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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 50

Summary

Dorothea is restless after a week of domestic bliss at Celiaís house with the new baby. She broods over what that last demand of her husbandís had referred to. Brooke resists her request to be taken to Lowick Manor. Then Celia tells her all about the codicil in the will, and Lydgate agrees that she should do whatever gives her mental peace. The way is clear for her to take up the threads of her life again. She searches for further instructions all over the library but can find nothing. Her earlier feeling that Casaubonís work is futile is compounded by his perverse will. The will casts a new light on her entire marriage and on his mind, which perhaps perverted everything she said and did. She wonders whether it would now be impossible for her to divide the property with Will, as she had earlier suggested to her husband. She also wonders whether Will has ever thought of her as a lover would. Celia, meanwhile, firmly declares that she should give up mourning for a spiteful man, whom she is well rid of.

Dorothea tries to get involved in practical matters, the first of which was - who would succeed her husband as clergyman at Lowick. She has mentioned this to Lydgate. He takes it up eagerly, recommending Farebrother for the post. Lowick is a much better paid living than his present one, and Lydgate wants to make amends for promoting Tyke at Farebrotherís cost, at the hospital. He tells Dorothea all about Farebrother and his old ladies, including his playing whist for money. Her interest is at once caught by the idea of one, who has potential, and which circumstances prevent him from fulfilling. Lydgate innocently mentions that Will, as a friend who could recommend the vicar, is closely associated with Farebrotherís aunt and her charitable work. Dorothea is embarrassed, but also touched at Willís sensitivity. She indignantly remembers Mrs. Cadwalladerís insulting remarks about him.


Notes

Dorotheaís husbandís will is an embarrassment to everyone who knows her. But it also cuts off her emotional obligation to him. Her belief that his suspicions arose from her unselfish request to leave half his property to Will makes her feel repelled. She is now free of his suppressive domination, and also of her girlhood restrictions before marriage. Being an independent widow with a substantial income, she is free to do what she thinks best. At the same time, the insulting remarks about Will, from those around her arouse her sympathy and tenderness towards him. The rebellious nature, which prompted her marriage to Casaubon, is again stirred.

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