Study Guide

Middlemarch Book 7, Chapter 70

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Book 7, Chapter 70

  • Bulstrode goes through Raffles's pockets as soon as Lydgate leaves, and finds a receipt from a hotel about forty miles from Middlemarch.
  • He's glad that he decided to stay up with Raffles, because the man is raving all night, asking for brandy, and accusing Bulstrode of trying to starve him to death out of revenge.
  • Lydgate comes again the next day, and says that the symptoms are worse.
  • He prescribes moderate doses of opium to keep Raffles calm and to induce sleep (if he should continue to toss and turn with fever), and says again that they must not under any circumstances give him any alcohol.
  • Bulstrode asks Lydgate why he was running late and looking so stressed out, and Lydgate tells him that they're going to sell off his house because of the debt.
  • Bulstrode says that he's reconsidered. He will cut Lydgate a check for a thousand pounds immediately, and Lydgate can pay him back gradually.
  • Lydgate, of course, is overjoyed, and leaves to tell Rosamond the good news and to pay off the agents who are about to sell his stuff.
  • That night, Bulstrode thinks that Raffles is getting worse, and wishes that he'd asked Lydgate to come again.
  • He goes to bed and leaves the housekeeper, Mrs. Abel, to sit up with the patient.
  • He doesn't tell her not to give him any brandy, and late in the night she tiptoes into his room to ask if she could give him a sip, since he keeps begging for it.
  • Bulstrode doesn't answer immediately. He's considering whether or not a dose of brandy would kill Raffles, and thus get him out of the way permanently.
  • He's also considering whether that would be murder.
  • Finally, he gives Mrs. Abel permission to give Raffles some brandy.
  • Early in the morning, Mrs. Abel goes to Mr. Bulstrode to tell him that Raffles has finally gone to sleep.
  • Bulstrode takes over sitting with the sick man, and watches him slowly slip into a coma.
  • Lydgate comes to check on the patient later in the morning.
  • Lydgate immediately sees that the man is dying, and asks Bulstrode when it began.
  • Bulstrode says that Mrs. Abel had been sitting with him until three or four in the morning, and that Raffles has been in about that condition since then.
  • Lydgate sits with the patient until he dies.
  • He wonders whether Mr. Bulstrode or Mrs. Abel could be blamed for it, but doesn't say anything – after all, he might have been wrong himself.
  • He gets home and meets Mr. Farebrother, who has come because he heard about the auction on Lydgate's house.
  • Lydgate reassures him that all is well now because Bulstrode offered him a generous loan.

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