Dorothea sees Farebrother in the morning and promises to have dinner with him that evening. She stops by the schoolhouse and then, on the way home, strikes up more conversations with local residents. At dinner, Farebrother and Mrs. Farebrother playfully comment on Miss Noble’s crush on Will Ladislaw. When Dorothea gets home that night, she finally admits to herself that she has been in love with Will since Rome, and bursts into tears. Feeling resentful of Will and the torment he is causing her, she cries herself to sleep.
It is somewhat astonishing that Dorothea only now admits to herself that she has loved Will since Rome, a fact that will have seemed very obvious to readers throughout the novel, thereby creating dramatic irony. Yet we also know that Dorothea is exceptionally capable of suppressing her own emotions, which is why it has taken her so long to figure out her true desires.
Dorothea wakes up in the early hours of the morning with a sudden sense of clarity. She forces herself to reflect on the moment when she caught Will and Rosamond together and to wonder what was really going on. She rings for Tantripp, who is shocked to see that she is still in yesterday’s clothes, and she asks for a cup of coffee and her new dress and bonnet. Tantripp expresses approval that Dorothea is finally deciding to put away her mourning clothes. By 11 am, she is on her way to Middlemarch, determined to “save Rosamond.”
Here the manic mood Dorothea was in after finding Will and Rosamond returns. She is struck by a profound sense of energy and lucidity despite her lack of sleep, and also seems to be in the midst of a bit of a savior complex (as evidenced by her conviction that she is going to be able to “save Rosamond”).