Bathsheba was at this time in her room, dressing for the event. She had called for candles, and Liddy entered and placed one on each side of her mistress's glass.
"Don't go away, Liddy," said Bathsheba, almost timidly. "I am foolishly agitated—I cannot tell why. I wish I had not been obliged to go to this dance; but there's no escaping now. I have not spoken to Mr. Boldwood since the autumn, when I promised to see him at Christmas on business, but I had no idea there was to be anything of this kind."
"But I would go now," said Liddy, who was going with her; for Boldwood had been indiscriminate in his invitations.
"Yes, I shall make my appearance, of course," said Bathsheba. "But I am the cause of the party, and that upsets me!—Don't tell, Liddy."
"Oh no, ma'am. You the cause of it, ma'am?"
"Yes. I am the reason of the party—I. If it had not been for me, there would never have been one. I can't explain any more—there's no more to be explained. I wish I had never seen Weatherbury."
"That's wicked of you—to wish to be worse off than you are."
"No, Liddy. I have never been free from trouble since I have lived here, and this party is likely to bring me more. Now, fetch my black silk dress, and see how it sits upon me."
"But you will leave off that, surely, ma'am? You have been a widow-lady fourteen months, and ought to brighten up a little on such a night as this."
"Is it necessary? No; I will appear as usual, for if I were to wear any light dress people would say things about me, and I should seem to be rejoicing when I am solemn all the time. The party doesn't suit me a bit; but never mind, stay and help to finish me off."