From Hardy's Far from the madding crowd:
Almost before he had ceased speaking, Oak was seized with a misgiving as to whose ear was the recipient of his answer. Nobody appeared, and he heard the person retreat among the bushes.
Gabriel meditated, and so deeply that he brought small furrows into his forehead by sheer force of reverie. Where the issue of an interview is as likely to be a vast change for the worse as for the better, any initial difference from expectation causes nipping sensations of failure. Oak went up to the door a little abashed: his mental rehearsal and the reality had had no common grounds of opening.
Does this of opening equal "in the beginning"? That is, the initial part of Oak's visit turned out to be not what he had imagined it would be?
I mean, is it similar to structures like
I've been a bit preoccupied with grammar of late.