unfortunate lad, is Fred. He'd need have—some luck by-and-by to make up for all this—else I don't know who'd have an eldest son."
"Don't say so, Vincy," said the mother, with a quivering lip, "if you don't want him to be taken from me."
"It will worret you to death, Lucy; that I can see," said Mr Vincy, more mildly. "However, Wrench shall know what I think of the matter." (What Mr Vincy thought confusedly was, that the fever might somehow have been hindered if Wrench had shown the proper solicitude about his—the Mayor's—family.) "I'm the last man to give in to the cry about new doctors, or new parsons either—whether they're Bulstrode's men or not. But Wrench shall know what I think, take it as he will."
Wrench did not take it at all well. Lydgate was as polite as he could be in his offhand way, but politeness in a man who has placed you at a disadvantage is only an additional exasperation, especially if he happens to have been an object of dislike beforehand. Country practitioners used to be an irritable species, susceptible on the point of honour; and Mr Wrench was one of the most irritable among them. He did not refuse to meet Lydgate in the evening, but his temper was some-