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by George Eliot
Middlemarch Book 7, Chapter 66 Summary
Lydgate is stressed enough that he's started taking opium (a common painkiller in those days) to chill out. He gets drawn into playing billiards for money, too, at the Green Dragon (the local dive bar/pool hall). Fred occasionally drops in at the Green Dragon for a quick game, but he doesn't play for money since he's trying to save up his salary to pay the Garths what he owes them. He has started to go more frequently than he used to, though, and Mr. Farebrother hears about it. Fred is shocked one day to find his brother-in-law, Lydgate, playing for money in the upper poolroom and looking a little too excited about it. Farebrother is downstairs, waiting to meet with Fred, and Fred manages to steer Lydgate out of the pool hall with him. Farebrother doesn't say anything to Lydgate about finding him gambling – his business is with Fred. He tells Fred that he had heard through the grapevine that Fred's been at the Green Dragon a lot more lately. He knows Fred hasn't been betting money, but still, it's a scummy place. He tells Fred that he's warning him to stay away from the Green Dragon, as a friend, because he knows Mary Garth wouldn't like it. He also adds that Fred's affection for Mary is standing in the way of his own, so it would have been easier for him to say nothing, watch Fred get dumped by Mary, and then move in himself. But he reassures Fred that Mary still cares for him, but he'd better take care not to get into bad habits again.
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