Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 4

Three love problems....hmmm. Mary and Fred? Rosamond and Mr. Lydgate? Dorothea and Casaubon?
CHAPTER XXXIV. 1st Gent. Such men as this are feathers, chips, and straws. Carry no weight, no force. 2d Gent. But levity Is causal too, and makes the sum of weight. For power finds its place in lack of power; Advance is cession, and the driven ship May run aground because the helmsman's thought Lacked force to balance opposites."

If any one will here contend that there must have been traits of goodness in old Featherstone, I will not presume to deny this; but I must observe that goodness is of a modest nature, easily discouraged, and when much privacy, elbowed in early life by unabashed vices, is apt to retire into extreme privacy, so that it is more easily believed in by those who construct a selfish old gentleman theoretically, than by those who form the narrower judgments based on his personal acquaintance.

In other words, if you thought there must be goodness in him, you didn't know Featherstone.

Watching funeral attendees...a day's entertainment:
"Ah, now they are coming out of church," Mrs. Cadwallader exclaimed. "Dear me, what a wonderfully mixed set! Mr. Lydgate as doctor, I suppose. But that is really a good looking woman, and the fair young man must be her son. Who are they, Sir James, do you know?" "I see Vincy, the Mayor of Middlemarch; they are probably his wife and son," said Sir James
CHAPTER XXXV. "Non, je ne comprends pas de plus charmant plaisir Que de voir d'heritiers une troupe affligee Le maintien interdit, et la mine allongee, Lire un long testament ou pales, etonnes On leur laisse un bonsoir avec un pied de nez. Pour voir au naturel leur tristesse profonde Je reviendrais, je crois, expres de l'autre monde." --REGNARD: Le Legataire Universel.

Google translates (hey, don't knock two years of French for reading knowledge was over 20 years ago): "No, I do not understand a more charming pleasure to see a troop of heirs afflicted Maintaining prohibited, and the long face, read a will or long blades, astonished They leave a good evening with a snub. To see in their natural deep sadness I would, I believe, expression of the other world. "- REGNARD: The sole heir.
There was still a residue of personal property as well as the land, but the whole was left to one person, and that person was-- O possibilities! O expectations founded on the favor of "close" old gentlemen! O endless vocatives that would still leave expression slipping helpless from the measurement of mortal folly!-- that residuary legatee was Joshua Rigg, who was also sole executor, and who was to take thenceforth the name of Featherstone.
And Mary, no one knows but Mary, could have caused a different outcome. So, problem one: Mary ruined Fred Vincy's chances, and thus his chances with her.

"'Tis strange to see the humors of these men, These great aspiring spirits, that should be wise: . . . . . . . . For being the nature of great spirits to love To be where they may be most eminent; They, rating of themselves so farre above Us in conceit, with whom they do frequent, Imagine how we wonder and esteeme All that they do or say; which makes them strive To make our admiration more extreme, Which they suppose they cannot, 'less they give Notice of their extreme and highest thoughts. --DANIEL: Tragedy of Philotas.

"Walter, you never mean to tell me that you have allowed all this to go on without inquiry into Mr. Lydgate's prospects?" said Mrs. Bulstrode, opening her eyes with wider gravity at her brother, who was in his peevish warehouse humor. "Think of this girl brought up in luxury--in too worldly a way, I am sorry to say-- what will she do on a small income?"
Problem two: Rosamond will spend beyond Lydgate's means.

"Thrice happy she that is so well assured Unto herself and settled so in heart That neither will for better be allured Ne fears to worse with any chance to start, But like a steddy ship doth strongly part The raging waves and keeps her course aright; Ne aught for tempest doth from it depart, Ne aught for fairer weather's false delight. Such self-assurance need not fear the spight Of grudging foes; ne favour seek of friends; But in the stay of her own stedfast might Neither to one herself nor other bends. Most happy she that most assured doth rest, But he most happy who such one loves best." --SPENSER.
Not for one moment did Mr. Casaubon suspect Dorothea of any doubleness: he had no suspicions of her, but he had (what was little less uncomfortable) the positive knowledge that her tendency to form opinions about her husband's conduct was accompanied with a disposition to regard Will Ladislaw favorably and be influenced by what he said.
Problem three: Not, as I might have expected, the popping of Dorothea's bubble of Mr. Casaubon, but Mr. Casaubon's jealousy stemming from feelings of inadequacy.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. "C'est beaucoup que le jugement des hommes sur les actions humaines; tot ou tard il devient efficace."--GUIZOT.
"It's great, men's judgment over human actions, sooner or later it becomes effective."


CHAPTER XXXIX. "If, as I have, you also doe, Vertue attired in woman see, And dare love that, and say so too, And forget the He and She; And if this love, though placed so, From prophane men you hide, Which will no faith on this bestow, Or, if they doe, deride: Then you have done a braver thing Than all the Worthies did, And a braver thence will spring, Which is, to keep that hid." --DR. DONNE.

Oh the intrigue! Sir James gets Dorothea to her uncle's estate so she can get him on the right track regarding the estate, and politics, but he has to pretend she's visiting Celia. Will is there, who is forbidden to visit by Casaubon, and of course, Will's smittenness deepens. And Brooke...he quarreled with Garth years ago? The interconnections of Middlemarch, a small world.

CHAPTER XL. Wise in his daily work was he: To fruits of diligence, And not to faiths or polity, He plied his utmost sense. These perfect in their little parts, Whose work is all their prize-- Without them how could laws, or arts, Or towered cities rise?

Thanks to the machinations of Sir James, the Garths are pulled up out of their poverty. The Garths tell the vicar, Mr. Farebrother, who often visits the Vincys, about Mary's secret late night with the old man and her indirect influence on Fred Vincy's lack of inheritance.

CHAPTER XLI. "By swaggering could I never thrive, For the rain it raineth every day. --Twelfth Night
He played this part now with as much spirit as if his journey had been entirely successful, resorting at frequent intervals to his flask. The paper with which he had wedged it was a letter signed Nicholas Bulstrode, but Raffles was not likely to disturb it from its present useful position.
The surprise heir Rigg has a surprise ne'erdowell step-father. What will he do with that letter from Bulstrode?

CHAPTER XLII. "How much, methinks, I could despise this man Were I not bound in charity against it! --SHAKESPEARE: Henry VIII.
Instead of wondering at this result of misery in Mr. Casaubon, I think it quite ordinary. Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know no speck so troublesome as self.
I think this narrator is a closet Buddhist. That's what it's all about...this troublesome self.

Now Dorothea's belief in her husband begins to erode. The honeymoon's over, and the two don't know how to connect to each other, he especially.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

seems like Dorothea and Lydgate would have been a better match at this point.

sigh...i love dorothea!