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by George Eliot
Middlemarch Book 1, Chapter 9 Summary
On a gray day in November, Dorothea goes to visit Lowick, Mr. Casaubon's manor and her own future home. Celia thinks the house looks dreary, but Dorothea thinks it looks holy, somehow. Even though Mr. Casaubon is too formal to be exactly romantic, Dorothea's faith in him makes her overlook his stiffness. He asks her what room she'd like for her boudoir (a.k.a. her private sitting room). Dorothea leaves it up to him, but Celia pipes up, choosing a room they'd seen upstairs for her sister. The room is rather faded and dreary, but Dorothea won't hear of having it altered. Some miniature portraits are hanging on the wall, including one of Mr. Casaubon's mother, and one of her sister, the woman who married a poor Polish man and was disowned by the family. Dorothea doesn't know the story, though, and remarks that the two sisters don't resemble each other much. He doesn't tell her much about the disowned aunt, and they change the subject. When they're out in the garden, Celia sees a young gentleman with curly brown hair and a sketchbook. They're introduced: it's the grandson of Mr. Casaubon's Aunt Julia, and his name is Will Ladislaw. He decides right off the bat that he doesn't like Dorothea: for one thing, she's marrying his crusty old cousin, and for another, she claims not to understand art. As Dorothea, Mr. Casaubon, Celia, and Mr. Brooke leave Will to his sketching, Mr. Brooke asks Mr. Casaubon what Will's career is to be. Apparently it's not decided yet, but Mr. Casaubon has agreed to support Will to some extent until he gets his career – whatever it will be – on track. He says that he has agreed to pay Will's way for a year in Italy, studying art and traveling. Dorothea thinks it is very "noble" that he should support his young cousin.
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