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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 59

Summary

Fred Vincy hears about the notorious will of Casaubon from the old ladies at Lowick parsonage. He carries the news to Rosamond. Although Lydgate has known about the will, he has kept silent so far. Now, he warns Rosamond against repeating the story to Ladislaw. But she canít resist the temptation to tease Will. Thus, he hears the momentous news for the first time as a frivolous piece of gossip from Rosamond. Will is stupefied and then furious. To Rosamondís comment, "I daresay she likes you better than the property," he replies with anger that it is a foul insult to both parties. He walks out in a temper, leaving Rosamond rather dejected.


Notes

Ironically, this news which is vitally important to Will is a trivial piece of gossip to Fred. On a duty visit to his sister, he fills an awkward pause with what is to him a neutral subject! The unpleasant story of Casaubonís Will also helps to reveal the differences of outlook in Lydgate and his wife. With his usual sensitivity to the feelings of friends, he does not repeat this item, even to Rosamond. On finding that she knows, he warns her against repeating it to Ladislaw. She with the shallow jealousy of a beauty "referring to no real claims, springing from no deeper passion than the vague exactingness of egoism" repeats it deliberately to Ladislaw. His violent reaction makes her feel she has lost an "admirer," and adds to her general dissatisfaction about money and the refusal of help from her father.

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