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Middlemarch

Middlemarch

  

by George Eliot

Middlemarch Book 4, Chapter 35 Summary

  • All of Featherstone's relatives are gathered to hear the lawyer read Featherstone's will.
  • They're all nervously chattering about how they hope that they (or their children) were "remembered" by old Featherstone in his will.
  • The lawyer, Mr. Standish, arrives to read the will, and announces that there are actually two wills.
  • He reads the earlier will (even though it's not valid anymore).
  • The earlier will leaves small sums of money to all the relatives, but the bulk of the money and all the land goes to Joshua Rigg, a man no one has heard of, on condition that he change his name to Featherstone.
  • Everyone is shocked, but there's a second will.
  • The second will still leaves the bulk of the money and the land to Mr. Rigg, but takes away the gifts to the relatives!
  • Everyone is disappointed (except Mr. Rigg, who, it is observed, looks like a frog).
  • Fred Vincy is particularly disappointed, since Featherstone had all but promised the estate to him.
  • Mary feels sorry for him, but figures Fred is better off without the money – maybe it'll make him work for a living.

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