William Rossetti

Ford's stories were not always reliable but at least the setting of this one is right: William Rossetti was Secretary to the Inland Revenue, which was based on Somerset House. In the Spring of 1852 Mary Anne Evans and Herbert Spencer `would walk on the terrace of Somerset House, to which [John] Chapman had a key', and there `they would pace backwards and forwards for hours, "discussing many things"' (Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot: A Biography (1968), p. 112).

Note from George Eliot, from Literary Anecdotes