BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
21. CHAPTER XXI.
"Hire facounde eke full womanly and plain,
No contrefeted termes had she
To semen wise."
It was in that way Dorothea came to be sobbing as soon as she was
securely alone. But she was presently roused by a knock at the door,
which made her hastily dry her eyes before saying, "Come in."
Tantripp had brought a card, and said that there was a gentleman
waiting in the lobby. The courier had told him that only Mrs. Casaubon
was at home, but he said he was a relation of Mr. Casaubon's: would
she see him?
"Yes," said Dorothea, without pause; "show him into the salon."
Her chief impressions about young Ladislaw were that when she
had seen him at Lowick she had been made aware of Mr. Casaubon's
generosity towards him, and also that she had been interested
in his own hesitation about his career. She was alive to anything
that gave her an opportunity for active sympathy, and at this
moment it seemed as if the visit had come to shake her out of her
self-absorbed discontent--to remind her of her husband's goodness,
and make her feel that she had now the right to be his helpmate
in all kind deeds. She waited a minute or two, but when she passed
into the next room there were just signs enough that she had been
crying to make her open face look more youthful and appealing
than usual. She met Ladislaw with that exquisite smile of good-will
which is unmixed with vanity, and held out her hand to him.
He was the elder by several years, but at that moment he looked
much the younger, for his transparent complexion flushed suddenly,
and he spoke with a shyness extremely unlike the ready indifference
of his manner with his male companion, while Dorothea became all
the calmer with a wondering desire to put him at ease.
"I was not aware that you and Mr. Casaubon were in Rome,
until this morning, when I saw you in the Vatican Museum," he said.
"I knew you at once--but--I mean, that I concluded Mr. Casaubon's
address would be found at the Poste Restante, and I was anxious
to pay my respects to him and you as early as possible."