal it contains to pay a visit here. I trust I may be excused for desiring an interval of complete freedom from such distractions as have been hitherto inevitable, and especially from guests whose desultory vivacity makes their presence a fatigue."
There had been no clashing of temper between Dorothea and her husband since that little explo-