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Will is not aware of Casaubon’s will. He is busy as parliament has been dissolved and the election is round the corner. Brooke means to stand, with the Reform Bill as his plank and Will is the prime mover in his campaign. Yet Will notices that Brooke is not so free, with invitations to Tipton Grange now. He concludes that the family wants him to be kept away from Dorothea. He has no intention of approaching unless he is able to offer her a comfortable way of life. So he keeps busy with Brooke’s candidature. He has to coach Brooke for every speech and meeting, or he forgets every important point and rambles on. Finally a public meeting is arranged near the market place. Here, Brooke fails miserably with a rambling speech. To top this, the rival party brings an effigy of Brooke with a ventriloquist, making the effigy echo every statement of his mockingly. The meeting turns into a riotous force.
Inevitably, Brooke steps down in favor of a pro-Reform candidate. He also hands over the Pioneer to another sympathizer, thus making Will jobless. But Will stubbornly decides to stay on for some more time.
Always a keen observer of social and economic changes, George Eliot places the events of the novel firmly within the larger social context. This chapter offers a comic interlude with poor Brooke’s hilarious attempts at electioneering. It also depicts Will’s struggles to establish himself. Earlier a light- hearted and lightweight character, he is gradually changing into a serious, committed man, aiming to be worthy of Dorothea. He is shown not as a political opportunist trying only to make a career for himself, but one who wants to use his talents for the right cause. His misfortune is also likely to stir Dorothea’s ready sympathy for the underdog.