BOOK VIII. SUNSET AND SUNRISE.
79. CHAPTER LXXIX.
"I thought it better to tell you that your name is mixed up
with the disclosures," said Lydgate, who could understand better
than most men how Ladislaw might be stung by the revelation.
"You will be sure to hear it as soon as you turn out into the town.
I suppose it is true that Raffles spoke to you."
"Yes," said Will, sardonically. "I shall be fortunate if gossip
does not make me the most disreputable person in the whole affair.
I should think the latest version must be, that I plotted with Raffles
to murder Bulstrode, and ran away from Middlemarch for the purpose."
He was thinking "Here is a new ring in the sound of my name to
recommend it in her hearing; however--what does it signify now?"
But he said nothing of Bulstrode's offer to him. Will was very
open and careless about his personal affairs, but it was among
the more exquisite touches in nature's modelling of him that he
had a delicate generosity which warned him into reticence here.
He shrank from saying that he had rejected Bulstrode's money,
in the moment when he was learning that it was Lydgate's misfortune
to have accepted it.
Lydgate too was reticent in the midst of his confidence. He made no
allusion to Rosamond's feeling under their trouble, and of Dorothea
he only said, "Mrs. Casaubon has been the one person to come forward
and say that she had no belief in any of the suspicions against me."
Observing a change in Will's face, he avoided any further mention
of her, feeling himself too ignorant of their relation to each
other not to fear that his words might have some hidden painful
bearing on it. And it occurred to him that Dorothea was the real
cause of the present visit to Middlemarch.
The two men were pitying each other, but it was only Will who
guessed the extent of his companion's trouble. When Lydgate
spoke with desperate resignation of going to settle in London,
and said with a faint smile, "We shall have you again, old fellow."
Will felt inexpressibly mournful, and said nothing. Rosamond had
that morning entreated him to urge this step on Lydgate; and it
seemed to him as if he were beholding in a magic panorama a future
where he himself was sliding into that pleasureless yielding
to the small solicitations of circumstance, which is a commoner
history of perdition than any single momentous bargain.