Middlemarch HTML version
1st Gent. How class your man?--as better than the most,
Or, seeming better, worse beneath that cloak?
As saint or knave, pilgrim or hypocrite?
2d Gent. Nay, tell me how you class your wealth of books
The drifted relics of all time.
As well sort them at once by size and livery:
Vellum, tall copies, and the common calf
Will hardly cover more diversity
Than all your labels cunningly devised
To class your unread authors.
In consequence of what he had heard from Fred, Mr. Vincy determined to speak
with Mr. Bulstrode in his private room at the Bank at half-past one, when he was
usually free from other callers. But a visitor had come in at one o'clock, and Mr.
Bulstrode had so much to say to him, that there was little chance of the interview
being over in half an hour. The banker's speech was fluent, but it was also
copious, and he used up an appreciable amount of time in brief meditative
pauses. Do not imagine his sickly aspect to have been of the yellow, black-haired
sort: he had a pale blond skin, thin gray-besprinkled brown hair, light-gray eyes,
and a large forehead. Loud men called his subdued tone an undertone, and
sometimes implied that it was inconsistent with openness; though there seems to
be no reason why a loud man should not be given to concealment of anything
except his own voice, unless it can be shown that Holy Writ has placed the seat
of candor in the lungs. Mr. Bulstrode had also a deferential bending attitude in
listening, and an apparently fixed attentiveness in his eyes which made those
persons who thought themselves worth hearing infer that he was seeking the
utmost improvement from their discourse. Others, who expected to make no
great figure, disliked this kind of moral lantern turned on them. If you are not
proud of your cellar, there is no thrill of satisfaction in seeing your guest hold up
his wine-glass to the light and look judicial. Such joys are reserved for conscious
merit. Hence Mr. Bulstrode's close attention was not agreeable to the publicans
and sinners in Middlemarch; it was attributed by some to his being a Pharisee,
and by others to his being Evangelical. Less superficial reasoners among them
wished to know who his father and grandfather were, observing that five-and-
twenty years ago nobody had ever heard of a Bulstrode in Middlemarch. To his
present visitor, Lydgate, the scrutinizing look was a matter of indifference: he
simply formed an unfavorable opinion of the banker's constitution, and concluded
that he had an eager inward life with little enjoyment of tangible things.
"I shall be exceedingly obliged if you will look in on me here occasionally, Mr.
Lydgate," the banker observed, after a brief pause. "If, as I dare to hope, I have
the privilege of finding you a valuable coadjutor in the interesting matter of
hospital management, there will be many questions which we shall need to
discuss in private. As to the new hospital, which is nearly finished, I shall
consider what you have said about the advantages of the special destination for
fevers. The decision will rest with me, for though Lord Medlicote has given the