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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 83

Summary

Two days after her meeting with Rosamond, Dorothea finds herself energetic and restless, unable to settle down to any work. She has an unexpected visitor in Miss Noble, Mr. Farebrotherís aunt. The old lady timidly asks if she will meet Will Ladislaw, and asks her not to disappoint him. When Dorothea agrees, the old lady leaves and sends in Will. He is very hesitant and awkward. Will tells her of his connection with the pawnbroker Dunkirk, and of why he has refused to take Bulstrodeís money. He says the one thing he fears most is to lose her good opinion of him. When she makes sit clear she is committed to him, he is despairing of their ever marrying, as he will always be poor. But having admitted their mutual love, they find it difficult to part. Will insist he cannot ask her to share his life of poverty. Finally she resolves the issue by breaking down in despair. She swears they can easily live on her personal fortune, provided they live economically; and Will then gives in to his feelings.


Notes

The differences between the two of class and financial position would be far more rigid and important in the first half of the nineteenth century than today. In the hierarchy of provincial society, Dorothea comes at the top of the tree, while Will is compared contemptuously to "an Italian with white mice" and called "the grandson of a thieving Jew pawnbroker." By marrying him, Dorothea would forfeit not only Casaubonís property, but also her position among the gentry. Her friends would say he had "thrown herself away." It was against Willís pride that she should dot his, yet it is inevitable, with their long- suppressed and intense feelings that they should marry.

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