“One must be poor to know the luxury of giving!” So true
“it was plain that a vicar might be adored by his womankind as the king of men and preachers, and yet be held by them to stand in much need of their direction.” and then Mr. Lydgate goes on about his insects because he likes them better perhaps than his flock.
“… you wear the harness and draw a good deal where your yoke-fellows pull you”
Rosamond, though I don’t like her, is a great character. She’s just as ambitious as Lydgate, and is just as clever as him. She might not be book smart, but she’s smart in people, and herself. So her cynicism about Middlemarch is somewhat founded since she is, in a way, a little better than the people around her. Yet we call her a snob and Lydgate is just ambitious. Why is she seen as less than him?
Middlemarch is not interested in anyone who is qualified, only in whom will fit in.
Lydgate believes what Rosamond says is all the more correct because of how she says something, not in what she says. It’s all image.
The rich women who donate so much to the convent that cares for ‘wayward women’ have sinned more than the inmates. Fortunata finally sees Jacinta! She (though at first feels jealousy) wants to be just like her. She even pities her because Juanito is not the best husband (though Fortunata loves him anyway). Complicated.
The church that blocks the view stone by stone and the sound of the fair near the reservoir (metaphorical reservoir, too) where the girls remember what fun they once had dancing (recall the floor washing dancing) that led to them getting pregnant by clerks who had good intentions but no means. Sadness.
The beautiful view of the landscape will be blocked by the church once it’s built. The beauty God made is being ruined by the church man made to worship the beauty of the God they worship. Funny. And what good can this church do compared to a crippled nun who alleviates a sick woman with a finger of cognac and a strict compassion?
The Japanese mask faced crippled nun: “What some people think is bad is good if it’s in reasonable amounts.” This is my favorite part of the novel so far: the crippled nun with the key and cognac, Mauricia (who looks like Napoleon) in her cell and manic, the two of them alone in the room not quite able to see each other but there is compassion here. Beautiful.
The two women cleaning the floor as if they were dancing at a ball, the rags tied to their feet as they skate over the floor to clean it. It’s a wonderful image.
Ha! One of the “bad” women reforming at the convent looks just like a younger Napoleon. No wonder she’s the troublemaker.
The mother superior says: “And you’ll be condemned, not because you’re bad but because you’re filthy.” She should say this to Nicolas (the brother priest).