The Go-Between

The Go-Between Chapter 11  Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s now Saturday, the first cloudy day of Leo’s time at Brandham Hall and a “disappointing” seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit. At breakfast, Denys and Trimingham discuss how best to get Ted out during the upcoming cricket match. Mrs. Maudsley makes the point that Ted was got out for a “duck” last year.
The disappointing weather mirrors Leo’s disappointment at discovering Marian and Ted’s relationship. Ted’s physical prowess makes him a threat in the upcoming cricket match.  A “duck” in cricket means a score of zero.
Themes
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Denys reminds Trimingham that they are short by one man of having the full eleven required for their cricket team. Trimingham believes there are two candidates to be the eleventh player, and asks Mr. Maudsley what he thinks. Mr. Maudsley suggests the men go and discuss it in the smoking room.
The Brandham Hall team is captained by Trimingham, reflecting his social status. Clearly the match is important to him and the Maudsleys—they can’t be seen to lose to the “inferior” villagers.
Themes
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Leo lingers by the door of the smoking room, and Trimingham calls out to him after the mens’ deliberation: “Mercury!” He informs Leo that they have picked Jim the pantry boy to be the eleventh man in the team, but that they want Leo to be twelfth (the substitute). Leo is very pleased, as he hadn’t thought he’d be involved in the match. Trimingham asks Leo to find Marian and ask her if she’s going to sing “Home, Sweet Home” at the post-match concert.
Leo is very happy to be on the Hall team, even if he isn’t going to play. His selection makes him feel that he is one of them. Leo continues in his role as Mercury, once more summoned to try and find Marian for Trimingham. Trimingham’s choice of song for Marian is ironic, given that she is secretly rebelling against her home, Brandham Hall, by being with Ted.
Themes
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Leo finds Marian, and excitedly tells her his role in the team. He asks Marian if she would like to hear the message from Trimingham; she answers, “not specially,” surprising Leo. Marian is looking at roses in a bowl, lamenting the poor condition of the flowers at the end of July. Leo points out that it is the twenty-first of the month, so not quite the end.
Marian’s lamentations about the flowers reflect that she is secretly worried about the death of her affair with Ted. She once again demonstrates that she isn’t interested in Trimingham.
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Marian asks Leo when he is meant to go home. She wants him to stay longer and says she will arrange it with Mrs. Maudsley. Leo says that his own mother would miss him, but that he’ll write home and ask. Leo then tells Marian Trimingham’s message; she says she will sing the requested song if Trimingham will sing “She Wore a Wreath of Roses.”
Leo doesn’t realize that the reason Marian wants him to stay longer is so that he can keep helping her and Ted. Marian’s response to Trimingham’s song request is deliberately mischievous: it’s a song about a broken-hearted widow.
Themes
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Leo returns to Trimingham and delivers Marian’s reply. He seems hurt by the answer, telling Leo, “I don’t sing.” Sensing Trimingham’s disappointment, Leo tells him that Marian’s proposed deal must simply have been a joke, which brightens Trimingham’s mood. Later that morning, Leo tells Marian that Trimingham’s response to her message had been to laugh and think it “a very good joke.” Leo is beginning to think of himself “as an editor as well as a messenger.”
Leo wants to please all of the adults in his world; not only is he taking messages, he’s actively aiding in their interpretation. Leo likes Trimingham and doesn’t like the thought of him being upset. As he gets drawn deeper and deeper into the tangle of love interests, he mistakenly thinks he has a found a way to have greater agency over what happens.
Themes
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As the day goes on, Leo notices the men at the Hall preparing for the cricket match, “as if a battle were in prospect.” Leo, now dressed in his cricket whites, heads to the cricket ground with his teammates. He has the conviction that “nothing in the world mattered except that we would win.” He notices the way the team is comprised of men of different status—the leading men of the Hall and their servants.
Leo senses the importance of the cricket match. Even though it’s just a game, it’s also a proxy battle about class, even if the class lines are not completely neat by virtue of the working servants of the Hall joining the team. That said, they’re only following orders by being on the team, so the class dynamic is maintained. Naturally, the cricket match is only played by men—just as is usually the case in war.
Themes
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The village team awaits the Hall’s team at the pitch. The villagers don’t have the proper white flannel cricket outfits, and consists mostly of men dressed in their working clothes. Looking at them, Leo doesn’t think “they have any chance” against the Hall team: “It was like trained soldiers fighting natives.” Mrs. Maudsley and the other women from the Hall arrive to watch the match.
Leo, organizing what he sees based on his newfound attention to appearances, thinks that the village team can’t possibly win if they can’t even wear the right clothes. He’s inherited some of the Hall’s prejudice towards the village, likening them to “natives.”
Themes
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The members of the two teams shake hands with each other, with Trimingham making the introductions. He introduces Leo to Ted (who is on the other team), but Ted tells Trimingham that they have already met, as Leo frequently visits his straw-stack. Trimingham had heard about that, and apologizes for the error. He tells Ted that he should make Leo “run errands” for him, because he’s a “nailer” at that.” Ted says that he’s sure Leo is a “useful young gentleman.”
This brings Leo, Trimingham, and Ted in dangerous proximity to the secret. Ted has to pretend that it’s new information that Leo is a good errand boy, and Leo has to keep quiet about the errands he’s already been doing. Ted is keen to present his relationship with Leo as entirely innocent—Leo’s just a boy who likes sliding down his straw-stack. The cricket match also creates a space for Trimingham and Ted to be in direct competition with one another.
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The cricket match gets under way, with the Hall team first to bat. Leo feels that “the honour of the Hall” is at stake. He senses that most of the spectators, being members of the village, will be supporting the village team. He wants Trimingham especially to do well in the match, “partly because I liked him … and partly because the glory of Brandham Hall—its highest potentialities for a rhapsody of greatness—centered in him.”
Leo’s loyalties initially lie with Trimingham; Leo feels that Trimingham represents the Hall and, accordingly, Leo’s beloved new world. This direct competition between the village and the Hall—between Ted and Trimingham—heightens the novel’s sense of drama and increases the feeling that everything will have to come to a head one way or another.
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Trimingham hits a couple of good shots, but only manages to score eleven runs before he is out. The rest of the team doesn’t fare much better, and the Hall team finds themselves five wickets down for fifty-six runs. Mr. Maudsley comes on to bat and, though he plays with “no style,” scores well. The Hall team ends their innings on a respectable one hundred and forty-two runs.
Trimingham proves ineffective at cricket, but Mr. Maudsley saves his blushes. The score they reach looks likely to bring them victory and ensure that they don’t suffer the embarrassment of defeat at the hands of the villagers.
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