BOOK VII. TWO TEMPTATIONS.
67. CHAPTER LXVII.
Now is there civil war within the soul:
Resolve is thrust from off the sacred throne
By clamorous Needs, and Pride the grand-vizier
Makes humble compact, plays the supple part
Of envoy and deft-tongued apologist
For hungry rebels.
Happily Lydgate had ended by losing in the billiard-room, and brought
away no encouragement to make a raid on luck. On the contrary,
he felt unmixed disgust with himself the next day when he had to
pay four or five pounds over and above his gains, and he carried
about with him a most unpleasant vision of the figure he had made,
not only rubbing elbows with the men at the Green Dragon but behaving
just as they did. A philosopher fallen to betting is hardly
distinguishable from a Philistine under the same circumstances:
the difference will chiefly be found in his subsequent reflections,
and Lydgate chewed a very disagreeable cud in that way. His reason
told him how the affair might have been magnified into ruin by a
slight change of scenery--if it had been a gambling-house that he
had turned into, where chance could be clutched with both hands
instead of being picked up with thumb and fore-finger. Nevertheless,
though reason strangled the desire to gamble, there remained
the feeling that, with an assurance of luck to the needful amount,
he would have liked to gamble, rather than take the alternative
which was beginning to urge itself as inevitable.
That alternative was to apply to Mr. Bulstrode. Lydgate had
so many times boasted both to himself and others that he was
totally independent of Bulstrode, to whose plans he had lent
himself solely because they enabled him to carry out his own ideas
of professional work and public benefit--he had so constantly
in their personal intercourse had his pride sustained by the sense
that he was making a good social use of this predominating banker,
whose opinions he thought contemptible and whose motives often
seemed to him an absurd mixture of contradictory impressions--
that he had been creating for himself strong ideal obstacles
to the proffering of any considerable request to him on his own account.