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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 49

Summary

It is the day after Casaubonís burial and Dorothea is still ill. Chettam and Brooke are talking in the library at Lowick. Chettam is livid with anger at a codicil added to Casaubonís will. After leaving the bulk of his property to Dorothea, her husband has added a proviso that she will inherent nothing if she marries Ladislaw. It is this that provokes Chettam to denounce the dead man as "no gentleman." He is furious at the slur on Dorotheaís good name, and demands that Brook sends away Ladislaw. Brooke, whose political career depends in Ladislawís writing skills, has no intention of obliging. Finally, Chettam admits defeat at the suggestion that dispatching Will may arouse much more scandalous gossip. They agree that Dorothea should not know of the will until later. Immediately, she is to stay with Celia and the baby until she recovers her health.


Notes

The irony of Casaubonís life is that after suppressing feelings and sentiments for a lifetime - living under a rigid self- discipline, and laboring over a work, which is to bring him fame - all that remains is a burst of frustrated passion which negates all that has gone before. In the chapters prior to this, our sympathy is aroused for all Casaubonís futile labor, his lonely suffering, and then this mean action seems to cancel every other feeling the reader has for him. In his will, as in Featherstone's, there is a desperate urge to reach out after death and manipulate those still alive. But his fatal cruelty serves another purpose, that of cutting any sentimental ties left with Dorothea, and freeing her to do precisely what he forbids.

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