Study Guide

Middlemarch Book 2, Chapter 21

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Book 2, Chapter 21

  • Dorothea has hardly finished her cry when Will Ladislaw shows up for a visit.
  • She dries her eyes and goes down to meet him.
  • Will is shy at first, but she quickly puts him at ease, and they begin to talk about art.
  • Will reminds her of her "criticism" of his sketches when they first met in Casaubon's garden, and she repeats that she doesn't understand art.
  • Will believes her this time, and they seem ready to be friends.
  • But then the subject turns to Mr. Casaubon's work, and Dorothea can see that Will doesn't think much of it.
  • Will is annoyed that Dorothea should seem to worship her boring old husband, so he decides to take the wind out of her sails a bit.
  • He tells her that much of Mr. Casaubon's work has already been published in German, and when he sees how disappointed Dorothea is (for Mr. Casaubon's sake), he begins to understand her a bit.
  • She's full of feeling, and wants desperately to be of use to her husband, and to the world.
  • Will likes her more and more, and feels sorry for her.
  • Mr. Casaubon comes home just then, and doesn't seem happy that Will is there, but he's polite anyway.
  • Mr. Casaubon invites Will to come to dinner the next day.
  • Will leaves, and Dorothea and Mr. Casaubon make up from their earlier argument.
  • But Mr. Casaubon does it without much feeling, and Dorothea doesn't feel much better.
  • He doesn't say anything to her about Will's visit – he doesn't want to come across as jealous, but he also wishes she wouldn't see him or allow his visits while he's not there.

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