Monday, June 8, 2009

Middlemay 6: The Widow and the Wife

Hi folks! Status reports, favorite passages, thoughts and feelings?


Jolie said...

I JUST finished reading Book 6, and wow! What a place to end that volume! I couldn't have dealt with it if I'd been reading it at the time of publication, having to wait for Book 7 after reading that scene with Will and Dorothea!

I'm getting frustrated with their relationship. Okay, they're both convinced they can't or shouldn't be together, is that all there is?! I really hope not. But this last scene in Book 6 does show some progress on Dorothea's part, at least.

I wasn't very interested in the Bulstrode/Raffles subplot (rich old man has secret past, how sad, yadda yadda), but now it's been nicely tied into the Will/Dorothea subplot. I devoured the scene between Will and Mr. Bulstrode.

Lines that made me laugh:

While the Chettam family is trying to get Dorothea to go away with them instead of going back to Lowick for her mourning:
"Sir James was much pained, and offered that they should all migrate to Cheltanham for a few months with the sacred ark, otherwise called a cradle ..."

Mr. Trumbull the auctioneer, trying to sell off a fender (what is this fender?):
"'It's not a thing I would put in my drawing-room ... the edge is like a knife.'
'Quite true,' rejoined Mr. Trumbull, quickly, 'and most uncommonly useful to have a fender at hand that will cut [...] many a man has been left hanging because there was no knife to cut him down. Gentlemen, here's a fender that if you had the misfortune to hang yourselves would cut you down in no time--with astonishing celerity [...] an appropriate thing for a spare bedroom where there was a four-poster and a guest a little out of his mind--six shillings--thank you, Mr. Clintup--going at six shillings--going--gone!'
[...] 'It was worth six shillings to have a fender you could always tell that joke on,' said Mr. Clintup, laughing low and apologetically to his next neighbour."

moonrat said...

Argh!!! I know what you mean. I am SERIOUSLY on the edge of my seat, and VERY frustrated with them BOTH. OBviously Will meant Dorothea was the thing he loved most, and I'm frustrated with her for misunderstanding. I'm frustrated with HIM for not being more direct. Dang Victorians!!

My favorite section in Book VI was actually the conversation between Bulstrode and Will. You (for a moment) suddenly saw how Will was going to come into enough money to support himself and Dorothea without Casaubon's stupid money, and then... Will turns it down! I love that he turns it down, though--that he's a man so wedded to his own honor he'll turn down what is rightfully his and what could make him happy for the rest of his life.

Actually, this made me think more about the article Precie left on last week's discussion:

about how reading Victorian novels makes you a better person. I was thinking, reading Will's moral decision, about how much I hoped I would do the right thing in a shady situation, and turn away from ill-begotten gains without any regret or hesitation. (I'm honestly not sure I ever would... but reading about Will's choice made me want to aspire to be a person who would.)

moonrat said...

oh, my favorite line is from Mrs Cadwallader:

"It's no use being wise for other people."

Jolie said...

Mrs. Cadwallader is my favorite minor character.

The thing about Will turning down Bulstrode's money is that it wasn't just about being honorable, it was about not wanting to disappoint Dorothea. He thinks to himself that if he had accepted the dirty money, he could never admit it to her. I know I often make choices based on what my S.O. will think of them.

Becky said...

I finished on time! Let's see...thoughts on this one...
I thought the auction was a bit amusing. Did anyone else?
I really started disliking Rosamund in this section. How many men does she need anyway?
Would you have struggled more about the money? I've been trying to put myself in his shoes. And I'm just not sure I could have brushed it off so easily. I'm not saying that he didn't make the right choice (for him at least). But to not have struggled not even a teeny tiny bit. Not to have even a pause before he rejected the money...that seems a bit super-human to me.
I wish I knew why Ladislaw spent so much time with Rosamund. Is there something going on? A flirtation at least? Is he just there because she's easy and he's lonely? I'm not saying that they're doing anything. But it just seems a bit improper to me. Is it because I don't like Rosamund?
Both Will and Dodo seem a bit dense with each other. Like they can't be in the same room together and think straight. 98% of the time they seem to be miscommunicating.
Fred. I am happy that Fred is having a chance to be a bit happier at least. He doesn't quite have Mary yet. But he's closer than he was.

Anonymous said...

I started reading this section and just never stopped. I'm done. With the entire thing. Whew. Although I'll miss all these characters.

A fender - I too wondered so I looked it up. It's a barrier (sort of flat three sides of a rectangle) that fits around a fire/hearth to keep logs in. It looks remarkably like a, well, fender (on a car).

I_am_Tulsa said...

One of my favorite line in book 6 comes after Will leaves and Dorothea takes a deep breath...

It was as if some hard icy pressure had melted, and her consciousness had room to expand [...]

As I read that it reminded me of Jill Bolte Taylor. lol

Rosamond is getting on my nerves but Lydgate kind of irks me too...( When things are going smoothly you don't have to give the woman details about money but as soon as the ship starts to sink, the woman needs to know about "reality"...BUT that doesn't mean she gets to SAY anything about it...!?)
George Elliot has sucked me right into the story...

I can't believe I'm almost finished!

Linda said...

YAY! I finished this book! Loved this Book. I adore auctions, so enjoyed the tension as Ladislaw bid for the painting.

But boy does Eliot draw out all the diether-dather between Ladislaw and Dodo (and what a DoDo she is - spit out the words, girl!). The last scene is her equivalent of a page turner...

My favorite scenes involved Fred and Mary, especially when Farebrother arrnaged for them to be together in his study. Fred is so naive and sweet, and Mary so patient.

Off to bed... Peace, Linda