Saturday, 14 June 2014

Middlemarch watch-along: episode 5

When putting in the second dvd of my Middlemarch box to watch this episode I discovered that my series dóes have 7 episodes and not 6 as I thought. Well, that solves the problem of the different episode beginnings and ends between my version and the version of some of you commenters. So, just so you know, there will be two more watch-along posts coming!

Now, back to Middlemarch, where Mr. Brooke is trying to get votes for his election as local MP. He doesn't succeed so well however and is even bombarded with eggs. I felt quite sorry for him, after all, he's not a bad guy. Just incompetent.... Brooke seems to realize this himself as well and withdraws from the election and decides to live abroad for a while. He also sells his newspaper. This is bad news for Ladislaw, who works there as an editor and now has to go look for a new job.

I wonder what is taking the pizza-delivery guy so long

Dorothea is taking steps to get her life back on track and starts making some decisions for herself. She appoints Farebrother as curate at Lowick. Why do I think Casoubon would not have approved of this? Dorothea also moves back to Lowick and is visited there by Ladislaw who wants to say goodbye. They have a highly emotional conversation in which their feelings for each other become very clear. Unfortunately, they are interrupted by Sir James and Ladislaw leaves Middlemarch.

You, sir, don't understand a thing about politics

The Lydgates are visited by Tertius' rich cousin and Rosie is quite taken with him and his lifestyle. Despite her being pregnant, she goes out riding with her visitor and looses the baby.... Lydgate is broken and on top of that, he also has to visit a pawnbroker because he has debts.

You just say you like my widow's cap because you don't want to be the only one wearing such a hideous thing!

Fred Vincy has returned to Middlemarch after finishing his studies at Oxford. His father expects him to go 'into the church', but Fred doesn't like this prospect. Neither does Mary, she abhors the idea of people going 'into the church' just because it's a profession of standing. Fred asks Farebrother to speak to Mary on his behalf, but because Farebrother is also fond of Mary, this is very painful for the poor man. Mary seems oblivious to the reverend's feelings and confesses her love for Fred.

And, in this episode Mr. Bullstrode also gets a bigger role. He was only a banker in the background so far, but now gets a story of his own when he is visited by a rather unseemly friend from the past who seems to know things that Bullstrode would rather forget...

Gentleman in red

Quotes of the week:
Dorothea: 'I used to despise women for not shaping their own lives more. I was so fond of doing what I liked. Two years ago I had no notion of the way that trouble comes and ties our hands, and makes us silent when we long to speak.'

Mary: 'I could never be happy if I though he was unhappy for the loss of me.'

Discussion question(s):
- A bit of a historical question: how do you think the system evolved of giving men a job 'in the church' even though they had no calling or talent whatsoever?
- Do you think losing their baby will mean the death-stroke for Lydgate and Rosie's relationship?

Why do the friendliest, most honest men in period dramas never 'get the girl'?



    Just had to get that off my chest. Finished watching it right this minute and rushed over to the computer to vent. Argh! First Dorothea's husband all but calls her a tramp from the grave, then poor Mr. Brooke gets egged, and then Ladislaw almost gets Dorothea to declare she has feelings for him but James has the bad timing to interrupt! Poor James. Poor Ladislaw. Poor Dorothea. My two most favorite characters, so unhappy! And then my version ends with Dr. Lydgate and Rosie all broken up because Rosie is a reckless fool and lost her baby. Another favorite character unhappy too! Shockingly dreadful episode.

    I didn't get as far as Fred asking Mr. Farebrother to talk to Mary, though. If that had been here too, then my final favorite character would have been unhappy too, and I would have chucked the DVD case at the wall.

    I can never take Mr. Bullstrode seriously. This is because there's a boat named Bulstrode in the "Thomas and Friends" stories that my kids love, so every time someone says Mr. Bullstrode's name, I think of a barge... but anyway, I'm hoping he gets some sort of comeuppance eventually. Horrid man.

    As for your questions, I hope for Lydgate's sake that losing her baby makes Rosie become a cautious and sensible woman and stop being an airheaded flirt. I hold out little hope for this actually happening, but that's what I'd like to have happen. Also, the whole thing about giving younger sons a job n the church... I knew the answer to that a few months ago, when I was reading Jane Austen's England. I could go look it up right now, but it's almost 11pm and I should have been in bed an hour ago ;-) Say the word and I'll look it up tomorrow! I think it was just a way for younger sons to be honorably occupied and support themselves. Spare heirs can't spend all their days waiting for their older brothers to die off, can they?

    And what is taking the pizza delivery guy so long, anyway?

    1. Vent away, that's one of the things such a watch-along is for, right?

      LOL at your Bullstrode comment! He is a horrid man, it's a pity he has to be so 'Christian' if you understand what I mean. It's like Eliot was trying to say something about Christianity this way (which I think she was)

      I'd be interested in some more information about the jobs and the church. I do know many younger sons were set up to do that (although Fred Vincy in this case is not a younger son, but anyway), but I wonder how it evolved and why the believers in the church thought it would be a good idea to have pastors without a calling etc.

    2. Yes, I definitely think Eliot is saying a lot about hypocrites who talk the talk but don't walk the walk, who use a lot of Christian-talk to hide their sins instead of repenting of them. I'll be interested to see if I still think that when I read the book one day!

      Here's some of what Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins has to say about the clergy:

      "Land owners and clergy were intertwined, both socially and financially, and the appointment of clergy was generally due to friends, family, influence and attending the right university college..." (p. 147).

      "Entering the Church was for most clergy men not a religious calling but a traditional career choice for the middle classes, and also for the younger sons of the gentry and upper classes who were not in line to inherit the family's estates. Most were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge universities..." (p. 148).

      "Rectors and vicars were beneficed clergy who held the living of one or more parishes. If they had more than one living, a curate was employed to perform their duties" (p. 148).

      So it was a job, not a holy calling, for most people. I would imagine this stemmed partly from when the Church of England was formed -- they threw out a lot of "Catholic" teachings, and I would guess one of them was that being a pastor was a "holy office." I would also guess that to most people of the Austen/Eliot era, that seemed perfectly normal because that's how things were. It was also normal to "have the living" of more than one parish, and pay curates to do your preaching and teaching in various parishes. All very weird to us today, I agree.

    3. He, thanks for that information! I guess it was indeed normal, like people from the Austen/Eliot era would think things we do now very strange, like women in pants etc

    4. By the way, do you read the blogs you follow on the Blogger reading list? Is your list also acting up, only showing 1 post in stead of the usual 30?

    5. Yup, if I follow it as Hamlette, I read it. I occasionally get overwhelmed and have to pare the list down -- right now I follow 54 of them, and it's really easy to get behind. Every now and then I'll realize I really don't dig a blog anymore and will stop following it, and once in a great while I actually go through the whole list and see if there are any that I think are dormant but have actually been deleted for whatever reason.

      Granted, I don't read every post by every blogger, but I do at least read the first paragraph usually to see if I'm gonna be interested or not. Also, there are probably a dozen there that only post once or twice a month, and several that have been totally dormant for months now, but that I liked so well I still follow them in hopes that those bloggers will return at some point.

      Which list is acting up for you? I know my Soliloquy blog has been annoying all month, only showing posts from June instead of the most recent 7 posts. But Precipice is normal. So weird.

    6. My 'Read all blogs' list is acting up. Normally, all the new posts from the blogs I follow will appear here in chronological order. Now, since yesterday, only 1 posts appears here, the newest one from all the blogs I follow. So now I have to go to each of the blogs seperately to see if they've posted something new.

      But apparently this is not a Blogger-wide thing, because you don't seem to be affected?

    7. Nope, mine's behaving quite normally. That's very odd! Sometimes mine won't load at all and thinks I don't follow any blogs, so I have to refresh my browser tab, and then it will load. But I've never had it load just one post. Weird! If it persists, I'd complain if I were you.