Lydgate does not mention his plan to go and see Sir Godwin to Rosamond. One morning she sees a letter addressed to Lydgate from his uncle, and she is overwhelmed with hope. While reading the letter Lydgate turns white and says that he cannot handle Rosamond constantly acting against his wishes in secret. In the letter, Godwin chastises Lydgate for getting Rosamond to write to him and says he cannot help. He says he already has too many dependents to take care of, and implies that it is Lydgate’s own fault for getting into debt and choosing a low-paying profession.
The reply from Sir Godwin reveals that Rosamond clearly acted foolishly. Yet the situation isn’t entirely her fault. The sexist norms of the society in which she lives mean that Sir Godwin finds it inconceivable that Rosamond would write to him of her own accord—instead he believes that Lydgate must have put her up to it. Rosamond is suffocated by a society that does not account for women’s agency as individuals.
Once they have both read the letter, Lydgate furiously tells Rosamond that he hopes it is clear how she has ruined things, and that if she plans to go on disobeying him he wishes she would at least do it openly. Rosamond is furious with everyone. The only person she doesn’t blame for her current grim circumstances is herself, as she has tried her best to make everything better. Lydgate pleads for her to admit that she acted wrongly, but Rosamond defends herself. After a moment of reflection, Lydgate implores her that they cannot go on at odds like this. Rosamond says she wishes she had died with their baby, and Lydgate comforts her.
Rosamond’s capacity for self-delusion is quite astonishing. Perhaps the fact that she spent so long as the most desirable young woman in Middlemarch has left her with a lasting impression that she is perfect while everyone around her is flawed. This delusion was likely further stimulated by her parents’ spoiling her while she was growing up. Even now, Lydgate allows himself to be manipulated by her and forgives her for lying to him over and over again.