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by George Eliot

Middlemarch Book 6, Chapter 54 Summary

  • Dorothea has decided to move back to Lowick, despite Celia's pleadings.
  • Dorothea isn't interested in staring at Celia's baby all day. She'd be happy to help take care of it, but there's a nurse to do all the dirty work, and watching the every move of an infant isn't her idea of a good time.
  • Mrs. Cadwallader thinks that Dorothea will go crazy in that big house all by herself, but Dorothea has made up her mind. She's twenty-one (and so legally can make her own decisions).
  • Mrs. Cadwallader thinks Dorothea should get remarried, and tells her husband so, but he tells her to lay off the matchmaking.
  • So Dorothea goes home to Lowick, resolved to do some good with her money if she can.
  • She has also resolved not to do anything with Mr. Casaubon's research.
  • Her biggest desire is to see Will Ladislaw, but she doesn't know how to arrange it.
  • She wants to make up for her husband's injustice to him (she still doesn't know he has a crush on her).
  • But Will makes it easy – he comes to see her, but just to say goodbye.
  • Their meeting is awkward. He knows about the will, and Mr. Casaubon's suspicions, and he's just plain embarrassed.
  • He says that he's going away to London to work as a lawyer (a "barrister" is a lawyer in Britain) for all the political goings-on.
  • Dorothea is happy that he's going to be working for the betterment of mankind and all that, but is sorry that he'll be gone for so long.
  • Just then, Sir James Chettam comes in.
  • Sir James still thinks of Dorothea as some kind of saint (he and Will Ladislaw agree there), and he doesn't like the idea of Will Ladislaw poking around her shrine.
  • In fact, he suspects Will of trying to marry her because she's rich.
  • So he's a little stiff and rude when he sees that Will is there.
  • Will and Dorothea say goodbye, and Will leaves.
  • Dorothea is annoyed with Sir James – she knows what he's thinking, because she knows about Casaubon's will.
  • But she acts as though nothing is wrong so that Sir James won't say anything about Will.

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