BOOK VII. TWO TEMPTATIONS.
70. CHAPTER LXX.
Our deeds still travel with us from afar,
And what we have been makes us what we are."
Bulstrode's first object after Lydgate had left Stone Court was
to examine Raffles's pockets, which he imagined were sure to carry
signs in the shape of hotel-bills of the places he had stopped in,
if he had not told the truth in saying that he had come straight
from Liverpool because he was ill and had no money. There were
various bills crammed into his pocketbook, but none of a later
date than Christmas at any other place, except one, which bore
date that morning. This was crumpled up with a hand-bill about
a horse-fair in one of his tail-pockets, and represented the cost
of three days' stay at an inn at Bilkley, where the fair was held--
a town at least forty miles from Middlemarch. The bill was heavy,
and since Raffles had no luggage with him, it seemed probable that he
had left his portmanteau behind in payment, in order to save money
for his travelling fare; for his purse was empty, and he had only
a couple of sixpences and some loose pence in his pockets.
Bulstrode gathered a sense of safety from these indications that
Raffles had really kept at a distance from Middlemarch since his
memorable visit at Christmas. At a distance and among people who
were strangers to Bulstrode, what satisfaction could there be to
Raffles's tormenting, self-magnifying vein in telling old scandalous
stories about a Middlemarch banker? And what harm if he did talk?
The chief point now was to keep watch over him as long as there
was any danger of that intelligible raving, that unaccountable
impulse to tell, which seemed to have acted towards Caleb Garth;
and Bulstrode felt much anxiety lest some such impulse should come
over him at the sight of Lydgate. He sat up alone with him through
the night, only ordering the housekeeper to lie down in her clothes,
so as to be ready when he called her, alleging his own indisposition
to sleep, and his anxiety to carry out the doctor's orders.
He did carry them out faithfully, although Raffles was incessantly
asking for brandy, and declaring that he was sinking away--
that the earth was sinking away from under him. He was restless
and sleepless, but still quailing and manageable. On the offer
of the food ordered by Lydgate, which he refused, and the denial
of other things which he demanded, he seemed to concentrate
all his terror on Bulstrode, imploringly deprecating his anger,
his revenge on him by starvation, and declaring with strong oaths
that he had never told any mortal a word against him. Even this
Bulstrode felt that he would not have liked Lydgate to hear;
but a more alarming sign of fitful alternation in his delirium was,
that in-the morning twilight Raffles suddenly seemed to imagine
a doctor present, addressing him and declaring that Bulstrode
wanted to starve him to death out of revenge for telling, when he
never had told.