Study Guide

Middlemarch Book 1, Chapter 9

By George Eliot

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Book 1, Chapter 9

  • 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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