Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. II, 1872.djvu/77

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67
BOOK III.—WAITING FOR DEATH.

what tried on the occasion. He had to hear Mrs Vincy say—

"Oh, Mr Wrench, what have I ever done that you should use me so?—To go away, and never to come again! And my boy might have been stretched a corpse!"

Mr Vincy, who had been keeping up a sharp fire on the enemy Infection, and was a good deal heated in consequence, started up when he heard Wrench come in, and went into the hall to let him know what he thought.

"I'll tell you what, Wrench, this is beyond a joke," said the Mayor, who of late had had to rebuke offenders with an official air, and how broadened himself by putting his thumbs in his armholes.—"To let fever get unawares into a house like this. There are some things that ought to be actionable, and are not so—that's my opinion."

But irrational reproaches were easier to bear than the sense of being instructed, or rather the sense that a younger man, like Lydgate, inwardly considered him in need of instruction, for "in point of fact," Mr Wrench afterwards said, Lydgate paraded flighty, foreign notions, which would not wear. He swallowed his ire for the moment, but he afterwards wrote to decline further attendance