BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
79. CHAPTER LXXIX.
"Now, I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended their talk,
they drew nigh to a very miry slough, that was in the midst of the plain;
and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog.
The name of the slough was Despond."--BUNYAN.
When Rosamond was quiet, and Lydgate had left her, hoping that she
might soon sleep under the effect of an anodyne, he went into the
drawing-room to fetch a book which he had left there, meaning to spend
the evening in his work-room, and he saw on the table Dorothea's
letter addressed to him. He had not ventured to ask Rosamond if
Mrs. Casaubon had called, but the reading of this letter assured him
of the fact, for Dorothea mentioned that it was to be carried by herself.
When Will Ladislaw came in a little later Lydgate met him with
a surprise which made it clear that he had not been told of the
earlier visit, and Will could not say, "Did not Mrs. Lydgate
tell you that I came this morning?"
"Poor Rosamond is ill," Lydgate added immediately on his greeting.
"Not seriously, I hope," said Will.
"No--only a slight nervous shock--the effect of some agitation.
She has been overwrought lately. The truth is, Ladislaw, I am an
unlucky devil. We have gone through several rounds of purgatory since
you left, and I have lately got on to a worse ledge of it than ever.
I suppose you are only just come down--you look rather battered--
you have not been long enough in the town to hear anything?"
"I travelled all night and got to the White Hart at eight o'clock
this morning. I have been shutting myself up and resting," said Will,
feeling himself a sneak, but seeing no alternative to this evasion.
And then he heard Lydgate's account of the troubles which Rosamond
had already depicted to him in her way. She had not mentioned
the fact of Will's name being connected with the public story--
this detail not immediately affecting her--and he now heard it
for the first time.