Middlemarch HTML version

Chapter 28
1st Gent. All times are good to seek your wedded home
Bringing a mutual delight.
2d Gent. Why, true.
The calendar hath not an evil day
For souls made one by love, and even death
Were sweetness, if it came like rolling waves
While they two clasped each other, and foresaw
No life apart.
Mr. and Mrs. Casaubon, returning from their wedding journey, arrived at Lowick
Manor in the middle of January. A light snow was falling as they descended at
the door, and in the morning, when Dorothea passed from her dressing-room
avenue the blue-green boudoir that we know of, she saw the long avenue of
limes lifting their trunks from a white earth, and spreading white branches against
the dun and motionless sky. The distant flat shrank in uniform whiteness and low-
hanging uniformity of cloud. The very furniture in the room seemed to have
shrunk since she saw it before: the slag in the tapestry looked more like a ghost
in his ghostly blue-green world; the volumes of polite literature in the bookcase
looked morn like immovable imitations of books. The bright fire of dry oak-boughs
burning on the dogs seemed an incongruous renewal of life and glow--like the
figure of Dorothea herself as she entered carrying the red-leather cases
containing the cameos for Celia.
She was glowing from her morning toilet as only healthful youth can glow: there
was gem-like brightness on her coiled hair and in her hazel eyes; there was
warm red life in her lips; her throat had a breathing whiteness above the differing
white of the fur which itself seemed to wind about her neck and cling down her
blue-gray pelisse with a tenderness gathered from her own, a sentient
commingled innocence which kept its loveliness against the crystalline purity of
the outdoor snow. As she laid the cameo- cases on the table in the bow-window,
she unconsciously kept her hands on them, immediately absorbed in looking out
on the still, white enclosure which made her visible world.
Mr. Casaubon, who had risen early complaining of palpitation, was in the library
giving audience to his curate Mr. Tucker. By-and-by Celia would come in her
quality of bridesmaid as well as sister, and through the next weeks there would
be wedding visits received and given; all in continuance of that transitional life
understood to correspond with the excitement of bridal felicity, and keeping up
the sense of busy ineffectiveness, as of a dream which the dreamer begins to
suspect. The duties of her married life, contemplated as so great beforehand,
seemed to be shrinking with the furniture and the white vapor-walled landscape.
The clear heights where she expected to walk in full communion had become
difficult to see even in her imagination; the delicious repose of the soul on a
complete superior had been shaken into uneasy effort and alarmed with dim
presentiment. When would the days begin of that active wifely devotion which
was to strengthen her husband's life and exalt her own? Never perhaps, as she