Will seems to be testing his “place” in Middlemarch but he’s having a tough go of it – he seems to only have attracted Mr Brooke, who nobody seems toi take very seriously, and a parade of 7 year-olds. His trip to church to nettle Mr. Casaubon only made him uncomfortable, not the other way around. He’s very young and very inexperienced, but through this we see how society works.
Honestly, I’m not too sure what this chapter was about, other than arguing about what motivates Lydgate or Will. I sometimes feel they are talking about things in a way that we, the reader, should know about, but that the author hasn’t yet told us about. it makes for dense reading at times.
The distance from Las Palmas (Canary Islands) to Cadiz (mainland Spain) is just over 1500km. I keep forgetting he was born and raised on the Canary Islands. And he would call Madrid a “huge and motley city” – must have been a huge change for him.
We talk about how nowadays one political side is so insulated from the other that you can’t ever hear what the opposing points of view are; in Glados’ time, in the cafes, especially in the Cafe Ateneo, both sides had their debates for everyone to hear or take part in.
That political mixing might never convert anyone, but it does at least let seem more useful. However, Spain was a nation full of violent revolutions, so maybe public rheortic was even worse than our current echo-chambers?
In the rear of the Cafe Iberia was a patio where ladies ate ice cream, but it also concealed a secret door to hide those who were wanted, either by a jealous husband, or a revolutionary. Of course Glados would know this sort of detail.
In Fortunata he wrote about the cafe life as being (or seeming to be or feeling to be) pusedo-intellectual, where nothing really gets anywhere. But it’s in these cafes where the intellectual heart beat – especially at night from around 9pm to midnight.