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by George Eliot

Middlemarch Book 1, Chapter 3 Summary

  • By the next day, Dorothea's already decided that Mr. Casaubon's the man for her, moles and all.
  • She feels that she'll be able to learn from him. Dorothea has a sense that there's a whole world of knowledge out there that she hasn't been able to access, and she thinks that Mr. Casaubon will give her the key to the world's knowledge.
  • She's pretty sure that he's considering the idea of proposing to her, and she's grateful to him for even thinking of it – she feels so unworthy next to his great knowledge and vast wisdom.
  • Dorothea's wandering around, thinking of how great Mr. Casaubon is, when Sir James Chettam shows up on horseback.
  • Dorothea still thinks he's interested in Celia (when he's actually obviously hitting on her), and is irritable with him for interrupting her thoughts.
  • When he asks to see her plan for improving the cottages of the tenants in the village, she warms up to him.
  • Celia knows that Sir James is interested in Dorothea, and feels sorry for him – she knows Dorothea will reject him.
  • Several days later, Mr. Casaubon comes for another visit.
  • Dorothea finds new reasons to like him: she loves that he doesn't engage in small talk or idle chitchat like everyone else. He only talks about important subjects, or else keeps his mouth shut.
  • Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to care about building better cottages for the villagers (this is, after all, Dorothea's pet project). He's more interested in the houses the ancient Egyptians lived in.
  • Sir James visits more often than Mr. Casaubon, and he's so interested in Dorothea's cottage plans that she begins almost to like him – of course, she only likes him as a future brother-in-law. She still doesn't realize that he's there to court her, and not Celia.

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