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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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BOOK SIX: THE WIDOW and THE WIFE

Chapter 54

Summary

Three months after Casaubonís death, Dorothea moves back to Lowick Manor. She feels suffocated in Celiaís bower, where the only activity is to marvel at the Haleyís acts. Celia is a little offended, as she canít understand Dorotheaís melancholy, thinking her sister well-rid of a troublesome husband. Dorothea makes the Farebrothers an excuse, saying she wishes to know them better. Mrs. Cadwallader, a frequent visitor to Freshitt feels "a husband is the best thing to keep her in order." But Dorothea ignores any such suggestion and returns home. In the library, she carefully seals the instructions left for her by Casaubon, with a note saying she could never "work hopelessly at what she has no belief in." Throughout she has a deep longing to see Will. She even goes to the Farebrothers, hoping to meet him there and has no luck. She fears he has heard of the wretched will and decided never to see her.

Finally, Will actually calls on her. Will knows nothing of the codicil, hence he wonders at her tense reserve. He has come to say goodbye as he plans to train as a barrister in London. Happy at his resolve, Dorotheaís manner loses its restraint. Yet Will is dissatisfied - he hopes for some sign of sadness, some sign to show she cares for him. Then Chettam pays a visit and the moment is lost.


Notes

Casaubonís will is ironically the means of pushing Dorothea and Will together. While Will has loved Dorothea from the start, her complete commitment to her marriage has left no room for such feelings. Now, their earlier friendship, her awareness of him as a victim of injustice, and the suggestion in Casaubonís will all contribute to her feelings for him. At the same time, the will also imposes a burden on her, just as her wealth does on him, and this keeps them apart.

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