Study Guide

Middlemarch Book 4, Chapter 36

By George Eliot

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Book 4, Chapter 36

  • Fred is depressed.
  • Twenty-four hours ago, he thought that he would be rich and able to pay back Mr. Garth and marry Mary Garth without having to work for it.
  • His father now wants him to commit to becoming a clergyman, but Fred still doesn't think he's cut out for it.
  • Mr. Vincy is grumpy enough about Fred that he says he wants to Rosamond to put off her engagement to Lydgate until Lydgate has a better income.
  • But Rosamond knows how to manage her father.
  • She has a stubborn streak, and he knows it.
  • Mrs. Bulstrode doesn't like the engagement, either – she's worried that her niece Rosamond won't be able to live happily without a huge house, fancy furniture, and expensive clothes. And she's probably right.
  • Lydgate himself thinks that it's perfectly natural to rent a nice house and buy "good" (i.e., expensive) furniture.
  • He's not trying to be extravagant, but he just doesn't know any other way to live.
  • When Lydgate learns that Mr. Vincy was encouraging Rosamond to break up with him, he persuades her to get married even sooner.
  • She asks him to write to her father, and then Rosamond tells her father in person, herself.
  • Her father's stubbornness is nothing to hers, and so he agrees to a quick marriage.
  • Meanwhile, Rosamond still wants to meet Mr. Lydgate's fancy aristocratic relatives.
  • She beats around the bush a little, and finally charms him into agreeing to swing by the family estate to meet his uncle and cousins on their way back from their honeymoon.

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