BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
20. CHAPTER XX.
"A child forsaken, waking suddenly,
Whose gaze afeard on all things round doth rove,
And seeth only that it cannot see
The meeting eyes of love."
Two hours later, Dorothea was seated in an inner room or boudoir
of a handsome apartment in the Via Sistina.
I am sorry to add that she was sobbing bitterly, with such abandonment
to this relief of an oppressed heart as a woman habitually
controlled by pride on her own account and thoughtfulness for others
will sometimes allow herself when she feels securely alone.
And Mr. Casaubon was certain to remain away for some time at the Vatican.
Yet Dorothea had no distinctly shapen grievance that she could
state even to herself; and in the midst of her confused thought
and passion, the mental act that was struggling forth into clearness
was a self-accusing cry that her feeling of desolation was the fault
of her own spiritual poverty. She had married the man of her choice,
and with the advantage over most girls that she had contemplated
her marriage chiefly as the beginning of new duties: from the very
first she had thought of Mr. Casaubon as having a mind so much above
her own, that he must often be claimed by studies which she could
not entirely share; moreover, after the brief narrow experience
of her girlhood she was beholding Rome, the city of visible history,
where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession
with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.
But this stupendous fragmentariness heightened the dreamlike strangeness
of her bridal life. Dorothea had now been five weeks in Rome,
and in the kindly mornings when autumn and winter seemed to go hand
in hand like a happy aged couple one of whom would presently survive
in chiller loneliness, she had driven about at first with Mr. Casaubon,
but of late chiefly with Tantripp and their experienced courier.
She had been led through the best galleries, had been taken to the
chief points of view, had been shown the grandest ruins and the most
glorious churches, and she had ended by oftenest choosing to drive
out to the Campagna where she could feel alone with the earth
and sky, away-from the oppressive masquerade of ages, in which
her own life too seemed to become a masque with enigmatical costumes.