The Go-Between

by

L. P. Hartley

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Ted is a working-class tenant farmer on the Brandham estate. He is physically imposing and has a reputation through the Hall and village as a ladies’ man. He also displays a tender side, taking care of Leo’s knee after he finds him injured on his farm, and appears deeply devoted to Marian despite knowing he can’t be with her officially. Ted commands the respect of the lower classes, who love his heroic display in the cricket match and his rough singing in the village hall afterwards. Though Ted generally behaves respectably and defers to his social superiors, he also has an air of violent threat about him, more felt than witnessed. In one encounter, for example, Leo visits Ted just as he is cleaning his shotgun—literally looking down the barrel of the gun that he will later use to kill himself upon the discovery of his affair with Marian. Leo sees Ted as an authority on those things he doesn’t understand, especially “spooning” (a euphemism for making love). Ted, ultimately, has ideas about love and marriage that are quite radical for the time—he thinks it perfectly plausible for two people to “spoon” before marriage, and doesn’t think marrying before “spooning” would be very “lover-like.” He represents, then, a kind of commitment to love that is less concerned with what’s practical or legitimate than what makes people feel something—a view quite outside of the norm in 1900.

Ted Burgess Quotes in The Go-Between

The The Go-Between quotes below are all either spoken by Ted Burgess or refer to Ted Burgess. 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:
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review of Books edition of The Go-Between published in 1953.
Chapter 9  Quotes

I gave him the envelope which at once he tore open; and then I knew he must have killed something before I came, for, to my horror, a long smear of blood appeared on the envelope and again on the letter as he held it in his hands.

I cried out: “Oh, don’t do that!” but he did not answer me, he was so engrossed in reading.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10  Quotes

My world of high intense emotions collapsing around me, released not only the mental strain but the very high physical pressure under which I had been living. My only defence was, I could not have expected it of Marian. Marian who had done so much for me, Marian who knew how a boy felt, Marian the Virgin of the Zodiac—how could she have sunk so low?

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I could not tell whether the next ball was on the wicket or not, but it was pitched much further up and suddenly I saw Ted’s face and body swinging round, and the ball, travelling towards me on a rising straight line like a cable stretched between us. Ted started to run and then stopped and stood watching me, wonder in his eyes and a wild disbelief.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Phew! Three times I nearly had to cat…And you looked so pi, Leo, really dreadfully pi. So did everybody, while you were singing that church thing about the angels taking care of you. They all looked as if they were thinking about their dear dead ones, and Burgess looked as if he might be going to blub. Of course it’s difficult to know how Trimingham feels because of his face, but he didn’t half crack you up to Mama. He’ll eat out of your hand now.

Page Number: 140-141
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

I liked Ted burgess in a reluctant, half-admiring, half-hating way. When I was away from him I could think of him objectively as a working farmer whom no one at the Hall thought much of. But when I was with him his mere physical presence cast a spell on me, it established an ascendancy which I could not break. He was, I felt, what a man ought to be, what I should like to be when I grow up.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Ted Burgess
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Lady-killer: what did that mean? I didn’t like to ask too many questions. I did not think, however, Ted would kill Marian: Man-killer, that was what I had been afraid of. Now the fear had passed away, lost its reality with the rest of my life at Brandham Hall. I could scarcely believe that I had once felt I ought to warn Lord Trimingham of his peril. The ninth Viscount would never know that I had saved him from the fate of the fifth. By removing myself I had removed the danger: it was my master-stroke.

Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Marian, why don’t you marry Ted?”

It was only for a moment, but in that moment her face reflected all the misery she had been going through; it was a heart’s history in a look. ‘I couldn’t, I couldn’t!” She wailed. “Can’t you see why?”

I thought I did and since so many barriers between us were being overturned I added—it seemed only logical:

“But why are you going to marry Hugh if you don’t want to?”

“Because I must marry him,” she said. “You wouldn’t understand. I must. I’ve got to!” Her lips trembled and she burst into tears.

Page Number: 211-212
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

But what spell could I employ to break the spell that Ted had cast on Marian?

I had no knowledge of Black Magic and relied on the inspiration of the moment. If while concocting the spell I could excite myself and frighten myself, I felt it had a better chance of success. If also I had the sense of something giving way, inside me and outside, that was still better…but those were spells whose operation was confined to the world of my experience, the schoolboy world. I had never launched a spell against a grown-up person. My present victims were not only grown-ups, they belonged to the world from which my spells derived their power; I should be trying to turn their own weapons against them.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“No, you shall come,” she said, and seized my hand, and it was then we saw them, together on the ground, the Virgin and the Water-Carrier, two bodies moving like one. I think I was more mystified than horrified; it was Mrs. Maudsley’s repeated screams that frightened me, and a shadow on the wall that opened and closed like an umbrella.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Mrs. Maudsley (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Go-Between LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Go-Between PDF

Ted Burgess Character Timeline in The Go-Between

The timeline below shows where the character Ted Burgess appears in The Go-Between. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue 
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...have done, thinks Leo, is called down curses on “Mrs. Maudsley or her daughter or Ted Burgess or Trimingham.” Present-day Leo hasn’t thought of those people since his youth because he... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...group go off to change. As the others near the man, Denys realizes that it’s Ted Burgess, the tenant of one the nearby farms on the estate. Denys seems relieved not... (full context)
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After Ted emerges from a dive into the water, Denys shakes his hand. Ted apologetically says he... (full context)
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...of their bodies than their evening wear. Leo watches the others swim. He also observes Ted getting out of the water, “his muscles bunched.” Leo retreats “almost in fear before that... (full context)
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Leo watches Ted get dressed, in awe of his bodily maturity and “those limbs which have passed beyond... (full context)
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...up like the Virgin of the Zodiac in Leo’s diary. She asks Leo whether “that man”—Ted—has gone. Leo asks if she knows Ted;, she says only that she may have met... (full context)
Chapter 5 
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...position “below that of a gentleman but above that of, well, such a person as Ted Burgess.” Marian sits next to Trimingham, giving him her full attention. (full context)
Chapter 7 
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Ted suddenly emerges from across the farmyard. He is furious at the sight of an intruder... (full context)
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Ted tells Leo that he had better take care of his wound for him and helps... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo not to mind if he spoke to him a “bit hasty.” Leo thinks... (full context)
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Ted cleans up Leo’s knee, telling him he’s lucky the blood didn’t go on his nice... (full context)
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Feeling that he owes something to Ted for his assistance, Leo asks whether there is anything he can do for him. Leo... (full context)
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Ted takes Leo to see the horses, introducing each one to him. He stops to give... (full context)
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Back in the house, Ted asks Leo how old he is. Leo informs Ted that his thirteenth birthday is at... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo whether he is friendly with Marian, and if he is often alone with... (full context)
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Ted writes the letter but tells Leo not to give it to Marian unless he is... (full context)
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When Leo returns to Brandham Hall, he informs the others of his accident and of Ted’s kindness in bandaging his knee. Mr. Maudsley remarks that he has heard that Ted is... (full context)
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...bathroom. As Marian washes his knee, she asks Leo whether the handkerchief on it is Ted’s. Leo says yes, and offers to throw it on the rubbish-heap, but she insists on... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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...… they were something in a foreign language — star-talk.” He asks whether the coachman knows Ted Burgess. The coachman calls him “a bit of a lad,” but Leo doesn’t think Ted... (full context)
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...wonders what Leo will get up to. He says he might go and slide down Ted’s straw-stack. (full context)
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Marian asks Leo if he will take a letter to Ted for her, which he’s delighted to do. She asks him whether he likes Ted, to... (full context)
Chapter 9 
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Over the next few days, Leo continues carrying messages between Marian and Ted: “three notes from her, one note and two verbal messages from him.” Ted’s verbal messages... (full context)
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On one of the message deliveries, Leo sees Ted aiming his gun to kill any rabbits that come out of the rushes as they’re... (full context)
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Leo wonders what the meaning of Ted and Marian’s secret communication might be. He has a few theories, none of which completely... (full context)
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Leo is “half ashamed” of his urge to know the nature of Ted and Marian’s relationship, but is committed to his “privilege in being associated with the movement... (full context)
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...Marcus is around it will be impossible for Leo to take any secret messages between Ted and Marian. Leo feels he could tell his friend “many things but not my fantasy... (full context)
Chapter 10 
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...disappointed at the message he’s read. It had never crossed his mind that Marian and Ted were in love. He would never have expected “Marian the Virgin of the Zodiac” to... (full context)
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Leo arrives at the farm, where Ted greets him with a “half mocking, half playful” salute. Leo hands Ted the letter before... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo whether he would want Marian to stop liking him (Leo). When Leo says... (full context)
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...thought of Marian crying brings tears to Leo’s eyes and he is trembling, troubled by Ted’s “vehemence.” Ted invites him into the house out of the sun. Leo tries to change... (full context)
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Leo asks why Smiler is having a foal, and Ted says, “it’s Nature.” He tells Leo “between you and me … she did a bit... (full context)
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Leo asks Ted questions about marriage and “spooning.” If you spoon someone, he asks, does that generally mean... (full context)
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Ted tells Leo it wouldn’t be “natural” to “spoon” someone without loving them. Thinking of Smiler... (full context)
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Ted suggests that that is enough questions for one day. He doesn’t want to “go putting... (full context)
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Ted reminds Leo that he has forgotten to slide down the straw-stack. He tells Leo to... (full context)
Chapter 11 
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...and clatter” draws his attention back to the match—the villagers are making excited noises as Ted is coming to bat. (full context)
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Ted proves very good at batting, and quickly racks up over fifty runs. Leo confusedly wants... (full context)
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...team to win. They now need just twenty-one runs to surpass the Hall team’s total. Ted hits a long ball that deflects off a fielder’s hand and then nearly hits Mrs.... (full context)
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...As Leo walks onto the field, Trimingham insists to him that they need to get Ted out. Trimingham places Leo far outfield. Ted continues to score, bringing his team within ten... (full context)
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Trimingham bowls a ball at Ted, who strikes a “glorious drive.” Leo now feels strongly that he wants Ted’s team to... (full context)
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...him over. The spectators applaud him, and Trimingham comes over to congratulate Leo on catching Ted out and winning the match for the Hall. The team heads back to the pavilion,... (full context)
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...elated, but also feels a “pang of regret” at making the catch. He wonders how Ted will react to Leo catching him out. He goes up to Ted and apologizes, but... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...if I may so describe him, not with a sling, with a catch.” At this, Ted gives Leo a wink. (full context)
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...be a “skilled accompanist.” The first singers are taken from the cricket teams, and soon Ted is called upon to sing. He is reluctant to go up, but the villagers heckle... (full context)
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Ted gets up to sing, and nervously hands his sheet music over to Marian. After a... (full context)
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With the song finished, Marian and Ted bow to the audience. Ted’s movements are awkward and jerky, leading Trimingham to say to... (full context)
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...with the villagers, saying she feels like he does about “the plebs” (including the “brute” Ted Burgess) and asking Leo if he noticed “the stink in the hall.” Leo says that... (full context)
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...in the hall looked “as if they were thinking about their dear dead ones” and Ted “looked as if he might be going to blub.” Marcus tells Leo a secret: Marian... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Leo assumes that he will no longer be required to take messages between Marian and Ted, due to her engagement to Trimingham. Although he likes Ted in a “half-admiring, half-hating way,”... (full context)
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...his current happiness and asking to stay at Brandham Hall for longer. Leo remembers that Ted had said he would tell Leo about “spooning”, and Leo thinks that out of politeness... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...as to whether he should deliver the letter, Leo heads to the farm and finds Ted inside the kitchen. Ted is bare-chested, peering into the muzzle of his gun. (full context)
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Ted notices that Leo has been crying and asks him why. He puts forward ways to... (full context)
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In the stackyard, Ted fires the gun at a rook, frightening Leo. Leo asks Ted if he ever misses,... (full context)
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With the gun now clean, Ted gets Leo to hold it, which Leo finds to be a “strange thrill.” Leo points... (full context)
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Leo’s mood improves, and he offers to oil Ted’s cricket bat. As he does so, Ted asks if Leo has a letter for him.... (full context)
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Ted asks whether Leo actually wants to take a message, and Leo says that if he... (full context)
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Leo reminds Ted that he had promised to tell him about “spooning.” Ted’s not sure if he should,... (full context)
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Ted asks Leo what he likes doing best. Leo can’t think of much, but suggests dreams... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...the hot weather—he knows she is often concerned about Leo overheating. Privately, Leo fears that Ted will shoot Trimingham because of Marian. (full context)
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Later on, Trimingham stops Leo in the hallway. Leo thinks that if he returns home, Ted and Marian’s relationship will cease. Trimingham asks Leo to find Marian for him. He tells... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...Leo says he does (in fact he isn’t sure, but guesses that she is with Ted). (full context)
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...building. They hear the sound of voices, one of which Leo silently acknowledges to be Ted’s. The voice has “an hypnotic quality” that, to Leo, seems to both want something and... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...are two of the best at Brandham Hall, as he recovers from the events with Ted and Marian. Leo fondly imagines the bicycle, and thinks that, if he hadn’t learnt of... (full context)
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On Tuesday, Leo receives a letter. He doesn’t recognize the handwriting—it’s from Ted. In the letter, Ted apologizes for treating Leo so harshly at their last meeting, especially... (full context)
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...and finds him in the smoking room. He asks Trimingham if he knows anything about Ted Burgess. Trimingham says he is “quite a decent fellow,” but a bit “wild.” He calls... (full context)
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Trimingham tells Mr. Maudsley that he and Leo had just been talking about Ted. Trimingham says he has been talking to Ted about the latter joining the army to... (full context)
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Mr. Maudsley says that Ted wouldn’t “be altogether a loss to the district” because of his womanizing. Leo leaves the... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Leo thinks that he ought to thank Ted and bid him goodbye. He needs a way to evade Marcus and comes up with... (full context)
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Leo finds Ted in the field. Ted says he didn’t expect him to come back and wishes Leo... (full context)
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Ted asks whether Leo has told anyone about his and Marian’s “business matter.” Leo says that... (full context)
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Ted apologizes again for shouting at Leo earlier and says that Leo’s questions about “spooning” were... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...he avoid being along with her. He feels that against Marian he has no “defences”—whereas Ted is “like a schoolboy”: “ I did not feel…that he had any greater regard for... (full context)
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...on the floor. She says she has no doubt Trimingham had to. Leo asks if Ted will have to sleep on the floor, “when he goes to the war.” Marian is... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham “made” Ted say he would join the forces. Leo says that Ted is “strong” and that he... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham said why he wanted Ted to enlist. Leo says that it’s because Ted is a “good shot,” and that as... (full context)
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Leo asks why Marian doesn’t just marry Ted. Marian tearfully exclaims that marrying Ted would be impossible, and that she must marry Trimingham.... (full context)
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...down to the farm while she was away. Leo says that he did speak with Ted, and that Ted had said that Marian should meet him at six o’clock on Friday.... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...still concerned about what she plans to do. Leo worries about what will happen between Ted and Trimingham. Leo wonders whose fault the situation is. Though he feels sympathy for Ted,... (full context)
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Leo intends to break the spell of Ted over Marian. That’s why he falsified the time that Ted had said he would meet... (full context)
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Leo feels everything has been diminished by the Marian-Ted relationship, and that it’s the cause all of their troubles—including his own. It seems to... (full context)
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Leo decides to make a spell to break Ted’s hold over Marian. He imagines using magic to make Ted and Marian forget each other,... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...get her to go another way, but she persists. Suddenly they come across Marian and Ted making love: “together on the ground, the Virgin and the Water-Carrier, two bodies like one.”... (full context)
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...that he remembers little more about Brandham Hall, but that somehow he had learned that Ted Burgess went home and shot himself. (full context)
Epilogue
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...to school. He has never remembered what exactly happened after the discovery of Marian and Ted, or his return home. (full context)
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...that he had betrayed everyone at Brandham Hall. Furthermore, he was haunted by visions of Ted, “his blood and brains stuck to the kitchen wall,” and by an image of him... (full context)
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Old Leo realizes now that Marian took him to Norwich so she could meet Ted there. He also sees that Marcus must have told Mrs. Maudsley that Leo knew something... (full context)
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...Amongst his possessions, Leo finds the final letter that Marian gave him to take to Ted on that fateful day. If he wants true closure, he feels, he will have to... (full context)
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The letter reveals Marian’s disquiet at meeting at six o’clock—she intended to tell Ted that she thought Leo had made a mistake, and instead they should meet at six... (full context)
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Marian tells Leo that they weren’t sure how he found out about Ted’s suicide. They knew he knew because one of the “few things” Leo said in the... (full context)
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...to tell Edward “what really happened.” She says that only he knows that she and Ted weren’t “ordinary lovers,” but that their love was a “beautiful thing.” She and Ted were... (full context)
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...with their “greatest treasure.” She implores Leo to go and tell Edward that her and Ted’s love was nothing to be ashamed of. She says that they never meant to hurt... (full context)
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...She asks him if he doesn’t feel “any need of love,” and says if only Ted “had more brains he wouldn’t have blown them out.” Leo owes it to Ted, and... (full context)