Wakefield sifts his ideas, however, as minutely as he may, and finds himself curious to know the progress of matters at home--how his exemplary wife will endure her widowhood
of a week; and, briefly, how the little sphere of creatures and circumstances, in which he was a central object, will be affected by his removal.
The first year of her widowhood
was just at an end, and she had past it in a good deal of retirement, seeing only a few particular friends, and dividing her time between her devotions and novels, of which she was always extremely fond.
But he was helpless himself in the hands of my lady and the Baron-- and the only kind thing he could do was to provide for me in my widowhood
, like the true nobleman he was!'
Now, breaking the unnatural silence of a whole city, the executioner showed the people the head of the king--and now, it seemed almost in the same breath, the bead of his fair wife which had had eight weary months of imprisoned widowhood
and misery, to turn it grey.
Heaven alone can tell, with what vague hopes of duty, and affection; with what strange promptings of nature, intelligible to him as to a man of radiant mind and most enlarged capacity; with what dim memories of children he had played with when a child himself, who had prattled of their fathers, and of loving them, and being loved; with how many half-remembered, dreamy associations of his mother's grief and tears and widowhood
; he watched and tended this man.
She considered herself to be of French descent, which might have been true; and after a good many years of married life with a licensed victualler of the more common sort, she provided for the years of widowhood
by letting furnished apartments for gentlemen near Vauxhall Bridge Road in a square once of some splendour and still included in the district of Belgravia.
The carriages were filled with young and beautiful women, who awaited the opportunity of saluting, as she passed, the daughter of that daughter of France who, during her widowhood
and exile, had sometimes gone without wood for her fire, and bread for her table, whom the meanest attendants at the chateau had treated with indifference and contempt.
She was as much convinced of his meaning to gain Anne in time as of his deserving her, and was beginning to calculate the number of weeks which would free him from all the remaining restraints of widowhood
, and leave him at liberty to exert his most open powers of pleasing.
Will Ladislaw was one of the busiest at this time; and though Dorothea's widowhood
was continually in his thought, he was so far from wishing to be spoken to on the subject, that when Lydgate sought him out to tell him what had passed about the Lowick living, he answered rather waspishly--
"Helena is no longer condemned to the seclusion of widowhood
. Time enough has passed to permit of her mixing again in society.
In the first days of her widowhood
, she sent for me, and made her Will.
On the twenty-fifth of April, and the eighteenth of June, the days of marriage and widowhood
, she kept her room entirely, consecrating them (and we do not know how many hours of solitary night-thought, her little boy sleeping in his crib by her bedside) to the memory of that departed friend.