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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 31

Summary

Up to this point Lydgate had enjoyed a light flirtation with Rosamond, unaware that she wished for anything else. Now, Mrs. Vincy move with Fred to Featherstone's house, for a change of air. Rosamond is alone in the daytime and there are gossips about her meetings with Lydgate all over Middlemarch. Her friend to Mrs. Bulstrode conveys this. That pious lady cross-examines Rosamond and warns off Lydgate. Rosamond is left feeling frustrated and sat at the end of her dreams. When Lydgate calls with a message from her mother about Featherstone’s worsening condition, he finds her disturbed and tearful. At this, his warm sentiments are deeply stirred and he is swept away by the moment. When he leaves, they are already engaged to be married. He calls on Vincy later. The gentleman is so happy to know Featherstone is dying that he gives the engaged couple his blessing without any fuss.


Notes

Rosamond, otherwise seen as a superficial woman, concerned with appearance and social position is shown for the first time, deeply disturbed. Yet the reasons for her disturbance are seen as superficial and frustrating to her plans rather than her feelings - "Poor Rosamond lost her appetite and felt as forlorn as Ariadne - as a charming stage Ariadne left behind with all her boxes full of costumes and no hope of a coach."

For Lydgate, on the other hand, the author sees this as a calamity, as the death-knell of all his idealistic plans: "he left the house as an engaged man, whose soul was not his own, but the woman’s to whom he had bound himself." As a parallel to Dorothea, Lydgate too finds a misguided marriage a turning point in his whole life.

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