CLASSIC READ: MIDDLEMARCH Book 6 Chapter 55

Suec
Clan Fraser
Suec
Clan Fraser
Joined: September 25th, 2012, 9:08 am

September 10th, 2018, 9:52 am #1

Middlemarch Chapter 55
 
Dorothea feels the departure of Will extremely strongly and is heartbroken at the thought of never seeing him again, but despite these emotions she doesn’t realise it is love that that she has lost.

She visits Claire and the baby and Mrs Cadwallader has also been invited to dine. Dorothea is still dressed in her mourning clothes and Claire takes it upon herself to remove her cap and let her sister’s hair flow free. Lady Chettam does not agree with removing the cap as mourning should be worn for a year. Mrs Cadwallader however is up to mischief and says that is not the case if the widow remarries within the year.  Sir James tries to change the subject but Dorothea who wishes to distance herself from some of the references made within the conversation puts on an air of indifference and tells them to carry on.

Claire and Dorothea further discuss the issue of remarriage later in the evening when they are alone and Dorothea insists that she will never marry again. She has other ideas which she is going to consult Mr Garth about. Sir James, being informed of this later in the evening by his wife is secretly pleased that Dorothea intends not to remarry as he thinks it would be a sort of desecration.

Lucky me – a short chapter!

Were you surprised at Dorotha’s desolation at Will’s departure? When do you think she will realise she loves him and is it too late?

Mrs Cadwallader is certainly stirring the pot and not being discreet either. What effect will this have on Dorothea’s reputation and standing in the community?

Do you think Dorothea’s plans for building some kind of colony will come to fruition? Was the author foretelling some of the communes that sprang up in the 20th century – it seems quite a forward thinking idea?

Finally, does Sir James still have feelings for Dorothea? His thoughts on a remarriage being a form of desecration may suggest there is.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.
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Lisa SF
Clan Fraser
Joined: August 2nd, 2011, 11:43 pm

September 10th, 2018, 1:15 pm #2

Suec, great summary!

For all that I find Celia kind of oblivious, she ends up doing things that Dorothea needs. I'm glad she removed Dorothea's mourning cap. She's a young woman who should find a way back to life. I love that she's back to thinking about her passion for improving people's lives. It really does sound like a form of commune. I hope she sees it through!

I would imagine that it's not too late for Dorothea and Will. I hope she'll be open to love when it comes her way. She married out of a misguided sense of purpose and service the first time around. I hope she'll have the opportunity to follow her heart.

I can't quite figure out Sir James. I think it's probably simpler for him to view Dorothea as someone to be protected and kept untouchable.
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audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

September 10th, 2018, 1:31 pm #3

Thanks for the summary and questions, Suec.  Yes, it was kind of nice to have a short chapter (especially since I had an issue with my audio player, but that's a separate thing).

Anyway, I hadn't expected Dorothea to react quite so strongly to Will's departure, but eventually she might figure out that what she feels is love.  She did go back to Lowick specifically so she could see him and was trying to figure out how to meet him before he showed up to say goodbye, so she should at least recognize that she likes him.

Mrs. C is not exactly subtle, but her machinations shouldn't really affect Dorothea's reputation since she hasn't shown any interest in remarrying and I assume people in the area know about Mrs. C's tendencies.

I have no idea whether Dorothea's plans would ever come to fruition, but Garth is a good person to contact about it and this could add to his workload making more room for Fred. So - as we've speculated before - maybe this will allow Caleb to hire Fred eventually clearing the way for Fred and Mary to marry.

I'm not sure if Sir James still has feelings for Dorothea.  He might just consider it a desecration because the social "rules" say that a widow should mourn for a year and wear the appropriate clothing and all.  But, he certainly seems to be inserting himself into her affairs.  Not sure if that is residual romantic feelings or if that's him seeing her as his sister and Brooke being useless so he's playing the role of male relative to protect her reputation and do whatever else he feels a male relative is supposed to do.

Just saw your post Lisa.  I'm not going to change what I typed already, but I agree that Celia probably has the right idea about helping Dorothea get back to life even if she is pretty flighty about everything.
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Joined: October 21st, 2014, 12:07 pm

September 10th, 2018, 7:23 pm #4

First of all I am laughing because Suec wrote Claire instead of Celia all though her post and neither of you noticed it either! :lol: :rotfl: 

Aside from that, I agree about Celia. I can't tell if she does the things she does out of ignorance and naiveté or if she does it on purpose. Thinking about it I think it's youthful ignorance. If Dorothea just reached 21 then Celia has to be a few years younger.

As for Mrs. C stirring the pot, I don't see how that can affect Dorothea's reputation, she 's doing nothing to invite the attention. Mrs. C has a good point too. Why should Dorothea waste her life as a widow when she's only 21 and she could still enjoy a family life. I have no idea about James. I still take him as chauvinistic and over protective. He may be well meaning but him marrying Dorothea would never have worked. She was right about that.
Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.

Donne-moi mille baisers, et puis cent, et puis mille autres, puis une seconde fois cent, puis encore mille autres, puis cent.
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Suec
Clan Fraser
Suec
Clan Fraser
Joined: September 25th, 2012, 9:08 am

September 10th, 2018, 7:32 pm #5

Thanks Naomi - haven't a clue where the name Claire came from lol! I call all my offspring by the wrong names nowadays- its just a bit worrying that I now seem to be doing the same here too!
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audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: July 19th, 2010, 10:09 pm

September 10th, 2018, 8:42 pm #6

I did notice that it said Claire not Celia.  I just didn't comment.  ;)
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NigheanDubh
Clan Fraser
Joined: September 17th, 2009, 3:16 am

September 11th, 2018, 12:54 am #7

Suec, I knew who you meant when you said Claire. lol.  I misname my kids all the time, and end up adding "or whoever you are."  Not to mention the times I wrote  "The Spanish Prisoner" instead of "The Scottish Prisoner."  Maybe folks remember that.  One of the fellow mods would correct me--that was a few years back.  

Thank you for the summary and questions.  I'm glad you had a short chapter.   I was listening in the car and didn't hear the change of chapter.  I ended up listening to part of 56.  
Suec asks: "Finally, does Sir James still have feelings for Dorothea? His thoughts on a remarriage being a form of desecration may suggest there is."
Yes, I've always thought so.  

Audiobooklover wrote:  "Not sure if that is residual romantic feelings or if that's him seeing her as his sister and Brooke being useless so he's playing the role of male relative to protect her reputation and do whatever else he feels a male relative is supposed to do."
Audio, I think Sir James, by nature of his social class, has a very ordered view of the world.  He feels that nothing should change with regard to traditions.  At least that's my take on him.  However, it was always Dorothea he'd wanted from the start. He may be taking on the role of protector, but he still has some feelings for her.  As her protecting brother in law, he can justify paying attention to Dorothea.  Protective relation is a plausible role that won't lead to scandal or awkward feelings with Celia or Dorothea.  I don't think he wants anyone to have her either.  
"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings
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Lady Jayne
Clan Fraser
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 7:41 pm

September 12th, 2018, 3:41 am #8

It is good to see Dorothea slowly moving on with her life, though I don't see why she and Will couldn't have agreed to write to one another while he is away. I'm glad Dorothea doesn't confide much, if anything, about Will to Celia since she a blabber mouth. 

Chettam seems to be going beyond the protectiveness of a brother with his sister-in-law. He seems quite taken with her flowing hair when Celia removes her mourning cap. Perhaps Chettam expected Dorothea to mope around and ask him for advice with Lowick. Instead, she is picking up where she left off with her charitable work before she married and has called upon Mr. Garth for guidance. I hope we get back to Fred and Mary's story soon.
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Joined: October 21st, 2014, 12:07 pm

September 14th, 2018, 3:58 pm #9

About the mixed up names - I was laughing with you not at you. I hope that was obvious. I do it all the time too. I used to tell my kids to go to bed when I meant for them to do their homework and to take a bath when I wanted them to eat dinner. My mother even calls me by her dog's name sometimes - which annoys me and makes her laugh hysterically.
Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.

Donne-moi mille baisers, et puis cent, et puis mille autres, puis une seconde fois cent, puis encore mille autres, puis cent.
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DLT
Clan Fraser
DLT
Clan Fraser
Joined: May 26th, 2012, 7:06 am

September 14th, 2018, 4:03 pm #10

Thanks for the summary, Sue. I know what you mean about names escaping your mind. I call all of my children "Child" - it is so much easier than trying to come up with their actual names.

I felt Dorothea overdid the pining for Will bit, especially carrying the miniature of his grandmother around with her. Good point, Lady Jayne, about how they could have agreed to write to each other. Still, once she launches herself into her new project, she won't have much time to brood. Sir James is becoming a bit over protective - he probably sees it as his role, given Brooke's absence. Mrs C is just a meddler, but as audiobooklover says, other people are probably used to her match-making and meddling. I just hope that nobody invites some eligible man to 'visit' Dorothea and start courting her.
I shuddered at the notion of having to wear a widow's cap for a year (Claire Fraser would have had a thing or two to say about that!)
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