Middlemarch

Middlemarch

by

George Eliot

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Will Ladislaw is Casaubon’s young cousin. A romantic and earnest idealist, he is descended from two generations of rebellious women: his paternal grandmother Julia married a poor Polish musician, causing her wealthy family to abandon her, while his mother Sarah ran away from her family after she found out their pawnbroking business was based on theft and instead pursued a career as an actress. Will inherited this rebellious spirit; however, despite his passionate nature and engagement with politics, he can be restless and struggles to commit himself to pursuits that don’t “come easily.” Although he is reluctant to admit it, Ladislaw comes to live in Middlemarch in order to be near Dorothea, who at the time is still married to Casaubon. Mr. Brooke hires him to edit the Pioneer, and Will devotes himself to pushing the issue of electoral reform. After Casaubon dies and Will and Dorothea marry, they move to London and Will pursues a successful political career as a “public figure.”

Will Ladislaw Quotes in Middlemarch

The Middlemarch quotes below are all either spoken by Will Ladislaw or refer to Will Ladislaw. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Middlemarch published in 2015.
Book 6, Chapter 54 Quotes

“I never felt it a misfortune to have nothing till now,” he said. “But poverty may be as bad as leprosy, if it divides us from what we most care for.”

Related Characters: Will Ladislaw (speaker), Dorothea Brooke
Page Number: 544
Explanation and Analysis:
Finale Quotes

Many who knew her, thought it a pity that so substantive and rare a creature should have been absorbed into the life of another, and be only known in a certain circle as a wife and mother. But no one stated exactly what else that was in her power she ought rather to have done - not even Sir James Chettam, who went no further than the negative prescription that she ought not to have married Will Ladislaw.

Page Number: 836
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Middlemarch LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Will Ladislaw Character Timeline in Middlemarch

The timeline below shows where the character Will Ladislaw appears in Middlemarch. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 9
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...drawing in a sketchbook, is his second cousin. He approaches and Casaubon introduces him as Will Ladislaw(full context)
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Mr. Brooke points to Will’s sketchbook and comments that he is an artist, but Will replies that there is nothing... (full context)
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Will laughs and leaves. Casaubon explains that Will attended Rugby (a boarding school) and then made... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 10
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A week later Will leaves for “Europe” (with no more specific destination in mind). He is prone to trying... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 19
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...while starting at the floor. One of the men, a German, notices that his friend, Ladislaw, is fixated on the woman. Ladislaw explains that she is married to Casaubon, which shocks... (full context)
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Will’s friend is a painter named Adolf Naumann. To Will’s dismay, he is determined to paint... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 20
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...the library, she wandered around by herself. It was at this point that Naumann and Ladislaw spotted her. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 21
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...lobby. Dorothea is relieved to be distracted from her own self-pity and goes to greet Will. Dorothea explains that Casaubon is very busy, but if Will leaves his address he will... (full context)
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Will smiles a charming smile, and Dorothea asks if something amuses him. He replies that he... (full context)
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Will says that few people are as patient as Casaubon, and it is a shame that... (full context)
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Casaubon arrives and invites Will to dinner the next day; Will agrees and leaves. Dorothea apologizes to her husband for... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 22
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At dinner the next day, Dorothea is impressed by the charming way Will converses with Casaubon. Casaubon similarly feels proud of Dorothea, who he feels speaks better than... (full context)
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...if Dorothea would also consider sitting for him, and she eagerly agrees. Watching her pose, Will is overcome with desire for her. Later that night, Naumann mocks Casaubon and comments excessively... (full context)
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Will desperately tries to see Dorothea alone before she leaves Rome. He visits her in the... (full context)
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Will is worried that he might have insulted her, but his kind tone ensures that Dorothea... (full context)
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Will goes to leave, saying he thinks Dorothea doesn’t like him. Dorothea insists: “I like you... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 29
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...given tasks to perform. One morning Casaubon hands Dorothea a letter addressed to her from Will which had been enclosed in a letter from Will to Casaubon. He tells her that... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 30
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...he leaves. Dorothea sobs and returns to Casaubon’s study, where she finds the letters from Will, which she decides to tidy away so Casaubon will not see them and get upset... (full context)
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Mr. Brooke writes a long letter complimenting Will and explaining that he cannot come to Lowick. However, Brooke then suggests that Will come... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 34
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...strains to see the stranger, and in that moment Celia exclaims that she didn’t know Ladislaw was coming. Mr. Brooke casually explains that Ladislaw is staying with him. Casaubon concludes that... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 37
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...have acquired the Pioneer in secret, adding that he has got “a very brilliant young fellow”—Ladislaw—to be the paper’s editor. The two men intend to use the paper to push the... (full context)
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...no radical, the electoral system in England does have serious problems. Mr. Brooke, meanwhile, describes Ladislaw as a “kind of Shelley,” clarifying that he means this in a complimentary way. He... (full context)
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Ladislaw is determined to faithfully watch over Dorothea and has managed to see her a few... (full context)
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Will says that Casaubon should get a secretary, and Dorothea says neither she nor her husband... (full context)
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Dorothea says that she has always had “too much of everything.” Will explains that his mother also ran away from her family, though not for a man,... (full context)
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When Casaubon comes home, Dorothea tells him about Will’s visit and Mr. Brooke’s proposal. She suggests that it would be good for Will to... (full context)
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...that the unjust way Julia was treated means that Casaubon “ha[s] a debt to the Ladislaws.” She suddenly feels sure that in order to repay this debt, Casaubon should give Will... (full context)
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...Julia, suggesting that Casaubon himself perhaps felt a debt and that’s why he paid for Will’s education. She says she doesn’t think it’s right that Will is poor while they are... (full context)
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Casaubon is suddenly convinced that all of Will’s recent actions have been part of a plan to turn Dorothea against him. He considers... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 38
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...is concerned that Mr. Brooke is in danger of losing his dignity, and notes that Ladislaw doesn’t want Brooke to run in the upcoming election. Mrs. Cadwallader thinks Ladislaw is “dangerous”... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 39
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One day Dorothea comes to see Mr. Brooke and Will while they are at work together on the issue of capital punishment. Her presence in... (full context)
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...point, although not without mentioning the limits of women’s intelligence. He is called outside, leaving Will and Dorothea alone. Will asks if she knows that Casaubon banned him from coming to... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 42
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...it also produces a refusal to admit that he has failed. He is tormented by Ladislaw’s presence in Middlemarch and by Dorothea’s lively, insistent personality. He suspects that Dorothea is judgmental... (full context)
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...years preparing. He is tortured by the idea that his death would bring joy to Ladislaw, and is convinced that Ladislaw will try to marry Dorothea once she is widowed. He... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 43
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...blue dress, tells Dorothea that Lydgate is at the New Hospital. Dorothea suddenly notices that Will is also in the room; he asks if he should go to the hospital and... (full context)
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When Lydgate comes home that evening, Rosamond tells him that Will is totally enraptured by Dorothea. Rosamond has been surprised to discover that married women can... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 46
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Ladislaw predicts that, with all the hype surrounding the Reform Bill, there will soon be another... (full context)
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It is true that Ladislaw enjoys “belonging to no class.” This is taken as grounds for people in Middlemarch to... (full context)
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...believe that “society can be cured by a political hocus-pocus.” The debate turns bitter, and Ladislaw gets upset, which Lydgate insists was not his intention. Rosamond declares that they are both... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 47
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The debate with Lydgate has a great effect on Will, who suddenly worries that he is “making a fool of himself” through his work with... (full context)
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Will heads to church, humming a tune he has made up himself. When Dorothea enters the... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 48
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Dorothea is miserable over the fact that Casaubon refused to acknowledge Will. Her life feels empty, as she cannot do anything to truly please Casaubon. She can’t... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 49
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...to know about any “business.” She should spend time with Celia and the baby, and Ladislaw should be sent away immediately. Brooke nervously replies that he can’t do this without giving... (full context)
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Mr. Brooke insists that sending Ladislaw away won’t prevent malicious rumors and gossip. He also can’t force him to leave the... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 50
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...property Dorothea will inherit from him would be taken away if she were to marry Ladislaw. Both Celia and Sir James are convinced there is no chance of Dorothea marrying Will.... (full context)
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...with Mr. Brooke at Tipton, but Sir James advises against visiting Tipton as he knows Ladislaw will be there. (full context)
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...no longer feels inclined to act according to his wishes out of sympathy. She wants Will to have half of Casaubon’s property, in order to right the wrong done to Julia.... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 51
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...(nicknamed as such because people are so absorbed in politics that sales of alcohol decline). Will has no idea about Casaubon’s will, but has noticed that Brooke has suddenly stopped inviting... (full context)
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...for him at the moment, and thus he is wary of any great societal change. Will has written many speeches for Brooke, but worries that the scattered nature of Brooke’s mind... (full context)
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...flying at Brooke himself, and he flees to avoid being hit. He tries to assure Will that everything will be all right with the nomination the next day, even though this... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 53
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...of struggling to remember the name of a man that begins with L. He shouts “Ladislaw!” and writes it down so he doesn’t forget again. Raffles leaves soon after, and Bulstrode... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 54
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...by neglecting to bring suitors to see Dorothea. Dorothea, meanwhile, has been hoping to see Will, but apart from that brief moment in church there has been no sign of him.... (full context)
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When Dorothea enters, Will tells her he is leaving Middlemarch. He plans to carry on his political work in... (full context)
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Sir James enters; Will says goodbye to Dorothea and leaves. Dorothea acts casual, while Sir James remains horrified about... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 55
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...disappointments are felt most strongly, because they are new experiences. Although Dorothea feels miserable after Will’s departure, she does not yet realize that she is in love with him. She goes... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 58
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...interactions with Captain Lydgate, but admitted to Rosamond that he hated him and so did Will, who stopped coming to their house as soon as the captain appeared.  (full context)
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Rosamond believed Will was jealous of Captain Lydgate and secretly found this delightful. Tertius accused Rosamond of wishing... (full context)
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...Lydgate had previously bought—in particular, an amethyst necklace worth £30. He arrives home to find Will playing the piano with Rosamond. It has been a few weeks since Will went to... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 59
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...hears from Farebrother’s female relatives about the stipulation in Casaubon’s will forbidding Dorothea from marrying Will. Fred has not spoken much to Rosamond since she got married; she is highly disapproving... (full context)
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The next time she sees Will, however, Rosamond brings up Dorothea, declaring the whole situation “thoroughly romantic.” Will goes bright red... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 60
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...“as a kind of festival.” Mr. Bulstrode’s health prevents him from attending, but he asks Will to buy a painting that his wife wants. Despite having declared he would leave weeks... (full context)
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...crowd wonder who he is. Finally the painting Mrs. Bulstrode wants is brought out and Will is relieved, as he is desperate to go. Will bids £5, while Mr. Trumbull enthusiastically... (full context)
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Raffles tells Will that he knew Sarah when she was young, and that he also knew Will’s father.... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 61
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...of God. He is relieved to see Raffles leaving Middlemarch after all, and he asks Will to a private meeting at 9 pm. He tells Will that he has secret information... (full context)
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Bulstrode says he wants to give Will the inheritance he would have received from his grandmother, Mrs. Dunkirk. Will realizes that Bulstrode... (full context)
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Bulstrode knows he should be honest, but his pride makes him defensive; he tells Will it is none of his business to be asking such questions.  Will, however, replies that... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 62
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Will is determined to see Dorothea one more time and then leave Middlemarch, even though he... (full context)
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Mrs. Cadwallader tells Dorothea that Will is in Middlemarch and that he is constantly “warbling” with Rosamond. Upset, Dorothea asks that... (full context)
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Dorothea and Will can hardly bring themselves to speak to each other. Will admits: “What I care more... (full context)
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Despite everything, Dorothea feels happy that she is free to dream about Will, who she finally knows for sure has done nothing wrong. As she is driving away... (full context)
Book 7, Chapter 71
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...over to listen. Bambridge reveals the story he heard from Raffles, including the detail of Will’s involvement. (full context)
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...morphs to indicate that it was Caleb himself who first started spreading it. Distrust of Will, who is thought to have “cursed alien blood,” grows as a result of the story.... (full context)
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...speculation over whether Bulstrode can be forced by law to give up his wealth to Ladislaw. Raffles, meanwhile, is painted as a wonderful man and tragic victim. (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 75
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...terribly disappointed with her marriage, and to cheer herself up she used to fantasize about Will Ladislaw being in love with her. Now that Will is gone, she dreams of moving... (full context)
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...to move to London. Lydgate says nothing and leaves the room. Rosamond resolves to tell Will everything when he comes to visit. (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 77
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...room. However, one morning she decides to walk into town to post a letter to Will. There have been malicious rumors circling around Middlemarch that Will is “the grandson of a... (full context)
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...in, her servant shows Dorothea into the drawing room. Dorothea finds Rosamond in tears, and Will sitting next to her holding both her hands. When they notice her presence they both... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 78
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After Dorothea leaves the drawing room, Will and Rosamond stand very still; Rosamond puts her hand on his arm, but Will shouts:... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 79
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After tending to Rosamond, Lydgate reads Dorothea’s letter. Will arrives and Lydgate tells him that Rosamond has had a “nervous shock” and is in... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 80
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 81
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...Rosamond feels resentful of the power held by Dorothea, who is both the object of Will’s love and Lydgate’s financial rescuer. As the women greet each other, they are both overwhelmed... (full context)
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Composing herself, Rosamond explains that Dorothea misinterpreted the scene between her and Will yesterday. She says that Will was confessing that he loved “another woman,” but that after... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 82
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On returning to Middlemarch, Will had hoped that he would encounter Dorothea somehow. However, he also came back because he... (full context)
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Following the incident with Dorothea, Will returns to the Lydgates’ and pretends that he and Rosamond have not yet seen each... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 83
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...she has “left a friend in the churchyard.” She then explains that the friend is Will, who will not come in because he is worried that he has “offended” Dorothea. However,... (full context)
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Dorothea thinks about Casaubon’s will, and somewhat hesitantly tells Miss Noble that Will should come in. When they first see each other, Dorothea and Will struggle to speak.... (full context)
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Will admits that he is hopeless, because even if Dorothea loves him he will always be... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 84
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...news,” which he will tell everyone if they go inside. He announces that Dorothea and Will are engaged. James dramatically declares that he should have shot Will years ago, and Celia... (full context)
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...will never get to see her. Celia begins to cry. Dorothea explains that she and Will are moving to London. Celia remains upset until Dorothea says with complete decisiveness that the... (full context)
Finale
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...marriage her “reward.” As for Dorothea, she never regrets giving up her fortune to marry Will, who becomes a prominent political figure and Member of Parliament. Many people think it is... (full context)
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...wants. Celia’s love for Dorothea means that Sir James eventually gets over his resentment of Will and disapproval of Dorothea’s second marriage. The couples begin seeing each other at regular intervals,... (full context)