by George Eliot
Middlemarch Book 6, Chapter 60 Summary
- It's the day of an auction. In Middlemarch, large estate auctions are like mini festivals.
- Mr. Larcher and his wife are moving from Middlemarch to a huge, furnished mansion in nearby Riverston, and are selling all their old stuff before they go.
- Will Ladislaw is at the sale, because Mr. Bulstrode asked him as a favor to go and advise Mrs. Bulstrode about which paintings would be worthwhile to bid on.
- Will is in a defiant mood at the auction. He's aware that most of the town probably knows about the codicil in Mr. Casaubon's will, and therefore thinks that he's out to marry for money.
- He only plans to stay until the painting Mrs. Bulstrode was interested in has sold.
- During the bidding he notices a stranger there, staring at him.
- Afterwards, the stranger approaches him, and asks him if his mother's name were Sarah Dunkirk.
- It was.
- Will looks angry enough at the question that the man (it's Raffles, of course) decides not to pester him anymore.
- He simply says that he knew Will's mother when she was a girl, and asks if she and his father are still alive.
- They aren't.
- Will leaves Raffles and goes off on his own.
- Raffles catches up with him later, though, and starts telling him things about his mother's family – he knows why she ran away.
- He says that Sarah Dunkirk's family was "in the respectable thieving line," and that she had run away because she'd rather fend for herself than live off of money made in such a way.
- Will doesn't want to hear anymore, and leaves Raffles again.
- He doesn't care, but he wouldn't want Dorothea or the Chettams to know about this. Dorothea's friends already think poorly of him, and it would be worse if they knew his mother's family were thieves.
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