Monday, October 03, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 5

This figure hath high price: 't was wrought with love Ages ago in finest ivory; Nought modish in it, pure and noble lines Of generous womanhood that fits all time That too is costly ware; majolica Of deft design, to please a lordly eye: The smile, you see, is perfect--wonderful As mere Faience! a table ornament To suit the richest mounting."

When Mrs. Casaubon visits the doctor to learn about her husband's health, we get a glimpse into Rosamond's thoughts. She realizes even though she is married, she can make conquests.  Could it be she is the table ornament?

CHAPTER XLIV. I would not creep along the coast but steer Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars.

With his age, do Casaubon and Dorothea ever have a real chance?  His paranoia widens the rift: "He distrusted her affection; and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?"

CHAPTER XLV. It is the humor of many heads to extol the days of their forefathers, and declaim against the wickedness of times present. Which notwithstanding they cannot handsomely do, without the borrowed help and satire of times past; condemning the vices of their own times, by the expressions of vices in times which they commend, which cannot but argue the community of vice in both. Horace, therefore, Juvenal, and Persius, were no prophets, although their lines did seem to indigitate and point at our times.--SIR THOMAS BROWNE: Pseudodoxia Epidemica.

Gossip about the outsider Dr. Lydgate: he wants to cut up bodies willy-nilly; he never ever dispenses drugs; and is ">disagreeably inattentive to etiquette."
That last bit is probably true.

Advice from Farebrother: don't get too close to Bulstrode; don't get into debt. Can you say "foreshadow?"

CHAPTER XLVI. Pues no podemos haber aquello que queremos, queramos aquello que podremos. Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get. --Spanish Proverb.

Wo, what? Or how about "You can't always get what you want/ And if you try sometime you find/ You get what you need" or "and if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with..."?

You hurt me very much when you look so, Tertius." "Do I? Then I am a brute," said Lydgate, caressing her penitently. "What vexed you?" "Oh, outdoor things--business." It was really a letter insisting on the payment of a bill for furniture. But Rosamond was expecting to have a baby, and Lydgate wished to save her from any perturbation.
So the one she's with doesn't make enough money, and the one he's with is a flibbertigibbet.

CHAPTER XLVII. Was never true love loved in vain, For truest love is highest gain. No art can make it: it must spring Where elements are fostering. So in heaven's spot and hour Springs the little native flower, Downward root and upward eye, Shapen by the earth and sky.

Will Ladislaw in his smitten state finds a loophole in Casaubon's order to stay way: church! But one should be careful what one wishes for.
Will walked out after them, but they went on towards the little gate leading out of the churchyard into the shrubbery, never looking round. It was impossible for him to follow them, and he could only walk back sadly at mid-day along the same road which he had trodden hopefully in the morning. The lights were all changed for him both without and within. 
CHAPTER XLVIII Surely the golden hours are turning gray And dance no more, and vainly strive to run: I see their white locks streaming in the wind-- Each face is haggard as it looks at me, Slow turning in the constant clasping round Storm-driven.

Casaubon would shackle Dorothea from beyond the grave.  She has some small will to choose for herself left, and takes some time to decide whether to promise.  Perhaps the cosmos is smiling on her after all...he dies before she can say yes.

CHAPTER XLIX. A task too strong for wizard spells This squire had brought about; 'T is easy dropping stones in wells, But who shall get them out?"

But Casaubon extends his suspicions from beyond the grave.  Sir James continues to be the knightly gentleman as her brother-in-law:
"I say that he has most unfairly compromised Dorothea. I say that there never was a meaner, more ungentlemanly action than this--a codicil of this sort to a will which he made at the time of his marriage with the knowledge and reliance of her family-- a positive insult to Dorothea!"
CHAPTER L. "`This Loller here wol precilen us somewhat.' `Nay by my father's soule! that schal he nat,' Sayde the Schipman, `here schal he not preche, We schal no gospel glosen here ne teche. We leven all in the gret God,' quod he. He wolden sowen some diffcultee." Canterbury Tales.
Her world was in a state of convulsive change; the only thing she could say distinctly to herself was, that she must wait and think anew. One change terrified her as if it had been a sin; it was a violent shock of repulsion from her departed husband, who had had hidden thoughts, perhaps perverting everything she said and did.
Dorothea is transformed by the knowledge of her husband that his death brought her.  Relationships change even after death, and a person is affected.

CHAPTER LI. Party is Nature too, and you shall see By force of Logic how they both agree: The Many in the One, the One in Many; All is not Some, nor Some the same as Any: Genus holds species, both are great or small; One genus highest, one not high at all; Each species has its differentia too, This is not That, and He was never You, Though this and that are AYES, and you and he Are like as one to one, or three to three.

Mr. Brooke tries his hand at politics...not very good at it, but Ladislaw is, whom he has taken on.

CHAPTER LII. "His heart The lowliest duties on itself did lay." --WORDSWORTH.

Mr. Farebrother as cleric has the unwelcome task of acting as go-between for Fred and Mary.  Will she have him? But Mr. Farebrother cannot say he likes her himself.  What a soap opera!

CHAPTER LIII. It is but a shallow haste which concludeth insincerity from what outsiders call inconsistency--putting a dead mechanism of "ifs" and "therefores" for the living myriad of hidden suckers whereby the belief and the conduct are wrought into mutual sustainment.
Mr. Raffles had pushed away his chair and looked down at himself, particularly at his straps. His chief intention was to annoy Bulstrode, but he really thought that his appearance now would produce a good effect, and that he was not only handsome and witty, but clad in a mourning style which implied solid connections.
Mr. Raffles is not just visiting Bulstrode to blackmail, he's there to blackmail with panache.

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