CLASSIC READ: MIDDLEMARCH Book 7 Chapter 64

NigheanDubh
Clan Fraser
Joined: 3:16 AM - Sep 17, 2009

2:01 AM - Oct 10, 2018 #1

Middlemarch: Book 7 Chapter 64
 
This chapter starts where the last one left off, with Lydgate realizing that even if he could unburden himself, there would be nothing Farebrother could do.
 
The author reminds the reader that Lydgate is not usually ill tempered. 
His issues:  Lydgate finds himself preoccupied with things that he should not be, given his profession. His focus should be on his medical studies.   However, it troubles him, that he cannot get Rosamond to grasp the seriousness of their debt.
 
Rosamond's motivations:  she does not want to lose the house and wants her husband to look into other means before making a rash choice. 
 
Complaints: She objects to her husband not getting paid for working at the hospital;  and that her husband refused to ask for help from his wealthy relations.  Lydgate balks at these suggestions and disapproves of his wife thinking about other options.  His tone is forceful,  “equivalent to the clutch of his strong hand on Rosamond’s delicate arm.” (619) 
 
Meanwhile, the Plymdale couple are looking for a better house.  Lydgate’s idea is to unload the house and furniture and take on a less costly rental. The Plymdales would be looking for a house such as theirs.  Rosamond is vehemently opposed. 
 
She goes to visit Mrs. Plymdale’s to offer congratulations on her son’s upcoming wedding.   Mrs. Plymdale asks Rosamund if she knows of a better house offer.   A bit taken off guard, Rosamond denies any such knowledge. ( I wonder if Mrs. Plymdale has heard of the Doctor's debts.)  
 
Intentionally coming home by Mr. Turnball's, Rosamund requests that he cease to inquirie on hers and Lydgate's behalf.  The agent takes her at her word that the inquiry is unnecessary.
 
Later at home, Rosamond lies to her husband about the Plymdales.  She tells him they already have a home.  She doesn't relate their interest in a better one.  Lydgate is upset with the news.  He had been counting on the Plymdales to relieve the debt. 
 
Rosamond then inquires about the debt,  and how much is needed to get out of it.  With the information given, Rosamond to write to Sir Godwin,  asking for aid.  She disregards Lydgate's wishes to not solicit help. 
 
After this marital disagreement, Lydgate has to show up at his father’s in law where he is expected to be his kind, amenable self.  He isn't.  Is it any wonder?  That same day, Rosamond confessed that she had canceled the search.  Poor Lydgate is left speechless--disgusted that Rosamond had disregarded his wishes.  Her justification:  “I think I had a perfect right to speak on a subject which concerns me at least as much as you;” (626)  and she delivers this sharp punch:  “…you ought to have told me before we were married that you would place me in the worst position, rather than give up your own will.” (627)
 
Lydgate must reflect on what his partner in life has just said. (Oh, wait...he's in charge.)
Later, Rosamond thinks over being married to a medical man and realizes she is bored with him.  She finds herself thinking of how she misses Will Ladislaw and resents his interest in Dorothea.
 
Lydgate reflects on what he is asking of Rosamond: his wife would have to endure a life of privation.  He thus reconsiders paying a visit Sir Godwin to ask for his assistance.
 
------------------------------------------------QUESTIONS---------------------------------------------
1.  How do you think Lydgate should have managed the issue with his wife?  What would have been a better approach?
 
2.  What does the opening vignette reflect this chapter?
 
3.  Did you ever feel like Lydgate was treating Rosamund like a child, expecting her to be seen and not heard,  and just comply with his wishes?  
 
4.  Do you think Rosamund is right about her objections to Tertius Lydgate having agreed to not getting a salary from the hospital?  Is Lydgate not collecting fees from other patients because he is fearful of offending them?  Many of us are wives...how would you react to this?
 
5.  Is her suggestion to leave MM and start fresh a good one, in your opinion?  With whom do you agree?
 
6.  What do you predict will happen when Lydgate discovers that Rosamund has already written to his relations?
 
7.  How can this marriage be helped? Can it be saved? 
“It was as if a fracture in a delicate crystal had begun, and he was afraid of any movement that might make it fatal.  His marriage would be a mere piece of bitter irony if they could not go on loving each other. “  Thoughts on the author’s remark here?
 
8.  Does Rosamund have a point when she accuses her husband of having married her under false illusions?
 
9.  Did Rosamund too marry Tertius for the wrong reasons?
 
Other questions which you came up with?  I look forward to your thoughts.   
"'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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Lisa SF
Clan Fraser
Joined: 11:43 PM - Aug 02, 2011

4:38 AM - Oct 10, 2018 #2

I'm trying not to think about this chapter through my 21st century gaze -- because certainly, in a modern marriage, Lydgate would be seen as manipulative and domineering, at the very least, for forcing his wife into giving up their home without consulting her or including her in the decision making. However... given the society of the time, the family finances are definitely the husband's responsibility. He did try speaking with Rosamond about their situation, and she seems determined to obstruct his efforts to get them past their debt. It sounded to me like she viewed leaving Middlemarch as an option for escape without having to repay the money they owed -- very shady. She doesn't seem to think at all about the people to whom they actually owe money or to feel an obligation toward them.

In Lydgate's shoes, I would have been furious at Rosamond for going behind his back to the realtor, getting in the way of the best option for debt relief, and then covering it up, not to mention writing to his uncle for help and not telling him. Rosamond comes across as a spoiled, petulant child who is mad that she's having to face the real world.

I don't think Rosamond is justified in saying that Lydgate married her under false illusions. She had a dream of what married life would be, and I think Tertius foolishly tried to create that beautiful life for her, but I don't think he intentionally misled her about his finances or his prospects. It felt to me that Rosamond was so enamored of the idea of getting married that she ignored the facts about who she was marrying.

Do her thoughts about Will mean that she's secretly in love with him? Or does he just represent a man who appreciates her and treats her like a pretty little pet? Either way, this can only mean trouble.

I do feel sorry for Lydgate. He's let his domestic situation interfere with his pursuit of medicine and science and now it seems as though he's failing all the way around.

Great summary and food for thought, NigheanDubh!
"There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books." - Irving Stone

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audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: 10:09 PM - Jul 19, 2010

10:28 PM - Oct 10, 2018 #3

Once again, thanks for the summary and questions, ND, and I'd like to just say Ditto to everything Lisa responded.

I'll admit that it's been an unexpectedly stressful day (not on anything big like medical issues or anything, but other stuff), but my theme for the day, I've decided, is that we'll manage with whatever happens.  But in any case, while listening to this chapter, I repeatedly found myself not liking Rosamond or Lydgate very much.  She's a petulant child who won't take their money issues or essentially anything else seriously if it impacts her desires or how things look to others.  And, he's making important decisions without consulting her (which I realize is how men tended to act with respect to finances at that time, but still).  Mind you, given her behavior, I can understand why he might treat her like a child.  But, I can also see why she'd be angry about him deciding to give up their home and furnishings without so much as talking to her about it.  Then, again, she's repeatedly done things behind his back too (like writing to his relatives, which is a huge imposition and she knows he wouldn't approve).  Ugh!  I'm not seeing much hope for their marital happiness at the moment.
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DLT
Clan Fraser
DLT
Clan Fraser
Joined: 7:06 AM - May 26, 2012

5:31 AM - Oct 11, 2018 #4

Thanks for the summary and questions NigheanDubh. I worry for Lydagte and Rosamond's marraige. It does not seem like they have anything in common, nor is there any sort of bond between them. They have each done things that upset the other without any prior consultation. That is not a good basis for a relationship.  I wonder if there is a reason other than pride that stops Lydgate from asking his relatives for a loan?
I had not thought that Rosamond was suggesting they run away leaving the debts unpaid, although maybe in her mind she believes that if they leave town the debts will evaporate.

On another topic, I am listening to a book (Still Life by Joy Fielding) where one character is reading MM to another and commenting on it, and it is really so funny to hear a passage from MM read aloud and then hear the character criticise the plot and the characters of MM, sometimes even echoing what we have been saying in these chapter discussions.
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audiobooklover
Clan Fraser
Joined: 10:09 PM - Jul 19, 2010

11:45 AM - Oct 11, 2018 #5

DLT wrote:On another topic, I am listening to a book (Still Life by Joy Fielding) where one character is reading MM to another and commenting on it, and it is really so funny to hear a passage from MM read aloud and then hear the character criticise the plot and the characters of MM, sometimes even echoing what we have been saying in these chapter discussions.
I love that, DLT!  Thanks for letting us know.  If my audio queue wasn't quite so crazy right now - several holds came in around the same time - I might try to listen to it soon too, but that's not likely just now.
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Lisa SF
Clan Fraser
Joined: 11:43 PM - Aug 02, 2011

2:48 PM - Oct 11, 2018 #6

audiobooklover wrote:
DLT wrote:On another topic, I am listening to a book (Still Life by Joy Fielding) where one character is reading MM to another and commenting on it, and it is really so funny to hear a passage from MM read aloud and then hear the character criticise the plot and the characters of MM, sometimes even echoing what we have been saying in these chapter discussions.
I love that, DLT!  Thanks for letting us know.  If my audio queue wasn't quite so crazy right now - several holds came in around the same time - I might try to listen to it soon too, but that's not likely just now.
That's awesome! I'd love to hear that as well. :)
"There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books." - Irving Stone

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Pauline
Clan Fraser
Joined: 11:19 PM - Oct 01, 2009

11:09 AM - Oct 13, 2018 #7

Nice summary ND and book tip DLT.
Lydgate knee when he was creating all this debt that he didn’t have the resources to cover it. I think that at the time, he had 2 paying patients. Since no one discussed finances before the marriage (or after) then Rosamond had no idea that there was a problem so this is on each of them equally as far as I’m concerned. Her father tried to reason with both of them but I don’t think that Rosamond knew that Lydgate didn’t have access to his family’s fortune- and how would she. He seemed to be doing alright with few paying patients and he set her up quite nicely so now he wants to sell everything under her and have her live frugally for the first time in her life!? Lydgate deliberately puts himself in this position and then expects her to just go along!? He knew how spoiled she was and what her expectations were from the outset. This can’t go well no matter how it resolves.


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Suec
Clan Fraser
Suec
Clan Fraser
Joined: 9:08 AM - Sep 25, 2012

2:12 PM - Oct 13, 2018 #8

Yet another scenario where the players don’t communicate with each other and so misunderstandings and wrong assumptions are made. We have had Dorothea and Casaubon, Dorothea and Will and Rosamond and Tertius. I get the feeling if there was a great depth of love between the couples they could rise to meet the challenges like Caleb and his wife do but in Rosamond and Tertius’ case I fear what little love there may have been is disappearing fast.
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