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Patterns of temptation in George Eliot's novels Raff, Walter S. 1969

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PATTERNS OF TEMPTATION IN GEORGE ELIOT'S NOVELS by Walter S. Raff B.S.A., B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba, 1945, 1948 B.L.S., U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto, 1952 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts i n the Department of ENGLISH We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o lumbia, I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . (Walter Siegmund R a f f ) Department o f E n g l i s h The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date Friday, September 5» 1969 ABSTRACT Shakespeare clearly found a congenial medium of expression i n kings and kingship; Pope t e l l s us that from early childhood he ". . . lisped i n numbers, for the numbers came." Similarly, George El i o t evinces an insistent tendency to image her view of human l i f e i n a battle of temptation. The plain facts of the novels—from Janet 1s  Repentance to Daniel Deronda—confirm the truth of this assertion. At least I would think so. But the extant c r i t i c i s m of George ELiot does not validate the supposition. My thesis originated i n bewilderment at this discrepancy between expectation and fact. It seeks to deduce George Eliot's concept of temptation from her creative work, to e l u c i -date i t s characteristic manifestations i n the defeats or victories of individual temptees, to test i t s value i n a detailed study of Maggie Tul l i v e r and of Middlemarch. Book 7, to distinguish two concentric spheres of i t s cogency, showing how the more intense and more technical inner sphere l i e s embedded i n a wider one reflecting George Eliot's moral philosophy, beliefs, and aims as a l i t e r a r y a r t i s t , and f i n a l l y to intimate that the characteristic flavour of the novels stems i n large measure from the felicitous interaction between these two mutually com-plementary spheres. A l i t t l e reflection, grounded on some acquaintance with l i f e and with literature, soon discloses temptation as a relational concept, composed of certain interacting elements: a strong desire, an opportunity to f u l f i l l the desire, and a standard of conduct that prohibits f u l f i l l -ment. The well-known temptation i n the Garden of Eden, for example, clearly unveils a l l three. George El i o t accepts this traditional pattern, associated primarily with B i b l i c a l and medieval ways of thought, but substitutes humanistic for theological consequences, and thus helps to resuscitate i t s timeless truth. Desire, opportunity, and ethical ideal burgeon into counterbalancing forces of hitherto unsuspected mightiness, chiefly because the author sees good and e v i l as qualities within us rather than without. Her uncanny psychological penetration into the moral nature of man overwhelms readers with the shock of recognition. After l i s t i n g the principal temptees i n each of the novels, and pointing to their pivotal role i n a Manichean battle, I examine the conduct of five i n detail. Mr. Farebrother of Middlemarch eminently exemplifies the pattern of success, whereas Arthur Donnithorne, Bulstrode, and Gwendolen, despite vast individual differences, unite i n i l l u s t r a t i n g the opposite pattern, which of course varies too. Nevertheless, the dividing l i n e between the two contrasted camps remains clear; i n fact, the recognizable bonds between the protagonists on the two sides help to throw i t into sharper focus. Human weakness and propensity to e v i l may make the attainment of victory a hard struggle, or they may precipitate defeat; human strength and goodness account not only for victory, but also for the gnawing torture of remorse after defeat. Throughout, George Eli o t unmistakably proffers one pearl of precious advice: A vow to one-se l f alone never suffices for victory; one must immediately and deliberately relinquish the means of breaking i t , usually by taking others into one's confidence. Following these r e l a t i v e l y straight-forward object lessons, I use the concept of temptation i n an analysis of The M i l l on the Floss, with emphasis on i t s principal temptee, Maggie Tulliver; and of Middlemarch. Book 7, whose t i t l e requires the reader to account for two temptations. In both instances I conclude that lack of my c r i t i c a l tool had hitherto prevented a satisfying reconciliation of a l l pertinent facts. - i i i -Watching the reverberations of victory or of defeat spreading i n ever-widening ci r c l e s from the inner to the outer sphere of temptation, we realize, as do many temptees after losing their battles, that "No man i s an island, sufficient unto himself"; that "Our echoes r o l l from soul to soul,/And grow for ever and for ever." - i i i a -TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter It Chapter 2 i Chapter 3« Chapter 4» Chapter 5« Chapter 6 : Chapter 7 i THE CONCEPT OF TEMPTATTONi REFLECTIONS DERIVED IN THE MAIN FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S APPROACH THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLEi INTRODUCTORY THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLE« THE PATTERN OF SUCCESS THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLEt THE PATTERN OF FAILURE Section I t Arthur Donnithorne Section 2i Nicholas Bulstrode Section 3> Gwendolen Harleth A PARADOXICAL TEMPTEE: MAGGIE TULLIVER BOOK ? OF MIDDLEMARCHt WHOSE TEMPTATIONS? THE FUSION OF TWO CONCEPTSi AESTHETIC TEACHING AND TEMPTATION Abbreviations f o r the T i t l e s of the Novels f o r Janet's Repentance f o r Adam Bede f o r The M i l l on the F l o s s f o r S i l a s Marner f o r Romola f o r F e l i x H o lt f o r Middlemarch fo r Daniel Deronda A NOTE ON THE WORD "TEMPTEE" I am aware that the key word of my thesis—Temptee— i s not sanctioned i n any standard English or American dictionary. Since the thesis.could not have been written without a word to express t h i s concept, I have coined "temptee" on the analogy of examiner and examinee. "Tempted" as a noun seems to be confined to the single phrase, "The tempter and the tempted." I d i d not think that i t could be used i n any other context. And even, the best of circumlocutions, when repeated scores of times, would have become insu f f e r a b l e . On thi s point, I hope, my readers w i l l adopt Dr. Johnson's judgment about one device^- i n Paradise  Lost; "This being necessary was therefore defensible."^ ^Investing s p i r i t s or angels with form and matter. 2 L i v e s of the English Poets, ed. George Birkbeck H i l l , v o l . 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905), p. 184, par. 253. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Among those to whom I am indebted f o r the opportunity to undertake a n d to complete t h i s b i t of work, the following may be s p e c i f i c a l l y named: Agnes  Sapper, whose children's books f i r s t excited me with awareness of "what mightiness f o r e v i l and f o r good" l i e s dormant i n l i t e r a t u r e ; Professors Lloyd Wheeler and George Brodersen, whose lectures proved the only seed that would grow f o r me (however stuntedly) while I was enrolled i n Agriculture at the U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba during the War years (that smattering of "Culture," so often p e r f u n c t o r i l y and d e r i s i v e l y included with professional courses, has made a great difference i n my l i f e ) ; Professor Roy D a n i e l l s , f o r twenty-five years of f a t h e r l y i n t e r e s t and support, i n a d d i t i o n to the rare experience of his lectures; Professor Edward McCourt, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, who f i r s t encouraged my notion that Tempta-t i o n i s a subject worth thinking and w r i t i n g about, and suggested a possible approach f o r i t s a p p l i c a t i o n to George E l i o t ; Professors E.B. Gose and Ruby Nemser, who read the outline I submitted and recommended i t as "promising"; Professor Ruby Nemser, once more, f o r the generous measure of time a n d attention she gave me during my f i r s t summer of writing and composition; - v i i -Professor William Robbins, Chairman of the Graduate Committee, whose sympathy led him to f i g h t several administrative b a t t l e s on my behalf; two administrators i n the Library, U n i v e r s i t y of Saskatchewan, Regina Campusj Mr. Sidney Harland, Chief L i b r a r i a n , and Miss Margaret M. Hammond, Head of Public Services, f o r unusually generous allowances of educational leave, despite much inconvenience to themselves, and p a r t i c u l a r l y f o r that r a r e l y granted t h i r d chance, without which I would have f a i l e d ; and my supervisor, Professor Herbert Rosengarten, f o r two years of guidance, patience, and support, f a r i n excess of any formal o b l i g a t i o n . - v l i i -PATTERNS OF TEMPTATION IN GEORGE ELIOT'S NOVELS "We l i v e i n a world which i s f u l l of m i s e r y and i g n o r a n c e , and the p l a i n duty of each and a l l of us i s to t r y to make the l i t t l e c o r n e r he can i n f l u e n c e somewhat l e s s m i s e r a b l e and somewhat l e s s i g n o r a n t than i t was b e f o r e he e n t e r e d i t . To do t h i s e f f e c t u a l l y i t i s n e c e s s a r y to be f u l l y p o s s e s s e d of o n l y two b e l i e f s : the f i r s t , t h a t the o r d e r of Nature i s a s c e r t a i n a b l e by our f a c u l t i e s to an e x t e n t which i s p r a c t i -c a l l y u n l i m i t e d ; the second, t h a t our v o l i t i o n counts f o r something as a c o n d i t i o n of the course of events." .(T.H. Huxley, "On the P h y s i c a l B a s i s o f " L i f e , " i n C y r i l B ibby, ed., The Essence of T.H. Huxley . . . [Londom M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 6 ? ] , p. .58) ". . . l e t our minds r e s t upon t h a t g r e a t and i n e x h a u s t i b l e word l i f e , u n t i l we l e a r n t o e n t e r i n t o i t s meaning. A p o e t r y of r e v o l t a g a i n s t m o r a l i d e a s i s a p o e t r y of r e v o l t a g a i n s t l i f e ; a p o e t r y of i n d i f f e r e n c e towards moral i d e a s i s a p o e t r y of i n d i f f e r e n c e towards l i f e . " (Matthew A r n o l d , "Wordsworth," In'Essays i n C r i t i c i s m , second s e r i e s . [London: M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 0 5 ] , P. ±kk) ". . . my most r o o t e d c o n v i c t i o n i s , t h a t the immediate o b j e c t and the p r o p e r sphere of a l l our h i g h e s t emotions a r e our s t r u g g l i n g fellow-men and t h i s e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e . " (George E l i o t to F r a n c o i s D'Albert-Durade, December 6 , 1 8 5 9 ; L e t t e r s , I I I , 231) Chapter 1 THE CONCEPT OP TEMPTATION: REFLECTIONS DERIVED IN THE MAIN FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S APPROACH "A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means of breaking his vow." (M, ch. 70) Temptation may be defined as a desire that can readily be f u l f i l l e d , but ought not to be. The p o s s i b i l i t y of fulfillment implies the presence of an opportunity; the judgment that i t ought to be l e f t u n f u l f i l l e d implies a standard of conduct or moral conscience. The desire and the opposing conscience reside within the same person; the opportunity to f u l f i l l the desire l i e s outside him. I f a l l three entities are present—desire, matching opportunity, and opposing conscience—the desire may be called a temptation, and the person feeling the desire may be called a temptee. This formulation accords with the facts of George Eliot's novels, and i s therefore sufficient for our present purpose. Some modification of the traditional b i b l i c a l tempter may also be present. If so, he w i l l be inherent i n both desire and opportunity, and therefore part of the force that propels them toward each other, i n defiance of the temptee's conscience struggling to keep them apart.* He cannot realist ical ly be regarded as a separate entity. The devil tempts us not—'tis we tempt him, Beckoning his s k i l l with opportunity. (FH, ch. 47, motto) It would scarcely be fanciful to read this motto as an expression of the trend from theology to psychology that in its influence on George Eliot may be associated primarily with the names of Comte and (especially) Feuerbach.2 The temptee is fighting a battle in which the potential odds, roughly speaking, are three to one against him. Half of himself—evil desire--is driven toward an opportunity that in its enticing effect upon the desire is completely undivided. His other half—opposing conscience — is grappling with both an inner and an outer enemy. Totally compatible, these enemies gravitate toward each other relentlessly, gather strength and speed as they move, and fuse the moment they touch. Time and poetntial are unreservedly on their side. If the temptee •••Maggie does on one occasion call Philip a tempter (MF, bk. 5, ch. 3), but she is simply expressing the momentary bafflement of a s t i l l very immature adolescent. He might with at least equal jus t i f i -cation be regarded as her mentor. The sections on Bulstrode and Gwen-r dolen' include discussion of the innocent tempter as a means of self-deception: well-meant advice that he knows to be based on ignorance of the vitiating fact helps to salve the temptee's conscience. ^George Eliot 's The Essence of Christianity (1854), a translation of Ludwig Feuerbach's Das Wesen des Christenthums (1841), is s t i l l in print (New York: Harper & Row, 1957). Bernard J . Paris says that the influence of this book on "George Eliot's understanding of religious experience cannot be over-estimated: (Experiments in Life . . . ^Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965J , p. 92). (motivated and to that extent represented by his opposing moral conscience) is blind to the dangers of this combination, desire and opportunity can always be inflamed and mutually adjusted to the point where he wil l either yield in spite of his mental processes, or yield in a kind of trance, without effective awareness of what he is doing, or manipulate his mental processes t i l l they seem to justify yielding: that is , t i l l his conscience sides with the enemy. He wil l be fighting a losing battle, however valiantly. No man Is capable of withstanding unlimited t r i a l . Morally vigilant and imbued with an alert sense of his own weakness, the successful temptee (discussed in the previous chapter) recognizes the potential strength of his adversary and wil l not give i t time to unfold. As soon as he grows aware of an opportunity that matches and beckons a latent evil desire within him, he wil l not merely resolve on resistance: unlike his opposite, the unsuccessful temptee, he wil l immediately endeavour to secure himself by casting away the means of breaking his resolution. The result (apart from his victory) is that a l l three forces in the aggregate of temptation are stifled: neither desire, nor opportunity, nor even the opposing conscience in a l l its twists and turns can be fully developed. So far as these forces are concerned, the successful temptee restricts George Eliot to the use of her left hand.3 whatever his moral shortcomings, the unsuccessful temptee is not guilty of fettering George Eliot in this way. Placed at the center of ^Applied to the temptee, the words "successful" and "unsuccessful" indicate the outcome of his battle, not his merit or defect as a literary creation. the moral struggle in her novels (as shown in the first chapter), he gives occasion for, and Indeed invites, the fullest development of opportunity, and opposing conscience. Her concept and definition of him is that he can be defeated, but only with difficulty and by a narrow margin. Defeated too easily, he becomes a mere v i l l a in ; unconquerable, he ceases to be a temptee or becomes the kind who succeeds and thereby restricts his creator. His value to George Eliot the novelist bent on giving "a faithful account of men and things as they have mirrored themselves in [her] mind" (AB, ch. 17), depends on his delicate and almost even balance of good and evi l , virtue and vice, strength and weakness. She sees him as a reflection in miniature of a similar balance in the larger world of the novel as a whole, which In its turn aims to reflect her Manichean view of human l i fe and even of the cosmos,^ The evi l , the vice, the weakness within the temptee are matched by corresponding qualities In the world outside him, and so are his goodness, his virtue, and his strength. Evil desire discovers its opportunity of fulfilment, and evil opportunity (often associated with another person) assumes a l i fe of its own and arouses and beckons its double within the temptee. ,Conversely, his moral conscience struggling against the inner enemy can receive guidance and support from the world outside, i f he takes pains to seek the support and gives it a chance to influence him effectively. The stereotyped phrase that we find what we look for is revitalized in George Eliot's fictional world. ^W.J. Harvey's concept of a "fictional microcosm" embedded in "the macrocosm of . . . the real world" is useful and has Influenced me (The Art of George Eliot [London; Chatto & Windus, 196l3, p. 71. If human l i fe , in her view, is first and foremost a moral battle, the battle begins in the psyche of each individual, and reaches its clearest miniature expression in that of her great unsuccessful temptees. Embroiled in a larger medium as wondrously and as delicately mixed as their own souls, these temptees become the focus and the nexus of a deeply significant conflict of attractions and repulsions that may appropriately be called "temptation," temptation being a relational concept. David Cecil errs in treating i t as a separate entity or personified abstraction.^ It is much more realistically and usefully envisaged as an aggregate of counterbalancing forces that (rather art i f ic ia l ly and for convenience only) may be isolated and labelled "desire," "opportunity, ' and "opposing conscience." A few introductory generalizations about each of these wil l help to minimize repetition, and serve as a basis for analysis, in the discussion of individual case histories. Evi l desire may manifest i tself in attraction £o something that <vj morally forbidden or in repulsion from something that is morally required. The two kinds are generally combined (since each Implies its opposite), but with the emphasis clearly on either the one or the other. For the sake of easy reference, and without assuming any judgment of values, we wil l distinguish them as positive and negative, respectively. 5 Early Victorian Novelists (London: Constable, 1934), p. 310. Rhetorical phrases like "the forces of temptation deploy themselves for the attack" or "temptation . . . retreats . . . comes back disguised . . . wil l sham death only to arise suddenly" suggest that Cecil has not really asked himself what the concept of temptation means. Yet he deserves credit for explicitly recognizing George Eliot's preoccupation with this subject. Within my knowledge, none of her other critics does. Negative evil desire may be rooted in transgressions that antedate the opening of the novel. Godfrey Cass and Bulstrode (especially the latter) are examples that immediately come to mind. The basic require-ments for the presentation of both kinds of desire in a work of literature are, f irst , an adequately realized object of attraction or repulsion, attainable or avoidable only by unethical conduct; secondly, a temptee so effectively drawn as to e l i c i t the reader's sympathetic participation in his predicament, which consists in enormous attraction to (or repulsion from) that object, combined with an almost equally strong abhorrence of violating the moral law; and thirdly, a common background of general beliefs and basic assumptions, accepted both by the temptee and by the society in which he lives. The limited and isolated worlds (some fifty years back from the author's own time) of Hayslope and Raveloe provide a unifying ethical framework for the moral conflict in Adam Bede and Silas Marner, respectively. George Eliot does not, however, depend on such a framework, as she is concerned with common human failings that most societies in most ages would deprecate. Successful consummation of these three requirements suffices for the convincing portrayal of evil desire. Fulfilment (which in the °Cf. "'Tis grievous, that with a l l amplification of travel both by sea and land, a man can never separate himself from his past history" (FH, ch. 21, motto). Or again, '"If the past is not to bind us, where can duty lie? We should have no law but the inclination of the moment"1 (MF, bk, 6, ch. 14). Thomas Pinney's article, "The Authority of the Past in George Eliot's Novels" in Nineteenth-Century  Fiction, XXI (September 1966), 131-47 is pertinent. R. L. Collins 1 "The Present Past: the Origin and Exposition of Theme in the Prose Fiction of George Eliot" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1961) should also be mentioned. - 7 . -case of negative desire may mean avoidance) necessitates the addition of an opportunity; and George El i o t usually contrives to have desire and opportunity reach their respective peaks of intensity and enticement simultaneously. The device seems natural when one is preparing the strongest possible assault upon the temptee's resisting conscience. * The object of attraction or repulsion is of course the most important part of opportunity. To this extent desire and opportunity are inseparable. Insofar as i t can be isolated, opportunity may here be defined as the author's manipulation of circumstance with a view to generating an active e v i l desire from tacit f a l s i t y , ^ or with a view to f a c i l i t a t i n g and inviting the fulfilment of a previously aroused e v i l desire. George El i o t clearly attaches great importance to this endeavour and allows herself considerable latitude i n manoeuvering—more Q latitude i n fact than some twentieth-century c r i t i c s condone. Like a general preparing his blow, she knows that i t s effect w i l l not depend exclusively on i t s own inherent strength, but also on the point and moment of delivery. It must be carefully aimed at the victim's weakest spot, and strike when that spot is even more vulnerable than usual. In the end, opportunity almost seems to assume a l i f e of i t s own, a l i f e somehow engendered for the express purpose of matching and boosting C-f. "Tito had never had occasion to fabricate an ingenious l i e before: the occasion was come now--the occasion which circumstance never f a i l s to beget on tacit f a l s i t y " (R, ch. 1.1). ^For example, referring to Raffles' appearance in Middlemarch, C.B. Cox asks, "What evidence is there that a long-forgotten crime such as Bulstrode's is inevitably punished?" (The Free S p i r i t : A  Study of Liberal Humanism . . . London: Oxford University Press, 1963 , P. 24). the temptee*s desire. (This phenomenon is quite plausible, since opportunity is usually associated with one or more human beings, just as desire is necessarily embodied in the temptee.^) The temptee of course does not grasp what is happening, because his apprehension of reality has become clouded. He tends to think of opportunity as passive, deludes himself that his own steadily mounting desire remains at a safe distance, and (each single step being small) may not even realize effectively that i t is_ mounting. Suddenly opportunity leaps to meet his advancing and growing desire, or i t accentuates the magnetic pull by which i t draws desire toward i t s e l f . ^ Being made for each other, they merge upon contact and the irrevocable wrong is committed.^ The tempter or embodiment of the opportunity may himself be a minor temptee, as Stephen Guest is . Maggie puts his case rather too favourably when she tells Lucy: 1 1 1 . . . he struggled too. He wanted to be true to you'" (MF, bk. 7, ch. 4). But to the extent that he is a minor temptee, Maggie would be his "opportunity." "Desire" and "opportunity" are reversible concepts; their application in any specific pattern of temptation depends on the point of view. Throughout this thesis (with some obvious exceptions), ours is that of the principal temptee. •^Cf. Molly Fatten— Godfrey Cass's f irst wife—and her experience with narcotism. "She needed comfort, and she knew but one comforter— the familiar demon opium in her bosom; but she hesitated a moment . . . In that moment the mother's love pleaded for painful consciousness rather than oblivion . . . In another moment Molly had flung something away, but i t was not the black remnant[_of opiumj—It was an empty phial" (SM, ch. 12). n C f . ". . . everything done is done irrevocably . . . even the omnipotence of God cannot uncommit a deed, cannot make that undone which has been done . . . every act must bear its allotted fruit according to the everlasting laws: (Leader, 11^20 Sept. 185ll, 898). The extract i taken from George Eliot's review of William Rathbone Greg's The Creed of Christendom and is cited in Paris, Experiments in Life . . . p. 154. The remaining force in the aggregate of temptation is the temptee's conscience exerting itself to restrain his own evil desire and prevent its fusion with beckoning opportunity. Up to a point, desire and conscience can be distinguished from each other, but neither can be separated from him, for their interaction constitutes his psyche as a temptee. Revealed to the reader in graphic presentation and searching analysis, i t becomes a source of some of George Eliot's greatest achievements. Her basic premise is that, within the mental  boundaries that gave birth to evil desire., the temptee's conflict is insoluble and, provided the opportunity of fulfilment persists, must lead to disaster. Initial ly, he can choose between total and partial resistance, but the result wil l be the same in either case: a fanning of his evi l desire until i t assumes the proportions of monomania and ends in total yielding. Hugged close as a guilty secret, the evil desire in its turn severs his normal contact with other people, and thus tightens the state of isolation in which i t thrives. The temptee is endowed with at least an average degree of wil l power, conscience, good intentions; but there is a limit to the efficacy of these alone: unaided by understanding and insight, they cannot save him. His tortuous mental processes and distraught, inconsequent actions wil l not be understood unti l , like George Eliot , we recognize alienation, failure in the apprehension of reality, psychological illness generally. The birth of evil desire Is one item of evidence, and the temptee's manifest inability to break from his mental prison is another. Caught in a vicious cycle, he is frantically searching for a path of rescue, a guiding light, where none exists. The light is indeed there, close at hand, but he cannot see i t because i t shines outside the walls. Generally unaware of these walls, and certainly incapable of breaking through them by his own momentum, he needs a confidant, a mentor, a therapist: someone who wil l shake his mental kaleidoscope and orient him to a sounder attitude, a less self-absorbed outlook. Bolstering the temptee's wi l l power and thus forestalling a rash act that would entail irremediable consequences is certainly an invaluable temporary service. But the only permanent sollution consists in the attainment or recovery of a wider vision, a truer perspective: in short, of mental health. George Eliot's recognition of the Intimate connection between anti-social behaviour and mental disease places her far ahead of her time and helps to explain why the temptee's struggle lends i tself so readily to the enlargement that is discussed in chapters 4 and 5 of this thesis. It also accounts, in part, for the great revival of interest in her since the end of the War. It may be helpful to remind ourselves at this point that even Adam Bede, usually a pil lar of righteousness, finds himself in a situation where his judgment becomes so clouded that, left to his own guidance, he might err more drastically than the man whose wrongdoing appears to him unforgivable. He is fortunate in having Bartle Massey and Mr. Irwine with him during those harrowing days at Stoniton, in a l ^ w . j , Harvey perceives two poles of published work on George El iot , the second of which "essentially represents a post-1945 ph f t n° T q f l V'"" t >(V*- c t o r^ a n Fiction: a Guide to Research, ed. Lionel Stevenson (^ Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966 ,^ p. (^294j). Bernard J . Paris recognizes that "the rescue of man by man is a recurrent motif" In George Eliot's novels (Experiments in Life ^Detroit, 1965 P. 224). bleak room near Hetty's prison. Dilating upon Adam's understandable but dangerous craving for vengeance on Arthur, the Rector tries to steer his thoughts toward a more constructive approach and a more r e a l i s t i c apprehension of the facts: "If you were to obey your passion--for i t i_s passion, and you deceive yourself in c a l l i n g i t j u s t i c e - - i t might be with you precisely as i t has been with Arthur; nay, worse; your passion might lead you yourself into a horrible crime." (AB, ch. 41) We r e c a l l Mr. Farebrother's oft-quoted remark: "'Character is not cut in m arble—it i s not something solid and unalterable. It i s something l i v i n g and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do. 1" Dorothea replies: "'Then i t may be rescued and healed'" (M, ch. 72). With some of her temptees, notably Gwendolen and Tito, as we shall see, George E l i o t s p e c i f i c a l l y indicates the state of mind that would constitute liberation and mental health; with others, she confines herself to clear implication, leaving the reader to draw his own specific inferences; or she may give him a hint, as i n the following lines from Daniel's "Musophilus," quoted as part of the epigraph for chapter 68 of Middlemarch: ". . . the directest course s t i l l best succeeds. For should not grave and learn'd Experience That looks with the eyes of a l l the world beside, And with a l l ages holds intelligence, Go safer than Deceit without a guide!" Through a l l this diversity, one unifying thread of guidance runs consistently and unmistakable: emphasis on the paramount importance of sympathy with the individual human beings who cross our path. A s i n g l e i l l u s t r a t i o n may s u f f i c e : On h i s deathbed, Romola's brother Dino, a r e l i g i o u s f a n a t i c , warns h i s s i s t e r against her impending marriage, but h i s words f a i l to influence her because they are based on a v i s i o n that "comes from the shadowy region where human souls seek wisdom apart from the human sympathies which are the very l i f e and substance of our wisdom" (R, ch. 15, l a s t paragraph). By chance, hi s prophecy proves well-founded; but though "her trust:[in T i t o , now her husbandJ had been delusive, . . . ^RomolaJ would have chosen over again to have acted on i t rather than be a creature led by phantoms and d i s j o i n t e d whispers i n a world where there was the large music of reasonable speech, and the warm grasp of l i v i n g hands" (R, ch. 36), While the reader's mental glance remains s t e a d i l y d i r e c t e d toward t h i s c a r d i n a l doctrine of human sympathy with I n d i v i d u a l s , he i s not l i k e l y to f a l l i n t o gross misapprehension of George E l i o t ' s p u r p o s e . ^ A temptee's redemption can be achieved on one of two l e v e l s . (The concept of higher and lower i s c e n t r a l i n George E l i o t ' s thinking: we are on safe ground i n t a l k i n g of l e v e l s . ) On the lower l e v e l , e v i l i i J R a t h e r h y p e r b o l i c a l l y , Laurence Lerner c a l l s the last-quoted statement "the c e n t r a l sentence of George E l i o t ' s novels" (The  Truth t e l l e r s . . . Q.ondon: Chatto & Windus, 196]], p. t j-03) and quotes i t as one of the two mottoes for h i s book. He Is quite r i g h t , however, i n s t r e s s i n g i t s Importance. l^For example, about Charles Bray's book, The Philosophy of  Necessity, she remarks: "I d i s l i k e extremely a passage . . . i n which you appear to consider the disregard of i n d i v i d u a l s as a l o f t y c o n d i t i o n of mind. My own experience and development deepen every day my co n v i c t i o n that our moral progress may be measured by the degree i n which we sympathize with i n d i v i d u a l s u f f e r i n g and i n d i v i d u a l j o y " (L e t t e r s , I I , 403), - 13. -desire i s not in i t s e l f transcended; but i t is effectively counteracted or even neutralized by a trenchant awareness of probably consequences, including an imaginative identification with other people's suffering. Assuming the role of Gwendolen's mentor, Daniel Deronda never wearies (though at times he wearies the reader) In his efforts to guide her toward at least this limited kind of rescue. They are diffused through a large part of the novel, but appear i n their most concentrated form in chapter 36, from which a representative sample may be quoted: '"Take the present suffering as a painful letting in of light . . . you know more of the way i n which your l i f e presses on others, and their l i f e on yours. . . . Take your fear as a safeguard. It is like quickness of hearing. It may make consequences passionately present to you.'" Similarly, Parson Irwine does his best, albeit unsuccessfully, to impress Arthur with the fact that '"consequences are unpitying'" (AB, ch. 16). But i t is Maggie, acting here as her own mentor, who gives the most poignant expression to the difference between mental disease and mental health in the face of an e v i l desire that has not, as such, been exorcised: "If I had been better, nobler pother people 1s^ claims would have been so strongly present with me—I should have f e l t them pressing on my heart so continually, just as they do now i n the moments when my conscience is awake— that the opposite feeling would never have grown in me, as i t has done: It would have been quenched at once--I should have prayed for help so earnestly—I should have rushed away as we rush from hideous danger." (MF, bk. 6, ch. 14) Rescue on the lower level can go no farther; Maggie is here aware of i t s utmost reach, where i t touches upon and merges into the higher ( - 14 . -level, characterized by a state of consciousness that deflates or even extirpates the original desire. Janet's experience may be cited as a simple illustration. Thanks to Mr. Tryan's efforts and her own, she successfully withstands her long-ingrained habit of resorting to alcohol for comfort, t i l l in the end i t ceases to allure her. "How feeble and miserable the temptation jj>randyj seemed to her at this moment!" (JR, ch. 25) Or again, "Janet felt a deep stillness within. She thirsted for no pleasure; she craved no worldly good" (JR, ch. 28). Such total victory may also be won by more sophisticated people grappling with more complex issues. Confronted with the choice between Harold Transome, motiveless ease, and luxury on the one hand, and Felix Holt, dedication, and poverty on the other, Esther Lyon, though quite aware that "oh each side there was renunciation" (FH, ch. 49), cannot but act as she does and "has never repented" (FH, Epilogue). George Eliot states the reason in brief compass: Nay, falter not--'tis an assured good To seek the noblest-T 1 t is your only good Now you have seen i t ; for that higher vision Poisons a l l meaner choice for evermore. (FH, ch. 49, motto) Resisting temptation is no longer the issue: temptation has ceased to tempt because the temptee has risen to a mental level beyond its reach. So far as he is concerned, the object of former attraction and the opportunity of fulfilment are at this stage innocuous; evil desire has withered by being deprived of the medium in which i t emerged and luxuriated: his baser self, now successfully surmounted. A battle-ground between two contrasted moral principles in the human psyche and in the cosmos (as we have pointed out in the first chapter), the temptee is endowed with greater ethical potential than those who are less severely tried: he may sink below their average, but he may also soar above i t . Kind-hearted, innocent Lucy is not far wrong in her last words to the friend who has caused her so much grief: '"Maggie,1 she said, In a low voice, that had the solemnity of confession in i t , 'you are better than I am, I can't . . . 1 She broke off there . . ." (MF, bk. 7, ch. 4). Like other striking characters in literature, the temptee is often remembered in his own right, as i f he were an actual acquaintance, quite apart from his function in the composition. He quickens our understanding and our compassion, for we recognize his human frailty, his tragic flaw, and identify ourselves with him as an erring mortal who (in a slight adjustment of Stevenson's familiar words) means well, tries a l i t t l e , and fails much.**' "To know a l l is to forgive a l l . " And that is precisely the effect George Eliot is aiming to produce. In a letter to Charles Bray, dated July 5, 1859, she says: "If art does not enlarge men's sympathies, i t does nothing morally."17 Her psychological acumen, i-)The temptee's higher state wil l probably entail its own set of new (and perhaps more elevated) temptations; or he may revert to a lower level, where the older ones resume their sway. l^From "A Christmas Sermon," published in Scribher's Magazine for December 1888, and included In Across the Plains: with other  Memories and Essays (14th ed. ; London: Chatto & Windus 1910). 1 7 Letters, III, 110. - 16. " comprising even discernment of the unconscious,^ lends much support to the claim frequently made that she is the earliest of the "modern" n o v e l i s t s . ^ For example, the account of Bulstrode's battle with his temptation includes the following sagacious and penetrating analysis: He JBulstrodeJ did not measure the quantity of deseased motive which had made him wish for Lydgate's goodwill, but the quantity was nonetheless actively there, like an i r r i t a t i n g agent in his blood. A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means of breaking his vow. Is i t that he d i s t i n c t l y means to break i t ? Not at a l l ; but the desires which tend to break i t are at work in him dimly, and make their way into his imagination^ and relax his muscles in the very moments when he is t e l l i n g himself over again the reasons for his vow. Raffles, recovering quickly, returning to the free use of his odious powers— how could Bulstrode wish for that? Raffles dead was the image that brought release. (M, ch. 70) This passage is quoted and praised by J.W. Beach in a book devoted 20 almost entirely to novelists later than George E l i o t . As he observes, i t makes one marvel that she could have been contemporary with Trollope. I have selected one of i t s sentences as the motto for this chapter, because i t pinpoints the root of failure in the unsuccessful temptee, and the essential difference between him and his successful counterpart. "A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means of breaking his vow." ^Laurence Lerner asks rhetorically, "What had George E l i o t to learn from psycho-analysis?" And he answers, "As a novelist, surely l i t t l e or nothing" (The Truthtellers . . ., p. 56). 1 9E.g. Walter E. Allen, The English Novel: a Short C r i t i c a l  History (London: Phoenix House, 1954), p. 208. Cecil, Early Victorian  Novelists, p. 283. Edward C. Wagenknecht, Cavalcade, of the English Novel (New York: Holt, 1954), p. 319. ^The Twentieth-Century Novel: Studies in Technique (New York: The Century Co., 1932), p. 32. - 17. The case histories of the great unsuccessful temptees substantiate this dictum and attest i t s wisdom. Chapter 2 THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLE: INTRODUCTORY 'faow Is there c i v i l war within the soul." (M, ch. 67, f i r s t line of epigraph)* "Let thy chief terror be of thine own soul." (DP, f i r s t line of epigraph for the whole novel) Most of George Eliot's major characters are confronted with some kind of temptation, but there is no d i f f i c u l t y in naming the principal temptee in each novel. Arranged in chronological order, they are: 2 Janet Dempster in Janet^s Repentance Arthur Donnithorne in Adam Bede Maggie Tulllver in The M i l l of the Floss Epigraphs not otherwise identified were composed by George E l i o t ; some of these derive from her own previously published verse, notably The Spanish Gypsy. 2 Throughout this thesis, "Janet's Repentance," the third of the Scenes of Clerical Life, w i l l be treated as a separate novel. Its inclusion is Imperative, because i t represents the earliest and simplest example of the characteristic pattern.. If a further ju s t i f i c a t i o n were needed, i t might be found in the technical argument that "Janet's Repentance" is easily novel-length by modern standards, being about as long as Silas Marner. "19, " o Godfrey Cass in Silas MarnerJ Tito Melema in Romola Esther Lyon in Felix Holt Nicholas Bulstrode in Middlemarch Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda This choice cannot be defended in brief space. Readers are asked to accept i t provisionally, suspending final agreement or disagreement until they have reached the end of the thesis. What sort of people are these temptees? Each of course is a sharply defined and highly individualized person; and indeed a number of them--notably Arthur, Maggie, Bulstrode, and Gwendolen--rank among George Eliot's best-drawn characters. Protagonists such as Adam, Romola, Felix, and (worst of al l) Daniel are idealized and generally inferior as creations to the principal temptees in the corresponding novels. George Eliot's success in presenting the latter is not surprising. The struggle in the breast of the temptee epitomizes her view of l i fe as a moral battlefield, and thus relates easily and naturally to the rest of the novel. It gives ample scope to her talent for psychological analysis, for presenting moral issues in their ful l complexity, and for sympathizing with individual striving, failing, and suffering. If her fiction as a whole is the artistic embodiment of a view of l i fe , the principal temptee within each novel is the ^Godfrey Cass belongs with the group of failures treated in chapter 3. However, as a temptee he gives us l i t t l e that is not exemplified in greater depth by Arthur Donnithorne. In order to conserve space for essentials, he is not discussed separately in chapter 3. Passing references to him will be found elsewhere in the thesis. - 20.-focus of that view in a specific setting. His credibility and solidity as a character is the best possible refutation of those who disparage the view of l ife from which he springs as dated, fanciful, or unrealistic. George Eliot envisages the temptee as living in a moral border-land. Here is a revealing comment on one of the most convincing— Arthur Donnithorne: One thing is clear: Nature has taken care that he shall never go far astray with perfect comfort and satisfaction to himself; he wi l l never get beyond that borderland of sin, where he will be perpetually harassed by assaults from the other side of the boundary. He wil l never be a courtier of Vice, and wear her orders in his button-hole. (AB, ch. 12) Similarly, Janet, Esther, and Gwendolen straddle the two sides of the moral boundary portrayed, respectively, by the Tryanites and the anti-Tryanites, the world of Felix Holt and the world of the Transomes, the world of Daniel Deronda and the world of Grandcourt. Generally less schematic than I have here implied, and obscured (as i t should be) by a faithful representation of the complexities of human life., this is nevertheless the basic stance of the temptee. In an oft-quoted defense against Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton1s criticism of Maggie's relationship with Stephen, George Eliot enunciates what at f irst sight appears to be a challenging literary manifesto: If the ethics of art do not admit the truthful presentation of a character essentially noble but liable to great error—error that is anguish to its own nobleness'—then, i t seems to me, the ethics of art are too narrow, and must be widened to correspond with a widening - 21." psychology. Actually, as Joan Bennett points out,"* George Eliot is here loosely paraphrasing Aristotle's definition of the tragic hero. Applied to prose fiction, her approach may have startled in mid-Victorian days, but does nothing of the kind a century later. The novelty, i f there be any, does not reside in her definition and defense of the tragic hero, but rather in the view, which to her appears axiomatic, that the hero so conceived must necessarily be a temptee.^ Her treatment of Maggie throughout The Mill on the Floss, and particularly in Book 6, entitled "The Great Temptation," leaves no room for doubt on this score. By way of evidence in brief compass, Maggie's words of impassioned self-accusation (following the semi-elopement with Stephen) may be cited: "I feel no excuse for myself--none. I should never have failed . . . as I have done, i f I had not been weak, selfish, and hard—able to think of {others *J pain without 4The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, 7 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954-55), III, 318; cited hereafter in text as Letters. ^George Eliot: Her Mind and Her Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948), p. 116. ^obviously, i t does not follow that he is a temptee and nothing else: i f he were that, he would be an abstraction resembling no one in l i fe; nor does i t follow that two characters who are temptees wil l necessarily resemble each other closely even in that one quality. As so often, the same word is used to cover a practically unlimited variety of possibilities. a pain to myself that would have destroyed a l l temptation. (MF, bk. 6, ch. 14) Maggie is a temptee; she is a temptee i n virtue of being "a character essentially noble but liable to great e r r o r — e r r o r that i s anguish to i t s own nobleness." George E l i o t herself thus provides a convenient working definition for at least this Second chapter of the present study. At varying levels of intensity and with varying degrees of completeness, the above definition applies to most of the characters on our l i s t . Tito i s an exception, because even at the beginning of Romola he is charming and agreeable rather than noble. With Bulstrode one hesitates. He certainly suffers great anguish and he does have a few streaks of nob i l i t y i n his constitution. In Esther's case we have to substitute "would have been anguish" for "is anguish," because she i s that r e l a t i v e l y rare phenomenon in George E l i o t , the temptee who succeeds i n resisting. Godfrey Cass i s given almost as much space in Silas Marner as the protagonist. The con f l i c t in his case arises from inadequate moral fiber, perpetually goaded by a rather active conscience. George E l i o t t e l l s Us: Deeper down, and half-smothered by passionate desire and dread, there was the sense that . . . he ought to accept the consequences of his deeds.. . . But he had not moral courage enough to contemplate that active renunciation of Nancy as possible for him: he had only conscience enough and heart enough to make him for ever uneasy under the weakness that forbade the renunciation. (SM, ch. 13) A pattern is already beginning to emerge. A l l temptees are in a state - 23.-of moral c o n f l i c t , from which i t follows that they must be endowed with an active conscience and with a tendency either to act i n opposition to that conscience or to f a i l to act i n accordance with i t s dictates. This i s their common denominator, and i t is wide and flexible enough to permit of great individual variation. The conscience may or may not amount to nobility OS character, and the counteracting tendency may range from mere weakness to an actual tragic flaw. Arthur Donnithorne stands about half way between Maggie and Godrey Cass i n these qualities. Stronger and nobler than Godfrey, he Is yet weaker and closer to common clay than Maggie. Our f i n a l example i s by common consent of recent 7 c r i t i c s one of George Eliot's greatest creations and, in my view, her greatest temptee: Gwendolen Grandcourt (nee Harleth) in Daniel Deronda. The motto of that novel, composed by the author herself, i s revealing. Obviously referring to the principal temptee, i t expresses sentiments that Daniel echoes again and again i n his capacity as her mentor: Let thy chief terror be to thine own soul: There, 'mid the throng of hurrying desires That trample o'er the dead to seize their spoil, Lurks vengeance, footless, i r r e s i s t i b l e As exhalations laden with slow death, And o'er the fairest troop of captured joys Breathes p a l l i d pestilence. 7"Recent" in relation to George El i o t ' s c r i t i c s is used through-out this thesis i n the sense of "after 1945." Gerald Bullett's (1947), Joan Bennett's (1948), and F. R. Leavis' (1948) discussions may be regarded as the earliest examples in book form of the "recent" approach. W. J. Harvey in the opening paragraph of chapter 9 of Victorian F i c t i o n : a Guide to Research, ed. Lionel Stevenson (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), speaks of two poles of George E l i o t criticism, the second of which "essentially represents a post-1945 phenomenon." - 24. -This then is the soul of the temptee as George Eliot conceives i t : a battleground between urgent, selfish desires for ease and enjoyment, irrespective of higher claims or other people's rights, and an active conscience that wil l forever annul these enjoyments and convert ease into pain--pain accentuated by a sense of guilt and often harder to bear than the original tr ia l would have been. Trying to prepare Adam for the shattering disclosure of Hetty's imprisonment and its cause that he is about to make, Parson Irwine says: "there is a heavier sorrow coming upon you than any you have yet known. But you are not guilty— you have not the worst of a l l sorrows. God help him [Arthur Donnithorne] who has.1" (AB, ch. 39)8 By and large, Parson Irwine1s sentiments are George Eliot's own. She defends him at length in that oft-quoted chapter 17 of Adam Bede: "In Which the Story Pauses a Li t t l e ." At any rate, the consciousness of guilt as "the worst of a l l sorrows" is a view that reverberates through Daniel Deronda. For example, when Gwendolen tells her mentor that she has "'thrust out others-- . . . made [her] gain out of their loss— tried to make i t—tried, '" and that she "'must go on'" and "'can't alter i t , ' " he replies: "'That is the bitterest of all—to wear the yoke of our own wrongdoing1" (DP, ch. 36). The f irst chapter, and indeed the first paragraph, of Daniel  Deronda lends further support to a Manichaean concept of the temptee. ^Cf. Arthur's pleading with Adam, just prior to their reconciliation: "'Perhaps you've never done anything you've had bitterly to repent of in your l i fe , Adam; i f you had, you would be more generous. You would know then that i t 's worse for me than for you. . . . And don't you think you would suffer more i f you'd been in fault?'" (AB, ch. 48) -25. -Watching Gwendolen at the gaming table in Beubronn, Deronda asks himself some pertinent questions about her: Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance? Was the good or the evil genius dominant in those beams? Probably the evil . . . The link between these two, forged in the bril l iant opening scene, is developed and strengthened throughout the long novel, to the point where Daniel becomes an almost allegorical figure in relation to Gwendolen—a personification of her conscience, of her better self—just as Grandcourt embodies the opposite element in her divided soul. If this element triumphs, she may become like him, for she and Grandcourt certainly have much in common. Gwendolen herself recognizes some of the affinities between them. For example, in the course of their f irst encounter at the Archery Meeting, she reflects "that a man of extremely calm, cold manners might be less disagreeable as a husband than other men" (DP, ch. 11). The reader is not surprised at this supposition, for he remembers her reaction to a suitor of the opposite kind: The perception that poor Rex wanted to be tender made her curl up and harden like a sea-anemone at the touch of a finger. . . . the life of passion had begun negatively in her. She felt passionately averse to this volunteered love. (PP, ch. 7) Or again, on the day following the engagement to Grandcourt, she remarks gaily to her mother: "'Aha.' he is very proud. But so am I. We shall match each other'" (ch. 28). There is no doubt that the motto for the novel as a whole, already quoted, refers primarily to Gwendolen. -26. -There is also no doubt that i t would be a fairly appropriate motto for George Eliot's other novels, and that i t could meaningfully be addressed to a l l of her temptees. The temptations themselves must now be briefly summarized. Janet Dempster gives way to despair, to listlessness, and to alcoholism^ but is redeemed through the influence of the Reverend Edgar Tryan and her own efforts. Arthur Donnithorne seduces Hetty and then adds to the evil consequences by deceiving Adam, in a vain attempt to protect her and to exculpate himself. Maggie Tulliver yields--a long way but not a l l the way—to her infatuation with Stephen Guest, in defiance of the claims that Lucy and Philip have on her, and thus becomes the cause of intense suffering for both. Her earlier yielding in the matter of tacitly consenting to regular secret meetings with Philip Wakem in the Red Deeps is also presented as a temptation, but with a unique difference. For the first and last time in any comparable situation, George Eliot's sympathies are so divided that she is not prepared to commit herself unequivocally. Maggie's choice here reflects a conflict that is specifically articulated In chapter 56 of Romola and by implication elsewhere in that novel: "The problem where the sacredness of obedience ended, and where the sacredness of rebellion began." An autobiographical interpretation of the conflict is tempting and would not be far-fetched, but had better be resisted here as conjectural and not directly relevant. ^Handicapped by inexperience as a novelist and by Victorian prudery—euphemisms like "lohg-accustomed stimulus" (ch. 21) are freely used—George Eliot fails to make Janet's alcoholism convincing, but it is certainly Intended to be taken seriously. -27 . Godfrey Cass has allowed his immoral brother Dunstan to trap him into a thoroughly disreputable marriage. "It was an ugly story of low passion, delusion, and waking from delusion" (SM, ch. 3). Within the novel he fails to own his first wife and their child, and to accept his responsibilities toward them. When Molly dies in the snow just outside Raveloe, and Eppie finds her way to Marner's cottage, Godfrey conceals their connection with him from everyone, including Nancy Lammeter, who within a year becomes his wife. Eppie would probably have been taken to the workhouse i f Marner had hot adopted her. Not until fifteen years after the second marriage does Godfrey confess his shameful past to Nancy. Tito Melema's case is cogently summarized after his death in Romola's words to his natural son L i l l o : "He was young, and clever, and beautiful, and his manners to a l l were gentle and kind. . . . But because he tried to slip away from everything that was unpleasant, and cared for nothing else so much as his own safety, he came at last to commit some of the basest deeds--such as make men infamous. He denied his father, and left him to misery; he betrayed every trust that was reposed in him, that he might keep himself safe and get rich and prosperous." (R, Epilogue) Of a l l the temptees, Tito alone sinks deeper and deeper, with the result that he becomes simply a v i l la in before the end of the novel is reached. Esther Lyon is one of the few successful temptees. The choice facing her is between something higher and something lower rather than between right and wrong. Felix Holt's elevating influence on her - 28. -better self, which has lain dormant, combines with the frightful spectacle of Mrs. Transome's protracted nemesis to make her choose poverty and noble endeavour as Felix' wife, in preference to the luxury and motiveless ease that would have been her probable lot as Harold Transome1s. Nicholas Bulstrode, like Godfrey Cass, has done wrong before the opening of Middlemarch. His past sins are heavier than Godfrey's, more numerous, and of longer standing. Their nature and the motives that prompted him are described at some length in chapter 61 of Middlemarch. He has amassed his large fortune through years of connection with a business establishment that he knew to be—saying the least—usurious, and through cheating Will Ladislaw's mother out of her due inheritance by deliberately concealing from his first wife (Will's grandmother) that her daughter was s t i l l living and had been found. For over a quarter of a century he has imposed himself on Middlemarch as an exceptionally God-dearing, philanthropic, and public-spirited person, and he continues to do so until he is threatened with exposure by the scoundrel Raffles, a former accomplice who knows his guilty secrets. Tempted to connive at Raffles' death in a vain attempt to silence him, he yields. Gwendolen Harleth's great temptation is Grandcourt's offer of marriage, at a time when she is smarting under the hardship of sudden poverty and of various concomitant humiliations. She accepts him as a convenience, without love, simply for his wealth and position, and in defiance of the claims of his mistress, Mrs. Glasher, and her four children. At her meeting with Mrs. Glasher and two of the children, at the Whispering Stones (DP, ch. 14), Gwendolen promises, or at least half-promises: '"I wil l not interfere with your wishes.*" The - 29. ~ wishes, of course, are that Grandcourt should marry Mrs. Glasher and make their boy his heir. Once the in i t ia l wrong has been committed, Gwendolen finds her marriage so stifl ing and oppressive that she gradually develops murderous impulses toward her husband, and these constitute the second temptation that so often follows from yielding to the f irst . Examining these temptations, at least in their in i t ia l phases, one finds that they are rather commonplace and may be classified under four heads: (1) An addiction, such as Janet's drinking; (2) sexual infatuation, like Arthur's for Hetty and Maggie's for Stephen Guest; (3) love of ease, wealth, and luxury, conjoined with the urge to escape from everything painful or disagreeable, as preeminently embodied in Tito and Gwendolen; (4) ambition of the wrong kind, especially lust for power, memorably exemplified by Bulstrode. These categories are of course not absolute; and they overlap. Maggie, for example, is attracted to Stephen both sexually and for the social advantages he can offer her. Tito and Gwendolen care primarily for ease and luxury, but they seek power too. With Bulstrode the emphasis lies in his craving for power, though he is not indifferent to other obvious advantages that wealth confers. The chief point is that most people at some stage in their lives experience temptations of this kind. Imaginative participation and identification are thus made easy for the other characters in the novel and for the reader. Chapter 3 THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLE: THE PATTERN OF SUCCESS '" T i s one t h i n g to be tempted, E s c a l u s , Another t h i n g to f a l l . " (Measure f o r Measure, I I , i , 17-18; c i t e d as epigraph, Middlemarch, ch, 66) A l l of the temptees s t r u g g l e , but few succeed: only two on the l i s t of p r i n c i p a l temptees—Janet and E s t h e r — a n d three others — Farebr o t h e r , Fred V i n c y , and (marg i n a l l y ) Harold Transome. Their success i s p r i m a r i l y due c e r t a i n methods, guides f o r behaviour, which they f o l l o w . These are set f o r t h i n Janet's d i s c u s s i o n w i t h Mr. Tryan, at the n a d i r of her experience, and that d i s c u s s i o n marks the beginning of Janet's r e g e n e r a t i o n . Her d i r e need and b i t t e r past experience b r i n g her to the r e c o g n i t i o n of a t r u t h that none of the uns u c c e s s f u l temptees r e a l i z e s u n t i l too l a t e — t h e t r u t h that good r e s o l u t i o n s by themselves are not a s u f f i c i e n t safeguard f o r the f u t u r e : She wanted stre n g t h to do r i g h t — s h e wanted something to r e l y on besides her own r e s o l u t i o n ; f o r was not the path behind her strewn w i t h broken r e s o l u t i o n s ? How cou l d she t r u s t i n new ones? (JR, ch. 16) Janet has learned the gr e a t e r part of t h e i r l e s s o n before the novel opens. I t i s p r a c t i c a l l y c e r t a i n that she would have f a i l e d without Mr. Tryan. George Eliot does believe very strongly that people can help one another, and indeed that they must do so i f their lives are to be meaningful. Mr. Paris is absolutely right in stating that "the rescue of man by man is a recurrent motif" in her novels and in her letters.^-If a temptee trusts to his own strength alone, he is generally doomed. For example, when Arthur Donnithorne fails at the last moment to make a confidant of Parson Irwine about his infatuation with Hetty, the author remarks: "the rope to which he might have clung had drifted away—he must trust now to his own swimming" (AB, ch. 16). No one can help us i f we are not willing to seek and to receive help. The essential prerequisite for rescue is a core of human sympathy and affection that works in two ways: i t leads us to cultivate a circle of worthy friends and mentors before the temptation arises, and i t reacts forcefully against the temptation when i t does arise. Fred's relations with Mary Garth and her father, and with Mr. Farebrother, which ultimately establish that average and precariously poised young man as a successful and respected member of society, constitute a striking illustration. Particularly memorable are the intense shame he feels when he confesses to Mary that he has brought financial hardship on her family (M, ch. 25), and his willingness to be reprimanded by Mr. Farebrother (ch. 66) at a moment of dangerous weakness that had led him to revert to the billiard-room at the Green Dragon, and might easily have undone a l l his previous efforts. His sister Rosamond, in contrast, never sees the light (with a momentary exception in chapter 81, when she Experiments in Life: George Eliot's Quest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965), p. 224. - 32. -undeceives Dorothea about Ladislaw). She continues blind, egocentric, and self-righteous to the end, and ruins the immensely promising career of her husband, Lydgate. Unlike her brother, Rosamond cannot be rescued, because from her f i r s t appearance in the novel her heart and mind are closed to human sympathy and affection. Her early schooling at Mrs. Lemon's (ch. 1.1) is partly responsible Provided the basic condition is f u l f i l l e d , two potent steps w i l l often lead to rescue in the hour of t r i a l . The f i r s t i s recognition of our own weakness and willingness to confide in others. As Mr. Tryan says to Janet at the end of their f i r s t interview: "Open your heart as much as you can to your mother and Mrs, Pettifer. Cast away from you the pride that makes us shrink from acknowledging our weakness to our friends," (JR, ch. 19) The second step consists In making good resolutions effective by trying to place oneself i n circumstances that render yielding d i f f i c u l t or impossible. The act of confiding in others w i l l often in i t s e l f lead to that result, but other measures may also be required. We must take precautions against ourselves. Mr. Tryan continues: "Ask them to help you in guarding yourself from the least approach of the sin you most dread. Deprive yourself as far as possible of the very means and opportunity of committing i t . " (JR, ch. 19) Other things being equal, the more promptly these steps are taken, the more l i k e l y they are to succeed. Temptation should be dealt with as soon as i t arises. Delay and procrastination may well prove f a t a l . Harold Transome—a minor temptee who is on the whole successful—strikes - 33 . -the right note in what he says to Esther at a great crisis in his l i fe: '"When a man sees what ought to be done, he had better do i t forthwith. He can't answer for himself tomorrow'" (FH, ch. 49). Esther Lyon has an equivalent Edgar Tryan in Felix Holt. He is in prison at the time when she is faced with her great choice between him and Harold Transome, which is also a choice between two diametrically opposite approaches to l i fe . But even i f Felix were not in prison and she could send for him or go to him, there would be no need, for by that time he dwells within her inseparably. Much earlier, when Rufus Lycm discloses Esther's history and reveals that he Is not her real father, the influence of Felix Holt is stirring within her,^ so that she reacts in a way that leads the minister to reflect: "Surely the work of grace is begun in her—surely here is a heart that the Lord hath touched" (ch. 26). He is only superficially wrong, for we know George Eliot's view that "the idea of God, so far as i t has been a high spiritual influence, is the ideal of a goodness entirely human" (Letters, VI, 98). In the afternoon of the same day, Felix and Esther go for a walk, In the course of which he urges her to develop "'such a Vision of the future that [she ] may never lose [her] best self.'" And in the next sentence he calls i t '"a good strong terrible vision'" (ch. 27). Later, about noon of the day of the election at Treby, just before he becomes fatefully involved in the riot , he goes to see her and, being stirred a l i t t l e out of his usual reticence in matters of personal feeling, he quite spontaneously tightens the bond that has been Most readers, including myself, feel that this influence works too fast to be artist ical ly quite convincing. - 34. -developing between them since near the beginning of the novel. As so often, the chapter epigraph is significant.^ George Eliot quotes one of Mrs. Browning's "Sonnets from the Portuguese" in fu l l , but the first few lines suffice to suggest its tenor: Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow. Never more Alone upon the threshold of my door Of individual l i fe , I shall command The uses of my soul . . . (FH, ch. 32) We need not trace Felix' influence on Esther in further detail. The point is that by the time she faces the supreme choice of her life— the choice between two radically different suitors and between two radically different ways of life—her decision, although s t i l l difficult because i t involves renunciation either way, is yet to a large extent predetermined. As the pertinent epigraph suggests, she cannot willingly choose the man and the way of life that she now unmistakably recognizes as the lower of the two: Nay, falter not—'tis an assured good To seek the noblest—'tis your only good Now you have seen i t ; for that higher vision Poisons a l l meaner choice for evermore. (ch. 49) And so Esther renounces her legal claim to the riches of Transome Court, and weds poverty and dedication as the wife of Felix Holt. The chapter epigraphs are more important in Felix Holt than in the other two novels in which they are used—Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Certainly they are well chosen. But the reader's need of them is perhaps indicative of a tendency in Felix Holt to "lapse from the picture to the diagram" (Letters, IV, 300). One feels too often that the chapter was developed from the epigraph, whereas Middlemarch generally gives the impression that an epigraph was found or composed for the chapter. - 35. ~ There i s one man i n George E l i o t ' s novels whose case preeminently i l l u s t r a t e s the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c p a t t e r n of success i n r e s i s t i n g temptation: the p a t t e r n that a l l the u n s u c c e s s f u l temptees v i o l a t e at t h e i r p e r i l . Mr. Farebrother i s amply endowed w i t h the b a s i c p r e r e q u i s i t e of human sympathy and a f f e c t i o n , and h i s wisdom and knowledge of h i m s e l f induce him to adopt the technique that Mr. Tryan urges on Janet: Recognize your own weakness; confide i n o t h e r s ; place y o u r s e l f i n circumstances that render y i e l d i n g d i f f i c u l t or i m p o s s i b l e . He a l s o acts promptly, as Harold Transome does at "the most se r i o u s moment i n [ h i s ] l i f e " (FH, ch. 49), r e f e r r e d to above. Temptation comes to the Reverend Camden Farebrother unexpectedly (M, ch. 52), at a time when he i s p a r t i c u l a r l y happy because Dorothea has r e c e n t l y c o n f e r r e d the Lowick l i v i n g upon him.^ He now enjoys a much wider scope f o r beneficent a c t i v i t y , can support h i s r e l a t i v e s without having to play whist f o r money, and i s at l a s t i n a p o s i t i o n to express h i s love f o r Mary Garth. But Fred V i n c y , who has loved Mary si n c e e a r l y childhood and i s as yet t o t a l l y ignorant of Mr. Farebrother's f e e l i n g f o r her, e n l i s t s him as h i s advocate. The V i c a r magnaminously agrees to attempt t h i s d i f f i c u l t task of pleading Fred's case a g a i n s t h i s own i n t e r e s t , and c a r r i e s i t through w i t h great competence and w i t h great d e l i c a c y . I n t e r e s t e d i n the problem of temptation, we observe that he r i d e s to Lowick Rectory "that very day" (ch. 52)--not tomorrow or the day a f t e r tomorrow, as an u n s u c c e s s f u l temptee would probably have r e s o l v e d on doing. And at the end of h i s memorable i n t e r v i e w w i t h ^See Appendix f o r a d i s c u s s i o n of Farebrother's as the second temptation i n Book V I I of Middlemarch ("Two Temptations"). - 36. -Mary, he uses the same technique. Sensing for the f i r s t time how he feels about her, she exclaims: "'Oh, please stay, and let me give you some tea"' (ch. 52). But he replies: '"No my dear, no. I must get back, 1" and within three minutes he i s on his horse again. One can readily imagine how Arthur Dbnnithorne, as well as other unsuccessful temptees, would have acted in the same situation. Arthur would probably have said to himself something like this: "Now that I have definitely renounced Mary, and have even gone to- the length of prompting her marriage with Fred, there is no reason why I should not enjoy her company for a short half hour. Surely I have deserved that at least." And then he would have sat down to tea with her. (Cf. "He [Arthur Donnithorne ] had made up his mind not to meet Hetty again; and now he might give himself up to thinking how immensely agreeable i t would be i f circumstances were different"--AB, ch. 12.) But Mr. Farebirother knows better. Realizing that he is a man and therefore liable to err, he takes precautions against his own weakness; as far as possible, he secures himself against the possibility of moral backsliding. The result is not only that he emerges victorious from the f i r s t bout with his temptation, but also that he is able to enter on the second bout (which he does not foresee yet) from a position of advantage: Our lives make a moral tradition for our individual selves, as the l i f e of mankind at large makes a moral tradition for the race; and to have once acted greatly seems a reason why we should always be noble. (R, ch. 39) The auguries for Mr. Farebrother 1s success in the second and f i n a l battle with his temptation are now propitious. The second battle--the battle to take advantage of Fred's backsliding—is described in chapter 66. Mr. Farebrother again emerges victorious, and the mental processes and the steps which under-lie this triumph are made very clear to the reader. George Eliot here achieves a remarkable fusion of the aesthetic and didactic. She does not find i t necessary to step in herself and te l l us what went on in Farebrother's mind. Neither does she here employ another character to act as her mouthpiece or as a chorus. In a way that is absolutely plausible and convincing, the temptee is made to reveal his own mind to the very person whose actions constitute a temptation for him. Fred Vihcy is at this time trying hard to win Mary's hand by good behaviour and worthwhile accomplishment. But he Is an average young man, and as such he finds the yoke of virtue rather galling at times. Farebrother persuades him to leave the Green Dragon.^ In their conversation under the stars, Fred is on the defensive; most of the talking is done by Mr. Farebrother. What he says to his protege is of great interest. Essentially another rendering of Tryan's advice to Janet, i t amounts to an exposition of what George Eliot regards as the only sure way in which a temptation that is really worthy of the name can be permanently resisted. By and large, her temptees either use Farebrother's method or they f a i l . And most of them do f a i l . What is Farebrother's method? It is neatly and concisely presented in about two pages of crucial significance^ and may be briefly 5"There was a billiard-room at the Green Dragon, which some anxious mothers and wives regarded as the chief temptation in Middlemarch" (ch. 18). - 38. -summarized as follows: Recognize that you are confronted with a temptation, and that you have your f u l l share of human weakness.^ It is not enough for you to resolve that you w i l l resist the temptation. The combination of opportunity and desire may at any time be such as to overwhelm your moral conscience. Therefore, at this moment, while you see the right path and enjoy f u l l self-possession, you must secure yourself against the possi b i l i t y of f a l l i n g , nor merely by making a vow, but by "cast [ ing ] away the means of breaking [ your ] vow" (M, ch. 70; i t a l i c s added). There is no other way. And how does a man secure himself? The answer i s , by taking others into his confidence, so that he may "Look with the eyes of a l l the world beside;"^ so that "the hope i n l i e s i s forever swept away, and the soul recovers the noble attitude of simplicity" (R, ch. 9). The "others" w i l l of course have to be judiciously selected, the choice depending on the individual temptee1s social environment, as well as on the nature of his temptation. In the present case, Mr. Farebrother selects Fred "Farebrother 1s awareness of his own weakness leads him astray on one occasion: expressed crudely and unkindly, i t leads him to judge others by himself. At the great c r i s i s in his friend Lydgate's l i f e , he f a i l s to rise to the occasion, as Dorothea alone does. Discussing that c r i s i s with her, Sir James Chettam, and others, he remarks: "'It i s posslble--I have often f e l t so much weakness in myself that I can conceive even a man of honourable disposition, such as I have always believed Lydgate to be, succumbing to such a temptation as that of accepting money which was offered more or less indirectly as a bribe to insure his silence about scandalous facts long gone by'" (ch. 7 2 ) . These suppositions do less than justice to his friend, who at this point is i n dire need of encouragement and vindication. ^From Daniel's "Musophilus." Cited as part of the epigraph for chapter 68 of Middlemarch. Vincy, his unconscious tempter. In his conversation with him, he faces the temptation unflinchingly, but with no arrogant or unwarranted self-confidence: "I have said to myself, 'If there is a likelihood of that youngster doing himself harm, why should you interfere? . . . If there's a chance of his going to the dogs, let him--perhaps you could nohow hinder i t — a n d do you take the benefit.' But I had once meant better than that, and I am come back to my old intention. I thought that I could hardly secure myself i n i t better, Fred, than by t e l l i n g you just what had been going on in me. And now, do you understand me?" (ch. 66) Fred does understand and is saved, and Mr. Farebrother's better self has gained a decisive victory over his lower self. But George Eliot's unsuccessful temptees are not privileged to hear him, and probably would pay no heed i f they were. Though they struggle, they do not face their temptations squarely; they do not secure themselves by casting away the means of breaking their resolutions. However long and harrowing the battle, unlike Farebrother they succumb in the end. Chapter k THE TEMPTEE AND. HIS STRUGGLE: THE PATTERN OF FAILURE Section 1: Arthur Donnithorne Arthur Donnithorne i s George E l i o t ' s e a r l i e s t f u l l - l e n g t h p o r t r a i t of the temptee who f a i l s to r e s i s t . Insofar as i t i s recorded, the a c t u a l war with h i s temptation i s fought i n three b a t t l e s : the b a t t l e against meeting Hetty i n the Wood for the f i r s t time (AB, ch. 12); the b a t t l e against meeting her again i n the evening of the same day (ch. 13); and the b a t t l e to make a confidant of Mr. Irwine the following morning (ch. 16). Arthur loses a l l three, but not without a commendable struggle, a struggle that "foreshadows the inward s u f f e r i n g which i s the worst form of Nemesis" (ch. 16). A r e l a t i v e l y simple character, he a f f o r d s a c l e a r and memorable i l l u s t r a t i o n of the i n t e r p l a y of forces that c o n s t i t u t e s temptation. His moral conscience as revealed i n thought and r e s u l t a n t a c t i o n i s the most f u l l y developed of these forces, and w i l l r e c e i v e the greatest share of a t t e n t i o n . But i t cannot struggle i n a vacuum, without the f u e l of challenge. It must be aroused and kept under ceaseless pressure by the two counteracting forces i n the aggregate of temptation, as analyzed i n Chapter 1. Discussion of Arthur's case h i s t o r y as a temptee begins n a t u r a l l y with h i s d e s i r e and h i s opportunity. The c r e a t i o n of an intense d e s i r e that must be r e s i s t e d can be a complicated matter, as the p o r t r a i t s of Bulstrode and Gwendolen t e s t i f y . It i s the reverse of complicated i n Arthur Donnithorne's case. He i s a normal young man, just under twenty-one, exposed to the frequent sight (at church and at the H a l l Farm) of "a d i s t r a c t i n g l y pretty g i r l of seventeen" (AB, ch. 7), within the framework of a s o c i e t y that proscribes marriage between them, and at the same time regards - 41. -e x t r a - m a r i t a l r e l a t i o n s between the sexes as one of the most heinous of s i n s . George E l i o t ' s choice of s e t t i n g and period r a t h e r suggest that she d e l i b e r a t e l y sought s i m p l i c i t y . I s o l a t e d p h y s i c a l l y and p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y to an extent that would no longer have been p o s s i b l e i n her own day, the v i l l a g e of Hayslope at the tu r n of the century (1799-1801) i s enveloped i n a m o r a l l y homogeneous c l i m a t e of o p i n i o n . Not a s i n g l e v o i c e i s r a i s e d a gainst the h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e of s o c i e t y , or aga i n s t t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e s to i l l i c i t sexual r e l a t i o n s and the unmarried mother. Arthur agrees w i t h Adam that he cannot p o s s i b l y marry Hetty ( c f . h i s l e t t e r to her, ch. 31), and Hetty h e r s e l f never even attempts to defend h e r s e l f on t h e o r e t i c grounds. The seduction upsets a moral order that i s accepted u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y by a l l . Arthur's d e s i r e i s so intense because i t i s a l l too n a t u r a l , and I t Is e v i l because the s o c i e t y i n which he l i v e s , and whose moral views he h i m s e l f shares, regards i t as such. A d e s i r e so n a t u r a l and so int e n s e r e q u i r e s l i t t l e e x p l a n a t i o n and l i t t l e reinforcement, and yet George E l i o t takes pains to provide both. Hetty's p h y s i c a l beauty, v a n i t y , and "narrow f a n t a s t i c c a l c u l a t i o n of her own probable pleasures and p a i n s " (ch. 31) are developed at length i n chapters 7, 9, and 15, wh i l e Arthur i s endowed w i t h c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and i n v o l v e d i n c e r t a i n circumstances, c a l c u l a t e d to exacerbate h i s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y . F i r s t introduced to him on h i s v i s i t w i t h Mr. Irwine at Broxton Parsonage (ch. 5 ) , the reader i s q u i c k l y made aware of Arthur's Immaturity: an Immaturity that h i s age renders p l a u s i b l e , but by no means i n e v i t a b l e . His plans f o r the Rector's mother at the approaching grand b i r t h d a y f e a s t (to c e l e b r a t e h i s coming - 42. -of age) suggest that i n some ways he i s s t i l l the boy who long ago had thought of a p p o i n t i n g Adam " g r a n d - v i z i e r " to a " r i c h s u l t a n " - - h i m s e l f . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that he "can h a r d l y make head or t a i l " of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." We observe, too, that he f e e l s thwarted and f r u s t r a t e d by h i s grandfather, the o l d Squire; that he welcomes pleasant d i v e r s i o n s as an a i d i n k i l l i n g time; and that a broken arm, which he i s s t i l l o b l i g e d to c a r r y i n a s l i n g , compels r e l a t i v e i n a c t i v i t y and thus inc r e a s e s h i s boredom and r e s t l e s s n e s s . By the time he r i d e s away from the H a l l Farm with Mr. Irwine (ch. 9, l a s t few paragraphs), h i s i n f a t u a t i o n w i t h Hetty has a l r e a d y begun. L a t e r (ch. 12, opening) we are shown another aspect of Arthur's immaturity: the c o n v i c t i o n that e x t e r n a l f a c t s ought to a d j u s t themselves, to the convenience of a good f e l l o w l i k e . h i m s e l f . F o i l e d i n h i s laudable plan to r e s i s t d e s i r e and opportunity by escape through a f i s h i n g t r i p , he r e a c t s i n a way that harmonizes f u l l y w i t h what we have learned of h i s c h a r a c t e r , and at the same time u n v e i l s the author's technique: He considered h i m s e l f thoroughly d i s a p p o i n t e d and annoyed. . . . I t was vexatious . . . I t seemed c u l p a b l e i n Providence to a l l o w such a combination of circumstances. To be shut up at the Chase w i t h a broken arm . . . shut up w i t h h i s grandfather . . . And to be d i s g u s t e d at every t u r n w i t h the management of the house and the e s t a t e ! In such circumstances a man n e c e s s a r i l y gets i n an i l l humour, and works o f f the i r r i t a t i o n by some excess or other. (AB, ch. 12) George E l i o t i s fanning the flames of an e v i l d e s i r e , i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r an o p p o r t u n i t y that she i s arranging simultaneously and w i t h equal s k i l l . As we have s t a t e d i n S e c t i o n 1, the object of a t t r a c t i o n or r e p u l s i o n i s the most important part of both d e s i r e and o p p o r t u n i t y . - 43. -A r t h u r ' s o b j e c t of a t t r a c t i o n i s of course Hetty, whose p h y s i c a l beauty and (by i m p l i c a t i o n ) concomitant d e f e c t s of c h a r a c t e r are s t r e s s e d by the author, almost to the point of excess, i n the f i r s t t w o - t h i r d s of Adam Bede. Recent c r i t i c s suspect and resent the obvious a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l motive, the " p l a i n woman's m i s t r u s t of pink cheeks and p e r f e c t eyelashes."''' However t h i s may be, George,Eliot i s unmistakably t r y i n g hard to inflame e v i l d e s i r e by rendering i t s o b j e c t as a l l u r i n g as p o s s i b l e . But that i s not tenough to meet the e x i g e n c i e s of temptation. The o b j e c t must a l s o be a t t a i n a b l e . O r d i n a r i l y , i n the world of Hayslope, the s q u i r e ' s grandson would see a d a i r y maid l i k e Hetty only at Church and i n her own home, where even the strongest d e s i r e could h a r d l y lea d him to do m i s c h i e f . Moreover, the niece of r e s p e c t a b l e f o l k l i k e the Pysers would probably r e s i s t an a s s a u l t on her v i r t u e by anyone i n her own s t a t i o n of l i f e . She i s indignant at the bare suggestion (ch. 12) that Mr. C r a i g , the gardener, takes care of her when she walks through the Chase. But A r t h u r , i n Hetty's view, belongs to a d i f f e r e n t order of beings. Her v a n i t y and ignorance transform h i s wealth and s o c i a l p o s i t i o n i n t o a f r e e c h a r t e r f o r amorous approaches. So f a r as we are informed, her moral abandonment i s so absolute that one can s c a r c e l y speak of seduction, since seduction i m p l i e s an i n i t i a l r e s i s t a n c e g r a d u a l l y conquered. She has no conscience, unless f e a r of shame and exposure can be c a l l e d a conscience. The wishes of her whole Gordon S. Haight i n h i s " I n t r o d u c t i o n " to the Rinehart e d i t i o n of Adam Bede. (New York: Holt., Rinehart and Winston, 1948), p. x i v . See a l s o , W.J. Harvey, The A r t of George E l i o t (London: Chatto & Windus, 1961), pp. 84-87. 2simultaneously, and by the same technique, she i s t r y i n g to account f o r Adam's i n f a t u a t i o n . - 44. -being coincide completely with those of Arthur's baser s e l f — t h e self that i s in conflict with the better side of his divided temptee's nature. Hesitation, and resistance emanate from Arthur, not from her; they are genuine, and might suffice to keep them apart (albeit by a narrow margin), i f two additional factors—one negative and one po s i t i v e — d i d not militate against self-denial. The negative factor is Arthur's total ignorance that Adam loves Hetty and seeks to make her his wife. (Cf. "'Adam, i t would never have happened i f I'd known you loved her. That would have helped to save me from I t 1 " ch. 48 .) The positive factor i s revealed during his tete a tete with Hetty in the dairy (ch. 7) . In addition to further manifesting his interest in her, and actually inviting her to go walking in the Chase, he e l i c i t s some important information. Fe recalls having seen her in Mrs. Best's, the housekeeper's, room, and Hetty now explains that she goes one afternoon a week to learn various kinds of needlework from Mrs. Pomfret, the lady's maid. The next occasion w i l l be tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, when she is going to have tea with Mrs. Pomfret. Thus the stage i s already being set for the f i r s t battle of Arthur's war with his temptation. Desire and opportunity are aligned; i t remains to be seen how Arthur's moral conscience w i l l react against this formidable alliance. As he rides away from the Hall Farm with Mr. Irwine, the parson on his own i n i t i a t i v e volunteers and proffers a hint that could be immensely valuable to Arthur at this stage: "When I've made up my mind that I can't afford to buy a tempting dog, I take no notice of him, because i f he took a strong fancy to me, and looked lovingly at me, the - 45. s t r u g g l e between a r i t h m e t i c and i n c l i n a t i o n might become un p l e a s a n t l y severe." (AB, ch. 9) This h i n t i s not r e j e c t e d : i t merely meets acceptance a t a low l e v e l of comprehension, a l e v e l that i n terms of p r a c t i c a l e f f i c a c y i s o f t e n no b e t t e r than r e j e c t i o n . That i s one of the tragedies of the human l o t ; i t c e r t a i n l y proves to be Arthur's i n the present i n s t a n c e . Two of the three d e c i s i v e b a t t l e s i n the war of Arthur's conscience a g a i n s t h i s own d e s i r e , backed by e x t e r n a l o p p o r t u n i t y , are fought and l o s t the very next day, Thursday, the day on which, as he has a s c e r t a i n e d i n the d a i r y (ch. 7), Hetty w i l l twice be passing through the Chase: at about four, i n the afternoon, on her way to Mrs. Pomfret, and at about e i g h t i n the evening, on her way back home. There i s no question of seduction at t h i s stage. The seduction w i l l occur l a t e r , at the Hermitage; i t cannot be described i n a V i c t o r i a n n o v e l , and even the exact time i s l e f t u n s p e c i f i e d . The only evidence we have i s Hetty's pregnancy and the " l i t t l e pink s i l k n e c k e r c h i e f (or h a n d k e r c h i e f ) " that Arthur t h r u s t s i n t o the waste-paper basket i n chapter 28 and takes out again at the very end of chapter 48. The point a t i s s u e on t h i s c r u c i a l Thursday i s simply whether he w i l l renounce the op p o r t u n i t y of being alone w i t h Hetty f o r the f i r s t time. He has c e r t a i n l y made no commitment to meet her, and yet he knows that she i s exp e c t i n g him. Viewed o b j e c t i v e l y , her e x p e c t a t i o n c o n s t i t u t e s an added reason against f u l f i l l i n g i t . Although A r t h u r does not (and perhaps cannot) r e a l i z e i t e f f e c t i v e l y , h i s acts of g a l l a n t r y at church and i n the d a i r y (chapter 7, but a l s o f o r some weeks p r i o r to the opening of the novel) have already wrought cons i d e r a b l e m i s c h i e f : - 46. Hetty had got a face and a presence haunting her waking and sleeping dreams; bright, soft glances had penetrated her, and suffused her l i f e with a strange, happy languor . . . For three weeks, at least, her inward l i f e had con-sisted of l i t t l e else than living through In memory the looks and words Arthur had directed toward her. (ch. 9) His absence from the Chase at those fateful hours (about 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.) on this Thursday would be the most convincing and the least painful way of t e l l i n g Hetty that his previous attentions meant nothing, and that she would be foolish to give them any further thought. Thursday opens auspiciously with two wise resolutions: Arthur w i l l avoid Hetty completely that day, meeting her neither in the afternoon nor i n the evening; i t ends ignominiously with both resolutions broken, and with the genesis of a third'--to make a confidant of Parson Irwine—which w i l l promptly be broken the following morning. George E l i o t presents the formation of this triple defeat with such uncanny insight, such recognizable truth to experience, that Arthur's inconsequent thoughts, hollow rationalizations, and frantic, f u t i l e movements seem to defy comprehension, just as they would In actual l i f e . He turns each failure into a stepping stone to the next, and w i l l not even acknowledge squarely to himself that a problem exists at a l l . No appreciable harm, he thinks, would be done i f he did meet Hetty that day. His resolutions to avoid her are therefore implicit rather than ex p l i c i t ; he may break them without being acutely conscious of doing so. How can anyone expect to succeed in a d i f f i c u l t act of self-denial, when he is simultaneously persuading himself that i t is really more or less unnecessary and superfluous? Locked in the mental prison that engendered his e v i l desire, Arthur is desperately seeking a path of - 47. -rescue or a g u i d i n g l i g h t w i t h i n the w a l l s , where none e x i s t s . As long as he stays there and the op p o r t u n i t y of f u l f i l m e n t remains, nothing that he does or f a i l s to do can prevent the steady i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of h i s d e s i r e , u n t i l i t ends i n y i e l d i n g and d i s a s t e r , f o r no man's inner r e s i s t a n c e i s u n l i m i t e d , and Arthur's i s only average. Unperceived by him, s a l v a t i o n beckons outside the w a l l s ; but he i s i n s u f f i c i e n t l y aware of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and s t i l l l e s s of h i s i n a b i l i t y to break through them without h e l p from another human being: a human being who i n t h i s case i s a v a i l a b l e and would be g l a d and competent to give i t . One of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of involvement i s i n a b i l i t y to see c l e a r l y , r e a l i s t i c a l l y , and i n p e r s p e c t i v e . I am reminded of two l i n e s from one of Roy D a n i e l l s ' sonnets: And there's a causeway reaching out of s i g h t , A s t r a i g h t road r i g h t to the C e l e s t i a l C i t y . ^ His v i s i o n o b s t r u c t e d , A r t h u r cannot d i s c e r n the "causeway," the " s t r a i g h t road": a human tragedy i s c l e a r l y i n the making. W i t h i n h i s p r i s o n , Arthur can at f i r s t choose between t o t a l r e s i s t a n c e and p a r t i a l y i e l d i n g ; he t r i e s both, one a f t e r the other, w i t h p r e d i c t a b l e consequences. Temporarily thwarted i n h i s plan to go f i s h i n g a t Ea g l e d a l e , and t o t a l l y unaware that he cannot escape from h i m s e l f by p h y s i c a l movement, he decides to "have a g a l l o p on R a t t l e r to Norburne t h i s morning, and lunch w i t h Gawaine" (ch. 12). This plan I s c a r r i e d out, but serves no purpose whatever. Instead of s t a y i n g and c h a t t i n g w i t h Gawaine long enough to ensure that Hetty s h a l l have ^Deeper i n t o the Forest (Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y df Toronto Press, 1948), p. 22. - 48. reached the housekeeper's room and be safe out of s i g h t before he r e t u r n s , as he had t a c i t l y promised h i m s e l f , he comes g a l l o p i n g back i n great haste at three, from fe a r that he might miss her. George E l i o t here i n t e r j e c t s one of her pungent comments: I b e l i e v e there have been men s i n c e h i s day who have r i d d e n a long way to avoid a r e n c o n t r e , and then g a l l o p e d h a s t i l y back l e s t they should miss i t . I t i s the f a v o u r i t e stratagem of our passions to sham a r e t r e a t , and to t u r n sharp round upon us at the moment we have made up our minds that the day i s our own. (ch. 12) Not being a c a l l o u s man, Arthur i s now faced w i t h a problem that most of us manage to s o l v e w i t h remarkable i n g e n u i t y : the problem of j u s t i f y i n g ourselves to o u r s e l v e s . Arthur proves no exception. The d e s i r e to meet Hetty, he t e l l s h i m s e l f , i s b a s i c a l l y a " t r i v i a l f a ncy," i n f l a t e d by h i s own f o o l i s h r e s i s t a n c e t h i s morning and by Mr. Irwine's i l l -judged and unasked-for advice as they were r i d i n g away from Mrs. Poyser's d i a r y . The only s e n s i b l e t h i n g to do i s to see her t h i s afternoon and break the s p e l l . But he i s not a c t u a l l y planning to see her. Their meeting, i f i t occurs, w i l l be i n c i d e n t a l . His r e a l purpose i n going to the Hermitage i s to f i n i s h reading a h o v e l — D r . Moore's Zeluco. ^ The Hermitage i s i d e a l f o r l o l l i n g on such an e n e r v a t i n g afternoon as t h i s . Why should he not go there? Arthur would h a r d l y recognize h i m s e l f as the same person who only twenty-four hours e a r l i e r had l e f t the H a l l Farm i n the Rector's company. And yet h i s mental processes George E l i o t had her reasons f o r choosing t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t i t l e . See I r v i n g H. Buchen, "Arthur Donnithorne and Zeluco: C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n v i a L i t e r a r y A l l u s i o n i n Adam Bede," V i c t o r i a n  N e w s l e t t e r , X X I I I (Spring 1963), 18-19. - 49. -are q u i t e understandable and e l i c i t the reader's sympathy. Having found that r e s i s t a n c e aggravates h i s d e s i r e i n s t e a d of b r i n g i n g the gradual r e l e a s e he had hoped f o r , he n a t u r a l l y concludes that the only a l t e r n a t i v e course of a c t i o n he can envisage must produce the opposite e f f e c t . I t i s hard f o r any human being to regard defeat as I n e v i t a b l e , and harder s t i l l to r e a l i z e e f f e c t i v e l y that a s u f f i c i e n t widening of h i s mental h o r i z o n would enable him to transcend the problem that now appears i n s o l u b l e . As almost anyone might have p r e d i c t e d , the f i r s t meeting w i t h Hetty i n the Wood does nothing to assuage Ar t h u r ' s c r a v i n g ; on the c o n t r a r y , i t whets h i s a p p e t i t e f o r more meetings and grea t e r intimacy. No t h i r d course of a c t i o n i s p o s s i b l e w i t h i n h i s present c o n f i n e s : he had t r i e d r e s i s t a n c e and found that i t f a l l s ; he has t r i e d p a r t i a l y i e l d i n g and found that I t f a i l s at l e a s t e q u a l l y . S u r e l y now, one would t h i n k , he w i l l become aware of the mental w a l l s that impede h i s v i s i o n and of h i s need f o r h e l p i n breaking through them. But he does not. The f i r s t meeting w i t h Hetty i s e x e r t i n g i t s negative i n f l u e n c e , both i n fomenting Ar t h u r ' s mental and emotional c o n f u s i o n , and i n p r o v i d i n g a new r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . Having l o s t h i s f i r s t b a t t l e when he met Hetty i n the after n o o n , he i s now a s s i d u o u s l y preparing for. defeat i n the second by persuading h i m s e l f that another meeting w i t h her has bee a duty. Despite h i s experience to date, he i s about to repeat a l l the mistakes he made i n the morning. Again he f a i l s to take anyone i n t o h i s confidence; again he t r u s t s to h i s own judgment i n a s t a t e of disturbance and i n f a t u a t i o n ; again he imagines that he can r e l y on h i s s e l f - m a s t e r y , that he can t r u s t i n h i s own r e s o l u t i o n s , without c a s t i n g away the means - 50. -of breaking them. S i t t i n g i n the Hermitage between h i s f i r s t meeting w i t h Hetty and dinner-time (ch. 12, concluding p a r t ) , he begins h i s ruminations w i t h a f l a s h of i n s i g h t and the wise r e s o l u t i o n that he w i l l not meet Hetty again. Then he repeats the c a r d i n a l blunder of b e l i e v i n g that he w i l l be able to p e r s i s t i n h i s r e s o l u t i o n , and proceeds to reward h i m s e l f beforehand by i n d u l g i n g i n mental images of the meeting which he has h e r o i c a l l y renounced. Maintained long enough, these indulgences lead him to the c o n c l u s i o n that he must see Hetty once m o r e — f o r her own sake, not f o r h i s . S t r i k i n g a j u d i c i o u s balance between o f f e n s i v e coldness and amorous advances, he w i l l t r y to annul the f a l s e Impression that he has u n w i t t i n g l y created i n her mind; f a i l u r e to make t h i s attempt would amount to wanton c r u e l t y . Thus the question no longer i s whether he w i l l h o l d a l o o f from Hetty t h i s evening, but merely whether he w i l l succeed i n bearing h i m s e l f " i n a q u i e t , k i n d way" (ch. 12, near end of penultimate paragraph). Arthur has lowered h i s s i g h t s a long way since the morning of the same day. Arthur's second meeting w i t h Hetty (ch. 13) c o n s t i t u t e s a double defeat: i t s occurrence as such v i o l a t e s the r e s o l u t i o n s he made i n the morning; i t s outcome impugns h i s d i r e c t l y preceding r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s . Their intimacy having advanced to the k i s s i n g stage, he can no longer save her from s u f f e r i n g , but he can s t i l l r e f r a i n from r u i n i n g her l i f e . What she w i l l endure i f he now leaves her alone i s as nothing when compared w i t h her u l t i m a t e o r d e a l . Arthur i s at l a s t becoming aware of the mental w a l l s that o b s t r u c t h i s v i s i o n , of the d i s a s t e r that must ensue i f he stays w i t h i n them, and of h i s i n a b i l i t y to break through unaided. But awareness f u n c t i o n s on d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s , d i s t i n g u i s h e d by degrees of i n t e n s i t y , and h i s ranks j u s t a shade too low: s i t t i n g on the b o r d e r l i n e of e f f e c t i v e n e s s , i t i s e a s i l y i n f l u e n c e d by small s o l i c i t a t i o n s of circumstance, whether favourable or unfavourable. A s l i g h t s h i f t i n the kaleidoscope of events can s p e l l the d i f f e r e n c e between d e l i v e r a n c e and c a l a m i t y . Parson Irwine's r e f l e c t i o n s a f t e r the tragedy are d i r e c t l y to the p o i n t , except that he might j u s t l y blame h i m s e l f a l i t t l e more: I t was p l a i n enough now what Arthur had wanted to con-f e s s . And i f t h e i r words had taken another t u r n . . . i f he h i m s e l f had been l e s s f a s t i d i o u s about i n t r u d i n g on another man's se c r e t s . . . i t was c r u e l to t h i n k how t h i n a f i l m had shut out rescue from a l l t h i s g u i l t and misery. (AB, ch. 39; George E l i o t ' s e l l i p s e s . ) A r t h u r , of course, i s not favoured w i t h the l i g h t of h i n d s i g h t . F o l l o w i n g h i s second meeting w i t h Hetty on Thursday evening, he r e a l i z e s In a l i m i t e d way that he cannot t r u s t h i s own r e s o l u t i o n s and that he may f i n d h i m s e l f i n an unspeakable p o s i t i o n i f he continues as he has done today. Perhaps, deep down i n h i s h e a r t , he does not r e a l l y b e l i e v e that such a f a t e could ever b e f a l l him--him of a l l people, a l u c k y , w e l l -meaning, good-natured f e l l o w l i k e him. S t i l l , he makes a d e c i s i o n that i s wise and f i l l s one w i t h hope. Tomorrow morning, as soon as he has had h i s b r e a k f a s t , he w i l l r i d e to Broxton Rectory and confess h i s whole love problem to Mr. Irwine. "The mere act of t e l l i n g i t would make i t seem t r i v i a l ; the temptation would vanish . . . " (ch. 13, penultimate paragraph). I t seems a reasonable e x p e c t a t i o n . Having l o s t h i s f i r s t two b a t t l e s , Arthur may s t i l l be saved by t h i s plan f o r the f o l l o w i n g morning ( F r i d a y ) . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, he does not envisage another b a t t l e . F a i l i n g to a n t i c i p a t e any d i f f i c u l t i e s or hindrances, he f i n d s - 52. -himself completely unprepared when they arise. His experience to date has not appreciably affected the easy optimism that is apt to beguile him. Will the "act of telling" be easy when he is actually sitting face to face with the Rector? If he does get through the act, wil l i t necessarily make the whole affair seem trivial? Do temptations really vanish so easily? Arthur does not ask himself these questions; i f he did, his chances of victory would be higher. The last nine words of chapter 13--"there was no more need for him to think"--are fraught with dramatic irony, foreshadow his third and final defeat, and draw attention to one of its major causes. Throughout the whole of his involvement with Hetty, Arthur does not think enough. The next morning, Friday, Arthur goes through the motions. Beginning even better than he had Intended, he rides to Broxton before breakfast instead of after i t , and is soon seated with Mr. Irwine at a heavily laden table (ch. 16). The stage-setting that he had envisaged has been realized; now is his chance to f u l f i l l the good resolutions of the preceding night. But once again he fai ls , because a l l the paraphernalia of his plan, however meticulously carried out, are rendered meaningless by omission of the one essential element--communication of his love problem to the Parson. Although subtly hidden in the general scene and dialogue, the mental processes that impede Arthur from making this crucial confession may (at some loss, necessarily) be isolated and briefly listed: Reluctance to admit his weakness from fear of forfeiting Mr. Irwine's good opinion and respect; vague and unrealistic trust that the turn of the conversation will do his work for him painlessly and almost automatically; delusion that his problem - 53. -i s not r e a l l y s e r i o u s , since the Rector (whom he keeps i n ignorance) does not co n f i r m i t s s e r i o u s n e s s ; 5 doubt whether Mr. Irwine can do anything that he cannot do f o r h i m s e l f ; mistaken b e l i e f that r e v i v a l of h i s plan to keep out of harm's way by a f i s h i n g - t r i p to Eagledale makes c o n f e s s i o n unnecessary; sudden mental withdrawal or s h r i n k i n g back when Mr. Irwine commits the t a c t i c a l e r r o r of f o r c i n g him to the b r i n k w i t h an abrupt, d i r e c t , and personal question; f e a r that the general moral d i s c u s s i o n he h i m s e l f has i n i t i a t e d w i l l make subsequent c o n f e s s i o n appear f a r more se r i o u s than ( i n h i s view at that moment) i t r e a l l y i s ; l a s t l y , and perhaps most important of a l l , there i s the " b a c k s t a i r s i n f l u e n c e , " as George E l i o t a p t l y c a l l s i t (ch. 16). Does Arthur r e a l l y want to stay away from Hetty? Meeting her again may become much more d i f f i c u l t a f t e r a c o n f e s s i o n to Mr. Irwine. H a l f c o n s c i o u s l y and h a l f unconsciously he has engineered the f a i l u r e of h i s own e x c e l l e n t plan, the plan that could so e a s i l y have saved h i m s e l f and others from hideous s u f f e r i n g . The i n t e r v i e w w i t h Mr. Irwine has proved f r u i t l e s s , l e a v i n g the w a l l s of Arthur's mental p r i s o n unshaken and unbroken. George E l i o t remarks: The o p p o r t u n i t y was gone. While Arthur was h e s i t a t i n g , the rope to which he might have clung had d r i f t e d away--he must t r u s t now to h i s own swimming. (ch. 16, penultimate paragraph.) In p r a c t i c e t h i s means that Arthur i s now, n e c e s s a r i l y , r e v e r t i n g to h i s f r a n t i c and f u t i l e search f o r a path of rescue w i t h i n the w a l l s , where 5 " I t was not, a f t e r a l l , a t h i n g to make a fuss about." H e a v i l y dependent on other people's o p i n i o n , Arthur can see h i m s e l f only as they see him. - 54 . -none e x i s t s , where anything that he does or r e f r a i n s from.doing w i l l s t i m u l a t e the growth of h i s d e s i r e u n t i l i t proves too much f o r h i s powers of r e s i s t a n c e . D i s a s t e r has become a near-^certainty. R e v i v a l of Arthur's f a i t h i n escape from h i m s e l f by p h y s i c a l movement i s the f i r s t symptom that the i n t e r v i e w with Mr. Irwine has f a i l e d . His mental s t a t e - - t h e s t a t e that makes ca l a m i t y i n e v i t a b l e — remains v i r t u a l l y u n a l t e r e d . On l e a v i n g the Rectory, he decides to s t a r t immediately on h i s f i s h i n g - t r i p to Eagledale (ch. 16, l a s t paragraph), and apparently he does go there, f o r he i s absent from the church s e r v i c e on the f o l l o w i n g Sunday, and Mr. C r a i g , the gardener, t e l l s Adam that that i s the reason (ch. 18). But i t means as l i t t l e as h i s e a r l i e r moves meant. His thoughts while engaged i n f i s h i n g are not d e s c r i b e d , but may e a s i l y be surmised. Mr. C r a i g says that A r t h u r w i l l be back again before long, f o r he has to supervise the great preparations f o r h i s coming-of-age. party on J u l y 30. We do not know the p r e c i s e time when the a c t u a l seduction takes place, but i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y before that date. By the day of the f e a s t he has alr e a d y given Hetty an expensive p a i r of e a r r i n g s and a l o c k e t w i t h h i s h a i r , and the b r i e f l y d escribed scene that l e d to the g i v i n g of the e a r r i n g s (ch. 22) suggests great intimacy. At the dance on the same f e s t i v e day he whispers to her: " ' I s h a l l be i n the wood the day a f t e r to-morrow at seven; come as e a r l y as you c a n 1 " (ch. 26). We l e a r n l a t e r that nemesis i s already beginning f o r him at t h i s time: "Not that Arthur had been at ease before Adam's di s c o v e r y . Struggles and r e s o l v e s had transformed themselves i n t o compunction and a n x i e t y " (ch. 29). His l i e s when Adam sees him w i t h Hetty i n the Grove (ch.. 27) accentuate the e v i l , but they are i n a sense well-meant f o r Hetty's p r o t e c t i o n - - " ' I thought - 55. -i t was forced upon me; I thought i t was the best t h i n g I could d o 1 " (ch. 48)--and they come to h i s l i p s l i k e the b l i n k i n g of a menaced eye, without premeditation. Commenting on A r t h u r , Jerome Thale remarks: "This i s of course the question, whether the f e a r of g i v i n g pain and the d e s i r e to be admired w i l l produce v i r t u e . " & And he answers, "only as long as the conscience i s c l e a r ; otherwise they are useless and p e r n i c i o u s . " 7 His approach to Adam Bede i s , I b e l i e v e , i n harmony w i t h the author's i n t e n t i o n . Without d e p r e c i a t i n g the appeal of the p a s t o r a l s e t t i n g , he sees the novel as p r i m a r i l y an i n c i s i v e s c r u t i n y of "the b a s i s of conduct." 8 6The Novels of George E l i o t (New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1959), p. 23. 7 I b i d . , p. 24. 8The words i n quotation marks form the t i t l e of h i s chapter on Adam Bede. Section 2: Nicholas Bulstrode Bulstrode ranks among George Eliot's greatest temptees. A l l three elements of the aggregate of temptation—revil desire, opportunity, and moral conscience—are fully developed in his case and interact in a way that compels the reader's conviction. Yet one of the three outranks the other two as an outstanding achievement: the graphic presentation in a l l its twists and turns of Bulstrode's diseased and involuted moral conscience. Once we have admitted that Raffles, though made plausible for the moment, exists primarily for the purpose of resurrecting the temptee's evil past in the present, and is of l i t t l e intrinsic interest, we have exhausted a l l that can be entered on the negative side of the ledger. A comment like Gerald Bullett's "the unmasking of the evangelical Mr. Bulstrode (this last a crudely conceived and mechanically contrived sequence) . . . ,"9 is surely perverse in that, though verbally defensible, i t misses nine-tenths of the essentials. Bulstrode's potentially evil desire originates in a shady past that is gradually revealed to the reader, and particularly (through his own retrospect) in chapter 61 of Middlemarch. The mental processes by which he justifies the successive steps of this past betray an enormously egocentric person, who sees himself as the hub of the universe; looking upon every convenient event in his l i f e as a "leading" that proves him 9 George Eliot: Her Life and Books (London: Collins, 1947), p, 220. - 56 -- 57 -to be directed by a remarkable and personal Providence, he concludes that he has been singled out as a special instrument In the service of God. George Eliot's famous parable of "the scratches [that] w i l l seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round . . . a centre of illumination" (M, ch. 27, opening) f i t s Bulstrode's egoism even more squarely than i t does Rosamond's. Rules of conduct that bind other men may be flouted by him when such behaviour enhances the glory of God, he himself of course being the judge of this issue. Indeed he comes close to having a partnership with God, and v i r t u a l l y bargains with Him when he tries to stay the rod by offering to compensate Ladislaw for having defrauded his mother out of her due inheritance (ch. 6 l ) . Grossly deficient i n human sympathy, he sees himself l i v i n g under the special dispensation of a God who conveniently winks or looks the other way whenever the conduct of His "instrument" might otherwise embarrass Him. Bernard J. Paris believes that Bulstrode "perfectly exemplif[ies] Feuerbach's description of the religious habit of mind,"-^ and George E l i o t herself, who had translated Feuerbach, remarks: "There i s no general doctrine which i s not capable of eating out our morality I f unchecked by the deep-seated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men " (M, ch. 61). For decades Bulstrode has imposed himself on Middlemarch as an exceptionally pious and philanthropic person. Since no one else, obviously, w i l l believe that he has been granted a special dispensation, his peace of mind, his well-being, his happiness depend upon the past remaining a secret between himself and God. Both his self-respect and 10 Experiments in Life: George Eliot's Guest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965), p. 171. - 58 -his view of God's attitude toward him rest on the good opinion and high esteem of his fellow-men—the very men, ironically, whom he regards as nonentities In the divine scheme. "The loss of high consideration from his wife as from everyone else who did not clearly hate him out of enmity to the truth, would be as the beginning of death to him" (ch. 6l) . This being his posture, the threat of certain disclosures, combined with the possibility of averting i t by base conduct, will almost inevitably constitute a temptation. As George Eliot remarks in another novel, "The contaminating effect of deeds often lies less in the commission than in the consequent adjustment of our desires—the enlistment of our self-interest on the side of falsity" (R, ch. 9). His conduct in such a situation, should i t arise, seems virtually predetermined by the train of thought that served to justify the misdeeds he is anxious to conceal. Trying to entangle Bulstrode in the relation of forces called temptation, George Eliot naturally begins with the transformation of latent or potential evil desire into virulently active evil desire; her way, as might be expected, is the creation of an imminent threat to the veil of secrecy that Bulstrode's psyche requires, almost as much as his body requires food and sleep. Bulstrode's evil past is precipitated into the present through the agency of his former tool and accomplice, John Raffles, a selfish, light-minded, drunken blackguard, who on any scale of human values must certainly rank a long way below his former employer. Applying one of George Eliot's favourite tests, one may assert that Bulstrode does believe in something other than his own greed,*-'- whereas Raffles does not. First 1 1 Cf. "But a man who believes in something else than his own greed, has necessarily a conscience or standard to which he more or less adapts himself." (M, ch. 61) - 59 -attracted to Middlemarch through an ingenious bit of plot contrivance— Joshua Rigg (Featherstone), who has inherited Stone Court from his natural father, old Peter Featherstone, is his stepson—Raffles soon forces himself on Bulstrode and blackmails him mercilessly. Indeed he plays a regular cat-and-mouse game with his victim, for the multiplicity of vices with which George Eliot endows him comprises a "delight in tormenting" (ch. 53). Bulstrode suffers excruciatingly, not only from the constant menace of exposure, shame, and humiliation, but also from his old accomplice's derisive parroting of religious views that (on a theoretical level) he holds with sincerity. Raffles manages to find some of the most sensitive spots. For example, he never tires of insisting sarcastically that he was sent to Bulstrode by Providence, perhaps as a blessing to both. Given this state of affairs, Bulstrode must inevitably wish that his tormentor would cease to exist, for he knows that no other contingency will put an end to his ordeal. His numerous and liberal payments to Raffles are not only the means of buying a temporary respite and a temporary silence; on the last recorded occasion, when the blackmailer is given yet another hundred pounds, the gift or bribe is accompanied by the reflection in the banker's mind "that the man had been much shattered since the fi r s t gift of two hundred pounds" (ch. 68). Evil desire has already begun to change from its latent or potential state to a virulent, active drive. Meanwhile Bulstrode's moral conscience, representing the better part of a self even more drastically divided than that of most temptees, remains viable and alert. Nevertheless, i t is in itself seriously flawed, as we have seen earlier in this Section; and to that extent i t is weakened in - 60 -its power to oppose the lower part, represented by evil desire. Comple-tion of the aggregate of temptation now calls for the introduction of an opportunity adapted to both parts of the temptee's self: i t must entice evil desire and simultaneously seek to undermine the opposing moral conscience. In the present case, the fir s t aim is attained by making fulfillment appear not only easily possible, but also legally safe; the second, by discerning the flaws in the moral conscience itself, and exploiting them through rationalizations carefully devised for the purpose and seductively insinuated. The Introduction of this opportunity marks the beginning of Bulstrode's great battle with his temptation—the battle that after a prolonged and rather valiant struggle he loses, thereby adding the crime of virtual murder to his earlier misdeeds. Seriously i l l , Raffles has returned to Middlemarch and been taken to Stone Court (now owned by Bulstrode, but not his usual residence) In Caleb Garth's gig (ch. 69). Garth then informs the banker of what he has done, and at the same time severs a l l further relations with him (he had recently assumed employment as manager of the land connected with Stone Court), admitting that certain disclosures made by the sick man compel him to this decision. Bulstrode feels deeply mortified, and yet characteristically sees an earnest of heavenly protection In two for-tuitous chances. First, so far as he knows, the secret has been betrayed to no one but honest Caleb Garth, who now allays one of his fears with a solemn assurance: "'I hold i t a crime to expose a man's sin unless I am clear i t must be done to save the innocent'" (ch. 69). Secondly, Raffles lies at Stone Court, where Bulstrode can keep personal watch over him and prevent communication with anyone else, even Mr. and Mrs. Abel, the house-- 61 -keeper couple. People might draw dangerous inferences from the patient's semi-coherent muttering. The temptee's satisfaction in these two coincidences bodes i l l for the outcome of the impending struggle: i t reveals that, blinded by the hope of maintaining absolute secrecy, he f a i l s to recognize the primary p e r i l that confronts him. In the circumstances that have now arisen, his inescapable desire for Raffles' death surely constitutes a threat appall-ing enough to overshadow the risk of possible disclosures. But Bulstrode does no more than barely perceive his chief p e r i l as a quite secondary danger. His thoughts cannot escape from the fixed, narrow, and ring-shaped groove in which they have been going round and round, In endless cir c l e s , for decades. Once he has arranged everything with a view to the greatest protection for himself from what he quite mistakenly regards as the primary danger—that i s , from disclosures by the patients-he does "set himself to keep his intention separate from his desire. He inwardly declared that he intended to obey [the doctor's] orders" (ch. 70). In the face of his extreme l i a b i l i t y to the commission of an abhorrent crime, that i s his closest approach to a vow of righteousness. As for securing himself by casting aside the means of breaking this half-hearted vow, no thought of the kind enters his head—unless, indeed, i t s opposite be regarded as a relative. Far from confiding in anyone, he does not even take the elementary precaution of entrusting the patient exclusively to Lydgate's care and directions (as regards nurses or hospitalization, for example), while himself keeping out of harm's way by avoiding a l l contact with the patient. Preoccupied with the reverse of what ought to be his primary anxiety, he makes no more than a bow in the right direction, - 62 -while carefully preserving and even cultivating the means of transgress-ing his half-hearted resolution. Some of the temptees take their vows more seriously than Bulstrode does, and come much closer than he to severing their own lines of retreat. Nevertheless, they are defeated in the end, for (consciously or unconsciously) they have left a path of retreat, however narrow; in consequence, they are forced to rely on their own vision, strength, and guidance at the very moment—the peak of moral crisis—when these are most likely to f a i l them. It Is no wonder, then, that Bulstrode will share their fate. George Eliot introduces an element of irony into Bulstrode1s struggle—an element that on a first reading of the novel cannot be perceived at the point where i t operates chronologically, and may easily be missed on a second or even later reading. I have not seen i t recog-nized by any of the published critics. Yet there is no ambiguity; the simple facts of the novel demand this conclusion. The temptee is not merely losing his battle; he is.fighting one that serves no purpose at a l l and Is indeed contrary to his own interest, however defined. Were he aware of the facts, he would realize that no disclosures on Raffles' part can at this stage add anything to the impending disaster; nor could the disaster be averted by Raffles' death in a public hospital and in the most unexceptionable circumstances. Perhaps misled, in part, by the lifelong habit of seeing himself as a special pet of Providence, Bulstrode Is much too sanguine in the assumption that Garth alone knows his secret. While staying at Bilkley and before returning to Middlemarch, Raffles told the whole story to Mr. Bambridge, "a horse-dealer of the neighbour-hood," whom we first meet at the beginning of chapter 23, where we are - 63 -told that his "company was much sought in Middlemarch by young men under-stood to be 'addicted to pleasure.'" His evil influence on one of these— Fred Vincy—especially in the light of its later contrast with Mary's influence, her father's, and Mr. Farebrother's, gives us some measure of the horse-dealer's character. It is Bambridge and Bambridge alone who repeats Raffles' scandal to the town at large (ch. 71, near opening), nor was there ever any chance that a man of his stamp would act otherwise in the circumstances. Though he does not and cannot then know i t , Bulstrode is doomed even before Raffles delivers "his minute terror-stricken narrative to Caleb Garth" (ch. 69). Caleb, we recall, feels bound to guard the secret even from his trustworthy wife. But of course one can scarcely conceive a wider gulf between two characters than that which divides Mr. Bambridge from Mr. Garth. The diametrically opposite reactions of these two men under a common stimulus constitute a minor and yet memorable instance of the many mutually illuminating contrasts in which Middlemarch abounds. However interesting, the author's motive in this arrangement of the plot must remain conjectural. Her scheme requires, of course, that Bulstrode be exposed in the end, but she was not bound to render his battle with temptation futile beforehand. Dis-closure might have come at a much later point, for example during the night when Raffles is left in Mrs. Abel's hands. Possibly George Eliot wished to point or to imply the moral that conduct based on calculations of self-interest tends to be self-defeating, since no man can know objectively where his interest lies; he had better ask himself what, in any specific situation, constitutes kindness, honesty, and helpfulness: the answer forms part of what i t is given him to know.-Sent for by the bankerj Dr. Lydgate soon arrives at Stone Court and examines Raffles, reaching the conclusion that recovery appears probable (ch. 69). Communicating only with Bulstrode, who has expressed his Intention of remaining at Stone Court and personally taking care of the patient, he issues a number of medical directives, with special emphasis on the refusal of alcoholic beverages of any kind, no matter how insistently they may be demanded. Then he departs, promising to return the next morning, and the temptee is left alone with his tormentor, except for Mr. and Mrs. Abel, who help in a purely mechanical way, being ignorant of the doctor's instructions. His determination to keep them uninformed, needless even when the basic urge to prevent disclosures is accepted, certainly suggests the operation, so early in the battle, of a dangerous "backstairs influence" (AB, ch. 16). Examining Raffles' pockets—a degrading act—Bulstrode finds some comfort in the evidence (interpreted, with unconscious irony, as yet another sign of providential favour) that the blackmailer returned to town only this day, his nearest stopping place elsewhere having been Bilkley, some forty miles from Middlemarch—a sizable distance in those days (ch. 70, opening). The banker's future as a man of prominence and evangelical influence in Middlemarch has not, apparently, been ruined; i t simply remains endangered. Godfrey Cass's experience is similar to Bulstrode's in this respect. Having kept his fatherhood of Eppie a secret for fifteen years, he discovers that Nancy, his second wife, would have been glad to adopt her. '"Do you think I'd have refused to take her in, i f I'd known she was yours?'" "At that moment Godfrey felt a l l the bitterness of an error [i.e. his sin in failing to acknowledge Eppie] that was not simply futile, but had defeated its own end." (SM, ch. 18) - 65 -The path of self-interest thus seems perfectly clear: while Raffles continues sick, he must be prevented from making compromising disclosures to anyone, whether intentionally or through semi-coherent muttering; when he recovers (as Lydgate is expecting), why then . . . God's will be done, but i t would be most convenient for His faithful instrument i f i t were God's will that Raffles should not recover. "What was the removal of this wretched creature?" (ch. 70) An intimation or "leading" to that effect may be forthcoming and must not be missed. Meanwhile Bulstrode watches by the patient through the night and the following morning, abiding strictly by the doctor's directions. What he fails to realize Is that mental indulgence in his evil wish for the patient's death steadily reduces the margin by which he outwardly continues to do what is right, or abstains from doing what would be wrong. Lydgate's return at noon—later than scheduled—concludes the first stage of the temptee's battle. He has not lost i t ; yet the auguries for success in the second and final stage are unpropitipus. Pathetically ignorant of what is already pre-determined, and increasingly obsessed with the delusion that burial of Raffles would mean burial of the threatening past, Bulstrode opens the second stage of the battle by taking out an insurance against possible moral defeat (ch. 70). Offering the thousand pounds he had coldly refused on the previous day, he tries to win an ally by conferring a momentous benefit on Lydgate, entangled in dire financial straits. He does not, of course, analyze his own motives, but certainly the old habit of seeking and finding convenient "providential leadings" must make him alive to the possibility that another may be in the offing to extricate him from his - 66 -present predicament. Since some people or society in general might f a i l to recognize the validity (let alone sanctity) of such "leadings," he would be taking a wise precaution in binding the medical man to himself by a bond t h a t — i t proves a l l too true—can never be completely unravelled. "He did not measure the quantity of diseased motive which had made him wish for Lydgate's goodwill, but the quantity was none the less actively there, like an irritating agent In his blood" (ch. 70). Being a supreme egoist, he does not even think of possibly disastrous consequences for the doctor and the doctor's career. Characteristically, Bulstrode sees Lydgate, as he does nearly a l l others with whom he comes In contact, in the light of a convenience created primarily for his own sake. Decades before, when cheating Sarah Dunkirk (Ladislaw's future mother) out of her due inheritance, Bulstrode asked himself, "Could i t be for God's service that this fortune should in any considerable pro-portion go to a young woman and her husband who were given up to the lightest pursuits . . . ?" (ch. 61) A corresponding train of thought now leads him to conclude (since he is an authority on the subject) that the prolongation of a l i f e so dissolute as Raffles' cannot possibly tend to the glory of God. Nevertheless, he carefully listens to and absorbs the doctor's latest instructions, which are to avoid (as before) giving the patient any kind of alcoholic beverage, and to administer extremely small doses of opium i f sleeplessness persists. Lydgate specifies the exact point at which these doses must cease (whatever the state of the patient), and emphatically warns against the danger of their not ceasing. Following the doctor's. departure, Bulstrode again finds himself alone - 67 -with the sick man, who undoubtedly, i f he recovers, will resume the role of tormentor and blackmailer. (We have to remind ourselves that Bulstrode does not know the facts; i f he did, he would realize that Raffles has already done his worst and is no longer in a position to blackmail him.) Mr. and Mrs. Abel continue to help in only menial ways, being deliberately kept as ignorant of the doctor's second set of instruc-tions as of the f i r s t . This last fact combines with the sudden, financial generosity to Lydgate as a revelation of the temptee's psyche on this afternoon of the second day. It seems clear that Bulstrode is exceeding the unsuccessful temptee's usual failure to cast away the means of breaking his vow. Though not acknowledging (even to himself) that he intends to break i t , he is yet actively preparing for the contingency that he may. The scene at Stone Court during the second stage of Bulstrode's battle ( s t i l l ch. 70) certainly constitutes one of the most unalloyed and most arresting instances of the aggregate of temptation as George Eliot conceives It. Evil desire is approaching its peak of intensity: "imperious will stirred murderous impulses towards this brute l i f e . . ."; the opportunity of Indulging the evil desire entails l i t t l e fear of legal consequences (especially since the loan to Lydgate) and hence appears a l l the more spell-binding and seductive; the temptee's better se l f — h i s moral conscience--faces steadily increasing odds in the tussle against this mighty alliance of opportunity with evil desire—Ms own lowest self. Moreover, intellectual equivocation has been a lifetime habit with Bulstrode; in a very real sense he has for decades been lying to himself (while scrupulously shrinking from a direct factual lie to others), - 68 -and in proportion as he has come to believe i n the truth of his own l i e s , he has blurred awareness of ethical distinctions between his several selves—even between the lowest and the highest. A perverted sense of values certainly ranks among his most serious handicaps in the present c r i s i s . The outcome of the battle i s s t i l l in balance, but certain collateral trends and developments now begin to make their weight f e l t , a l l uniting i n the single effect of steadily militating against the temptee's chance of victory. Afraid to take anyone into his confidence, determined to retain the means of breaking his vow, he depends solely on inward colloquy, on self-guidance (which i n a c r i s i s often means l i t t l e more than random impulse); and these, taking their cue from speciously misleading outer circumstances (that i s , from an opportunity carefully adapted to the flaws or weakest spots in the temptee's moral conscience) are propelling him relentlessly toward surrender. The most potent of the collateral Influences, probably, i s the new force that belongs to a f i n a l opportunity. Raffles may soon f a l l into curative sleep and wake the next morning In a state close to con-valescence. Resolution meets i t s ultimate and most trying test at the last moment: at the moment that w i l l make i t irrevocable. That moment may be fast approaching for Bulstrode. Then again, there i s his physical state and i t s normal psychological consequences. By the evening of the second day he has gone without sleep for some twenty-four hours and borne a heavy load of v i r t u a l l y unrelieved anxiety. A man of sixty seldom i n better than tolerable health, he i s naturally tired, weary, hear exhaustion. Although morale and morals are two quite different concepts, there i s this connection between them that a low state of - 69 -morale accentuates the d i f f i c u l t y of adhering to a high standard of morals, for such adherence requires inner resistance, and that does in some degree fluctuate with changes in the level of morale. Bulstrode is in a l l probability stating the simple truth when he t e l l s Mrs. Abel in the evening that he has reached the end of his tether, and must confide the patient to her care. He Informs her of Lydgate's instruc-tions, especially in regard to the opium (including size of each dose and frequency), which he himself has already begun to administer i n accordance with the prescription, since Raffles continues sleepless and restless. Alcoholic beverages are not mentioned; they have so far been, s t r i c t l y kept out of the sick-room. Albeit by a rapidly dwindling margin, Bulstrode i s s t i l l keeping his hands pure at this late stage in the battle. Having instructed Mrs. Abel, he goes downstairs and s i t s by the f i r e , we:ary almost to the point of paralysis and yet continuing to nurse his conflict. Drawing on one of the centers of strength in her manifold talent, George E l i o t now contrives, quite plausibly, the unique congruity (whether positive or negative) of inner state and outer circumstance that in a precariously balanced moral c r i s i s f i n a l l y spells the difference between victory and defeat. Seated wearily in the parlour and racked by conflicting impulses, Bulstrode suddenly remembers that he has forgotten to t e l l Mrs. Abel when the doses of opium must cease. The author probably wants her readers to accept this as an honest error of omission. If there i s room for doubt, i t i s such doubt as in parallel circumstances occurs in actual l i f e . In any case, no appreciable harm can have been done as yet; Bulstrode's absence from the sick-room has been too short. - 70 -He need o n l y go u p s t a i r s — n o w , i m m e d i a t e l y — a n d add t h i s c r u c i a l item o f i n f o r m a t i o n to the other i n s t r u c t i o n s he has l e f t w i t h the housekeeper. But he does not. At a moment when h i s duty shines by i t s own c l e a r l i g h t , when de l a y may r e s u l t i n the death o f another human bein g , he h e s i t a t e s and p r o c r a s t i n a t e s ; then goes u p s t a i r s , l i s t e n s o u t s ide the door o f the sick-room, and f i n a l l y turns i n t o h i s own bed-chamber, w i t h -out even seeing Mrs. A b e l again and without s a y i n g a s i n g l e word to her. For the f i r s t time s i n c e the beginning of the b a t t l e he has put h i m s e l f u n e q u i v o c a l l y i n the wrong. Why does he now, a t one s t r o k e , annul the strenuous and genuine e f f o r t s over h i m s e l f he has made ever s i n c e R a f f l e s , s e r i o u s l y i l l , a r r i v e d a t Stone Court i n Caleb Garth's gig? A s i n g l e e r r o r o f omission, probably near-innocent i n i t i a l l y and e a s i l y remedied, has proved the p r e c i p i t a t i n g agent t h a t turns a p r e c a r i o u s moral balance Into g l a r i n g moral defeat. Often accused of o v e r - e x p l a i n i n g her c h a r a c t e r s , George E l i o t does not h i n g o f the k i n d i n the c l o s i n g phase o f t h i s temptee's b a t t l e . As Barbara Hardy remarks in. her comment on "The Author's V o i c e " i n r e l a t i o n to B u l s t r o d e : " . . . the convention o f omniscience [ i s ] suspended. The vo i c e i s as e x p r e s s i v e i n i t s absence as i n i t s presence."-^ The temptee's consciousness i s becoming b l u r r e d and i n t e r m i t t e n t , and h i s c r e a t o r depends on our i m a g i n a t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n to see c l e a r l y where B u l s t r o d e sees dimly, and to bridge the gaps i n h i s consciousness. She i s i n e f f e c t a s k i n g us to immerse ours e l v e s i n the predicament and m e n t a l i t y o f t h i s temptee. ^ The Novels o f George E l i o t : a Study i n Form (London: Athlone P r e s s , 1959), p. I84. - 71 -The I n t e r p r e t a t i v e comments which follow have no claim to being regarded as anything more than an attempt i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n on the part o f one r e a d e r — m y s e l f . Bulstrode h e s i t a t e s as soon as he grows aware of h i s e r r o r of f o r g e t f u l n e s s ; and h e s i t a t i o n , i n the circumstances, i s r e l e n t l e s s l y transforming an error o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s i n t o a crime o f d e l i b e r a t e omission. Thus he Is caught In a v i c i o u s and recognizable c i r c l e : the longer he h e s i t a t e s , the greater h i s i n c e n t i v e f or continuing to h e s i t a t e , since h i s g u i l t i s s t e a d i l y mounting. When doing nothing at a l l w i l l probably keep him safe, can he reasonably be expected to court the r i s k of exposure to suspicion? I t i s h i s i n i t i a l h e s i t a t i o n that s t a r t s the b a l l o f m i s c h i e f r o l l i n g ; and yet t h i s i n i t i a l h e s i t a t i o n i s so e a s i l y accounted f o r as to appear a l l but i n e v i t a b l e . A man whose des i r e s accord with normal standards would not have been a f r a i d to acknowledge and to r e c t i f y an honest e r r o r of omission, e s p e c i a l l y when i t i s not yet l i k e l y to have r e s u l t e d i n any harm. On the contrary, he would have hastened to f o r e s t a l l e v i l consequences or to keep them to a minimum. But Bulstrode, u n l i k e h i s nephew Fred Vincy, never outgrows " . . . the notion that the highest motive f o r not doing a wrong Is something i r r e s p e c t i v e of the beings who would s u f f e r the wrong" (M^ ch. 24). His d e f i c i e n c i e s i n human sympathy combine with h i s egocentric r e l i g i o u s f a n t a s i e s to keep him locked i n the lowest of "the three stages of moral development" that Bernard J . P a r i s recognizes i n George E l i o t ' s novels. The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h i s stage are that the s e l f r e l a t e [ s ] to the world e g o i s t i c a l l y (or s u b j e c t i v e l y ) , i n which case the d i s t i n c t i o n between the inward and the outward Is obscured; s e l f i s seen as the center of the world and the world - 72 -as an extension of self. . . . The egoist tends to assume that the order of things corresponds to the desires of the mind; . . .-^4-Bulstrode can have no f a i t h that others w i l l believe in the honesty of an error of forgetfulness whose results promote the fulfillment of e v i l desires he has been nursing for some twenty hours. He has now indulged sinf u l wishes for so long that i n his present wearied condition he i s no longer able to distinguish clearly between wishing e v i l and doing e v i l . As soon as he grows conscious of a flaw In his conduct, he sees his e v i l wish outside himself, as Gwendolen does in another novel when she watches Grandcourt drowning: " 1. . . I know nothing—I only know that I saw my wish outside me"' (DD, ch. 56). Thus he i s misled Into assuming, pre-maturely, that the game i s up; that wishing and doing have become identical. Like Gwendolen, he derives no comfort from that vision; yet i t exerts great influence i n that i t predisposes him to keeping the road whose successive milestones may be labelled indulgence i n e v i l wishes, error of omission, awareness of error of omission, i n i t i a l hesitation, prolonged hesitation, crime of omission, and f i n a l l y crime of commission amounting to near-murder. Abstension from acting (whether for good or evil) i s generally easier than acting; certainly i t does not demand an equally intense state of consciousness. Bulstrode would at this point find It very d i f f i c u l t to make a deliberate decision leading to an overt act; i n a c t i v i t y requires none: i t only requires that indecision continue. He i s not yet lured into doing anything that he knows to be wrong; he is only induced to refrain from doing something that he knows to be right; and because of 1 4 Experiments .in. Life. pp. 128-129 - 73 -his confused and overtired mental state, even that awareness i s dimmed and lacks the absolute c l a r i t y warranted in the circumstances. By dint of incessantly looking at and self-debating the same subject, we lose vision, perspective, healthy common sense. Something of the sort has happened to Bulstrode. Though he apprehends what he ought to do about the opium, he apprehands i t at a relatively low level of consciousness. Hence he i s particularly susceptible to the temptation of allowing events to take their course. I f he si t s back doing nothing long enough, i f he goes to bed and lets things slide, he can reasonably expect fulfillment of his wish—-whether self-acknowledged or not, and as virulent as i t i s e v i l — f o r Raffles' death. Bulstrode i s encouraged i n this attitude by his awareness that Lydgate i n the light of the times (around 1831-32) i s a medical reformer, perhaps even a medical radical. Without the least intimation of an e v i l j motive, he has told Bulstrode In so many words that the almost unrestricted allowance of alcoholic beverages (especially brandy) and of doses of opium much larger than he prescribes would be standard procedure i n the general medical practice accepted and followed by a l l his colleagues i n Middlemarch. He has also expressed the view (in the banker's hearing) that patients suffering from Raffles' kind of ailment are more often k i l l e d by the treatment than by the disease (ch. 69)- Though Bulstrode has in the past consistently supported Lydgate in controversies over medical innovation, he now finds I t expedient to ask himself whether i t seems l i k e l y that the new doctor alone Is right, while a l l the others are mistaken. I f i t be true that patients of Raffles' kind are more often k i l l e d by the treatment than by the disease, perhaps Lydgate's own treatment constitutes a case i n - 74 -point. After a l l , he is fallible, as are a l l other doctors. Since the moans and murmurs emanating from the sick-room prove that Raffles is s t i l l not asleep, i t may be advisable—i.e., in the patient's own best interest-to continue indefinitely giving him doses of opium, regardless of what the fallible Lydgate had said to the contrary.' This is the kind of apposite, felicitous rationalization that George Eliot excels in devising for her temptees. Why should Bulstrode attempt to reverse or even to check the consequences of his error of forgetfulness, when there is the possibility that they may. be good for the patient? Thus rationalization confirms him in his hesitation, and hesitation in the circumstances amounts to a virtually deliberate and certainly heinous crime of omission. How far Bulstrode himself recognizes this train of thought as a rationalization, we cannot t e l l with precision, but we do have evidence for concluding that he does so in only a very limited sense. He has always equated the truth with what he wanted to believe, and now ex-haustion and the pressure of crisis are aggravating the effect of this habit. Whatever the degree of his awareness, the rationalization has induced him to prolong hesitation until, in the circumstances, i t cul-minates in a major crime of omission. This crime marks the penultimate milestone on the temptee's path of regression. A crime i t i s , whatever the outcome, but the opium in excess of the allowance does not necessarily suffice by itself to cause Raffles' death. He might recover despite the indirect and Insidious emendation of that part of the prescription; we recall Lydgate's '"there's a good deal of wear In him s t i l l . . .'" (ch. 69). Bulstrode is unlikely to descend the moral scale to a wrung below his crime of omission, unless an additional stimulus from without precipitates - 75 -an impulsive leap to the one remaining milestone, characterized by the active crime of directly promoting the death of a patient left in his care. Resorting to her device of the innocent tempter, George Eliot lands Bulstrode at that milestone before he realizes that he is on the way. Twenty-four hours earlier he could not have believed that he would ever find himself at a point so low on the scale of evil. Character-istically, he continues to disbelieve i t after his arrival. Bulstrode's equivocations with himself regarding the soundness of Lydgate's medical judgment are of course as applicable to the absolute prohibition of alcoholic beverages as they are to the restriction on the allowance of opium. Since Lydgate himself has ordered and brought the opium, a crime of omission suffices for disregarding the restriction on its use; since he has forbidden alcoholic beverages absolutely, and of course has brought none, a more active crime of commission is needed before the patient can be treated to a l l the brandy he calls for and will drink. The immediate incentive to this crime springs from the impact of an innocent and ignorant tempter's pleading on a rational-ization scarcely recognized as such even before, and yet potent enough to have led Bulstrode already into his lesser crime of omission. In-directly confirmed from without by someone who clearly has no selfish motive, the rationalization suddenly turns into a shining light that seems to illuminate the path of duty. If the Innocent tempter is speak-ing in obvious ignorance of Lydgate's orders, that vitiating fact can be overlooked or put out of mind; and i f the path of duty coincides with Bulstrode's interest, that is no more than he would expect. Thus, once again, the temptee's sins in the past are misleading him in the - 76 -present; and Opportunity, skilfully adapting Its attack to the weakest spots, has l i t t l e difficulty in undermining his flawed moral conscience, already exhausted in Its battle of some twenty-four hours with an evil desire that admits of such easy fulfillment. While Bulstrode is undressing, Mrs. Abel knocks at his door, and when he opens i t an inch, she reasons with him in the tone of a humble servant appealing to the well-known generosity and kind-heartedness of her master. In other words, at this most susceptible moment, the temptee's rationalizations are being re-echoed from outside himself, with the clearest implication that they constitute (as indeed Mrs. Abel believes) the facts of the case and that acting upon their unmistakable suggestion is obviously the fulfillment of the highest moral obligation in the circumstances. Bulstrode says nothing for many minutes; the final battle is raging within him while he listens to Mrs. Abel. The poor patient is calling for brandy, she tells him; he will swallow nothing else; he must surely die for want of support i f the brandy is withheld much longer; on an occasion long past, when she was nursing another patient, the directions were that he should be allowed a l l the brandy he wanted; rather than see the poor creature tormented furthery she is willing to give him her and her husband's own l i t t l e store of ruin; but she can't believe that Mr. Bulstrode would grudge so elementary a boon to the patient whom he has exhausted himself in guarding these last twenty-four hours. Pleading in this strain and along these lines, Mrs. Abel (without thinking in those terms at all) is allowing the temptee considerable time in which to make up his mind. No one, within my knowledge, has seen f i t to comment in print on this scene between - 77 -Bulstrode and the housekeeper. On one level, of course, its irony is so obvious that comment seems superfluous. But there is another level, based on some awareness of the concept of temptation. I believe that recognition and enjoyment of the f u l l adroitness of the scene is contingent on approaching i t in the light of that concept. Mrs. Abel sees herself appealing to Bulstrode's better self; and so she i s , but neither in the way she understands i t herself, nor in the way he responds. While unconsciously tempting Bulstrode, she is with equal unconsciousness pointing to his last chance of recovering the straight path, the path that alone can save him from murder or "something very like it."*--' She is as good as calling his attention to the hideous consequences that must ensue i f he does not inform her—-now, at l a s t — • of the doctor's strict orders against allowing alcoholic beverages. Once he does that, the sequel will be equally obvious, since each step in the right direction throws light upon the next one. He ought to send for Lydgate once more (as only a short while ago he had himself thought of doing), ask him to repeat or to modify his orders in Mrs. Abel's,presence, and enjoin her to adhere to them faithfully and absolutely in a l l circum-stances. This course of action would also, automatically, check any further consequences from his sin of omission about the opium. Or better s t i l l , he ought to persuade Mrs. Abel to leave the sick-room and t e l l Lydgate to make his own arrangements, either by sending a nurse to the house or by having Raffles hospitalized. Then he- himself ought to with-draw from the proceedings, at least to his bedroom at Stone Court, but ^ Cf. Clough's Dipsychus, Scene V, Line 185. - 78 -preferably to his own home "The Shrubs;" After a night of watching he does need sleep—more than one night of i t i f sleep can restore some degree of mental health. In the present crisis, these are the minimal safeguards required as protection against his own murderous impulses; none of the safeguards would force him to reveal anything about the past. They would simply imply (to himself alone) that he will rather incur the risk inherent in Raffles' possible recovery than the risk of conniving at murder.-^ But Bulstrode no longer possesses a normal human mind. Being the perverse creature he i s , he responds primarily with his lowest self, with evil desire; simultaneously he appeases or keeps hoodwinked whatever better self he has left by means of the rationalization that Mrs. Abel is unwittingly dangling before him. Mentally and physically close to exhaustion, his vision obstructed In excess of what his mental prison makes inevitable, he does not begin to see the situation objectively or in perspective. His apprehension of reality has become so clouded that he recognizes neither the supreme temptation nor the last opportunity of rescue implicit in Mrs. Abel's words. In a reversal of ethical standards suggestive of Satan's "Evil be thou my Good,"-'-''' what he does perceive dimly is rescue In terms of yielding 1—not to temptation undraped but to temptation in the effective disguise of a heaven-sent "leading." Perhaps we should remind ourselves once more that, in reality, there Is no risk, since the worst he fears has already happened: his secret is known to Mr. Bambridge, the horse-dealer, who will divulge i t to the whole town. Arguing on Bulstrode's own level, one might say that i t would cost him nothing to be honest. - 79 -As Freudians would expect, his mind reverts to a pattern established and petrified in the distant past. Our deeds s t i l l travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us -what we are. (M, . ch. 70, epigraph)-^ Like Casaubon's "characteristics," Bulstrode's mental habits are by this time "fixed and unchangeable as bone" (M, ch. 20). In the great chapter (61) that analyzes his early history, George Eliot speaks of "the train of causes in which he had locked himself . . . ." "Locked himself" strikes one as exactly the right expression, for i t implies a mental prison from which he cannot escape. But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts Benighted walks under the mid-day sun; Himself is his own dungeon.19 The combination of inner and outer circumstances that now propels him toward murder is analogous to that which accounts for his earlier mis-deeds; and not surprisingly, since both originate and thrive in the same mental prison. Though three decades have rolled by, they have not changed the prison in essentials; they have merely made escape harder by rein-forcing its walls. " . . . the years had been perpetually spinning them [his ' pleas ' or self-deceptive thoughts] into intricate thickness, like masses of spider-web, padding the moral sensibility . . . " (M, ch. 6l). Long accustomed to interpret chances that accord with his desires as '• providential "leadings"; to shun the direct crime while assuming that God winks at the indirect when i t is committed by himself for a higher 18 Since this is the chapter describing Bulstrode's battle and defeat, the author is unmistakably reminding us of chapter 61, which tells us what Bulstrode has been before he settles In Middlemarch and before the novel opens. 19 Milton, Comus, 3 8 3 - 3 8 5 . - 80 -purpose veiled from ordinary mortals; to take for granted that a special relationship—almost amounting to a partnership—exists between himself and God; and to conclude that the glory of God, as determined by himself, may require the sacrifice of people whom the same authority regards as ciphers or nonentities, Bulstrode now responds to Mrs. Abel's words by handing her the key to the wine-cooler, and assuring her, "huskily," that she will find plenty of brandy there. Slight and innocuous in itself, this act brands him a murderer, determines the death of Raffles, and ruins the promising medical career of Lydgate. Awareness operates at different levels. Bulstrode cannot but hope that his compliance with Mrs. Abel's request will lead to the death of Raffles, and yet he is no more than slightly conscious that this result must make him guilty of murder. Up to a point, his experience here is by no means peculiar to himself, but rather exemplifies one of the tragic problems of human conduct. After a l l , handing a key to some-one is such a simple, such an innocent deed. Why should so much fuss be made about anything so trivial? It is fatally easy to perform an act that damages others, and then virtually to forget that one has done anything of the kind, because the act, as such, seems both harmless and insignificant. This common human problem would alone be sufficient to refute the criticism of one of George Eliot's contemporary reviewers: The description of the crime itself is wonderfully fine; but the complete equanimity with which he looks back upon ity after the great struggle which preceded i t , we cannot accept as true.^ ^ u W.J. Harvey, "Criticism of the Novel: Contemporary Reception," in Barbara Hardy, ed., Middlemarch: Critical Approaches to the Novel (London: Athlone Press., 1967), p. 137. - 81 -In Bulstrode, however, a recognizable and ail-too prevalent human weak-ness becomes a weakness of a quite different kind, characterized by mental perversion and a gross lack of normal human sympathy. Days after the event he s t i l l feels that "he had accepted what seemed to have been offered" (ch. 71) and of course he attributes the offer to Providence, as he has done on so many analogous occasions in the past. The possible consequences foi* Lydgate do not enter his head; nor is he visited by any compassion for the man whom, as Caleb Garth points out (ch. 69), he may have helped to make worse when he profited by his vices, and who in any case is a fellow human-being. Thus George Eliot exhibits in their f u l l hideousness the consequences of the noxious taint to which she pointed In her outline and analysis of his early past: "And to Mr. Bulstrode God's cause was something distinct.from his own rectitude of conduct" (ch. 6 l ); at the same time she substantiates indelibly the truth of one of her most passionately held convictions: "There is no general doctrine which is not capable of eating out our morality i f unchecked by the deep-seated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men" (M, ch.6l). Succumbing completely to the temptation he has set out to resist, Bulstrode certainly fails to walk staunchly by the best light that even he has; his transgression of the first of Bishop Wilson's injunctions is absolute. In this respect, however, allowing for the usual individual variations, he does not differ in kind from other great unsuccessful temptees. His uniqueness manifests itself as soon as we think of the second of the good Bishop's injunctions: "Take care that your light be not darkness." The sudden, almost terrifying, intensification of meaning that results from relating the abstract concepts of mental light and - 82 -mental darkness to Bulstrode's case—to his warped and involuted mind, his incessant autobiography, his equivocations with himself, his bargains •with his God—--constitutes a measure of George Eliot's achievement in creating this character. A more memorable picture of incipient aberration, undetected and untreated, gradually spreading and thickening, like a cancerous growth,*^ until i t envelops the whole mind and turns its victim into something close to a personification of mental disease, is rarely found, even in the literature of our time; nor, by inescapable implication, a more eloquent plea for the promotion of mental health. Initially, Bulstrode was endowed with considerable potential for a beneficent impact on those with whom he comes in contact. The chapter primarily devoted to his early history (61) tells us that, In those days, he thought "of the ministry as possibly his vocation," and that even now in the present, " i f he could be back In that far-off spot with his youth-ful poverty—why, then he would choose to be a missionary." It is a calling in which he might have distinguished himself; or, at the worst, in which he would almost certainly have done less harm than in the role which he does assume. Even in that role we recognize him as a highly evolved member of the species to which we ourselves belong, and in a limited measure sympathize with his suffering. A l l the forces of good and evil found elsewhere in the town of Middlemarch seem to be warring in his own breast. If he is egotistical, self-deceived, and lacking in human sympathy, so are Casaubon and Rosamond; i f he means well In a mis-guided way, so in a sense does Dorothea; i f he is dogmatically religious, 21 o r "masses of spider-web," in George Eliot's phrase. (M, ch. 61) - 83 -so is the Rev. Walter Tyke; i f he is interested in good works and scientific progress, so are Caleb Garth and Lydgate; i f he fails to bring his l i f e into harmony with his convictions, so do Lydgate, Farebrother, Will, and Dorothea. Contrasting what Bulstrode is and what he does with what George Eliot has convinced us that he might have been and might have done, we may express our poignant sense of tragic waste in one of Marlowe's mighty lines: "Cut Is the branch that might have grown f u l l straight."^ The Tragical History of..Dr Faustus, "Epilogue," fi r s t line. Section 3: Gwendolen Harleth There is another temptee in George Eliot who ends up wondering whether she is a murderess. Her name is Gwendolen Harleth, and by common consent of recent critics she ranks among the author's most impressive creations. Her great enticement to evil is marriage with Grandcourt, for whom her early feelings are ambivalent and in some degree (espe-cially regarding his fine horses) consonant with the aphorism that " i t is a very good quality in a man to have a trout s t r e a m . S h e does not love him, but she recognizes him as an excellent match and is prepared to accept him, partly on the advice of her uncle Gascoigne, Rector of Pennicote. But before Grandcourt proposes, Gwendolen meets Mrs. Glasher at a spot symbolically called the "Whispering Stones" (ch. 14). Mrs. Glasher demands secrecy, and then reveals that she is Grandcourt's mistress and the mother of four children by him; two of them, including the only boy, are seated on the grass nearby. Her husband being dead, she is obsessed with the wish that Grandcourt marry her and make their boy his heir; and she is convinced that he will eventually do so i f Miss Harleth declines the offer that she correctly suspects him of being about to make. Seized with revulsion, and feeling that rescue has come in time, Gwendolen utters a fateful half-promise: "'I will not interfere with your wishes.'" Determined not to marry Grandcourt, she* leaves 23 An incidental and partly facetious remark of Mr. Cadwallader's in Middlemarch. chapter 8, intended as an argument in support of Dorothea's engagement to Casaubon. - 84 -- 85 -early the next morning for Leubronn (ch. I 4 ) . Later we are told that on this occasion "she had not reasoned and balanced: she had acted with a force of impulse . . . ( c h . 27). Somewhat cryptically and hyperbolically, the impulse is made explicit in the epigraph for the chapter that includes the scene at the Whispering Stones: I will not clothe myself in wreck—wear gems Sawed from cramped finger-bones of women drowned; Feel chilly vaporous hands of ireful ghosts Clutching my necklace; trick my maiden breast With orphans' heritage. Let your dead love Marry its dead. (ch. I 4 ) Asserting Gwendolen's sentiments that day at the Whispering Stones, and the opposite of what she will presently do, the epigraph amounts to a challenge. "This staggering transformation," we are told in effect, "you shall witness and believe." Satisfied that, as a novelist, she has mastered the concept of temptation, George Eliot is here expressing her awareness of what she can accomplish with i t . Marriage with Grandcourt thus established as evil on several counts—lack of love, his mistress and four children, Gwendolen's half-promise to-the mistress—George Eliot begins to unfold the character-is t i c aggregate of temptation, as discussed in Chapter 1. Its first essential element—desire for what is evil—springs from the impact on "the spoiled child" of the family's sudden loss of fortune. Book I of the novel, which bears that t i t l e , presents a brilliant flashback that in almost Freudian fashion explores the past in order to help us under-stand the temptee's reaction when she is torn between the pressure of hitherto unimagined humiliations and Grandcourt's glittering offer. Since she has taken no one into her confidence, she alone (within her circle) knows i t to be tainted. Its attraction for her progresses - 86 -steadily toward a peak of intensity as she learns at home (having obeyed her mother's urgent summons to return from Leubronn) what "loss of for-tune" means in practical terms: grinding poverty for the family (her mother and half-sisters) i n a wretched and as yet unfurnished dwelling called Sawyer's cottage, formerly the home of an exciseman, where they w i l l earn shillings and sixpences by doing needlework for various charitable purposes; and for herself a position as governess, at £100 a year, to the three daughters of Bishop Mompert and of his wife, who i s morally so s t r i c t that she "objects to having a French person in the house [!!]" (ch. 24). Unable to believe that there i s no alternative to a future so utterly repugnant, Gwendolen persuades herself that she possesses talent and experience enough for a distinguished career as an actress and singer, but Herr Klesmer ("one of the few convincing geniuses of f i c t i o n " 2 4 ) , whom she consults "in a scene which equals anything in The Tragic Muse."25 shatters her ill u s i o n s . Gwendolen had never in her l i f e f e l t so miserable. . . . For the f i r s t time since her consciousness began, she was having a vision of herself on the common level . . . the truth she had asked for with an expectation that i t would be agreeable, had come like a lacerating thong, (ch. 23) This "vision of herself on the common level" appears intolerable 2^ and i s being envenomed on the following day when she learns from her uncle 2 4 W.J. Harvey, The Art of George E l i o t (London: Chatto & Windus, 1961), p. 237. 2 5 Ibid. p. 238. 2 o As i t does to the protagonist of George Eliot's poem "Armgart," a celebrated singer whose voice, in consequence of a throat infection, loses i t s former distinction. Daniel Deronda's mother, who has been "the greatest l y r i c actress of Europe," reacts in a similar way when she "[begins] to sing out of tune" (ch. 51). - 87 -that Mrs. Mompert will not make a final decision to engage her without a preliminary interview of inspection. "After she had done herself the violence to accept the bishop and his wife, they were s t i l l to consider whether they would accept her" (ch. 2 4 . ) . Mr. Gascoigne tries hard to persuade his niece into adopting a sounder attitude toward her pros-pective employers, but the response, though she does not verbalize i t , could scarcely be farther from his aim: "Continuance of education"—"bishop's views"—"privately s t r i c t " — "Bible Society," i t was as i f he had introduced a few snakes . . . She saw the l i f e before her as an entrance into a penitentiary, (ch. 2A) When the Rector calls at Offendene some days later to specify the exact time in the following week and the place for the exploratory meeting with the Bishop's wife, Gwendolen feels that the fatal iron gates of the penitentiary are about to close upon her relentlessly. Having always regarded her mother's li f e as a kind of warning example, she sees herself threatened with an imminent future that is equally dreary and joyless. Twenty years hence Mrs. Davilow may look at her and think: "'Poor Gwen too is sad and faded now'" (ch. 2 6 ) . Intent on helping us to comprehend the psychological state of this princess denied her natural rights, George Eliot uses an apt analogy: Imagine one who had been made to believe in his own divinity finding a l l homage withdrawn, and himself unable to perform a miracle that would recall the homage and restore his own confidence, (ch. 2 6 ) Gwendolen sobs "with a sort of tender misery." Without foreseeing the arrival of the opportunity that will transform desire into temptation, she is preparing for defeat, unconsciously but assiduously, by sealing herself within mental walls impervious to the guiding light outside. - 88 -In one of those remarkable passages that inextricably fuse description or characterization with author comment, George Eliot simultaneously points to the exact source of Gwendolen's woe, arouses our sympathy for her genuine suffering, and suggests the train of thought that would bring relief in its wake: . Gwendolen had never dissociated happiness from personal pre-eminence and eclat. . . . Surely a young creature is pitiable who has the labyrinth of li f e before her and no clue . . . . The sweetness of labour and fulfilled claims; the interest of inward and outward activity; the impersonal delights of l i f e as a perpetual discovery; the dues of courage, fortitude, industry, which i t is mere baseness not to pay towards the common burthen; the supreme worth of the teacher's vocation . . . . (ch. 24.) The time is coming before the end of the novel when such considerations will be urged on Gwendolen by her mentor, Daniel Deronda, and will meet with their due response. A long period of intense suffering and remorse will prepare her mind and heart for their reception. At the present critical juncture in her l i f e they cannot effectively penetrate, the mental prison in which she has locked herself; they are no more than "faintly apprehended doctrines." One wishes that she could be spared, but there is no way out. Attitudes and habits of thought are seldom changed without pain. Gwendolen's perverted sense of values renders i t inevitable that she will mistake true rescue for false, and false for true. False rescue is on the way; she is continuing to prepare herself negatively for its reception. When i t arrives she will struggle, for the elements of goodness within her have not been uprooted; but they lie dormant or insufficiently awake, and in the end she will react to the false rescue as a fish to the worm on an angler's hook. - 89 -Gwendolen sobs "with a sort of tender misery" because she finds herself at the nadir of humiliation; as a necessary corollary, her desire to prevent the dreaded, imminent future from turning into an unbearable present has reached its highest peak of intensity. Character-istically, this is the precise moment when George Eliot introduces the second element in the aggregate of temptation—false rescue in the form of an opportunity to f u l f i l l the desire by means of conduct unquestion-ably evil. Bent on creating a truly formidable conflict, she has devised an opportunity that strikes Gwendolen's weakest spot in the most trying circumstances. While she is sobbing, Mrs. Davilow enters, holding a letter—unopened—in her hand. It is addressed to her daughter and reads as follows: "Mr. Grandcourt presents his compliments to Miss Harleth, and begs to know whether he may be permitted to call at Offendene tomorrow after two, and to see her alone. Mr. Grandcourt has just returned from Leubronn, where he had hoped to find Miss Harleth." (ch. 26) "Few and formal" (ch. 26), these words are weighted with enormous possibilities for evil and for good. As Mrs. Davilow remarks, they leave no doubt that Grandcourt intends a proposal of marriage. Allowing him to come is therefore very nearly tantamount to accepting him. The classic battle of the temptee's moral conscience against ignoble desire, suddenly animated by dazzling opportunity, begins with Gwendolen's perusal of this letter. At one stroke Gwendolen is offered not only total release from the harrowing dread of poverty, insignificance, drudgery, and monotony, but also (in effect) the homage needed for restoration of belief in her own divinity. We recall some of Mr. Gascoigne's words when he urged - 90 -his niece (before the family's monetary ruin) to marry Grandcourt: "You hold your fortune in your own hands—a fortune such as rarely happens to a g i r l in your circumstances—a fortune in fact which almost takes the question out of the range of mere personal feeling, and makes your acceptance of i t a duty. If Providence offers you power and position . . . ." (ch. 13) Seductive even when "a g i r l in your circumstances" meant a young lady well provided for and expecting to remain so, the prospect of "fortune . . . power and position" must needs prove over-whelmingly alluring to the same g i r l in circumstances so drastically and abruptly deteriorated that she can scarcely believe them to be hers. A far less alluring vista would at this moment have seemed "easier than the dead level of being a governess" (ch. 23). Opportunity is not likely to f a i l in its attempt to achieve an alliance with the temptee's baser self, manifested by latent evil desire. As might be expected, the pressure of inclination, now leads Gwendolen to seek rationalizations that are bound to undermine her moral conscience. Impelled by such feelings to remember, adopt, and expand her uncle's reasoning, his drift of thought, she is certain to arrive at the most comforting beliefs. Equating duty with worldly advantage, he has fostered her ingrained conviction—very similar to Tito's—that she is singled out for almost supernatural favours and exempted from a normal share of the common human afflictions. If Grandcourt was sent by Providence in her days of material affluence, when she hardly needed him, and i f acceptance of his offer amounted to "almost . . . a duty" at that time, would she not be justified in concluding (by an inference from her uncle's logic by no means stretched) that destitution has made the duty absolute; or i f not quite, that i t may easily be raised to - 91 -this state by remembering what the husband of Gwendolen Grandcourt would probably do for her poor mother (whom she does love) and for her poor half-sisters (whom she despises)? Why should she refrain from accepting him, when her view of duty can so readily be brought into agreement with the strong urge to snatch at his bait? It is true that neither her uncle, nor her mother, nor anyone connected with her has the least intimation of what she heard and saw at the Whispering Stones and of her half-promise to Mrs. Glasher. Her mother almost certainly, her uncle probably,27 would judge quite differently i f they did. But their ignorance necessarily keeps them silent on the subject, and thus helps Gwendolen to persuade herself that Mrs. Glasher and her children are l i t t l e more than a bad dream she had long ago, since no one substantiates their existence for her. Instead of making a confidant of someone whom she trusts, she tries to imagine what "anybody" would say, and then gives herself the desired answer: "The verdict of 'anybody' seemed to be that she had no reason to concern herself greatly on behalf of Mrs. Glasher and her children" (ch. 27). Mrs. Glasher seems very unreasonable in her wishes; and i f Gwendolen did marry Grandcourt, she would exert the wife's influence to stimulate his conscientious care for these dependents. Like other phenomena, Gwendolen's battle may be regarded from various points of view. Trying to come as close as possible to George Eliot's own, we can safely guide ourselves by the epigraphs she has 2^ Prior to urging his niece to accept him, Mr. Gascoigne had indeed heard pejorative gossip about Grandcourt's past, but he lacked any precise knowledge and, for Gwendolen's sake (so the benign but worldly Rector imagined), he closed his mind to the gossip (DD, ch. 13). - 92 -obligingly provided. If these accord both with the facts of the novel and with the theory of temptation expounded in Chapter 1 of the thesis, our general approach would seem to be vindicated. The first epigraph tells us (poetically) what Gwendolen ought to do: He brings white asses laden with the freight Of Tyrian vessels, purple, gold, and balm, To bribe my will: I ' l l bid them chase him forth, Nor let him breathe the taint of his surmise On my secure resolve. (ch. 26, first stanza of epigraph) Within the confines of Gwendolen's present circumstances and her present attitude toward them, Grandcourt's offer must needs be so spellbinding that rejection becomes almost superhumanly difficult. The purport of his letter being quite unmistakable, her one and only chance of effective resistance lies in refusal to see him. If she cannot withstand him at a distance, i t is most improbable that she could do so when he is actually facing her, with a l l the beguilement of wealth and position at his command, and in consequence of a letter that virtually implies acceptance beforehand. Without delay or vacillation, while resolution is strong, while she s t i l l sees what is right, Gwendolen ought to cast aside the means of breaking the vow she made to herself and to Mrs. Glasher by telling Grandcourt (in a short letter: his servant is waiting) that there is no point in coming; that he can have nothing to say to her that any-body may not hear; that an interview with her would serve no useful purpose. If i t was morally wrong to marry him before the family lost their fortune, i t is equally wrong now. The loss of fortune does not affect the moral issue, though i t does enormously increase the temptation. If she has doubts—and she has—she ought to consult with others. But at this supremely critical juncture in her l i f e , when her moral conscience - 93 -is being tried to the limit of its strength or even beyond, and requires a l l the outside support i t can muster, she not only fails to take anyone into her confidence, but allows herself to be propelled in the direction she desires by advice or suggestions—from her mother and retroactively from her uncle—that she knows to be based on ignorance of the f u l l facts. Thus she acts in the most perverse way possible by turning potential allies of her better self into tempters whose efficacy is intensified by their innocence.. Had they been apprised of the scene at the Whispering Stones, her mother-, her uncle, and perhaps others might have come to the rescue. Relying on herself alone, Gwendolen remains exceedingly vulnerable and is predisposing herself to moral defeat. The second epigraph is slightly more subtle in its significance than the first. Telling us what Gwendolen' mistakenly thinks she is doing rather than what she does do, i t constitutes a memorable expression in verse of make-belief, of rationalization, of self-deception. Ay, 'tis [resolution] secure; And therefore let him come to spread his freight. For firmness hath its appetite and craves The stronger lure, more strongly to resist; Would know the touch of gold to fling i t off; Scent wine to feel its l i p the soberer; Behold soft byssus, ivory, and plumes To say, 'They're fair, but I will none of them,' And flout Enticement in the very face. (ch. 26, epigraph, second stanza) No temptee in George Eliot, major or minor, ever succeeds in doing what is here suggested. The bravado, in fact, amounts to a self-contradiction as soon as i t is examined. If enticement has ceased to entice, there is no challenge and no point in exposure; i f i t continues to entice, there - 94 -is no certainty of success in resistance, and a grave risk of irrevocable failure—failure that will probably hurt many others besides the foolish experimenter. Being the exact opposite of casting aside the means of breaking one's vow, the sentiments pictorially expressed in this second epigraph formulate the way Gwendolen, and those whom she epitomizes, beguile and delude themselves until the consequences of failure tear the blinkers from their eyes. In view of the perverse state of mind she has been cultivating, the mental prison in which she has locked herself, one can scarcely conceive a plausible alternative to Gwendolen's reaction and conduct at that great turning point in her li f e marked by the arrival of the letter. Wholly incapable at this juncture of recognizing (let alone breaking through) the walls that confine her psyche, she sees no release from pain other than Grandcourt"s offer, and within those walls that pain is so acute that she would have to be almost superhuman to renounce the prospect of deliverance. Although insufficiently alert at this crisis, the better side of Gwendolen's divided temptee's nature—the side that will later scourge her mercilessly—has not ceased to exist. "Her dread of wrong-doing . . . was vague . . . and aloof from the daily details of her l i f e , but not the less strong" (ch. 27). She cannot say to herself, "I will embrace evil"; neither can she say, "I will abjure the rescue offered by Grandcourt's letter and its implications." Yet that, in effect, is the choice she must make, whatever she says or does not say. "The alternate dip of counterbalancing thoughts begotten of counterbalancing desires had brought her into a state in which no conclusion could look fixed to her" (ch. 27). She tries to reconcile the irreconcilable, to - 95 -combine two mutually exclusive courses of action. Disguising her true motives with rationalizations, she prepares the way for acceptance of Grandcourt's offer while staunchly asserting her determination to reject him, and finds arguments in support of the view that the purely hypo-thetical marriage, which of course will never eventuate, would not really commit her to evil. The third epigraph expresses the true meaning—as distinct from the make-belief meaning—of the^second. Gwendolen has persuaded herself that she allows Grandcourt to come in order to "flout Enticement in the very face." Her real purpose is of course quite different. Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance Brings but the breeze to f i l l them. (ch. 27, epigraph) Gwendolen would renounce Grandcourt willingly enough; what she cannot bring herself to renounce are the advantages (as they seem to her) that he offers. Since she cannot have them without him, she is beginning to wish that she had never met Mrs. Glasher; that she had remained in ignorance of Grandcourt1s past, so that there would be no reason (within her knowledge) against her acceptance of him. (It hardly occurs to her that there might be reasons against marrying a man like Grandcourt, even i f he had no mistress and children.) His servant is waiting for an answer. Concerned at keeping him waiting too long, Mrs. Davilow unintentionally goads her daughter into writing hurriedly, simply on the ground that something has to be written. She also urges the con-sideration that Grandcourt must feel a real attachment, since the family's financial disaster has not deterred him from renewing his suit. "Circumstance" is clearly equivalent to the element in the aggregate of temptation that I have called "opportunity" throughout this thesis. - 95 -combine two mutually exclusive courses of action. Disguising her true motives with rationalizations, she prepares the way for acceptance of Grandcourt's offer while staunchly asserting her determination to reject him, and finds arguments in support of the view that the purely hypo-thetical marriage, which of course will never eventuate, would not really commit her to evil. The third epigraph expresses the true meaning—as distinct from the make-belief meaning—of the>second. Gwendolen has persuaded herself that she allows Grandcourt to come in order to "flout Enticement in the very face." Her real purpose is of course quite different. Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance^ Brings but the breeze to f i l l them. (ch. 27, epigraph) Gwendolen would renounce Grandcourt willingly enough; what she cannot bring herself to renounce are the advantages (as they seem to her) that he offers. Since she cannot have them without him, she is beginning to wish that she had never met Mrs. Glasher; that she had remained in ignorance of Grandcourt's past, so that there would be no reason (within her knowledge) against her acceptance of him. (It hardly occurs to her that there might be reasons against marrying a man like Grandcourt, even i f he had no mistress and children.) His servant is waiting for an answer. Concerned at keeping him waiting too long, Mrs. Davilow unintentionally goads her daughter into writing hurriedly, simply on the ground that something has to be written. She also urges the con-sideration that Grandcourt must feel a real attachment, since the family's financial disaster has not deterred him from renewing his suit. *° "Circumstance" is clearly equivalent to the element in the aggregate of temptation that I have called "opportunity" throughout this thesis. - 96 -Deluding herself that the door stays wide open and she remains entirely free, Gwendolen pens a note that, short as i t i s , v i r t u a l l y commits her and cuts off retreat. "Miss Harleth presents her compliments to Mr. Grandcourt. She w i l l be at home after two o'clock tomorrow." (ch. 26) Why should't she be at home tomorrow afternoon and why shouldn't she t e l l Grandcourt so? She can l e t him come, have a talk with him, exert her power again as she has exerted i t before, and f i n a l l y refuse him. Certainly she w i l l refuse him. This nominal resolution persists u n t i l he actually arrives, but dwindles progressively into "a form out of which the blood has been sucked" (ch. 27). Once she i s seated face to face with Grandcourt, the end is near. 2^ She cannot bear to l e t him go, for the simple reason that she cannot contemplate a return to the prospect of Sawyer's cottage, Mrs. Mompert's children, and a l l the other concomitant humiliations of destitution and insignificance. Her attempt to defer a decision by alluding to the family's loss of fortune proves self-defeating, because his implied promise of generous maintenance for her mother—a promise that he f u l -f i l l s — s u s t a i n s the most effective of her rationalizations. And so she f i n a l l y agrees to marry Grandcourt, without realizing the f u l l implica-tions of her consent, mistakenly supposing him unaware of her meeting 29 Several recent c r i t i c s have singled out this proposal scene for high praise. They include (chronologically) F.R. Leavis in The  Great Tradition (New York: G.W. Stewart, 1948), Robert Speaight, and Walter Allen. Speaight's comment: "Before writing of this quality criticism i s silent" (George E l i o t [London: Arthur Barker, 1954], p. 114); and Allen's: "That i s great writing" (George E l i o t [New York: Macmillan, 19641, p. 177). - 97 -with Mrs. Glasher,^ and in the fallacy that she will be able to "manage" him. Informing her mother of the engagement, she declares triumphantly, "'Everything is to be as I like'" (ch. 27). Fraught with unconscious irony, these words reverberate in the reader's mind when "Gwendolen gets her choice"-^ -'- and her nemesis begins. The nemesis entails further temptations, including murderous impulses toward her husband. But by that time she has made a confidant and mentor of Deronda, who regards "her remorse [as] the precious sLgn of a recoverable nature" (ch. 56) and helps to save her from irretrievable ruin. A badly bruised creature, strikingly transformed from the proud, self-assured young lady who met Grandcourt's mistress at the Whispering Stones, and ye.t clearly recognizable as the same human being, Gwendolen at the end of the novel is beginning a painful ascent from the bottom of the moral slope, hoping that, in Deronda's words, she "may live to be one of the best of women, who make others glad that they were born" (ch. 70). 3° She feels deeply mortified when learning, much later, uthat her husband knew the silent consciousness, the silently accepted terms on which she had married him" (DD, ch. 4-8). on The words in quotation marks constitute the ti t l e of Book IV of Daniel Deronda. Chapter 5 A PARADOXICAL TEMPTEE i MAGGIE TULLIVER On one l e v e l , Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s d e c i s i o n s and conduct p e r f e c t l y e x e m p l i f y the p a t t e r n of f a i l u r e i l l u s t r a t e d i n the p r e c e d i n g chapter; and i f I c o n f i n e d myself to d e a l i n g w i t h her on t h a t l e v e l , I c o u l d a p p r o p r i a t e l y d i s c u s s h e r i n an a d d i t i o n a l s e c t i o n added to the o t h e r t h r e e . T r e a t e d i n t h a t way, however, she would simply s u s t a i n a p a t t e r n a l r e a d y f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d . T h e r e f o r e I devote a separate c h a p t e r to Maggie, emphasizing the q u a l i t i e s t h a t make h e r d i f f e r e n t , p a r a d o x i c a l , c h a l l e n g i n g to the c r i t i c , and (I am convinced) of p a r t i c u l a r s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r an adequate i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of The M i l l on the F l o s s . Maggie as a temptee moves on two p l a n e s , which ( b r o a d l y speaking) correspond t o the twin i n j u n c t i o n f o r human conduct quoted r e p e a t e d l y from Bishop W i l s o n : "Walk s t a u n c h l y by the b e s t l i g h t you have; take c a r e t h a t your l i g h t be not darkness." To some ex t e n t , every r e s p o n s i b l e human b e i n g , and c e r t a i n l y every temptee, has to come to terms wi t h both of these i n j u n c t i o n s , but the r e l a t i v e em-p h a s i s v a r i e s enormously. Alone among George E l i o t ' s temptees, Maggie bears the brunt of the second i n j u n c t i o n i n a measure a t l e a s t equal to t h a t of the f i r s t , and p r o b a b l y g r e a t e r . Her uniqueness d e r i v e s i n p a r t from t h i s cause. She appears to me as p r i m a r i l y a h i g h l y s u c c e s s f u l a r t i s t i c embodiment of three o u t s t a n d i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n her - 99 - ~ c r e a t o r . Two of these a re i n t e n s e and c o n f l i c t i n g impulses: the impulse toward c o n f o r m i t y and the impulse toward r e b e l l i o n . The t h i r d i s the s t a t e of mind r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r c o l l i s i o n w i t h i n the same I n d i v i d u a l , and from t h a t i n d i v i d u a l ' s need to m a i n t a i n h e r p s y c h i c I n t e g r a t i o n by r e c o n c i l i n g what can be r e c o n c i l e d , and by f a c i n g the u n a l t e r a b l e w i t h r e s i g n a t i o n . The two c o n f l i c t i n g impulses f i n d t h e i r c o r r e l a t i v e i n Maggie as a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee and i n Maggie as a misguided temptee. The author e v i n c e s h e r s t a t e of mind i n the r e s u l t s of Maggie's d u a l r o l e , i n h e r comments on these r e s u l t s , and i n h e r a n a l y s i s of the c h a r a c t e r s . The key to an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of Maggie and of The M i l l  on the F l o s s l i e s i n George E l i o t ' s awareness of a problem t h a t must cause g r i e f and waste of p o t e n t i a l whether a d e c i s i o n i s made or evaded, and r e g a r d l e s s of what d e c i s i o n i s made. George E l i o t h e r s e l f c o n f r o n t e d the problem i n s e v e r a l of i t s m a n i f e s t a t i o n s , i n each case made a d e c i s i o n a f t e r the most c a r e f u l d e l i b e r a t i o n , and i n each case p a i d to the f u l l the p r i c e she had f o r e s e e n . By the time she wrote The M i l l on the F l o s s (1859-60), she had fought and won three g r e a t i n n e r b a t t l e s i the b a t t l e f o r r e l i g i o u s emancipation; the b a t t l e f o r an i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e i n London amidst minds of her own c a l i b e r ; and the b a t t l e f o r l o v e and "someone to l e a n upon" i n her I l l i c i t u n i o n w i t h Lewes. As a r e s u l t of t h i s e x p e r i e n c e , she was i n t e n s e l y c o n s c i o u s of what she had escaped from, and of what she would or might have become i f ( l i k e Maggie) she had regarded escape as a - 100 -temptation to be r e s i s t e d . The r e i t e r a t e d c o n t r a s t i n The  M i l l , on the F l o s s between breadth of v i s i o n and s t i f l i n g narrowness r e f l e c t s t h i s awareness. C o n v e r s e l y and e q u a l l y , however, she w r i t h e d under the p r i c e she had to pay i n severance from h e r f a m i l y , i n s o c i a l o s t r a c i s m , and i n e x i l e from her n a t i v e Warwickshire and i t s b e l o v e d c o u n t r y s i d e . Triumph a t emancipation and g r i e f a t i t s concomitant d e p r i v a t i o n s d i v i d e The M i l l on the F l o s s between them. Readers who d e r i v e t h i s i m p r e s s i o n a r e b e i n g a f f e c t e d as the author d e s i r e d . I n a l e t t e r to John Blackwood ( A p r i l k, 1861), she a f f i r m s t h a t "the e x h i b i t i o n of the r i g h t on both s i d e s " sums up "the v e r y s o u l of [ h e r ] i n t e n t i o n i n the s t o r y . T h o s e who s t r i v e t o f i n d George E l i o t " s m e a n i n g — r a t h e r than t h e i r o w n — i n the n o v e l must a p p r e c i a t e such a p l a i n statement of h e r aim. Less d i r e c t l y , but more f o r m i d a b l y , they w i l l f i n d i t c o r r o b o r a t e d i n "The Antigone and I t s M o r a l " (1856) , 2 an a r t i c l e of h i g h Importance (however i n c i d e n t a l l y ) as a g l o s s on The M i l l on  the F l o s s (I860). S i n c e i t cannot be quoted i n f u l l , I have t r i e d t o s e l e c t the most a p p l i c a b l e and i l l u m i n a t i n g statements. Torn from the cont e x t , they do not c a r r y t h e i r ^-Letters, I I I , 397. 2 I t f i r s t appeared i n the Leader, VII (29 March, 1856), 3Q6; and i s r e p r i n t e d i n Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney (New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963), pp. 261-265. - 101 -f u l l charge? yet much remains, and none d i s t o r t s the d r i f t and t e n o r of George E l i o t ' s reasoning. ^  . . . two p r i n c i p l e s , both h a v i n g t h e i r v a l i d i t y , are a t war . . . . The b e s t c r i t i c s have agreed . . . i n r e c o g n i z i n g t h i s balance of p r i n c i p l e s , t h i s antagonism between v a l i d c l a i m s ; . . . . . . the s t r u g g l e between Antigone and Creon r e p r e s e n t s [ t h e ] s t r u g g l e between e l e m e n t a l t e n d e n c i e s and e s t a b l i s h e d laws . . . . Wherever the s t r e n g t h of a man's I n t e l l e c t , or moral sense, or a f f e c t i o n b r i n g s him i n t o o p p o s i t i o n w i t h the r u l e s which s o c i e t y has s a n c t i o n e d , ^ t h e r e I s renewed the c o n f l i c t between Antigone and Creon; . . . The e x q u i s i t e a r t of Sophocles i s shown i n the touches by which he makes us f e e l t h a t Creon, as w e l l as A n t i g o n e , I s c o n t e n d i n g f o r what he b e l i e v e s t o be the r i g h t , w h i l e both a r e a l s o c o n s c i o u s t h a t , i n f o l l o w i n g out one p r i n c i p l e , they are l a y i n g themselves open to j u s t blame f o r t r a n s g r e s s i n g another . . . which cannot be i n f r i n g e d without harm. Perhaps the b e s t moral we can draw i s t h a t to which the Chorus p o i n t s — t h a t our p r o t e s t f o r the r i g h t s hould be seasoned w i t h modera-t i o n and r e v e r e n c e , and t h a t l o f t y words . . . are not becoming to m o r t a l s . On a s u r f a c e l e v e l , a t l e a s t , the r e l e v a n c e of these statements to The M i l l on the F l o s s can s c a r e c e l y be missed. B r o a d l y speaking, Antigone equates w i t h Maggie, whose i n t e l l e c t u a l and a e s t h e t i c hunger meets w i t h no comprehen-s i o n and no response from the p e o p l e — i n c l u d i n g the n e a r e s t r e l a t i v e s — w h o compose he r l i t t l e world; Creon equates w i t h 3A11 q u o t a t i o n s from t h i s a r t i c l e a r e found on pages 263 and 26k of the P i n n e y anthology. The grouping i s mine. ^The d i r e c t l y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l b e a r i n g of t h i s phrase i s as unmistakable as I t i s poignant. - 102 -Tom, the Dodsons, and the s o c i e t y of S t . Ogg's, i n t h e i r b l i n d , p e r s i s t e n t adherence to t r a d i t i o n a l standards and p r a c t i c e s t h a t are narrow, b i a s e d , a t b e s t b a r e l y mediocre, impervious to the most p r e c i o u s of human v a l u e s ; the f i n a l i n j u n c t i o n of the Chorus equates w i t h the a u t h o r ' s comments and a n a l y s i s , which d i s t i n g u i s h t h i s n o v e l from her o t h e r s i n t h e i r r e i t e r a t e d emphasis on t o l e r a n c e , on e t h i c a l f l e x i b i l i t y , on comprehension of i n d i v i d u a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s and i n d i v i d u a l l i m i t a t i o n s , on the r e j e c t i o n of s t e r e o t y p e d maxims or slogans as a b a s i s of judgment; and "the e x q u i s i t e a r t of Sophocles" equates w i t h George E l i o t * s own success i n c o n v i n c i n g us t h a t , even a t h i s worst, Tom ( l i k e Creon) contends f o r what he b e l i e v e s to be r i g h t , t h a t h i s (mental) eyes g i v e "no warning of t h e i r i m p e r f e c t i o n , " t h a t ( a g a i n l i k e Creon and l i k e the r e s t of us) he cannot h e l p b e i n g "imprisoned w i t h i n the l i m i t s of h i s own n a t u r e " (B&. 7» ch. 3)» t h a t , i n s h o r t , to know a l l i s to f o r g i v e a l l . D e s p i t e i m p e r f e c t i o n s t h a t few would d i s p u t e , The M i l l on  the F l o s s ranks h i g h as a work of a r t , p a r t l y because George E l i o t does accomplish her self-avowed aim: "the e x h i b i t i o n of the r i g h t on both s i d e s " ( L e t t e r s , I I I , 397). D e s p i t e the b e s t i n t e n t i o n s , Maggie a c t s p r i m a r i l y as a misguided temptee, who confuses h e r own wider v i s i o n and l a r g e r - h e a r t e d f e e l i n g s w i t h temptations to be r e s i s t e d because they d i v e r g e from standards and p r a c t i c e s George E l i o t has expounded i n "A V a r i a t i o n of P r o t e s t a n t i s m Unknown to Bossuet" (MF, bk. 4, ch. 1 ) . Though s t r a i n i n g to be j u s t - 103 -and i m p a r t i a l , the a u t h o r convinces us i n d e l i b l y of h e r r e v u l s i o n from t h e i r s t i f l i n g narrowness, t h e i r b i g o t r y , t h e i r l a c k of v i s i o n * t h e i r i n a b i l i t y even to c o n c e i v e any-t h i n g b e t t e r than b e i n g , i n T.S, E l i o t ' s words, "Assured of c e r t a i n c e r t a i n t i e s . ' ' A comment of h ers on Lydgate, i n Middlemarch, serves i n c i d e n t a l l y to d e f i n e the source of h e r r e v u l s i o n . There she d i l a t e s upon "the supremacy of the i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e , " m a n i f e s t e d i n the "serene a c t i v i t y " s p r i n g i n g from "a seed of e n n o b l i n g thought and purpose," and p o i n t s to the g u l f between such a l i f e and "the a b s o r b i n g s o u l - w a s t i n g s t r u g g l e w i t h w o r l d l y annoy-ances" (M, ch. 73). And Maggie, f i g h t i n g a g a i n s t h e r s e l f i n a b a t t l e as v a l i a n t and p a i n f u l as i t i s f u t i l e , t r i e s her utmost to r e g ard those standards as the b e s t she has, and to walk s t a u n c h l y i n t h e i r l i g h t . By t h e i r v e r y narrowness, the Dodson standards d r i v e her to t h i s mis-guided, r a c k i n g , and foredoomed attempt, because they f o r c e he r i n t o b a n e f u l antagonism between t r y i n g to r e c o n c i l e the y e a r n i n g s of h e r h e a r t w i t h those of h e r i n t e l l e c t and a e s t h e t i c s e n s i b i l i t y , a l l t hree of which tower h i g h above average i n t h e i r i n t e n s i t y . Her f a t h e r and h e r b r o t h e r — the two i d o l s of her l i f e - - c a n n o t d i s s o c i a t e normal f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n from adherence to t h e i r p e t t y alms, b l i n k e r e d views, and g r o s s , m a t e r i a l i s t i c s t a n d a r d s . I n o r d e r to r e t a i n t h e i r l o v e , Maggie attempts V i r t u a l s e l f -m u t i l a t i o n — s h e c a l l s i t r e s i g n a t i o n ; P h i l i p c a l l s i t s t u p e f a c t i o n — b y t r y i n g to s t i f l e her c r a v i n g f o r i n t e l l e c t u a l - 104 -and a e s t h e t i c f u l f i l m e n t . The whole debate between the two i n the Red Deeps (Bk. 5» chs. 1, 3, and 4) c e n t e r s upon t h i s i s s u e . P h i l i p p o s s e s s e s , i n l a r g e measure, the r e s o u r c e s needed to assuage the c o n f l i c t t h a t rends Maggie. I f she g i v e s him the chance, he can b u i l d a b r i d g e of recon-c i l i a t i o n a c r o s s the two s i d e s of a tiarrowing s e l f - d i v i s i o n . Alone w i t h i n h e r c i r c l e of a c q u a i n t a n c e s , he c o n j o i n s a b s o l u t e d e v o t i o n w i t h ample g i f t s f o r a p p e a s i n g t h a t o t h e r h u n g e r — a l m o s t e q u a l l y p e r e m p t o r y — w h i c h h e r f a t h e r and b r o t h e r s c a r c e l y even r e c o g n i z e , and c e r t a i n l y do not b e g i n to s a t i s f y . The resemblances between Maggie and h e r c r e a t o r c o n s i s t i n comparable endowments, comparable c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and i n the c l a s h between the two, which o c c a s i o n s a compar-a b l e i n n e r torment. But In the d e c i s i o n s they r e a c h , i n t h e i r success or f a i l u r e t o stand by them, and i n the con-sequences of the a c t i o n s they a c t u a l l y do take, Maggie and George E l i o t e x e m p l i f y the two momentous and c o m p l e t e l y o p p o s i t e a l t e r n a t i v e s of t h e i r analogous dilemma. Among i t s sundry m a n i f e s t a t i o n s i n the n o v e l , the p e r p l e x i t i e s l a c e r a t i n g P h i l i p and Maggie rank h i g h e s t i n i n t e r e s t and p e r t i n e n c e f o r the p r e s e n t d i s c u s s i o n . T i m e l e s s , t r a g i c , v i r t u a l l y i n s o l u b l e , they admit of no panacea. Eager to o b v i a t e m i s r e a d i n g and to a t t u n e our minds, the a u t h o r emphasizes i n advance t h a t no m o r t a l can j u s t l y a p p o r t i o n c l a i m s so c o n f l i c t i n g as those b e i n g debated i n the Red Deeps. Any h y p o t h e t i c a l b e s t d e c i s i o n must needs be - 105 -l i m i t e d t o f i n d i n g the l e a s t p a i n f u l s o l u t i o n or ( l i k e Dorothea) "the l e a s t p a r t i a l good" (M, ch. 20). Though a c t u a t e d by jumbled motives, P h i l i p and Maggie t r y hard and e a r n e s t l y . C l o s e a t t e n t i o n soon r e v e a l s the scenes between them as an e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n and embodiment of the i d e a s found i n "A V a r i a t i o n of P r o t e s t a n t i s m Unknown to Bossuet." From the v e r y b e g i n n i n g of the n o v e l we have watched Maggie r i s i n g "above the mental l e v e l of the g e n e r a t i o n b e f o r e [ h e r ] , " w h i l e w i t n e s s i n g a g a i n and a g a i n the e x c e p t i o n a l s t r e n g t h of those " f i b r e s " of the h e a r t by which she remains " t i e d " t o t h a t g e n e r a t i o n . But now c i r c u m s t a n c e s have c o n s p i r e d to t r a n s f o r m these two s i d e s of h e r development i n t o a c o n f l i c t of the a c u t e s t k i n d . The p r e c e d i n g g e n e r a t i o n denotes h e r b e l o v e d and s t r i c k e n f a t h e r , who has always "taken the p a r t " of h i s " l i t t l e wench"; i t denotes h e r b r o t h e r , the i d o l of h e r c h i l d h o o d , who i s now l a b o u r i n g s l n g l e - m i n d e d l y to r e s t o r e the f a m i l y ' s r e s p e c t a b i l i t y ; and i t denotes h e r f e e b l e -minded mother, reduced to n e a r - i m b e c i l i t y by the l o s s of h e r household t r e a s u r e s , P h i l i p ' s remonstrances n o t w i t h -s t a n d i n g , Maggie cannot d e l i b e r a t e l y make a d e c i s i o n t h a t w i l l s e v e r or endanger those bonds of f a m i l y a f f e c t i o n : they a r e s a c r e d to her; they c o n s t i t u t e the foremost mainstay of h e r i n n e r b a l a n c e . T h e i r l o s s or1 v i o l a t i o n might e a s i l y l e a d t o p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . "The need of b e i n g l o v e d would always subdue her" (MF, bk. 6, ch. k). Maggie c e r t a i n l y shares t h a t q u a l i t y w i t h h e r c r e a t o r ; almost - 106 -e q u a l l y , however, she shares another t though she cannot l i v e w i t h o u t l o v e , she cannot l i v e by l o v e a l o n e . Her r i s e above the mental l e v e l of p a r e n t s and b r o t h e r m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n an overpowering urge q u i t e a l i e n t o themi i n acute I n t e l l e c t u a l hunger; i n a n e a r - i r r e s i s t i b l e c r a v i n g f o r mental and a e s t h e t i c s a t i s f a c t i o n s — f o r knowledge, music, l i t e r a t u r e , and a r t . That s i d e of h e r psyche e x i s t s no l e s s than the other; i t r e q u i r e s a t l e a s t a l i m i t e d o u t l e t , a t l e a s t some degree of s a t i s f a c t i o n . I t cannot be i g n o r e d o r amputated without g r i e v o u s mangling of h e r p e r s o n a l i t y . I r r e c o n c i l a b l e i n her own f a m i l y , the two c o n t r a s t e d s i d e s of Maggie's nature harmonize i n h e r r e l a t i o n s w i t h P h i l i p : w i t h i n the c i r c l e of h e r a c q u a i n t a n c e s , he al o n e can s a t i s f y h e r need t o l o v e and to be l o v e d , as w e l l as her i n t e l l e c t u a l and a e s t h e t i c hunger. She " w i l l never do a n y t h i n g to wound [ h e r ] f a t h e r " (Bk. 5 » ch. 4 ) , but what her f a t h e r does not know cannot h u r t him. And P h i l i p does not prove slow or t o n g u e - t i e d i n h i s e f f o r t s t o persuade he r . U s i n g language s u g g e s t i v e of* "A V a r i a t i o n of P r o t e s t a n t i s m Unknown to Bossuet," he expresses h i s own abhorrance of the Dodson s t a n d a r d s — * * . . . the dead l e v e l of p r o v i n c i a l e x i s t e n c e " (Bk. 5 i ch. 3 ) — m e m o r a b l y c h a r a c -t e r i z e s the e f f e c t of t h e i r " o p p r e s s i v e narrowness" on a nature l i k e Maggie's, and u t t e r s warnings t h a t subsequent developments e s t a b l i s h as wel l - f o u n d e d p r o p h e c i e s , George E l i o t , we know, r e c o g n i z e d a l l s i d e s of the d i s p u t e a n d — on a c o n s c i o u s l e v e l a t l e a s t — a i m e d above a l l e l s e a t - 107 -"the e x h i b i t i o n of the r i g h t on both s i d e s . " She p o r t r a y s Maggie's s t r u g g l e as a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee w i t h sympathy, i n s i g h t , and r e s p e c t ; she a l l o w s f u l l scope f o r the ex-p r e s s i o n of s c r u p l e s , doubts, and h e s i t a t i o n s . She empha-s i z e s e d i t o r i a l l y t h a t they a r e w e l l - f o u n d e d . But e q u a l l y , a t l e a s t , she g i v e s us no ground whatever f o r t h i n k i n g t h a t she regards P h i l i p ' s view of the problem as a t e m p t a t i o n t h a t ought to be r e s i s t e d , i n d u b i t a b l y and u n e q u i v o c a l l y , i n the sense t h a t A r t h u r Donnithorne ought to r e s i s t h i s urge to seduce H e t t y , B u l s t r o d e h i s urge to promote R a f f l e s ' death, and Gwendolen hers to marry Grandcourt. As I s h a l l r e - a s s e r t i n Chapter 7 i the d i s c u s s i o n s and a g i t a t e d debates of The M i l l on the F l o s s a r e i n one r e s p e c t unique w i t h i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n . Here alone does the a u t h o r r e -f r a i n from t a k i n g s i d e s , from l o a d i n g the d i c e . Here alone a r e we not f o r c e d to the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t h e r sympathy l i e s w h o l l y on one s i d e or w h o l l y on the other. The debate i n the Red Deeps i s a case i n p o i n t . ? D e s p i t e the f a i r e s t p r e s e n t a t i o n of Maggie as a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee, m u l t i f o r m evidence w i t h i n the n o v e l , blended w i t h knowledge of the a uthor's biography, compels the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t , i n a measure a t l e a s t e q u a l t o — a n d p r o b a b l y g r e a t e r than-—her a f f i n i t y f o r Maggie's views and s t r u g g l e , George E l i o t concurs with statements of P h i l i p ' s , such as the f o l l o w i n g ? " . . . you are s h u t t i n g y o u r s e l f up i n a narrow s e l f - d e l u s i v e f a n a t i c i s m , which i s o n l y a way of e s c a p i n g p a i n by s t a r v i n g i n t o - 108 -d u l l n e s s a l l the h i g h e s t powers of your n a t u r e . . . . You a r e not r e s i g n e d : you are o n l y t r y i n g t o s t u p e f y y o u r s e l f . , . . Maggie, . . . don't p e r s i s t i n t h i s w i l f u l ^ s e n s e l e s s p r i v a t i o n . I t makes me wretched to see you benumbing and cramping your nature i n t h i s way. . . . I f o r e s e e t h a t i t w i l l not end w e l l : you can never c a r r y on t h i s s e l f - t o r t u r e . . . . I t i s l e s s wrong t h a t you should see me than t h a t you should be committing t h i s l o n g s u i c i d e . " (Bk. 5, ch. 3) ". . . n o one has s t r e n g t h g i v e n to do what i s u n n a t u r a l . I t i s mere cowardice to seek s a f e t y i n n e g a t i o n s . No c h a r a c t e r becomes s t r o n g i n t h a t way. You w i l l be thrown Int o the world some day, and then every r a t i o n a l s a t i s f a c t i o n of your nature t h a t you deny now, w i l l a s s a u l t you l i k e a savage a p p e t i t e . " (Bk. 5, ch. 3) Maggie's f a i l u r e t o r e s i s t P h i l i p may be one c o n f i r m a t i o n of h i s a s s e r t i o n t h a t she i s t r y i n g t o do something u n n a t u r a l , and t h a t the n e e d f u l s t r e n g t h w i l l be d e n i e d her. Much more s i g n i f i c a n t , however, and c e r t a i n l y f r a u g h t w i t h un-c o n s c i o u s i r o n y , I s h e r immediate answer to the l a s t s t a t e -ment quoted above. When he p r e d i c t s ,that '". . . e v e r y r a t i o n a l s a t i s f a c t i o n of your n a t u r e t h a t you deny now, w i l l a s s a u l t you l i k e a savage a p p e t i t e , ' " Maggie r e p l i e s : " ' P h i l i p , how dare you shake me i n t h i s way? You a r e a tempter,'" He denies the charge, of c o u r s e , adding t h a t "'. . . l o v e g i v e s i n s i g h t , Maggie, and i n s i g h t o f t e n g i v e s f o r e b o d i n g , ' " On a second r e a d i n g of the n o v e l , we know t h a t the f o r e b o d i n g w i l l f i n d i t s exact f u l f i l m e n t i n the episode w i t h Stephen G u e s t — " T h e Great T e m p t a t i o n " — t h a t P h i l i p might have enabled h e r t o r e s i s t . U n v e i l e d by the concept of temptation, by the f a c t s - 109 -of the a u t h o r ' s l i f e , and by the debate j u s t d i s c u s s e d , the topography of the Red Deeps ( p h y s i c a l and human) emerges i n f u l l c l a r i t y ' : we see two p l a n e s , r e p r e s e n t i n g the Bishop's twin i n j u n c t i o n ; and s t r u g g l i n g upon them we see two temptees, r e p r e s e n t i n g the t r a g i c s e l f - d i v i s i o n of a misguided h e r o i n e t r y i n g to walk s t a u n c h l y by something much c l o s e r t o darkness than to l i g h t — t h e Dodson standards and p r a c t i c e s . However u n c o n s c i o u s l y , Maggie f u n c t i o n s as two d i s t i n c t e n t i t i e s : they may be tagged misguided temptee and c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee; they o b j e c t i f y a l o o s e l y c o r r e l a -t i v e f i s s u r e w i t h i n George E l i o t , e v i d e n t l y p r o d u c t i v e of remarkable c r e a t i v e energy and v i t a l i t y ; and they g i v e good reason f o r e n v i s a g i n g The M i l l on the F l o s s as h e r ex-p l o i t a t i o n of that f i s s u r e i n a work of a r t . One may r e g a r d t h i s n o v e l as the author's A p o l o g i a  Pro V i t a Sua, engendered by the p a s s i o n a t e urge f o r s e l f -j u s t i f i c a t i o n s p r i n g i n g from s l a n d e r s and gross miscon-s t r u c t i o n s , ^ I n e v i t a b l y , however, George E l i o t expressed 5George E l i o t ' s y e a r n i n g to j u s t i f y h e r s e l f f i n d s r a t h e r p a i n f u l e x p r e s s i o n i n two sentences from a l o n g l e t t e r (dated September k, 1855) to h e r i n t i m a t e f r i e n d C a r o l i n e Bray: " L i g h t and e a s i l y broken t i e s a r e what I n e i t h e r d e s i r e t h e o r e t i c a l l y nor c o u l d l i v e f o r p r a c t i -c a l l y . Women who are s a t i s f i e d with such t i e s do not a c t as I have d o n e — t h e y o b t a i n what they d e s i r e and a r e s t i l l i n v i t e d t o d i n n e r . " ( L e t t e r s , I I , 21k; quoted i n Halght, George  E l i o t , p. 190. ) One may be t h a n k f u l t h a t George E l i o t soon l e a r n e d to r e s o r t t o the medium of a r t f o r her j u s t i f i c a t i o n . - 110 -that urge i n a form t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from Newman's, A mid-Victorian n o v e l i s t , she knew that she could not defend h e r s e l f by t r y i n g to win sympathy f o r a human being whose actions corresponded to her own. Nor would she have wished to do so, f o r she fearedtiiat " . . . her example should be seized upon by the lightminded as an excuse f o r sexual l i c e n c e , " ^ S t i l l adhering to the n o v e l i s t ' s way, she there-fore vindicates he r s e l f by implication, impressing us i n d e l i b l y with the possible consequences when an i n d i v i d u a l l i k e Maggie, whose endowments and circumstances approximately suggest her creator's, reaches the opposite d e c i s i o n and, however h e s i t a n t l y and f a l t e r i n g l y , struggles to carry i t out. i n s o f a r as The M i l l on the Floss amounts to the author's Apologia Pro V i t a Sua, P h i l i p ' s remonstrances i n the Red Deeps are not addressed to Maggie alone. They also draw the contemporary reader's a t t e n t i o n to the grievous s o c i a l loss and b i t t e r personal s u f f e r i n g that would pro-bably have ensued from George E l i o t ' s adherence to the standards immortalized throughout her book and epitomized i n "A V a r i a t i o n of Protestantism Unknown to Bossuet." Blended with our knowledge of the author's biography, the novel alone provides s u f f i c i e n t ground f o r t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Fortunately, however, a d i r e c t statement from a l e t t e r to Sara Hennell, one of her l i f e - l o n g f r i e n d s , favours the skeptic with corroborating evidence: 6 Ge r a i d B u l l e t t , George E l i o t : Her L i f e and Books (London: C o l l i n s , 19-+7), P. 96. - I l l -" I f I l i v e f i v e years l o n g e r , the p o s i t i v e r e s u l t of my e x i s t e n c e on the s i d e of t r u t h and goodness w i l l outweigh the s m a l l n e g a t i v e good t h a t would have c o n s i s t e d i n my not d o i n g a n y t h i n g to shock o t h e r s , and I can c o n c e i v e no consequences t h a t w i l l make me repent the p a s t . " ( L e t t e r s , I I , 342) T h i s l e t t e r i s dated June 5i 1857. George E l i o t was then engaged on h e r Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e and had not y e t a t t a i n e d wide fame. The passage j u s t quoted may t h e r e f o r e e x c i t e some a d m i r a t i o n as a prophecy come t r u e . B e f o r e the f i v e years s t i p u l a t e d had elapsed—Adam Bede (1859) • The M i l l on the F l o s s (i860), S i l a s Marner, (1861)—most V i c t o r i a n r e a d e r s would have agreed w i t h i t s sentiment. Owing to P h i l i p ' s ambivalent f u n c t i o n i n r e l a t i o n t o Maggie, h e r c r u c i a l r o l e of d u a l temptee expresses i t s e l f as a d u a l f a i l u r e : f a i l u r e to r e c o g n i z e t h a t he i s a mentor r a t h e r than a tempter, and f a i l u r e t o r e s i s t the tempter whom she m i s t a k e n l y b e l i e v e s him to be. Both p a r t s of tEois f a i l u r e stand i n g l a r i n g c o n t r a s t to George E l i o t ' s own conduct i n r o u g h l y analogous c i r c u m s t a n c e s , as w e l l as to Antigone's as i n t e r p r e t e d i n h e r a r t i c l e on Sophocles* p l a y . I n a l e t t e r to John Chapman w r i t t e n on October 15, 1854—about th r e e months a f t e r h e r " elopement"—she s t a t e s h e r p o s i t i o n and a t t i t u d e w i t h c o n f i d e n c e and s e l f - a s s u r a n c e : "I have counted the c o s t of the s t e p t h a t I have taken and am prepared to bear, without i r r i t a t i o n o r b i t t e r n e s s , r e n u n c i a t i o n by a l l my f r i e n d s . I am not mistaken i n the person to whonr.I have a t t a c h e d myself. He i s worthy of the s a c r i f i c e I have i n c u r r e d . . . 7Quoted i n Gordon S. Haight, George E l i o t : a Biography (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1968), p. 162. - 112 -R i g h t l y o r wrongly, she c o n c e i v e s Antigone's conduct as b a s i c a l l y e q u i v a l e n t t o h e r own, and summarizes i t i n a s i m i l a r v e i n : . . . [ A n t i g o n e ] d e c l a r e s t h a t she d e l i b e r a t e l y d isobeyed [Creon*s p r o c l a m a t i o n ] , and i s ready to a c c e p t death as i t s consequence. I t was not Zeus, she t e l l s [ C r e o n ] — i t was not e t e r n a l J u s t i c e t h a t i s s u e d t h a t decree. The pro-c l a m a t i o n of Creon i s not so a u t h o r i t a t i v e as t h s l u n w r i t t e n law of the Gods , . . ,° The d i r e c t a n t i t h e s i s of Maggie's conduct looms g l a r i n g i n bo t h i n s t a n c e s . F u l l y c o g n i z a n t of a l l r e l e v a n t f a c t s , George E l i o t and Antigone make t h e i r d e c i s i o n s to r e b e l , a c t i n f u l l accordance, and a c c e p t the consequences w i t h o u t f l i n c h i n g . Maggie, on the o t h e r hand, makes the o p p o s i t e d e c i s i o n — t h e d e c i s i o n t o c o n f o r m — a n d then f a l t e r s and wobbles p i t i f u l l y , and p a r t l y f a i l s , i n h e r attempt t o c a r r y i t out. T h i s i s the p o i n t where the d i r e c t autobiography o f resemblance y i e l d s t o the i n d i r e c t and more c o m p l i c a t e d autobiography of a n t i t h e s i s . Though comparable i n endowments, temperament, and c i r c u m s t a n c e s , the two temptees p o i s e d on t h a t f a t e f u l f r o n t i e r make a n t i t h e t i c a l d e c i s i o n s , take a n t i t h e t i c a l a c t i o n s , and garner an a n t i t h e t i c a l h a r v e s t . They do, however, share one p i e c e of common ground. Both ar e w i l l i n g t o i n c u r , and do i n c u r , s a c r i f i c e s to a v o i d wounding t h e i r f a t h e r s , whom both of them l o v e . F o r twelve y e a r s — f r o m the marriage of her s i s t e r C h r i s t i a n a i n May 1837 Spinney, E s s a y s , p. 263. - 113 -u n t i l h i s death i n May 1849--Marian a c t e d as h e r f a t h e r ' s housekeeper. None of h i s o t h e r c h i l d r e n c a r e d f o r him as she did.9 S i m i l a r l y , Maggie t e l l s P h i l i p from the s t a r t t h a t she w i l l never do a n y t h i n g t o wound h e r f a t h e r , and submits t o the g r o s s e s t abuse from Tom f o r the sake of a b i d i n g by t h a t r e s o l u t i o n . One would t h i n k t h a t the au t h o r ' s agreement w i t h Maggie on t h a t i s s u e c o u l d not be doubted. But the evidence b e l i e s t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n . Robert S p e a i g h t d e c l a r e s : "Maggie',s s u r r e n d e r t o Tom on t h i s q u e s t i o n was simply a case of the weaker nature succumbing t o the stronger."10 We have p r e v i o u s l y quoted George E l i o t ' s p l a i n t i n a l e t t e r about The M i l l on the F l o s s : "'. „ . s p e c i a l cases of m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n might p a r a l y s e m e i i « l l A s a n i n s t a n c e of such m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , S p e a i g h t ' s statement s u r e l y takes h i g h rank. I n the t o t a l p i c t u r e , however, t h i s s m a l l a r e a of agreement between the two temptees amounts to no more than the e x c e p t i o n t h a t proves the r u l e . Maggie, we have seen, v i o l a t e s h e r nature i n an a t t e m p t — a s i l l - a d v i s e d as i t i s n o b l y m o t i v a t e d — t o guide h e r s e l f by the Pearson-Dodson s t a n d a r d s . The b e s t i n t e n t i o n s n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g , she thereby i n f l i c t s a maximum of g r i e f 9TO the end of h e r days, George E l i o t r e g r e t t e d the b r i e f a l i e n a t i o n caused by h e r r e f u s a l to go to church. The i s s u e a r o s e i n January 1842; by the middle of May she had y i e l d e d and resumed g o i n g t o church with h e r f a t h e r f o r the remaining seven years of h i s l i f e . l°George E l i o t (London: A r t h u r Barker, 1954), p. 54. ^ L e t t e r s , I I I , 397. - 114 -upon a l l concerned and t o t a l l y wrecks her own l i f e . I n complete c o n t r a s t , the aut h o r (however r e l u c t a n t l y ) em-braces the o p p o s i t e s i d e o f the f r o n t i e r and d e c l a r e s h e r s e l f " ' q u i t e prepared t o a c c e p t the consequences of a step which I have d e l i b e r a t e l y taken ... . . The most p a i n f u l consequences w i l l , I know, be the l o s s of f r i e n d s . • I n October 1854, when she wrote these words t o C h a r l e s Bray, she c e r t a i n l y s u f f e r e d c r u e l l y — T h e M i l l on the F l o s s b ears i n d i r e c t w itness--from the consequences known t o h e r a t the time. Those t h a t l a y ahead and have made h e r immortal she d i d not even remotely foresee.^3 No p r e s c i e n c e of the k i n d e n t e r e d i n t o h er d e c i s i o n , which sprang e x c l u s i v e l y from the urge to r e c o n c i l e the deepest c r a v i n g s of h e r psyche: the need t o be l o v e d and the need to a l l a y h er i n t e l l e c t u a l hunger. L i k e E s t h e r Lyon, she r e c o g n i z e d "the b e s t t h i n g t h a t l i f e c o u l d g i v e her" w h i l e f u l l y aware t h a t " i t was not t o be had without p a y i n g a heavy p r i c e f o r i t , such as we must pay f o r a l l t h a t i s g r e a t l y good" (FH, ch. 49). I n t e l l i g e n c e to make the r i g h t c h o i c e i n h e r ci r c u m s t a n c e s and s t r e n g t h to b e a r the s u f f e r i n g i t e n t a i l s — t h o s e q u a l i t i e s enabled h e r t o a v o i d the s e l f - m u t i l a t i o n t h a t s p e l l s poor Maggie's doom. I n Bishop Wilson's terms, she not o n l y walked s t a u n c h l y ^ L e t t e r s , I I , 179. 13ln the end, they d i d h e l p her to a c h i e v e some com-promise w i t h the o p p o s i t e world: not o n l y acceptance by V i c t o r i a n s o c i e t y a t l a r g e , but a l s o a degree of e v e n t u a l r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h her f a m i l y , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h the second g e n e r a t i o n of Evanses (her nephews and n i e c e s ) . - 115 -by the b e s t l i g h t she had, but a l s o made sure t h a t h e r l i g h t was not darkness. O p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n abound throughout the whole of George E l i o t ' s work, and a l s o i n the f a c t s of h e r l i f e . The obvious s c a r c e l y r e q u i r e s f o r m a l p r o o f . Chapter 5 i n P r o f e s s o r H a i g h t ' s d e f i n i t i v e b i o g r a p h y takes i t s t i t l e — " T h e Need to be L o v e d " — f r o m an author's comment on Maggie d u r i n g the debate headed " B r o t h e r and S i s t e r " : "The need of b e i n g l o v e d would always subdue her" (MF, bk. 6, ch. 4 ) . I n a world of v a n i s h i n g r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , George E l i o t f i n d s h e r one p i l l a r of a b s o l u t e s t r e n g t h and support i n the s a n c t i t y of human r e l a t i o n s , and e s p e c i a l l y , of course, i n those between husband and w i f e , between p a r e n t s and c h i l d r e n , and among s i b l i n g s . Whenever she touches on t h i s s u b j e c t , the note of lukewarm and p e r f u n c t o r y p r a i s e t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e s even h e r r e l a t i v e l y f a v o u r a b l e comments on the Dodsons y i e l d s to i t s exact o p p o s i t e — a tone of a b s o l u t e , u n q u a l i f i e d c o n v i c t i o n . I t may be u s e f u l t o quote here once more the p e r t i n e n t passage from the "Bossuet" c h a p t e r . The author i s ' speaking of those who . . . i n the onward tendency of human t h i n g s have r i s e n above the mental l e v e l of the g e n e r a t i o n b e f o r e them, to which they have been n e v e r t h e l e s s t i e d by the s t r o n g e s t f i b r e s of t h e i r h e a r t s , (MF, bk. 4, ch. 1) So f a r as depended on George E l i o t , d i f f e r e n c e s i n mental l e v e l — h o w e v e r g r e a t — c o u l d no>t weaken those f i b r e s of the h e a r t . Not t h e o r y merely, but inmost need, kept them a b s o l u t e and i n v i o l a b l e . Her r e l a t i o n w i t h her s i s t e r - 116 -C h r i s s e y — a decent g i r l , but not i n the l e a s t i n t e l l e c t u a l — c o n s t i t u t e s a case i n p o i n t . She d i d r e q u i r e a l i t t l e time to reach t h a t stage of i n t e l l e c t u a l development, but i t r e -mained c o n s t a n t throughout the whole of h e r mature l i f e . F o r example, on October 9 t 1 8 4 - 3 — j u s t over a month b e f o r e her t w e n t y - f i f t h b i r t h d a y — s h e wrote i n a l e t t e r to S a r a H e n n e l l i "When the s o u l i s j u s t l i b e r a t e d from the wretched g i a n t ' s bed of dogmas . . . t h e r e i s a f e e l i n g of e x u l t a t i o n and s t r o n g hope. . . . But a year or two of r e f l e c t i o n . . . must, I t h i n k , e f f e c t a change. S p e c u l a t i v e t r u t h b e g i n s to appear but a shadow of i n -d i v i d u a l minds, agreement between I n t e l l e c t s seems u n a t t a i n a b l e , and we t u r n to the t r u t h of f e e l i n g as the o n l y u n i v e r s a l bond of union." ( L e t t e r s , I , 1 6 2 ) And a q u a r t e r of a c e n t u r y l a t e r (December 2 1 , 1 8 6 9 ) » when h e r immense fame was a l r e a d y a p p r o a c h i n g i t s z e n i t h , she wrote i n the same s t r a i n to Barbara Bodichon, one of h e r l i f e - l o n g and most i n t i m a t e f r i e n d s : "'I c l i n g s t r o n g l y to k i t h and k i n , even though they r e j e c t me. " ' ^ F o r a l l i t s b r e v i t y , t h a t sentence p o i n t s to the core of i t s a u t h o r ' s emotional dilemma. " L i f e i s j u s t i f i e d by l o v e " - - these words conclude George E l i o t ' s poem " S e l f and L i f e . " 1 ^ Fame and genius n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g , l o v e remained f o r h e r the o n l y j u s t i f i c a -t i o n of l i f e ; t o the v e r y end of h e r days she c o u l d see no l ^ L e t t e r s , V, ?4. • ^ T h e Works of George E l i o t , C a b i n e t e d i t i o n , v o l . 10: The Legend of J u b a l and Other Poems, Old and New (Edinburgh and London: W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons [_1878-80J, p. 275. - 117 -o t h e r . But by t h e i r v e r y nature and d e f i n i t i o n , l o v e and a f f e c t i o n are a two-way r e l a t i o n s h i p , a mutual exchange, an a c c o r d of r e c i p r o c a l p o t e n t i a l s . C o n f i n e d to one person a l o n e , t h a t p o t e n t i a l — e v e n a t i t s p e a k — c a n n o t generate l o v e . The most f e l i c i t o u s combination of good sense and good f e e l i n g i n George E l i o t e l i c i t e d no response from b r o t h e r I s a a c and from those he e p i t o m i z e s . There was the crux of h e r g r i e f and problem; there i s the crux of Maggie's; th e r e i s the p r i m a r y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l i n s p i r a t i o n of The  M i l l on the F l o s s . A g a i n and a g a i n throughout the n o v e l , George E l i o t p l e a d s f o r t o l e r a n c e ; a t one p o i n t , i n a memor-a b l e phrase, she urges us to ". . . remember t h a t the r e s -p o n s i b i l i t y of t o l e r a n c e l i e s w i t h those who have the wider v i s i o n " (MF, bk. 7» ch. 3 ) . We know, of course, who had the wider v i s i o n , and who the more c o n f i n e d — t h e i n c r e d i b l y c o n f i n e d . Understanding what causes l a c k of response, George E l i o t can f o r g i v e i t . S i m u l t a n e o u s l y , however, she knew, and e x p e r i e n c e d w i t h e x c e p t i o n a l i n t e n s i t y , t h a t n e i t h e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g , nor f o r g i v e n e s s , nor t o l e r a n c e can assuage the g r i e f of u n r e q u i t e d l o v e . C o n v e n i e n t l y , and without a p p r e c i a b l e d i s t o r t i o n , Tom i n the n o v e l may be equated w i t h b r o t h e r I s a a c I n George E l i o t ' s l i f e ; and w i t h correspondent j u s t i f i c a t i o n , George E l i o t ' s and Maggie's b a t t l e g r o u n d , — t h a t i s , the Pearson-Dodson m i l i e u — m a y be d i s c u s s e d p r i m a r i l y through these two i n d i -v i d u a l s , who are so o u t s t a n d i n g as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s t h a t they almost amount to p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s . Making the - 118 -i n d i v i d u a l stand f o r the type i s s u r e l y the s i m p l e s t and o l d e s t of metaphors. T h i s b e i n g granted, l e t us glance a t the war of words "between Tom and Maggie, d i r e c t l y f o l l o w i n g "the most p a i n f u l scene i n the n o v e l , " a c c o r d i n g to P r o f e s s o r H a i g h t . l ^ Having heaped h i s b r u t a l and g r o s s l y u n j u s t i n -s u l t s on P h i l i p i n the Red Deeps, Tom walks away w i t h Maggie " s t i l l h o l d i n g her w r i s t t i g h t l y , as i f he were c o m p e l l i n g a c u l p r i t from the scene of a c t i o n " (Bk. 5» ch. 5). They exchange heated words; f e e l i n g P h i l i p ' s p a i n as i f i t were her own, and i n a d d i t i o n to h e r s , Maggie ( f o r t h i s once) does not assume immediately t h a t h e r b r o t h e r ' s condemnation proves h e r g u i l t . Indeed, t h i s i s the one scene i n which she comes c l o s e to d e f i n i n g Tom's l i g h t as f a l s e , and h e r own as t r u e . U n l i k e h e r c r e a t o r , however, she l a c k s the courage of h e r c o n v i c t i o n s — o r r a t h e r , perhaps, she cannot m a i n t a i n h e r c o n v i c t i o n s a g a i n s t the tyranny of the m a j o r i t y . P h i l i p excepted, everybody whom she knows would s i d e w i t h Tom, c o r r o b o r a t i n g h i s c e n s o r i o u s and d i s d a i n f u l view of h e r conduct. Does i t seem l i k e l y t h a t she alone c o u l d be r i g h t ? So she q u i c k l y resumes he r r o l e of misguided temptee, t r y i n g t o f i g h t a g a i n s t her own t r u e l i g h t . ^ ^ I n t r o d u c t i o n , R i v e r s i d e E d i t i o n , p. x. I myself r e g a r d i t as one of the two most p a i n f u l , r i v a l l e d by Tom's t u r n i n g h i s s i s t e r from h i s door when she comes back from he r "elopement." (Bk. 7» ch. 1). 1^The author i m p l i e s , I t h i n k , t h a t Maggie i s r i g h t i n her d e c i s i o n to submit to a n y t h i n g r a t h e r than wound her f a t h e r ; but wrong i n y i e l d i n g to Tom beyond t h a t p o i n t . - 11.9 -I n t h i s paragraph, however, our i n t e r e s t c e n t e r s on Tom's r e p l y t o one of the vehement remonstrances Maggie u t t e r s w h i l e s t i l l irt s i g h t of the tr u e l i g h t j "Pray, how have you shown your l o v e , t h a t you t a l k o f , e i t h e r t o me or my f a t h e r ? By d i s -obeying and d e c e i v i n g us. I have a d i f f e r e n t way of showing iny a f f e c t i o n . " (Bk. 5, ch. 5) U n q u e s t i o n a b l y s i n c e r e , these words are i l l u m i n a t i n g . On the b a s i s of George E l i o t ' s I n j u n c t i o n — " . . . remember t h a t the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of t o l e r a n c e l i e s w i t h those who have the wider v i s i o n " — t h e y can be r e a d i l y defended. But they s t a t e and ex e m p l i f y p e r f e c t l y the b a s i c e m otional prob-lem George E l i o t has endowed Maggie w i t h , because i t was h e r own. "'I have a d i f f e r e n t ' w a y of showing my a f f e c t i o n . ' " Tom i s speaking i n anger here and exposing h i s psyche a t i t s worst. About a year l a t e r , i n a scene t h a t shows him a t h i s modest b e s t , he expounds t h a t " d i f f e r e n t way," and s p e c i f i e s the exact form i t would take i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n t o Maggie. " . . . you might have l i v e d r e s p e c t a b l y amongst your r e l a t i o n s , u n t i l I c o u l d have p r o v i d e d a home f o r you w i t h my mother. And t h a t i s what I should l i k e to do. I wished my s i s t e r t o be a l a d y , and I would always have taken c a r e of you, as my f a t h e r d e s i r e d , u n t i l you were w e l l m a r r i e d . " (Bk. 6, ch. 4) Isa a c Evans, we know, h e l d s i m i l a r n o t i o n s about the w e l f a r e of h i s s i s t e r Marian, the f u t u r e George E l i o t . F o r t u n a t e l y , one of h e r c l o s e s t f r i e n d s has summarized, them (with judgments i m p l i e d ) i n a l e t t e r t h a t s u r v i v e s . Oh Fe b r u a r y 22, 1843, - 120 -about two years a f t e r M a r i a n had come under the emancipating i n t e l l e c t u a l i n f l u e n c e of the Brays and H e n n e l l s , Mrs. Cara Bray wrote to Sara H e n n e l l , h e r s i s t e r : " I t seems t h a t b r o t h e r Isaac w i t h r e a l f r a t e r n a l kindness t h i n k s t h a t h i s s i s t e r has no chance of g e t t i n g the one t h i n g n e e d f u l — i . e . a husband and a s e t t l e m e n t — u n l e s s she mixes more i n s o c i e t y , and com-p l a i n s . . . t h a t Mr. Bray, b e i n g o n l y a l e a d e r of mobs, can o n l y i n t r o d u c e h e r to C h a r t i s t s and R a d i c a l s , and t h a t such o n l y w i l l ever f a l l i n l o v e w i t h her i f she does not b e l o n g to the church."1° The " r e a l f r a t e r n a l k i n d n e s s " was s i n c e r e enough. I s a a c might have echoed Tom's words t o Maggie: "'You t h i n k I am hot k i n d ; but my kindness can o n l y be d i r e c t e d by what I b e l i e v e t o be good f o r you'" (Bk. 6, ch. 4). W i t h i n the narrow l i m i t s of t h e i r standards and un d e r s t a n d i n g , b o t h men d i d d e s i r e the w e l f a r e of t h e i r s i s t e r s . The f o l l o w i n g a u t h o r ' s comment would be e q u a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e i f "Tom's" were r e p l a c e d by " I s a a c ' s " : "The b r o t h e r ' s goodness . . . c o u l d o n l y show i t s e l f i n Tom's f a s h i o n . " I f asked t o c h a r a c t e r i z e Tom i n the fewest p o s s i b l e words, I would choose i n t r a n s i g e n c e , narrowness, and s e l f -r i g h t e o u s n e s s . E x e m p l i f i e d a g a i n and a g a i n throughout the n o v e l , these q u a l i t i e s a r e r e p e a t e d l y and c o g e n t l y a n a l y z e d , e x p l i c a t e d , and d e n o u n c e d — o c c a s i o n a l l y by a u t h o r i a l comment and by P h i l i p , but more o f t e n by Maggie's i n d i g n a t i o n , communicated a t times i n a d i r e c t o u t b u r s t (as i n t h a t scene i n the Red Deeps), but more f r e q u e n t l y through h e r c r e a t o r ' s 18Haight, George E l i o t , p. 48. - 121 -account of her thoughts. The magnitude, q u a l i t y , and c r u c i a l importance of Tom's impact on h i s s i s t e r and on P h i l i p stem from h i s p o s s e s s i o n of these q u a l i t i e s . F o r they s u s t a i n h i s r o l e as o u t s t a n d i n g r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the Pearson-Dodson standards, so memorably sketched i n the "Bossuet" chapter. Combined with the author's psyche, these standards u n d e r l i e the a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l I n s p i r a t i o n of The M i l l on the F l o s s . The a r t i s t i c embodiment of t h a t i n s p i r a t i o n demands a t u s s l e w i t h i r r e c o n c i l a b l e p r e s s u r e s and impulses, and hence a medium p l a u s i b l e as a source of the t u s s l e and s u i t a b l e f o r i t s dramatic p r e s e n t a t i o n . N e i t h e r Maggie a l o n e , nor even h e r i n t e r a c t i o n , as such, w i t h P h i l i p can meet these requirements. A t h i r d element i s neededi the l e a v e n of an o p p o s i t e p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r e s s u r e , r e l e n t l e s s and e v e r - f e l t . When Tom T u l l i v e r p r o v i d e s i t i n an eminent degree, the i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h P h i l i p generates an u n u s u a l l y p e r p l e x i n g aggregate of c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g f o r c e s t h a t s t e e r s Maggie i n t o a d u a l s t r u g g l e - - i n t o an attempt to r i d e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n o p p o s i t e d i r e c t i o n s — a n d thus r e n d e r s h e r p a r a d o x i c a l as a temptee. Maggie, then, resembles George E l i o t ' s o t h e r temptees i n t h a t she s t r a d d l e s a d i v i d i n g l i n e between two s h a r p l y c o n t r a s t e d e t h i c a l worlds; l i k e h e r c o u n t e r p a r t s , she i s s o l i c i t e d from both s i d e s , and endowed w i t h c o n f l i c t i n g elements t h a t respond to both. By way of m a i n t a i n i n g a due p e r s p e c t i v e , l e t us r e c a l l the author's d e f i n i t i o n s — t h e word seems almost j u s t i f i e d — o f t hree of h e r temptees. - 122 -A r t h u r Donnlthome " w i l l never get beyond t h a t b o r d e r - l a n d of s i n , where he w i l l be p e r p e t u a l l y h a r a s s e d by a s s a u l t s from the o t h e r s i d e of the boundary" (AB, ch. 12). Godfrey  Cass "had not moral courage enough to contemplate t h a t a c t i v e r e n u n c i a t i o n . . . he had o n l y c o n s c i e n c e and h e a r t enough to make him f o r e v e r uneasy under the weakness t h a t forbade the r e n u n c i a t i o n " (SM, ch. 13). B u l s t r o d e "was simply a man whose d e s i r e s had been s t r o n g e r than h i s • t h e o r e t i c b e l i e f s , and who had g r a d u a l l y e x p l a i n e d the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of h i s d e s i r e s i n t o s a t i s f a c t o r y agreement w i t h those b e l i e f s " (M, ch. 6 l ) . I n the same v e i n and f o r the same purpose, l e t us once more envisage J a n e t , E s t h e r  Lyon, and Gwendolen s t a n d i n g on the f r o n t i e r s between two worlds t h a t , a t the v e r y l e a s t , e x e m p l i f y a n e a r - a b s o l u t e c o n v i c t i o n of most V i c t o r i a n i n t e l l e c t u a l s , George E l i o t u n q u e s t i o n a b l y i n c l u d e d . I t f i n d s i t s n e a t e s t e x p r e s s i o n i n an a p h o r i s t i c l i n e from I n Memoriam: "There i s a lower and a h i g h e r . " ^ R e c a l l e d here s i m p l y f o r i l l u s t r a t i o n , these temptees d i f f e r enormously i n t h e i r psyches, i n t h e i r c i r c u m s t a n c e s and problems, and i n t h e i r performance as s t r u g g l e r s . But they do share one c r u c i a l bond; t h e r e i s a nexus t h a t u n i t e s them: the e t h i c a l i s s u e they c o n f r o n t admits of no doubt. The a u t h o r knows what they ought to do, 19ceorge E l i o t quotes the l i n e as p a r t of the epigraph heading c h a p t e r 4-3 of F e l i x H o l t . She i n t e n d s i t to r e f e r t o E s t h e r , who w i l l soon have to choose between the worlds r e p r e s e n t e d by her two s u i t o r s — H a r o l d Transome (the lower) and F e l i x H o l t (the h i g h e r ) . - 123 -and she conveys h e r c o n v i c t i o n to the r e a d e r i n no u n c e r t a i n terms, Alone among the major temptees, Maggie stands out-s i d e t h a t most v i t a l nexus. As f u l l y developed as any of h e r c o u n t e r p a r t s , and on one l e v e l f i g h t i n g a v i r t u a l t e x t -book b a t t l e — a b a t t l e p e r f e c t l y i l l u s t r a t i n g the c h a r a c t e r -i s t i c p a t t e r n p r e v i o u s l y e l u c i d a t e d — s h e n e v e r t h e l e s s , on the s t r e n g t h of t h a t e x c l u s i o n , ranks as an anomaly, i n a c l a s s by h e r s e l f . She cannot u s e f u l l y be d i s c u s s e d as though c i r c u m s t a n c e s a l l o w e d h e r t o f i n d d i r e c t i o n i n those b a s i c common assumptions t h a t may u n i t e d i v e r s e i n d i v i d u a l s and enable each to d e r i v e support from the sense of b e l o n g i n g . P e r p l e x i n g h e r w i t h a f u n d a m e n t a l l y d i f f e r e n t e t h i c a l i s s u e , the a u t h o r d e p r i v e s h e r of the " k i n d l y l i g h t " t h a t the o t h e r temptees f i n d e a s i e r to s e e — a l b e i t on a low l e v e l of p e r c e p t i o n — t h a n to f o l l o w , Maggie too s t r a d d l e s a f r o n t i e r d i v i d i n g two worlds, but worlds t h a t cannot, p l a i n l y and simply, be c a t e g o r i z e d as r i g h t and wrong, or even as h i g h e r and lower. Rather, the a n t i t h e s i s they pose r e c a l l s George E l i o t ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Antigone; "Two p r i n c i p l e s both h a v i n g t h e i r v a l i d i t y , a r e a t war with e a c h . " 2 0 Beyond r e a s o n a b l e doubt, the primary i n c e n t i v e f o r t h i s unique d e p a r t u r e from h e r u s u a l p r a c t i c e r e s i d e s i n p e r s o n a l exper-i e n c e s b e f o r e and d u r i n g the c o m p o s i t i o n of the n o v e l . P o i s e d p r e c a r i o u s l y on a f r o n t i e r t h a t d i v i d e s two 2 0 P i n n e y , E s s a y s , p. 263. - 124 -i r r e c o n c i l a b l e worlds, Maggie endures a l l the torment t h a t a r i s e s from acute i n n e r c o n f l i c t . N e i t h e r w o r l d i s homo-geneous. On the c o n t r a r y , each by i t s e l f , w i t hout the l e a s t r e f e r e n c e t o the oth e r , i l l u s t r a t e s eminently "the mingled t h r e a d i n the web of . . . l i f e , " t o which the author draws a t t e n t i o n i n Book 5 of the n o v e l , a p p r o p r i a t e l y e n t i t l e d "Wheat and T a r e s . " I n the same c h a p t e r (no. 7) of t h a t Book she adds, " . . . mingled seed must bear a mingled c r o p . " Thus, once a g a i n , i n harmony w i t h her o f t - q u o t e d a s p i r a t i o n " t o g i v e a f a i t h f u l account of men and t h i n g s as they have m i r r o r e d themselves i n [ h e r ] mind" (AB, ch. 17)» she s t r e s s e s h e r eagerness t o p r e s e n t , i m p a r t i a l l y and r e a l i s t i c a l l y , the l i m i t e d r i g h t and i t s obverse l i m i t e d wrong. L e t us b e g i n w i t h the Pearson-Dodson w o r l d — t h e world i n which Maggie was born and r a i s e d . We r e c a l l t h a t the a u t h o r emphasizes the impact o f i t s " o p p r e s s i v e narrowness" (Bk. 4, ch, 1 ) . Because of t h a t narrowness, "two p r i n c i p l e s , both h a v i n g t h e i r v a l i d i t y , a re a t w a r " 2 1 — e v e n w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s of t h a t world, i r r e s p e c t i v e [ f o r the moment] of i t s r e l a t i o n t o any other. So enormous a d i s t a n c e s e p a r a t e s t h e i r l e v e l s o f v a l i d i t y , t h a t these two p r i n c i p l e s may, wit h o u t s e r i o u s o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , be l a b e l l e d "good" and "bad." The good one, of course, c o n s i s t s i n the b a s i c human and f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s , p r i m a r i l y m a n i f e s t e d i n Maggie's r e l a t i o n w i t h "the two i d o l s of h e r l i f e " (Bk. 4, ch. 2 ) — her f a t h e r and her b r o t h e r . And the bad one, o b v i o u s l y , 21Pinney, E s s a y s , p. 263. - 125 -exposes i t s e l f i n the Pearson-Dodson standards, which even judgment by the k i n d e s t p o s s i b l e l i g h t cannot r a t e h i g h e r than b a r e l y mediocre. No i n h e r e n t or a b s o l u t e reason n e c e s s i -t a t e s antagonism between two p r i n c i p l e s f u n c t i o n i n g on such w i d e l y d i s p a r a t e p l a n e s of cogency. Common exp e r i e n c e t e l l s us t h a t one can l i k e and even l o v e p e o p l e — o r a t the v e r y l e a s t f e e l k i n d l y toward t h e m — w i t h o u t remotely s h a r i n g t h e i r a t t i t u d e s and o p i n i o n s , (George E l i o t ' s deep attachment to h e r f a t h e r , whose p o l i t i c s and r e l i g i o n were anathema to h e r , c o n s t i t u t e s a case i n p o i n t ) . Maggie c o u l d e a s i l y have adopted an analogous a t t i t u d e toward h e r f a t h e r and h e r b r o t h e r . But narrowness, i n t r a n s i g e n c e , s e l f - r i g h t e o u s n e s s , i g n o r a n c e — t h e s e and cognate q u a l i t i e s i n h e r n e a r e s t r e l a -t i v e s f o r c e her i n t o an a v o i d a b l e and most p a i n f u l c o n f l i c t . Mr. T u l l i v e r l o v e s h i s " l i t t l e wench" wit h an i n t e n s i t y almost e q u a l to hers f o r him; and though i n c a p a b l e of a n y t h i n g p r o p o r t i o n a t e , Tom does command the p o t e n t i a l f o r a lower degree of a f f e c t i o n . But f a t h e r and son a l i k e f a i l to d i s s o -c i a t e a f f e c t i o n and l o v e from c o n f o r m i t y to t h e i r standards and p r a c t i c e s . I n i t s e f f e c t on Maggie, t h i s aggregates the most b a n e f u l e x p r e s s i o n of t h e i r g l a r i n g l i m i t a t i o n s . I t e x a c t s from her a f e a r f u l p r i c e f o r the r e t e n t i o n of good and normal f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s — a f f e c t i o n s t h a t most people l o n g f o r and r e c e i v e , and t h a t she c r a v e s with e x c e p t i o n a l a r d o r . G i v e n Maggie's i n s t i n c t s and endowments, the p r i c e amounts to n o t h i n g l e s s than compliance w i t h standards and p r a c t i c e s t h a t must d e s e c r a t e her n a t u r e , and thus conduce - 126 -to the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of h e r psyche. Both f o r emphasis on d i s p a r i t y and f o r convenience of r e f e r e n c e , the t e r r i t o r y on the o t h e r s i d e of the f r o n t i e r may be tagged the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n world. As w i t h i t s c o r r e l a t e , we w i l l examine i t i n i s o l a t i o n b e f o r e t u r n i n g to the c o n f l i c t between the two worlds. The s t r e s s must f a l l on P h i l i p , who outranks h i s r i v a l i n s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r the p r e s e n t d i s c u s s i o n , as w e l l as i n h i s worth as a human b e i n g . D e s p i t e h e r d e c i s i o n to the c o n t r a r y , Maggie cannot r e s i s t h i s s o l i c i t a -t i o n s to meet him r e g u l a r l y i n the Red Deeps. The magnitude of h i s impact and h e r r e s u l t a n t f a i l u r e cause no s u r p r i s e . F e t t e r e d and f r u s t r a t e d as an i n v o l u n t a r y d w e l l e r i n "The V a l l e y of H u m i l i a t i o n , " 2 2 she responds t o — i n d e e d g r a v i t a t e s t o w a r d — t h e o n l y source of a l l e v i a t i o n w i t h i n h e r s i g h t and r e a c h . The f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t s from the a uthor's a n a l y s i s suggest the main elements composing h i s i n f l u e n c e : . . . an opening i n the r o c k y w a l l which shut i n the narrow v a l l e y of h u m i l i a t i o n . . . She might have books, converse, a f f e c t i o n . . . making he r mind more worthy of i t s h i g h e s t s e r v i c e , , . some width of knowledge . . . a kindness to P h i l i p . . . I t was so b l a m e l e s s , so good . . . t h a t there s h o u l d be f r i e n d s h i p between he r and P h i l i p . . . . (Bk. 5, ch. 3) D e s p i t e h i s i m p e r f e c t i o n s , these are sound c o n s i d e r a t i o n s — reasons r a t h e r than excuses or r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s — p r o v i d e d we i g n o r e the other s i d e of the f r o n t i e r , as i n t h i s paragraph I am t r y i n g to do, P h i l i p does deserve reproach f o r h u r r y i n g Maggie i n t o a premature engagement (Bk. 5» ch. 4), when he 2 2 T i t l e of Book 4; the next Book—"Wheat and T a r e s " — b e g i n s w i t h t h e i r f i r s t meeting i n the Red Deeps, - 12? -knows t h a t she had o n l y thought of him as a p r e c i o u s f r i e n d of l o n g s t a n d i n g . N e a r l y two years l a t e r he r e c o g n i z e s and acknowledges t h i s e r r o r i n the l e t t e r he w r i t e s s h o r t l y "before h e r death (Bk. 7, ch. 3). L i k e w i s e , one may grant t h a t , as a husband, he might have proved b i o l o g i c a l l y d e f i c i e n t , p o s s i b l y to the p o i n t of tempting her i n t o i n f i d e l i t y with someone l i k e Stephen, who on most ot h e r counts stands a l o n g way below him, and c o u l d n e i t h e r a d e q u a t e l y match nor a d e q u a t e l y complement Maggie's n a t u r e . P h i l i p , i n c o n t r a s t , e v i n c e s g r e a t p o t e n t i a l f o r d o i n g both, and yearns to u n f o l d , expand, and s u b s t a n t i a l i z e i t un-r e s e r v e d l y and e x c l u s i v e l y f o r her happiness. I n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h the r e s t r i c t i n g c o n d i t i o n s of Maggie's s o c i a l s e t t i n g , t h i s endowment and t h i s urge impart such v a l u e to P h i l i p ' s o f f e r t h a t i t looms p a l p a b l y as an embodiment of " t h a t h i g h e r v i s i o n [which] p o i s o n s a l l meaner c h o i c e f o r evermore" (FH, ch. 49, p a r t of e p i g r a p h ) . A t l e a s t one would t h i n k so, s i n c e i t s p o s i t i v e , u n e q u i v o c a l worth emerges i m p r e s s i v e l y even by the l i g h t of an a b s o l u t e s t a n d a r d of judgment. "She might have books, converse, a f f e c t i o n . . . some width of knowledge , . , kindness . . . f r i e n d s h i p . . . ." P r e -c i s e l y , P h i l i p would r e c o n c i l e what the Pearson-Dodson standards have f o r c e d i n t o c r u e l and u n n a t u r a l c o n f l i c t : the needs of the h e a r t and the needs of the mind. Her emotional c r a v i n g s and her a e s t h e t i c - i n t e l l e c t u a l hunger mediated and assuaged, Maggie would cease t o be s e l f - d i v i d e d . Maggie, we know, a c h i e v e s no such happy consummation: - 128 -indeed, she c o u l d h a r d l y miss i t by a wider margin than she does. I n d i r e need of the h e l p t h a t P h i l i p i s eminently f i t t e d , and a r d e n t l y l o n g i n g , t o bestow on her, she y e t deni e s him the o p p o r t u n i t y by f a i l i n g t o p r o v i d e i t s i n -d i s p e n s a b l e p r e r e q u i s i t e . That p r e r e q u i s i t e c o n s i s t s i n a d e c i s i o n she alone can reach, p o i s e d on her f r o n t i e r . He does h i s b e s t to s t e e r her toward i t , b ut the f i n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y must remain h e r s . And Maggie, as we have seen, f a i l s f o r one b a s i c reasont she mistakes the t r u e l i g h t f o r a temptation to be r e s i s t e d , w h i l e t r y i n g t o guide h e r s e l f by the f a i n t glimmer of the Dodson standards. (The r i d e r " b a s i c " needs to be s t r e s s e d : as u s u a l l y happens i n l i f e , Maggie's c h o i c e does not l i e between b l a c k and white; i t might r e a s o n a b l y assume the form of an u n e q u i v o c a l em-p h a s i s t h a t does not p r e c l u d e a l l e v i a t i o n by compromise. We w i l l p r e s e n t l y e n l a r g e on these m o d i f i c a t i o n s , because they account f o r the p l a u s i b i l i t y of Maggie's d u a l r o l e as a temptee). N e v e r t h e l e s s , those Dodson standards m i s l e a d h e r i n t o r e a c h i n g the a l t e r n a t i v e and o p p o s i t e d e c i s i o n , whose c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and r e s u l t s may be summarized as f o l l o w s : i t p r e c l u d e s P h i l i p from h e l p i n g her e f f e c t i v e l y and d e c i s i v e l y ; i t i s u n n a t u r a l , cannot be c a r r i e d out, and p r e d i s p o s e s her to l a t e r " a s s a u l t " by a "savage a p p e t i t e , " as he c o r r e c t l y d i s c e r n s and f o r e s e e s ; i t makes the worst of the worlds on both s i d e s of the f r o n t i e r ; i t embraces the c o n f l i c t between those worlds and p e t r i f i e s i t i n h e r psyche; i t s p e l l s maximum p a i n f o r h e r s e l f and maximum p a i n f o r those - 129 -connected w i t h her; and i t predetermines h e r r u i n , l e a v i n g h e r w i t h no more than a c h o i c e of the path by which she w i l l reach t h a t t r a g i c and as y e t u n r e c o g n i z e d g o a l . The p l i g h t a r i s i n g from her c a l a m i t o u s d e c i s i o n r e c a l l s , r a t h e r p o i g -n a n t l y , Maggie's own c h i l d h o o d e x p l i c a t i o n of a p i c t u r e from Defoe's The H i s t o r y of the D e v i l . -"That o l d woman i n the water's a w i t c h — they've put h e r i n to f i n d out whether she's a w i t c h or no, and i f she swims she's a w i t c h , and i f she's drowned . . . she's i n n o c e n t . . . . But what good would i t do t o h e r then, you know, when she was drowned?" (MF, Bk. 1, ch. 3) A l i e n a t e d from the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n world by h e r attempt to do the u n n a t u r a l , and from the Pearson-Dodson wor l d by h e r f a i l u r e to c a r r y i t out, Maggie f i n d s h e r s e l f i n ah i m p o s s i b l e p o s i t i o n , i n a p o s i t i o n t h a t no one's psyche s u s t a i n s i n -d e f i n i t e l y . A l i e n a t i o n causes p a i n ; double a l i e n a t i o n i n -t e n s i f i e s the p a i n ; and the i r r e c o n c i l a b l e c o n f l i c t of r i v a l a l i e n a t i o n s tends to engender t h a t warping e f f e c t on the p e r s o n a l i t y , so memorably d e p i c t e d i n S i l a s Marner, 23 as we^ll as i n many a n o v e l of our own c e n t u r y . Our e a r l i e r d i s c u s s i o n of the a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l i n s p i r a t i o n u n d e r l y i n g The M i l l on the F l o s s f u s e s t i g h t l y w i t h the mental p i c t u r e of Maggie, i n the stance c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of George E l i o t ' s temptees, s t r a d d l i n g the f r o n t i e r between the Pearson-Dodson and the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n worlds. By i t s v e r y n a t u r e , t h a t f u s i o n - - t h e f u s i o n of Maggie the temptee w i t h Maggie the a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l p r o j e c t i o n — r a d i a t e s l l g h t j 23 Ge orge E l i o t completed The M i l l on the F l o s s i n March, I860, and began S i l a s Marner i n September of the same year. - 130 the l i g h t that enables us to recognize her as a paradox among the temptees and to account f o r the paradox; the l i g h t needed f o r r e s o l u t i o n of the r i d d l e posed at the beginning of t h i s chapter. C l e a r l y enough, Maggie'•s psyche and c i r -cumstances p a r a l l e l those of her creator as c l o s e l y as decorum, propriety, and the needful aesthetic distance permit. Broadly speaking, the Pearson-Dodson world, with i t s emphasis on the author's maternal aunts, and on Marian-Maggie's r e l a t i o n s h i p with father and brother, re-present the world of the author's childhood: the world which she mentally outgrew by a staggering distance, while remaining t i e d to i t by the strongest f i b r e s of her heart. Once more, at t h i s point, l e t us remind ourselves of the "Bossuet" chapter and of the a r t i c l e on the A n t i g o n e . ^ Professor Haight's well-chosen words help to evoke the strength and pathos of those " f i b r e s " : She was a country g i r l at heart: only by remembering that can many curious contra-d i c t i o n s i n her l i f e be understood. The yearning f o r blue sky, an orchard f u l l of old trees and rough grass, f o r hedgerow paths among endless f i e l d s , haunted her always . . . . (Letters, I, x l v i i ) Less c l o s e l y , but nonetheless recognizably, the P h i l i p -Stephen world on the other side of the f r o n t i e r , represents the author's l i f e i n the most advanced I n t e l l e c t u a l c i r c l e s of London: her a s s o c i a t i o n with the Westminster Review, 2 U l f i seem to have overemphasized Antigone i n t h i s chapter, l e t i t be remembered that George E l i o t r e f e r s to her again at the end of Middlemarch (penultimate paragraph), where the juxtaposition with Saint Theresa forms part of the author's attempt to sum up the quintessence of her creed. - 131 -her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h John Chapman, H e r b e r t Spencer, and many o t h e r l i b e r a l s , i n c l u d i n g ( o f course) George Henry Lewes. L o o s e l y e q u a t i n g the c h a r a c t e r and ci r c u m s t a n c e s of Maggie w i t h those of her c r e a t o r , we may now summarize the "antagonism between v a l i d c l a i m s " i n t h i s d u a l a p p l i c a t i o n . The good q u a l i t i e s of the Dodson-Pearson wor l d comprise normal f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s ( e s p e c i a l l y between f a t h e r and daughter, and between b r o t h e r and s i s t e r ) , and a p h y s i c a l environment endeared from e a r l i e s t c h i l d h o o d ( D o r l c o t e M i l l i n Maggie's case; G r i f f i n the a u t h o r ' s ) . I t s bad q u a l i t i e s , though e n d l e s s i n t h e i r r a m i f i c a t i o n s , may a l l be summed up i n George E l i o t ' s own term, " o p p r e s s i v e narrowness." I n the world on the o t h e r s i d e of the f r o n t i e r , the a s s e t s c o n s i s t of i n t e l l e c t u a l , a e s t h e t i c , and b i o l o g i c a l s a t i s f a c t i o n : mental companionship c o n j o i n e d w i t h p h y s i c a l l o v e . Pope's "the f e a s t of reason and the fl o w of s o u l s " may i n p a r t c h a r a c t e r i z e those a s s e t s . The disadvantages i n e x t r i c a b l y f u s e d w i t h them can be s t a t e d as e a s i l y as they a r e hard t o endure: a l i e n a t i o n from the b a s i c f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s ; a l i e n a t i o n from the endearing p h y s i c a l environment of c h i l d -hood; emotional adherence t o moral standards and t r a d i t i o n s , outgrown by the i n t e l l e c t . So f a r , then, autobiography transmuted i n t o a r t expresses i t s e l f through resemblance: two comparable temptees s t r a d d l e the f r o n t i e r between two comparably c o n t r a s t e d and comparably i n c o m p a t i b l e worlds. Undoubtedly, The M i l l on the F l o s s p r e s e n t s a c o n f l i c t , - 132 -and p r e s e n t s I t e f f e c t i v e l y . But the a u t h o r ' s and r e a d e r ' s p r i m a r y concern does not c e n t e r on the c o n f l i c t as such. I t c e n t e r s on the v a l i d i t y of the c o n f l i c t , j u s t as ( a c c o r d i n g t o the a r t i c l e so o f t e n c i t e d i n t h i s c h a p t e r ) i t does i n Sophocles' p l a y . I n the p e r s p e c t i v e of George E l i o t ' s work as a whole, t h i s f o c u s of• i n t e r e s t stands out as an unusual phenomenon! one more of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h The M i l l on the F l o s s from h e r o t h e r n o v e l s . R a r e l y , always r e l u c t a n t l y — a n d never w i t h o u t a bodyguard of q u a l i f i c a t i o n s — does she admit t h i s v a l i d i t y . I t s most s u c c i n c t e x p r e s s i o n — t h o u g h by no means i t s most extended or e f f e c t i v e p o r t r a y a l — o c c u r s i n a n o t h e r n o v e l : The law was s a c r e d . Yes, but r e b e l l i o n might be s a c r e d too. I t f l a s h e d upon [Romola's] mind t h a t the problem b e f o r e h e r was e s s e n t i a l l y the same as t h a t which had l a i n b e f o r e S a v o n a r o l a — t h e problem where the sacredness of obedience ended, and where the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n began. (R, ch. 56) M i s l e d by George E l i o t ' s i n t e l l e c t u a l width and, above a l l , by h e r u n i o n w i t h Lewes, c r i t i c s have g e n e r a l l y u n d e r r a t e d h e r c o n s e r v a t i v e s t r e a k . B r o a d l y speaking, the h e r o i n e ' s two r o l e s as temptee r e f l e c t h e r c r e a t o r ' s s e l f - d i v i s i o n , e xpressed i n the passage j u s t quoted. As a misguided temptee-a temptee who mistakes l i g h t f o r darkness and darkness f o r l i g h t — ' M a g g i e i n d i r e c t l y v i n d i c a t e s the author, because h e r o r d e a l d i r e c t s a t t e n t i o n t o t h a t "sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " she f a i l e d to see or t r i e d to w i t h s t a n d . I n e f f e c t , she i s s a y i n g to the reader: " I f my c r e a t o r had d e c i d e d and a c t e d as I have d o n e — i f she had v a i n l y t r i e d to c o n f o r m — s h e would have been r u i n e d as I have beeni t h i s i m p r e s s i v e - 133 -c h r o n i c l e of my f a i l u r e , which you f i n d so moving, would never have been penned." Thus she p o i n t s t o the s p e c i a l c i r cumstances and to the e x t r e m i t y of the c h o i c e t h a t con-f r o n t e d h e r c r e a t o r , i m p l y i n g t h a t "the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " b e g i n s when the attempt a t obedience i s f o r e -doomed to f a i l u r e because i t imposes n e g a t i o n s beyond the i n d i v i d u a l ' s endurance, and hence would r e s u l t i n u s e l e s s agony f o r a l l concerned. F a i l u r e t o r e c o g n i z e "the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " would have r u i n e d the author, f o r the same reason t h a t P h i l i p r i g h t l y d i s c e r n s and p r e d i c t s i n Maggie's l o o s e l y analogous case. "I f o r e s e e i t w i l l n ot end w e l l : you can never c a r r y on t h i s s e l f - t o r t u r e . " "I s h a l l have s t r e n g t h g i v e n me," s a i d Maggie, t r e m u l o u s l y . "No, you w i l l not, Maggie; no one has s t r e n g t h g i v e n to do what i s u n n a t u r a l , " (MF, bk. 5» ch. 3) D i s c e r n i n g no sacredness beyond t h a t of obedience, and i n consequence m i s t a k i n g l i g h t f o r darkness, darkness f o r l i g h t , and h er mentor ( P h i l i p ) as a tempter, Maggie s u f f e r s beyond the common human measure, causes others t o s u f f e r , and d i e s . By the paradox of a r t , t h i s t r a g i c o r d e a l quickens her c r e a t o r ' s l i f e and e l e v a t e s The M i l l on the F l o s s t o George E l i o t ' s A p o l o g i a Pro V i t a Sua. But George E l i o t , we have seen, b e l i e v e d "the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " t o be a l a s t r e s o r t . As an a e s t h e t i c t e a c h e r , she was much more concerned to i n c u l c a t e "the sacredness of obedience." Maggie•s d u a l s t r u g g l e o f f e r s tremendous scope t o the a u t h o r f o r d o i n g f u l l j u s t i c e t o both c l a i m s — r e b e l l i o n and o b e d i e n c e — a n d to c l o t h e the - 134 -m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of those c l a i m s i n the form of a u t o b i o -g r a p h i c a l or s e m i - a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l r e v e l a t i o n s . The paradox and c o m p l e x i t y of The M i l l on the F l o s s d e r i v e , b a s i c a l l y , from Maggie's d u a l s t r u g g l e , which r e p r e s e n t s the r i v a l r y between v a l i d c l a i m s j those of r e b e l l i o n and those of obedience. Maggie's f u n c t i o n as a misguided temptee p o i n t s to the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n , whereas h e r tremendous s t r u g g l e as a c o n v e n t i o n a l t e m p t e e — a n d her p a r t i a l success o r o n l y p a r t i a l f a i l u r e i n t h a t r o l e — e m p h a s i z e the s a c r e d -ness of obedience. And the r e s u l t i n g d i a l o g u e s and a g i t a t e d debates a l l o w g r e a t l a t i t u d e f o r a u t h o r i a l comment. None of George E l i o t ' s impulses as a w r i t e r — a e s t h e t i c , moral, a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l — c o u l d have been s a t i s f i e d w i t h t u r n i n g The M i l l on the F l o s s i n t o the f e e b l e A p o l o g i a t h a t would have e v o l v e d from h i n g i n g her s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n on "the sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " a l o n e . O p e r a t i n g i n u n i s o n , a l l t h r e e impulses goaded h e r i n t o p r o v i d i n g the w i d e s t and most f r u i t f u l range f o r the c l a i m s on the s i d e of obedience. Once i n s p i r e d , she found t h a t they c o a l e s c e d r e a d i l y , each r e i n f o r c i n g the o t h e r s . S i m i l a r l y , an argument i s strengthened by e x h i b i t i n g the premises on the o t h e r s i d e as f a i r l y and as f u l l y as p o s s i b l e b e f o r e r e f u t i n g them, or b e f o r e demon-s t r a t i n g t h a t they a r e outweighed. "Candor i n c o n t r o v e r s y I s as r a r e as b e i n g a s a i n t , " John Henry Newman remarked on one o c c a s i o n . ( M i l l came c l o s e to b e i n g one of those s a i n t s ) . But i n a work of c r e a t i v e l i t e r a r y a r t — a s d i s t i n c t from an argument—-such candor l e a d s to bounty, amplitude, c o m p l e x i t y , - 135 -p r o v i d e d the cont e n d i n g elements f u s e o r g a n i c a l l y i n a s i n g l e e f f e c t . They c e r t a i n l y do so i n The M i l l on the F l o s s t the e f f e c t squares w i t h our p r o g n o s i s , and a l s o m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n the author's remarkable d i s p l a y of c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y . One might p r a i s e her n o v e l I n Dryden's words about Chaucer t "Here I s God's p l e n t y . " I n c i d e n t a l l y , h e r success m e r i t s r e g a r d on two c o l l a t e r a l counts: i t p o i n t s to the f a l s i t y of the " A r t f o r A r t ' s Sake" approach t o l i t e r a t u r e , which p o s t u l a t e s a n e c e s s a r y cleavage between the e t h i c a l and the a e s t h e t i c sources of c r e a t i v i t y ; and i t goes a l o n g way toward answering a p i v o t a l q u e s t i o n t h a t Browning poses near the end of The Ring and the Book: "Why take the a r t i s t i c way to prove so much? , , 2 5 As a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee, the h e r o i n e (we have seen) a c h i e v e s p a r t i a l s uccess; f a i l s by a narrow margin when she does f a i l . Claims t h a t s p r i n g from "the sacredness of obedience" do command momentous v a l i d i t y : the a u t h o r p r e s e n t s them f u l l y and co n v i n c e s us of t h i s i n n a t e human t r u t h , Maggie s t r a y s i n t o h e r o t h e r r o l e — t h e r o l e of misguided t e m p t e e — n o t because she makes the wrong d e c i s i o n between r i g h t and wrong, but because, i n a s i t u a t i o n r e q u i r i n g h er to choose between the mixed good and e v i l on both s i d e s , she e r r s i n h e r judgment of emphasis. George E l i o t ' s deepest i n s t i n c t s sympathize with many of the v a l u e s t h a t Maggie as a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee s t r u g g l e s so g a l l a n t l y to uphold. We have a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d these v a l u e s . I t w i l l s u f f i c e here 2 5 x i l , 841. - 136 -to emphasize once more the depth of the aut h o r ' s b e l i e f i n the f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s and i n the potency of attachment t o an environment endeared from e a r l y c h i l d h o o d . T h i s s t a t e of mind p e r s i s t e d to the end. I n her l a s t n o v e l she wrote: A human l i f e , I t h i n k , should be w e l l r o o t e d i n some spot of a n a t i v e l a n d , where i t may get the l o v e of tender k i n s h i p f o r the f a c e of the e a r t h , f o r the l a b o u r s men go f o r t h to . . . The b e s t i n t r o d u c t i o n to astronomy i s to t h i n k of the n i g h t l y heavens as a l i t t l e l o t of s t a r s b e l o n g i n g t o one's own homestead. (DP, ch. 3 i opening paragraph) Thus Maggie's s t r u g g l e as a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee serves i n p a r t t o express the author's n o s t a l g i a f o r what she had been f o r c e d to renounce, and the f e a r t h a t l i g h t - m i n d e d people might p o i n t t o her example as j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r se x u a l l i c e n c e or o t h e r forms of l o o s e l i v i n g . T r y i n g t o e x h i b i t the r i g h t on both s i d e s and to mediate the antagonism between v a l i d c l a i m s , George E l i o t In t h i s n o v e l p l e a d s f o r t o l e r a n c e , sympathy w i t l r i n d i v i d u a l sorrow and i n d i v i d u a l j o y , c a r e f u l allowance f o r s p e c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and a s p i r i t of e t h i c a l f l e x i b i l i t y r o o t e d i n an open mind. Among dozens of p e r t i n e n t i l l u s t r a t i o n s t h a t might be quoted here, the f o l l o w i n g may serve as one r e p r e s e n t a t i v e example: . , . the mysterious c o m p l e x i t y of our l i f e i s not t o be embraced by maxims . , . the d i v i n e promptings and i n s p i r a t i o n s t h a t s p r i n g from growing i n s i g h t and sympathy . . . . the i n s i g h t t h a t comes from a h a r d l y - e a r n e d estimate of temptation, or from a l i f e v i v i d and i n t e n s e enough to have c r e a t e d a wide f e l l o w - f e e l i n g w i t h a l l t h a t i s human. (MF, bk. 7, ch. 2, p a r t of l a s t paragraph) There i s no escape from p a i n i n t h i s l i f e , but there i s the chance of slow, g r a d u a l a m e l i o r a t i o n ; and each i n d i v i d u a l , - 137 -within his sphere, should t r y to contribute toward that modest—but r e a l i s t i c and worthwhile—goal. The concluding paragraph of George E l i o t ' s essay on the Antigone harmonizes with the s p i r i t that quickens and pervades The M i l l on the  Floss. Perhaps the best moral we can draw i s that to which the Chorus p o i n t s — t h a t our protest f o r the r i g h t should be seasoned with mod-eration and reverence, and that l o f t y words , . . are not becoming to mortals.26 One might express a cognate sentiment i n more f a m i l i a r languages "Judge not that ye be not judged." Spinney, Essays, p. 2 6 5 . Chapter 6 BOOK 7 OF MIDDLEMARCHt WHOSE TEMPTATIONS? I n a l l areas of human endeavour, a t h e o r y or a c o n v i c t i o n must n e c e s s a r i l y stand or f a l l by the r e s u l t s of i t s a p p l i c a t i o n . But i n l i t e r a t u r e , a t any r a t e , the r e s u l t s of such an a p p l i c a t i o n w i l l be w o r t h l e s s o r p o s i t i v e l y m i s l e a d i n g , i f the t h e o r y becomes a P r o c r u s t e s Bed, i n t o which the f a c t s of a g i v e n work must be f i t t e d . The p r e c e d i n g d i s c u s s i o n (Chapter 5) stems from an attempt t o measure the h e r o i n e of The M i l l on the F l o s s a g a i n s t the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c " P a t t e r n of F a i l u r e , " as i l l u s t r a t e d i n Chapter 4, w h i l e remembering t h a t the " P a t t e r n , " d e r i v e d from o t h e r temptees, would not n e c e s s a r i l y be a p p l i c a b l e to Maggie, whose c r e a t o r never f o r m u l a t e d i t e x p l i c i t l y ; and t h a t , a t b e s t , i t can be o n l y i n s t r u m e n t a l l y u s e f u l , i n c a s t i n g l i g h t upon a n o v e l , which was not w r i t t e n f o r i t s v i n d i c a t i o n . The r e s u l t a n t image of Maggie as a paradox, c o m p r i s i n g the d u a l r o l e of c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee and of m i s g u i d e d temptee, and the c o n c u r r e n t enlargement o r r e -adjustment of the t r a d i t i o n a l approach to The M i l l on the  F l o s s , g i v e ground f o r both c o n f i d e n c e and c a u t i o n : f o r c o n f i d e n c e , because the concept of t e m p t a t i o n - - i n c l u d i n g a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c " p a t t e r n of f a i l u r e " — h a s s u b s t a n t i a t e d i t s v a l u e as a c r i t i c a l t o o l ; f o r c a u t i o n , because George E l i o t , e x h i b i t i n g the f l e x i b i l i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of mastery, e v i d e n t l y uses the concept i n a v a r i e t y of unexpected - 139 -g u i s e s and f o r a v a r i e t y of purposes. There i s r e a l danger i n assuming t h a t the a p p l i c a t i o n of the concept must square w i t h a p r e c o n c e i v e d formula i n the c r i t i c ' s mind. The p r e s e n t d i s c u s s i o n (Chapter 6 ) , which f o c u s e s on Middlemarch, Book 7—"Two T e m p t a t i o n s " — s c r u t i n i z i n g the meaning and s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h a t t i t l e , s u b j e c t s my t h e o r y — t h a t the concept o f t e m p t a t i o n ( w i t h s p e c i a l emphasis on the temptee) u n d e r l i e s George E l i o t ' s t h i n k i n g — t o the t e s t of one f u r t h e r p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n . I n t h i s r e s p e c t i t p a r a l l e l s i t s Immediate p r e d e c e s s o r (Chapter 5 ) . But i t does no t c o n f i n e i t s e l f to p a r a l l e l i n g the d i s c u s s i o n of Maggie; i t a l s o complements t h a t d i s c u s s i o n i n a number o f ways. Though these ways do not amount to a b s o l u t e c a t e g o r i e s , they may, f o r convenience, be b r o a d l y d e l i n e a t e d as f o l l o w s : F i r s t , the e x amination of Maggie emphasized the " p a t t e r n of f a i l u r e " ; the e x a m i n a t i o n of Middlemarch, Book 7, emphasizes the " p a t t e r n of s u c c e s s , " as I l l u s t r a t e d , w i t h d e t a i l e d e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n from Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r , i n Chapter 3. Second, the e a r l i e r s t u d y depended on the p o s i t i v e elements i n the " p a t t e r n of f a i l u r e " ; the p r e s e n t s t u d y depends on t h e i r n e g a t i v e obverse, p o i n t i n g to the a u t h o r ' s e v i d e n t l y d e l i b e r a t e a b s t e n t i o n from the use of p a l p a b l e , a t t r a c t i v e o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and s u r m i s i n g h e r purpose. T h l r d , j u s t as f a l s e c o n c e p t i o n s about Maggie s p r i n g , i n p a r t , from the t a c i t and unfounded assumption t h a t one temptee can p l a y one r o l e o n l y , so f a l s e c o n c e p t i o n s about Lydgate s p r i n g , i n l a r g e measure, from an e q u a l l y m i s l e a d i n g f a i l u r e t o draw a d i s t i n c t i o n — s t r e s s e d - 140 -i n my c o n c l u d i n g C h a p t e r — b e t w e e n Temptation i n i t s w i d e s t sense, whereby p r a c t i c a l l y a l l men become temptees, and Temptation i n i t s more p r e c i s e , more l i m i t e d , and semi-t e c h n i c a l sense. F o u r t h , b o t h n o v e l s — a s we have shown, or a r e about to s h o w — s h a r e a n o t h e r source of c r i t i c a l m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , a source I have t r i e d t o remedy i n my opening Chapter: f a i l u r e t o t h i n k e x p l i c i t l y and a c c u r a t e l y about t e m p t a t i o n , to r e c o g n i z e i t as a r e l a t i o n a l concept, t o b r e a k i t i n t o i t s component p a r t s , and t o r e a l i z e i t s p o t e n t i a l i n George E l i o t ' s work. F i f t h , and l a s t , the r e s u l t s of the two companionate s t u d i e s c o n f i r m the need f o r g r e a t c a u t i o n — g r e a t r e s p e c t f o r the f a c t s — i n a p p l y i n g the concept, f o r i t s f u n c t i o n i n Book 7 of Middlemarch d i f f e r s w i d e l y from t h a t i n The M i l l on the F l o s s , and y e t shares one common element: unexpected and u n f o r e s e e a b l e e l a s t i c i t y i n i t s use, thus i n d i r e c t l y emphasizing the need f o r a p p r o a c h i n g each n o v e l i n d i v i d u a l l y , as a s e p a r a t e work of a r t , and e n v i s a g i n g the concept of t e m p t a t i o n as no more than a p o s s i b l y u s e f u l c r i t i c a l t o o l , which may o r may n o t v i n d i c a t e i t s e l f - - t h r o u g h encompassing a l l the p e r t i n e n t f a c t s , and through r e c o n c i l i n g c o n t r a d i c t i o n s by showing t h a t they u n i t e i n a s i n g l e e f f e c t . I n t h i s s p i r i t of c i r c u m s c r i b e d c o n f i d e n c e , of c o n f i d e n c e tempered by the need f o r c a u t i o n and m o d e r a t i o n — b y awareness t h a t " L o f t y words ar e n o t becoming to m o r t a l s " — d o we now proceed to an a n a l y s i s of a commonly h e l d view about the "Two Temptations" i n Book 7 of Middlemarch. Everybody i s agreed that one of the "Two Temptations" in the t i t l e of Middlemarch, Book 7» i a Bulstrode's, but there i s disagreement about the other, I am convinced that the Rev, Camden Farebrother•s i s meant (see Chapter 3)» that George E l i o t deliberately Juxtaposes i t to Bulstrode's. Both men are tempted, but only one of them f a l l s . The c r i t i c s , however, take a different view. At least two of them sp e c i f i c a l l y raise or discuss the question of whose temptation (besides Bulstrode's) i s meant i n the t i t l e of Book 7» and both concur that i t i s Lydgate's. Barbara Hardy devotes one short sentence to the subjectJ "'Two Temptations' are Bulstrode's and Lydgate• s. *•'^  David Daiches i s more ex p l i c i t : The 'Two Temptations' of the t i t l e of Book VII are Bulstrode's and Lydgate's. . . . Lydgate's temptation i s more complicated; i t i s to accept a much needed loan from Bulstrode when, on reflection, he has some doubt of Bulstrode's motives i n consenting to give i t ; and i t i s also to succumb to financial and other pressure and give up his research ambitions and medical ideals, which means giving up his integrity. Both men yield . . . , 2 This approach i s worth examining i n some de t a i l . Two of Mr. Daiches' statements need not detain us long. "Lydgate's temptation i s more complicated [than Bulstrode's]." On the analogy of George E l i o t ' s practice •*-The Novels of George E l i o t : a Study in Form (London: A th1one Press, 1959), p. 108. 2George E l i o t : Middlemarch (Woodbury, New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1963), p. 6 l . (Studies i n English Literature, no. 11). - 142 -w i t h a l l h e r i n d i s p u t a b l e temptees, we may be sure t h a t i t would not be c o m p l i c a t e d — i n the sense o f hard t o d e f i n e - - i f Lydgate were i n t e n d e d as a temptee..3 H i s c i r c u m s t a n c e s ^ r e p e a t e d l y i n v i t e the a u t h o r t o p r e s e n t him i n t h a t r o l e , and she c o n s i s t e n t l y r e s i s t s t h e i r prompting. Perhaps i t i s a p i t y . He would p r o b a b l y have ranked among h e r g r e a t e s t , a l o n g w i t h A r t h u r , Maggie, and Gwendolen, And a g a i n : " I t [Lyd g a t e * s supposed t e m p t a t i o n ] i s a l s o t o succumb t o f i n a n c i a l and o t h e r p r e s s u r e and g i v e up h i s r e s e a r c h a m b i t i o n s and m e d i c a l i d e a l s , which means g i v i n g up h i s I n t e g r i t y , " But f i r s t , the g r e a t e r p a r t of Lydgate's e x p e r i e n c e a l o n g these l i n e s i s c o n c e n t r a t e d i n "Sunset and S u n r i s e , " and does not f a l l w i t h i n "Two Temptations," I f George E l i o t had wanted t o r e f e r t o i t i n a t i t l e , she would c e r t a i n l y have chosen t h a t of the book i n which i t i s emphasized. Secondly, the r e q u e s t f o r a l o a n and i t s a c c e p t a n c e a r e m o t i v a t e d by the d e s i r e t o f o r e s t a l l most of 3 l n the t i t l e s of Middlemarch, Book 7, and of The M i l l  on the F l o s s , Book 6, George E l i o t i s o b v i o u s l y u s i n g the word "Temptation" i n i t s l i m i t e d , s p e c i f i c , and semi-t e c h n i c a l sense. T h i s i s a l s o the sense i n which I am u s i n g i t throughout t h i s c h a p t e r . I n l i t e r a t u r e as i n l i f e , most p e o p l e — L y d g a t e c e r t a i n l y i n c l u d e d — a r e temptees i f the word " t e m p t a t i o n " i s d e f i n e d i n i t s w i d e s t p o s s i b l e sense, t o mean a n y t h i n g a l l u r i n g t h a t tends t o p r e v e n t us from b e i n g the b e s t t h a t we can be, and d o i n g the b e s t t h a t we can do. The two senses i n which the word may be used a r e d i s c u s s e d i n c h a p t e r 8 of the t h e s i s . ^These i n c l u d e h i s b r i e f l a p s e s o f t a k i n g opium and of gambling a t the "Green Dragon" (ch. 66), which a r e h o t i n the l e a s t e x p l o i t e d i n the way c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of George E l i o t when she p r e s e n t s a c h a r a c t e r s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t a t e m p t a t i o n . the e v i l s t h a t Mr. Daiches here enumerates. I f these e v i l s d i d c o n s t i t u t e a t e m p t a t i o n , then the e f f o r t to a v o i d them by any honest and l a w f u l means c o u l d o n l y be r e g a r d e d as the f u l f i l l m e n t of a duty. T h i r d l y , these e v i l s do not c o n s t i t u t e a t e m p t a t i o n , f o r the good r e a s o n t h a t Lydgate never sees them as a n y t h i n g but e v i l s . They l a c k even t h a t modicum of s u p e r f i c i a l a t t r a c t i o n which i s r e q u i r e d by the common d e f i n i t i o n of the word "temptation."5 A p e r s o n or an o b j e c t or a s e t of c i r c u m s t a n c e s may a t t r a c t i n some r e s p e c t s and r e p e l i n o t h e r s , but a " t e m p t a t i o n " t h a t r e p e l s and does n o t h i n g i n the o p p o s i t e d i r e c t i o n i s s i m p l y a c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n terms. The r e m a i n i n g p o i n t r e q u i r e s more d e t a i l e d r e f u t a t i o n . " I t [ L y d g a t e ' s supposed t e m p t a t i o n ] i s t o a c c e p t a much needed l o a n from B u l s t r o d e when, on r e f l e c t i o n , he has some doubt of B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n c o n s e n t i n g t o g i v e i t . " Mr. Daiches seems t o have f o r g o t t e n the time sequences and the n a t u r e of Lydgate's doubt, as I s h a l l now t r y t o e s t a b l i s h . When Lydgate r e q u e s t s a l o a n of B u l s t r o d e i n c h a p t e r 6 7 i he i s i g n o r a n t of R a f f l e s ' e x i s t e n c e . °- He f e e l s most 5lt might be argued t h a t t h e i r a t t r a c t i o n c o n s i s t s i n t h e i r b e i n g the path of l e a s t r e s i s t a n c e ; b u t Mr. Daiches does n o t make t h i s p o i n t , which i s i n any case a dubious one, con-s i d e r i n g Lydgate's n a t u r e and i n c l i n a t i o n s on the one hand, and h i s p a i n f u l duty to Rosamond on the o t h e r . I f i t were a c c e p t e d , Lydgate's e f f o r t s t o escape from the (supposed) a t t r a c t i o n of these e v i l s would have even l e s s c l a i m t o b e i n g r e g a r d e d as a y i e l d i n g t o t e m p t a t i o n . ^ T h i s l a s t f a c t i s s t a t e d s p e c i f i c a l l y i n c h a p t e r 7 3 , f i f t h paragraph. - 144 -r e l u c t a n t and does have harrowing doubts, but not about " B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n c o n s e n t i n g , " s i n c e B u l s t r o d e r e f u s e s . They meet a g a i n i n the a f t e r n o o n of the same day ( c h . 69). T h e i r c o n v e r s a t i o n c e n t e r s on R a f f l e s ' i l l n e s s ; no r e f e r e n c e i s made t o what had passed between them i n the morning. "Doubt o f B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n c o n s e n t i n g " i s out of the q u e s t i o n . B u l s t r o d e o f f e r s the thousand pounds on t h e next day, when the d o c t o r c a l l s a t Stone Court by appointment, f o r the purpose of re-examining the p a t i e n t ( c h . 7 0 ) . Lydgate's thoughts and r e a c t i o n s , i n s o f a r as they a r e r e l e v a n t t o the p o i n t a t i s s u e , a r e f u l l y p r e s e n t e d . They make i t q u i t e c l e a r t h a t h i s own harassment and subsequent sense of r e l i e f a r e a t f i r s t too g r e a t t o l e a v e room f o r s p e c u l a t i o n about h i s b e n e f a c t o r ' s motives." 7 S l i g h t l y l a t e r , as he i s l e a v i n g Stone Cou r t , he does r e f l e c t on t h i s s u b j e c t , and h i s thought i s s t a t e d c l e a r l y and p l a i n l y : " I t appeared t o him a v e r y n a t u r a l movement i n B u l s t r o d e t h a t he s h o u l d have r e c o n s i d e r e d h i s r e f u s a l : i t corresponded w i t h the more m u n i f i c e n t s i d e of h i s c h a r a c t e r " (ch. 7 0 ) . These words s u r e l y c o n s t i t u t e an a b s o l u t e r e f u t a t i o n — u p to t h i s p o i n t — o f Mr. D a i c h e s ' a s s e r t i o n t h a t "on r e f l e c t i o n , [ L y d g a t e ] has some doubt of B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n c o n s e n t i n g to g i v e [ t h e l o a n ] . " Douht does b e s e t Lydgate as he r i d e s away from Stone C o u r t , and i t s nature i s s t a t e d as unambiguously as h i s d i r e c t l y p r e c e d i n g r e f l e c t i o n s on B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s : 7The e x e c u t i o n has t h i s day been put i n t o Lydgate's house. - 145 -There c r o s s e d h i s mind, w i t h an u n p l e a s a n t i m p r e s s i o n , as from a dark-winged f l i g h t of e v i l augury a c r o s s h i s v i s i o n , the thought of t h a t c o n t r a s t i n h i m s e l f which a few months had b r o u g h t — t h a t he s h o u l d be o v e r j o y e d a t b e i n g under a s t r o n g o b l i g a t i o n — t h a t he sh o u l d be o v e r j o y e d a t g e t t i n g money f o r h i m s e l f from B u l s t r o d e . ( ch. 7 0 ) I t i s q u i t e c l e a r t h a t these doubts do not i n the l e a s t c o n c e r n themselves w i t h B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s . Lydgate i s d i s t u r b e d because he has put h i m s e l f i n a p o s i t i o n o f dependence, as we would expect him to be i n view of h i s extreme r e l u c t a n c e t o a p p l y f o r a l o a n i n the f i r s t p l a c e . Lydgate had so many times b o a s t e d both t o h i m s e l f and o t h e r s [ e . g . , t o F a r e b r o t h e r i n c h a p t e r s 1 7 and 45] t h a t he was t o t a l l y independent of B u l s t r o d e , t o whose p l a n s he had l e n t h i m s e l f s o l e l y because they enabled him t o c a r r y out h i s own i d e a s of p r o f e s s i o n a l work and p u b l i c b e n e f i t — h e had so c o n s t a n t l y i n t h e i r p e r s o n a l i n t e r -c o u r s e had h i s p r i d e s u s t a i n e d by the sense t h a t he was making a good s o c i a l use of t h i s p r e d o m i n a t i n g banker . . . . ( c h . 6 7 » second paragraph) The above passage i s s u r e l y ample t o account f o r Lydgate's sense of r e t r o g r e s s i o n , and t o i n t e r p r e t the phrase "a dark-winged f l i g h t of e v i l augury a c r o s s h i s v i s i o n . " E v i d e n c e i n support of Mr. Dai c h e s ' c l a i m c o n t i n u e s t o be l a c k i n g . Lydgate r e t u r n s t o Stone C o u r t i n the middle of the f o l l o w i n g morning (ch. 7 0 ) , j u s t b e f o r e R a f f l e s d i e s . He had not expected him t o d i e and f e e l s uneasy. What he s u s p e c t s i s "ig n o r a n c e o r imprudence" as f a c t o r s i n the p a t i e n t ' s death; t h e r e i s s t i l l no evidence t h a t he s u s p e c t s the banker's motives i n l e n d i n g the money. L a t e r on the - 146 -same day (ch. 70) Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r , who has heard of the e x e c u t i o n i n Lydgate's house, comes t o see him. T o l d of the l o a n , he p r a i s e s i t as an a c t of g e n e r o s i t y , p a r t l y i n an attempt t o c o u n t e r a c t h i s p e r s o n a l d i s l i k e of the donor. Lydgate does n o t o r a l l y d i s a g r e e , b u t h i s thoughts on the s u b j e c t do n o t harmonize wi t h the V i c a r ' s . He has now begun to be t r o u b l e d by doubts r e g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s . Lydgate f e l t u n comfortable under these k i n d l y s u p p o s i t i o n s . They made more d i s t i n c t w i t h i n him the uneasy c o n s c i o u s n e s s which had shown i t s f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s o n l y a few hours b e f o r e , t h a t B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s f o r h i s sudden b e n e f i c e n c e f o l l o w i n g c l o s e upon the c h i l l e s t i n d i f f e r e n c e might be merely s e l f i s h . ( c h , 70) The t i m e t a b l e i s impo r t a n t a t t h i s p o i n t . Lydgate r e c e i v e s h i s l o a n about noon on the day b e f o r e R a f f l e s d i e s . Death o c c u r s a f t e r h a l f - p a s t t e n on the f o l l o w i n g morning; t h a t i s , a t the v e r y l e a s t twenty-two hours l a t e r . H i s s u s p i c i o n s a t the a c t u a l moment of death do not go beyond " i g n o r a n c e and imprudence," F a r e b r o t h e r pays him a v i s i t on the same day, some time a f t e r Lydgate has r e t u r n e d home from Stone Co u r t , The " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s " of an "uneasy c o n s c i o u s n e s s " r e -g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e ' s motives m a n i f e s t themselves "a few hours b e f o r e " the v i s i t ; t h a t i s , v e r y s h o r t l y a f t e r R a f f l e s ' death (but n ot a t i t s a c t u a l o c c u r r e n c e ) , and over twenty-two hours a f t e r h i s acc e p t a n c e of the l o a n . And what a r e h i s s u s p i c i o n s i n r e g a r d to these m o t ives? No more than t h a t they "might be m erely s e l f i s h , " p r o b a b l y i n a sense l i t t l e worse than he knows the banker's patronage to have been from the b e g i n n i n g of t h e i r c o n n e c t i o n . The c o n t r a s t may s i m p l y be w i t h h i s - 1 4 7 -e a r l i e r a t t r i b u t i o n of the l o a n t o "the more m u n i f i c e n t s i d e of [ B u l s t r o d e ' s ] c h a r a c t e r " (ch. 70) and w i t h F a r e b r o t h e r ' s mistake of the same k i n d . There i s no evidence t h a t he even now s u s p e c t s him of a n y t h i n g p o s i t i v e l y e v i l , e i t h e r i n r e l a t i o n t o R a f f l e s o r t o anyone or a n y t h i n g e l s e . T h i s s t a t e of mind p e r s i s t s u n t i l B u l s t r o d e i s p u b l i c l y exposed a t a meeting on a s a n i t a r y ^ q u e s t i o n i n the Town H a l l , about t e n days a f t e r R a f f l e s ' death (ch. 71 ) . As he l i s t e n s t o the lawyer, Mr. Hawley, who l e a d s the i n f o r m a l p r o s e c u t i o n , Lydgate i s "undergoing a shock as from the t e r r i b l e p r a c t i c a l i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n o f some f a i n t augury." Thus i t i s q u i t e c l e a r t h a t he has n o t , i n the i n t e r v a l , advanced s i g n i f i c a n t l y o r a p p r e c i a b l y beyond the " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s " o f an "uneasy c o n s c i o u s n e s s " t h a t he f e l t on the day of R a f f l e s ' death and F a r e b r o t h e r ' s v i s i t , over twenty-two hours a f t e r h i s acceptance o f a l o a n . Mr. Daiches a s s e r t s t h a t Lydgate's t e m p t a t i o n p a r t l y c o n s i s t s i n " a c c e p t [ i n g ] a much needed l o a n from B u l s t r o d e when, on r e f l e c t i o n , he has some doubt of B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n c o n s e n t i n g t o g i v e i t . " H i s c l a i m c o u l d be a l l o w e d i f the r e f l e c t i o n s o c c u r r e d a t the time o f Lydgate's r e q u e s t f o r a l o a n o r b e f o r e , and i f they i n c l u d e d some a p p r e h e n s i o n of e v i l — a s d i s t i n c t from merely s e l f i s h — m o t i v e s . The evidence 8i n i t s c o n t e x t , the word " s a n i t a r y " c a r r i e s an i r o n i c a l secondary meaning. The q u e s t i o n t h a t Mr. Hawley and h i s f r i e n d s r e g a r d as a n e c e s s a r y p r e l i m i n a r y t o the main purpose of the meeting i s one of moral s a n i t a t i o n through the removal of B u l s t r o d e . - 148 -i s i n c o n t r o v e r t i b l e t h a t they do n e i t h e r . R e garding B u l s t r o d e * s m o t i v e s , Lydgate c o n t i n u e s as b l i n d as George E l i o t deems c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p l a u s i b i l i t y , u n t i l he r e l u c -t a n t l y l e a d s B u l s t r o d e (who i s too shaken t o walk unaided) from the meeting i n the Town H a l l . Then he suddendly sees w i t h s h a t t e r i n g c l a r i t y , and a c t u a l l y i n f e r s more than the f a c t s known t o him r e n d e r s t r i c t l y i n e v i t a b l e . He reaches a more b a l a n c e d judgment l a t e r i n the day (ch. 73)» when he has r i d d e n out of town i n an attempt t o f i n d r e l e a s e from extreme i n n e r t e n s i o n , and i s self-communing. Now f u l l y aware of the grounds and na t u r e of the s u s p i c i o n s a g a i n s t B u l s t r o d e and h i m s e l f , h e ~ n o n e t h e l e s s r e c o g n i z e s t h a t he has no warrant f o r r e g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e ' s g u i l t as c e r t a i n . "'And y e t — a n d y e t . . . i t i s j u s t p o s s i b l e t h a t the change t o -wards me may have been a genuine r e l e n t i n g . . , I n h i s l a s t d e a l i n g s w i t h t h i s man [ R a f f l e s ] B u l s t r o d e may have kept h i s hands pure, i n s p i t e o f my s u s p i c i o n t o the c o n t r a r y * " ( c h . 7 3 ) . Even "some days l a t e r " ( c h . 7 6 ) , when he i s opening h i m s e l f f u l l y t o Dorothea, who a l o n e among the Middlemarchers r i s e s t o the o c c a s i o n , he expresses u n c e r t a i n t y r e g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e * s motives and a c t i o n s . W i s h i n g t o g i v e him the b e n e f i t o f the doubt, he says, "* How my o r d e r s came to be d i s o b e y e d i s a q u e s t i o n t o which I don't know the answer.*" (He never w i l l ) . ' " I t i s s t i l l p o s s i b l e t h a t B u l s t r o d e was i n n o c e n t of any c r i m i n a l i n t e n t i o n — e v e n p o s s i b l e t h a t he had n o t h i n g t o do w i t h the d i s o b e d i e n c e , and merely a b s t a i n e d from m e n t i o n i n g i t ' " (ch. 7 6 ) . I n t h i s scene w i t h Dorothea, Lydgate - 149 -Is s e a r c h i n g h i s s o u l and t r y i n g h a r d t o l a y the f u l l t r u t h b e f o r e h er; above a l l , t o omit n o t h i n g a g a i n s t h i m s e l f f o r which even the most s l e n d e r f o u n d a t i o n can be found. T a l k i n g t o h e r wit h t h i s aim, he t e l l s h e r of " h i s uneasy c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t the acceptance of the money had made some d i f f e r e n c e i n h i s p r i v a t e i n c l i n a t i o n and p r o f e s s i o n a l b e h a v i o u r , though not i n h i s f u l f i l m e n t o f any p u b l i c l y r e c o g n i z e d o b l i g a t i o n " ( c h . 76). I t i s the utmost charge t h a t can w i t h the s m a l l e s t degree of j u s t i c e be brought a g a i n s t him. A b s o l u t e c e r t a i n t y and knowledge i n psycho-l o g i c a l m a t t e r s a r e r a r e l y p o s s i b l e , i f ever. I n s o f a r as t h e r e can be a d e f i n i t i v e judgment on Lydgate's case, Dorothea pronounces i t a f t e r h a v i n g heard h i s f u l l r e v e l a -t i o n : "'You have not been blamable b e f o r e any one's judgment b u t your own, . . . You s h a l l be c l e a r e d i n e v e r y f a i r mind'" (ch. 76). G i v e n Middlemarch i n i t s a c t u a l form, a c o n v i n c i n g defence of the view t h a t Lydgate's c o n s t i t u t e s one of the "Two Temptations" i s i m p o s s i b l e . Mr. Da i c h e s , however, does not make the s t r o n g e s t case on h i s s i d e t h a t can be made. The f a c t s do g i v e him two p o s s i b l e openings, n e i t h e r o f which he t a k e s . Lydgate expects R a f f l e s to r e c o v e r , and f e e l s uneasy when he f i n d s him a t the p o i n t of death ( c h . 70). Y e t he r e f r a i n s from q u e s t i o n i n g e i t h e r B u l s t r o d e o r the housekeeper, as he p r o b a b l y would do i f he were not under a sense of deep o b l i g a t i o n f o r the l o a n he has r e c e i v e d on the day b e f o r e . - 13Q -He was c o n s c i o u s t h a t B u l s t r o d e had been a b e n e f a c t o r to him. But he was uneasy about t h i s case. He had not expected i t to te r m i n a t e as i t had done. Yet he h a r d l y knew how to put a q u e s t i o n on the s u b j e c t t o B u l s t r o d e w i t h o u t a p p e a r i n g to i n s u l t him; and i f he examined the housekeeper--why, the man was dead. (ch. 70) As we have seen, he s u s p e c t s n o t h i n g worse than " i g n o r a n c e o r imprudence." N e v e r t h e l e s s , h i s s i n of o m i s s i o n on t h i s o c c a s i o n t r o u b l e s him a f t e r the exposure. I f he had not r e c e i v e d any money . . . would he . , . have a b s t a i n e d from a l l i n q u i r y even on f i n d i n g the man d e a d ? — w o u l d the s h r i n k i n g from an i n s u l t t o B u l s t r o d e . . . have had j u s t the same f o r c e or s i g n i f i c a n c e w i t h him? (ch. 73) Those who wish t o make a case f o r the view t h a t Lydgate's i s one of the "Two Temptations" must n e c e s s a r i l y d w e l l upon and magnify t h i s phase of h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h B u l s t r o d e and R a f f l e s . T h e i r case would be weak, s i n c e George E l i o t would have developed the phase much more f u l l y i f she had i n t e n d e d t o g i v e i t the emphasis t h a t i n c l u s i o n i n the t i t l e of Book ? i m p l i e s , and s i n c e (as we a r e about t o see) she d e l i b e r a t e l y by-passes much b e t t e r o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r p r e s e n t i n g him as a temptee. S t i l l , i f Mr. Daiches had s a i d , "Lydgate's t e m p t a t i o n c o n s i s t s p a r t l y i n a l l o w i n g the l o a n from B u l s t r o d e t o i n f l u e n c e h i s r e a c t i o n t o R a f f l e s ' d eath, which comes to him as a s u r p r i s e on m e d i c a l grounds," he would have expressed an o p i n i o n t h a t does not d i r e c t l y v i o l a t e the f a c t s of the n o v e l , and c o u l d be r e s p e c t e d even when i t i s b e l i e v e d t o be mistaken. S h o r t l y a f t e r R a f f l e s ' death, Lydgate e x p e r i e n c e s the - 151 -" f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s " of an "uneasy consciousness" r e g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e ' s motives i n l e n d i n g him the money. Here i s a second opening t h a t Mr. Daiches f a i l s to take. H i s c l a i m t h a t Lydgate's acceptance of a l o a n from B u l s t r o d e c o n s t i t u t e s a y i e l d i n g to temptation i s simp l y mistaken. Nothing of any weight can be s a i d i n i t s defence. He would have some degree of p l a u s i b i l i t y on h i s s i d e i f he had s a i d i n s t e a d : "Lydgate's temptation, i n p a r t , i s to r e t a i n a l o a n from B u l s t r o d e a f t e r he has begun t o f e e l doubts r e g a r d i n g the banker's motives i n c o n s e n t i n g to gi v e i t , " We r e c a l l t h a t l a t e r , a f t e r the exposure, Lydgate does r e t u r n B u l s t r o d e ' s money (ch. 81), Dorothea's g e n e r o s i t y (ch. 76, l a s t paragraph) enables him t o do so. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, he does not t h i n k of her i n time as a p o s s i b l e c r e d i t o r . 9 He i s unable t o r e t u r n the money when doubts of B u l s t r o d e ' s motives f i r s t a s s a i l him, simpl y because he has a l r e a d y spent much of i t on the day b e f o r e , when he was q u i t e u n s u s p i c i o u s . As soon as the cheque i s i n h i s pocket, "he put h i s hack i n t o a c a n t e r , t h a t he might get the sooner home, and t e l l the good news to Rosamond, and get cash a t the bank t o pay over to Dover's agent" (ch. 70). Furthermore, the word "doubt" i s s t i l l too st r o n g to express what he f e e l s on the day of R a f f l e s ' death and F a r e b r o t h e r ' s v i s i t . A l l t h a t he experiences a t t h i s stage are the " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s " of an "uneasy ^ T h i s f a c t i s as d e p l o r a b l e as h i s marriage w i t h Rosamond. Once he was i n debt, Dorothea would have been by f a r h i s b e s t recourse. - 152 -c o n s c i o u s n e s s " r e g a r d i n g motives t h a t he s u s p e c t s of n o t h i n g worse than b e i n g s e l f i s h . C o n s i d e r i n g h i s bankruptcy and e v e r y t h i n g t h a t r e t u r n of even the remainder of the money would e n t a i l , he s h o u l d not be expected t o a c t on such a s l i g h t prompting or f o u n d a t i o n . We can s c a r c e l y b e l i e v e t h a t George E l i o t would g i v e the name of t e m p t a t i o n to a n y t h i n g so tenuous as t h i s , even i n p a s s i n g ; and i n f a c t she does n o t , - 1 0 S t i l l l e s s can we b e l i e v e t h a t she would s i n g l e i t out f o r a t t e n t i o n i n the t i t l e o f a book. As i t s t a n d s , Mr. D a i c h e s ' c l a i m i s r e f u t e d b y the f a c t s of the n o v e l . The emendation I have proposed f r e e s i t from t h a t charge, but does not a p p r e c i a b l y add to i t s c r e d i b i l i t y . The two f e e b l e openings f o r the view t h a t Lydgate's i s one of the "Two Temptations" may be r e g a r d e d as the p r o v e r b i a l e x c e p t i o n t h a t proves the r u l e . They a r e e a s i l y a c c ounted f o r on the ground t h a t George E l i o t must n e c e s s a r i l y make h i s mental s t a t e and a c t i o n s i n r e g a r d t o B u l s t r o d e and R a f f l e s appear p l a u s i b l e ; she must not p o r t r a y him as so n a i v e o r so v i r t u o u s t h a t we can no l o n g e r r e c o g n i z e a human b e i n g , ^ I n h i s d i f f i c u l t c i r c u m s t a n c e s , he p a r t i c i p a t e s •^ 0In c o n t r a s t , the word " t e m p t a t i o n " ( o r the c o r r e s p o n d i n g v e r b ) i s used r e p e a t e d l y i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h F a r e b r o t h e r ' s t r i a l ( ch. 66). H G e orge E l i o t does not s t r e t c h Lydgate's g u i l e l e s s n e s s beyond the l i m i t s of p l a u s i b i l i t y . I t a c c o r d s w i t h what we have p r e v i o u s l y s e e n — h i s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y t o women, h i s l a c k of p o l i t i c a l s k i l l , h i s I m p r a c t i c a l i t y i n f i n a n c i a l m a t t e r s — and In the p r e s e n t c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t i s n a t u r a l l y a c c e n t u a t e d . The p r e s s u r e of harrowing p e r s o n a l p r o b l e m s — i m p e n d i n g bank-r u p t c y and m a r i t a l d i s c o r d — l e a v e him l i t t l e I n c l i n a t i o n t o take an i n t e r e s t i n o t h e r p e o p l e ' s a f f a i r s . Furthermore, B u l s t r o d e ' s s e c r e t and consequent d e s i r e s a r e more e v i l than anyone of average decency would be l i k e l y to s u s p e c t . - 153 -i n the temptee's e x p e r i e n c e t o the e x t e n t t h a t most men do a t some p o i n t of t h e i r l i v e s (see f o o t n o t e 3 ) . What i s s i g n i f i c a n t i s t h a t , i n the f a c e of the most o b v i o u s l y i n v i t i n g c i r c u m s t a n c e s , the a u t h o r takes p a i n s t o keep h i s share t o the minimum t h a t i s compatible w i t h h e r i n t e g r i t y as an a r t i s t . H i s s u s p i c i o u s c o n j e c t u r e s a r e formed as l a t e as p o s s i b l e , and even then they graze the mark r a t h e r than h i t i t . On the f i r s t day ( c h . 69) , he i s not " s u r p r i s e d a t a l i t t l e p e c u l i a r i t y i n B u l s t r o d e " ; forms "no c o n j e c t u r e s , i n the f i r s t i n s t a n c e , about the h i s t o r y of R a f f l e s " ; and f i n a l l y supposes t h a t " ' R a f f l e s i s an o b j e c t of c h a r i t y t o B u l s t r o d e , ' " On the second day (ch. 70), he a s c r i b e s the o f f e r of the m o n e y — r e f u s e d on the f i r s t — t o "the more m u n i f i c e n t s i d e of [ B u l s t r o d e ' s ] c h a r a c t e r " : d i s t u r b e d he i s , c e r t a i n l y , b u t o n l y because he has put h i m s e l f i n a p o s i t i o n of dependence, c o n t r a r y t o h i s e a r l i e r b o a s t s and r e s o l u t i o n s . And even on the t h i r d day ( s t i l l ch. 70), as we have seen, h i s surmises about B u l s t r o d e ' s m otives a r e c a r e f u l l y s t e e r e d as f a r from the t r u t h as i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p l a u s i b i l i t y , and kept t h a t way u n t i l the p u b l i c exposure, more than a week l a t e r . B u l s t r o d e c o n s t a n t l y f e a r s d i s c l o s u r e s i n the d o c t o r ' s h e a r i n g , e s p e c i a l l y from the two most a p p a r e n t s o u r c e s — - t h e p a t i e n t h i m s e l f and Mrs. A b e l , the housekeeper, who a d m i n i s t e r s the opium and brandy i n a l l good f a i t h . But R a f f l e s , we a r e t o l d , "took l i t t l e n o t i c e of Lydgate's presence, and c o n t i n u e d t o t a l k o r murmer i n c o h e r e n t l y " - 154, -(ch. 7 0 ) ; and Mrs. A b e l , 1 2 as we l e a r n from Lydgate's self-communion a f t e r the p u b l i c exposure, r e v e a l s n o t h i n g w h i l e " R a f f l e s . . . c o n t i n u e d a l i v e and s u s c e p t i b l e of f u r t h e r treatment" (ch. 7 3 ) . P r o f e s s i o n a l l y , h i s acceptance of the l o a n i n f l u e n c e s him o n l y to the e x t e n t t h a t he r e f r a i n s from q u e s t i o n i n g B u l s t r o d e or the housekeeper, and c e r t i f i e s i n w r i t i n g t h a t the death i s due to d e l e r l u m  tremens.^3 N o v e l i s t s r a r e l y c r e a t e o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r the purpose of not u s i n g them; but they may c r e a t e them f o r m a n i f o l d o t h e r purposes, i n c l u d i n g beguilement of the c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e i r n o v e l s , and a c o r r e s p o n d i n g beguilement of t h e i r r e a d e r s . George E l i o t ' s purpose r e q u i r e s t h a t the i m p u t a t i o n s l a t e r r a i s e d a g a i n s t Lydgate s h o u l d be sub-s t a n t i a l l y f a l s e , and y e t t i n g e d w i t h t r u t h enough to aggravate the i n j u r y they cause. Readers who mistake him f o r a temptee a r e p a y i n g u n c o n s c i o u s t r i b u t e t o h e r powers as a c r e a t i v e w r i t e r . Q u i t e p o s s i b l y , they a r e b e i n g a f f e c t e d as she i n t e n d e d t h a t t h e y s h o u l d b e — a t l e a s t on a f i r s t r e a d i n g . C e r t a i n l y she has c o n t r i v e d a decoy of s p u r i o u s appearances, c o m p e l l i n g enough to m i s l e a d a l l but one of the l 2 H a w l e y l a t e r uses h e r as a source of i n f o r m a t i o n , as Lydgate t e l l s Dorothea i n c h a p t e r 7 6 . 13The c e r t i f i c a t e i s mentioned i n a s i n g l e phrase, and f o r the f i r s t and o n l y time, i n c h a p t e r 71 . U.C. Knoepflmacher, i n my view, s e r i o u s l y o v e r r a t e s I t s i n t e n d e d s i g n i f i c a n c e ( R e l i g i o u s , Humanism and the V i c t o r i a n Novel . , , [ P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 5 J , p. 9 1 ) . - 155 -M i d d l e m a r c h e r s , and c o m p e l l i n g enough to l u r e the r e a d e r i n t o a d o p t i n g the Middlemarch p o i n t of view. A f t e r d i s -c l o s u r e of the e v i l p a s t a t t h a t meeting i n the Town H a l l (ch, 71), ho one can doubt B u l s t r o d e ' s wish t o be r i d of R a f f l e s . Everybody knows t h a t he d i e d i n B u l s t r o d e ' s house, and t h a t Lydgate was the d o c t o r who a t t e n d e d him; equally» everybody knows t h a t Lydgate has been f l o u n d e r i n g i n d i r e f i n a n c i a l s t r a i t s f o r some time, and t h a t he r e c e i v e d a thousand pounds from B u l s t r o d e on the day p r e c e d i n g the death of the p a t i e n t . The au t h o r has p r o f f e r e d an a t t r a c t i v e i n v i t a t i o n f o r the " p u t t i n g o f two and two t o g e t h e r " ( c h . 71), and the Middlemarchers a c c e p t i t w i t h a l a c r i t y . They e r r i n d o i n g so, b u t t o no g r e a t e r degree than would the p e o p l e of o t h e r communities, anywhere and a t any p e r i o d . L e a p i n g from i m p r e s s i o n s t o a d e f i n i t e c o n c l u s i o n , m i n g l i n g the t r u e and the f a l s e i n e x t r i c a b l y , r e l i e v i n g tedium w i t h g o s s i p , f e e l i n g v i r t u o u s o r c l e v e r a t o t h e r s ' e x p e n s e — w i t h i n these m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of a t i m e l e s s and r e c o g n i z a b l e human b i a s , the Middlemarchers e x h i b i t an enormous (and y e t expected) spectrum of i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n . We a r e n o t s u r p r i s e d t h a t I t ranges a l l the way from c o a r s e n e s s and l u d i c r o u s c r u d i t y t o k i n d l i n e s s and j u d i c i o u s balances from the surmises of "Mrs. D o l l o p , the s p i r i t e d l a n d l a d y of the Tankard i n S l a u g h t e r Lane" (ch. 71) to those of Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r , who f e e l s " d e e p l y mournful" (ch. 71) a t the time of the exposure, and two days l a t e r d e l i v e r s a t e n t a t i v e , c a r e f u l l y b a l a n c e d judgment, d e s i g n e d ( i n p a r t ) t o dampen Dorothea's a r d o u r of h e l p f u l n e s s . - 156 -" I t i s p o s s i b l e — I have o f t e n f e l t so much weakness i n m y s e l f t h a t I can c o n c e i v e even a man of honourable d i s p o s i t i o n , such as I have always b e l i e v e d Lydgate to be, succumbing to such a t e m p t a t i o n as t h a t of a c c e p t i n g money which was o f f e r e d more or l e s s i n d i r e c t l y as a b r i b e to i n s u r e h i s s i l e n c e about scandalous f a c t s l o n g gone by. I say, I can  c o n c e i v e t h i s . . , ." (ch. 72, i t a l i c s added) And so, we may be s u r e , can George E l i o t . F o r t h a t v e r y r e a s o n has she taken so much c a r e (as we have demonstrated) t h a t Lydgate s h a l l n o t be t r i e d beyond h i s s t r e n g t h . Though p e r f e c t l y p l a u s i b l e i n i t s assessment of him, F a r e b r o t h e r ' s statement g i v e s a s u c c i n c t account of what d i d not h a p p e n — of what the a u t h o r l a b o r s t o p r e v e n t from happening. The e q u i v a l e n t of a b l u e p r i n t r e j e c t e d , i t t e l l s us ( i n e f f e c t ) what the p l o t would have been i f George E l i o t had d e c i d e d t o p r e s e n t Lydgate as a temptee. T r e a t i n g the r e j e c t e d b l u e p r i n t as though i t s embodiment were wrought i n t o the n o v e l , f a i l i n g t o see Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r i n the r o l e of a temptee (though the words quoted suggest t h a t he h i m s e l f d o e s ) , the c r i t i c s have found i t easy t o concur, b a s i c a l l y , w i t h h i s t e n t a t i v e v e r s i o n of p r o b a b i l i t i e s . S i n c e the t i t l e o f Book 7 r e q u i r e s them t o a c c o u n t f o r two t e m p t a t i o n s , they e a g e r l y s e i z e upon the obvious p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the s i t u a t i o n , and i g n o r e o r s l u r over o r m l s c o n t r u e the g u l f between t h e i r approach and the f a c t s of the n o v e l . L i k e the Middlemarchers, they mistake the o p p o r t u n i t y f o r the p r a c t l c e - - f o r the a c t u a l t r e a t m e n t — whereas the s t r i k i n g d i s p a r i t y between them proves the o p p o s i t e i n t e n t i o n on the a u t h o r ' s p a r t . 1 ^ l ^ c f , Lydgate's words i n h i s o u t p o u r i n g to Dorothea t " ' I t i s one of those cases on [ s i c ] which a man i s condemned on the ground of h i s c h a r a c t e r — i t i s b e l i e v e d t h a t he has committed a crime i n some u n d e f i n e d way, because he had the motive f o r d o i n g i t : and B u l s t r o d e * s c h a r a c t e r has enveloped me, because I took h i s money'" (ch. 76), - 157 -One Middlemarcher o n l y r i s e s above the l e v e l of Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r r s c o n s t r u c t i o n — D o r o t h e a , who a l o n e proves r i g h t . Her r o l e as a modern S a i n t T h e r e s a would become c o n f u s e d — a t l e a s t so f a r as h e r r e l a t i o n s w i t h Lydgate a r e c o n c e r n e d — i f the s u s p i c i o n s a g a i n s t him were s u b s t a n t i a l l y t r u e . George E l i o t takes deep i n t e r e s t i n the s u f f e r i n g and predicament of a s u p e r i o r i n d i v i d u a l who i s c r u e l l y mis-un d e r s t o o d , because h i s motives and a c t i o n s a r e judged by the lowest common denominator of the community i n which he l i v e s . Maggie i s an e a r l i e r example, e s p e c i a l l y on h e r r e t u r n from the ''elopement" w i t h Stephen. The "world's w i f e " i n S t . Ogg's—MF, bk. ?, ch. 2 — f i n d s h e r c o u n t e r p a r t i n M i ddlemarch—M, ch. ?4. Mrs. D o l l o p ' s views of L y d g a t e — M, chs. 4-5 and 7 1 — i l l u s t r a t e an extreme case i n p o i n t . H e l p i n g someone of t h i s k i n d and i n t h i s p o s i t i o n e x a c t s some of the f i n e s t human q u a l i t i e s . S i r James and Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r t r y t o d i s c o u r a g e Dorothea from a t t e m p t i n g a n y t h i n g so d e l i c a t e and so hazardous (ch. 72). But they f a i l because Dorothea, i n e f f e c t , guides h e r s e l f by Caleb Garth's p r i n c i p l e : "'That s i g n i f i e s n o t h i n g — w h a t o t h e r men would t h i n k . I've got a c l e a r f e e l i n g i n s i d e me, and t h a t I s h a l l f o l l o w . . .'" (M, ch. 56). Her r e c e n t p a i n f u l e x p e r i e n c e s have l e d h e r to be " i n t e r e s t e d now i n a l l who had s l i p p e d below t h e i r own i n t e n t i o n " (ch. 50). T a l k i n g w i t h Lydgate when n e a r l y everyone has t u r n e d a g a i n s t him, she says: "'There i s no sorrow I have thought more about than t h a t - - t o l o v e what i s g r e a t , and t r y to reach i t , and y e t to f a i l ' " ( c h . 76). - 158 -Lydgate's " s p o t s of commonness" (ch. 15) r e n d e r him v u l n e r a b l e , but they do not In themselves make f a i l u r e i n e v i t a b l e . The immediate, p r e c i p i t a t i n g cause of Lydgate's f a i l u r e i s " t h i s p e t t y medium of Middlemarch" ( c h . 18), and more s p e c i f i c a l l y two of the Middlemarchers: Rosamond and B u l s t r o d e , who i n r e l a t i o n t o him r e p r e s e n t the n e g a t i v e and p o s i t i v e s i d e of e v i l . Between them, b r o a d l y s p e a k i n g , they r u i n h i s l i f e and d e p r i v e s o c i e t y of the v a l u a b l e c o n t r i b u t i o n he would p r o b a b l y have made,-*--* As Mr. Ir w i n e says, "'Men's l i v e s a r e as t h o r o u g h l y b l e n d e d w i t h each o t h e r as the a i r they b r e a t h e : e v i l spreads as n e c e s s a r i l y as d i s e a s e ' " (AB, ch. 14), I n the same v e i n , F e l i x i n s i s t s t h a t E s t h e r "'may be e i t h e r a b l e s s i n g o r a c u r s e t o many'" (FH, ch. 10). O b v i o u s l y , c i r c u m s t a n c e s would be l e s s p o t e n t a g a i n s t us i f we o u r s e l v e s Were b e t t e r o r w i s e r o r s t r o n g e r ; b u t our fellow-men, t o a l a r g e e x t e n t , make the c i r c u m s t a n c e s . I f o t h e r s had been b e t t e r o r g r e a t e r , they would have t r i e d , l i k e Dorothea and Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r , t o support and encourage Lydgate's admirable purposes, and t o p r o t e c t him a g a i n s t h i s weaknesses, i n s t e a d of e x p l o i t i n g them, as Rosamond and B u l s t r o d e do. H i s e x p e r i e n c e and a c t i o n s conform t o and i l l u s t r a t e a theme t h a t , w i t h v a r i a t i o n s , permeates a l l of the n o v e l s ; apropos of Dorothea, the a u t h o r s t r e s s e s i t i n 15cf. "He once c a l l e d h er h i s b a s i l p l a n t ; and when she asked f o r an e x p l a n a t i o n , s a i d t h a t b a s i l was a p l a n t which had f l o u r i s h e d w o n d e r f u l l y on a murdered man's b r a i n s " ("Finale"). - 159 -h e r " F i n a l e " i "The e f f e c t of h e r b e i n g on those around h e r was i n c a l c u l a b l y d i f f u s i v e . " The theme c e r t a i n l y forms an i n t e g r a l p a r t of George E l i o t ' s i n t e r e s t in.Lydgate. Lydgate i s a v e r y d i f f e r e n t man from B u l s t r o d e , b u t not i n the sense t h a t he i s developed as an obvious f o i l t o him. The t i t l e s o f the books i n Middlemarch a r e f o r the most p a r t i n t e n d e d t o suggest c o n t r a s t s , 1 ^ somewhat analogous t o t h a t between H e t t y and Dinah i n "The Two Bed-Chambers" (AB, ch. 15). I t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t George E l i o t , drawing the r e a d e r ' s a t t e n t i o n t o c e r t a i n a r e a s of human e x p e r i e n c e canvassed i n h e r n o v e l , such as l o v e problems (3) and t e m p t a t i o n s (2), would s i m p l y enumerate the number of examples. They a r e j u x t a p o s e d f o r a r e a s o n more cogent than that- they can be grouped under a common l a b e l : the purpose, q u i t e c l e a r l y , i s mutual i l l u m i n a t i o n . I f Lydgate were i n t e n d e d as a temptee a t a l l , she would p r o b a b l y have made him r e s i s t w i t h s u c c e s s : would have made him r e f u s e the money, as L a d i s l a w does (ch. 6 l ) . Mr. Daiches m i s s e s t h i s p o i n t when he says, "Both men y i e l d " (p. 6 l ) . H i s f a i l u r e h e r e i s s u r p r i s i n g , f o r though h i s b o o k l e t on Middlemarch c o n t a i n s o n l y a s i n g l e , b r i e f r e f e r e n c e t o Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r (p. 60), i t i s a p e r c e p t i v e one and e v i n c e s l i m i t e d r e c o g n i t i o n of the v i c a r ' s r o l e as a f o i l t o B u l s t r o d e . Commenting on George E l i o t ' s d i s c u s s i o n of Bulstrode'smoral c o n s c i o u s n e s s , ^ B a r b a r a Hardy a l s o r e c o g n i z e s t h i s (p. 108); she says " p a r a l l e l s and c o n t r a s t s . " And y e t , s u r p r i s i n g l y , she f a i l s to d i s c e r n F a r e b r o t h e r as a f o i l t o B u l s t r o d e i n "Two Temptations." - 16 o -he says: "The f u r t h e r i m p l i c a t i o n , t h a t s t a t e of mind r a t h e r than d o c t r i n e i s what produces t r u e m o r a l i t y , a l s o r e i n f o r c e s what i s suggested elsewhere i n the n o v e l — by the c h a r a c t e r of F a r e b r o t h e r f o r example." I f Mr. Daiches had a c t e d on t h i s i n s i g h t and c a r e f u l l y examined "the c h a r a c t e r of F a r e b r o t h e r " i n a c t i o n and i n the f u l l c o n t e x t of the n o v e l , he would p r o b a b l y have r e a l i z e d t h a t , i n Book ?, George E l i o t i s s u b j e c t i n g the " t r u e m o r a l i t y " of these two c o n t r a s t e d p e r s o n a l i t i e s t o the t e s t of t e m p t a t i o n . F a r e b r o t h e r passes t h i s t e s t w i t h f l y i n g c o l o r s . H i s t e c h n i q u e and conduct a r e d i s c u s s e d a t some l e n g t h i n Chapter 3 of the t h e s i s . I n the pantheon of George E l i o t ' s temptees, he i s the most i n s t r u c t i v e — n o t the most h i s t r i o n i c — exemplar of r e s i s t a n c e and s u c c e s s . There i s good r e a s o n t o t h i n k t h a t she has a s p e c i a l p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r him as a f o i l t o B u l s t r o d e , Evidence f o r t h i s b e l i e f i s t o be found p a r t l y i n Middlemarch, p a r t l y i n o t h e r n o v e l s , and p a r t l y i n h e r g r e a t essay "Worldiness and O t h e r - W o r l d i n e s s : the P o e t Young," which may be r e g a r d e d as a c o n v e n i e n t nexus f o r views t h a t a l s o permeate o t h e r essays or art i c l e s - * - ? and many 18 o f h e r l e t t e r s . The c o n c l u d i n g paragraph of t h i s essay i ^ F o r example, " E v a n g e l i c a l Teaching: Dr. Cummlng" (Westminster Review, Oct. 1855), i n E s s a y s of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas P i n n e y (New York: Columbia Univ. P r e s s , 1963), pp. 158-189. Harvey comments on i t as f o l l o w s : " T h i s i s one of the g r e a t c r i t i c a l essays of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y and i t c o n t a i n s i n embryo n e a r l y a l l we need t o know about the m o r a l and a e s t h e t i c bases of George E l i o t ' s n o v e l s . " The  A r t o f George E l i o t (London: Chatto & Windus, I 96 I ) , p. 37. - 161 -summarizes these views s u c c i n c t l y and memorably: The sum of our comparison i s t h i s : I n Young we have the type of t h a t d e f i c i e n t human sympathy, t h a t i m p i e t y towards the p r e s e n t and the v i s i b l e , Which f l i e s f o r i t s motives, i t s s a n c t i t i e s , and i t s r e l i g i o n , t o the remote, the vague, and the unknown; i n Cowper we have the type of t h a t genuine l o v e which c h e r i s h e s t h i n g s i n p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e i r n earness, and f e e l s i t s r e v e r e n c e grow i n p r o p o r t i o n t o the i n t i m a c y of i t s knowledge. 1" I cannot take space t o defend f u l l y the o p i n i o n t h a t , b r o a d l y s p e a k i n g , B u l s t r o d e r e f l e c t s Edward Young. I t seems to me t h a t anyone who has r e a d b o t h the essay and the n o v e l must concur, though the degree of the resemblance i s d e b a t a b l e . Two items of evidence may, however, be c i t e d . One of them c o n s i s t s i n " w o r l d l i n e s s " and i t s o p p o s i t e as key terms i n B u l s t r o d e * s c a n t . They a r e b a n d i e d about between him and Mr, V i n c y i n t h e i r s p a r r i n g about F r e d ( c h . 13), and a l s o ( i n a l e s s combative v e i n ) between him and h i s w i f e when th e y d i s c u s s Rosamond's engagement (ch, 36) . T a l k i n g w i t h Lydgate e a r l i e r i n Chapter 13 t he c o n t r a s t s h i s own " s a c r e d a c c o u n t a b l e n e s s " w i t h the " w o r l d l y o p p o s i t i o n " of those who d i f f e r from him ( i n t h i s case about the appointment of h i s p r o t e g e , Mr. Tyke, as c h a p l a i n a t the o l d i n f i r m a r y ) . The o t h e r i t e m of e v i d e n c e i s George E l i o t ' s amply e s t a b l i s h e d abhorrence and a d m i r a t i o n , r e s p e c t i v e l y , of the two a n t i p o d a l approaches to l i f e t h a t she here i d e n t i f i e s l 9 " W o r l d l i n e s s and O t h e r - W o r l d l i n e s s : the Poet Young' (Westminster Review, J a n . 1857), i n Pinney, E s s a y s . PP. 335-385. - 162 -(whether r i g h t l y o r wrongly does not m a t t e r ) w i t h Young and Cowper. F o r example, i n a l e t t e r t o C h a r l e s Bray (November 13, 1857), she remarks: I d i s l i k e e x tremely a passage . . . [ i n h i s book The P h i l o s o p h y of N e c e s s i t y ] i n which you appear to c o n s i d e r the d i s r e g a r d of i n d i v i d u a l s as a l o f t y c o n d i t i o n of mind. My own e x p e r i e n c e and development deepen e v e r y day my c o n v i c t i o n t h a t our moral p r o g r e s s may be measured by the degree i n which we sympathize w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s u f f e r i n g and i n d i v i d u a l j o y . ( L e t t e r s , I I , 403) Thomas A. Noble speaks of George E l i o t ' s " d o c t r i n e of sympathy" and r i g h t l y c a l l s i t "the c e n t r a l concept of [ h e r ] moral p h i l o s o p h y . " 2 0 Most conspicuous i n Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e , as he p o i n t s out, i t a l s o permeates h e r l a t e r n o v e l s . I n Middlemarch she comments as f o l l o w s on B u l s t r o d e ' s e v i l p a s t and on the c u r i o u s mental p r o c e s s e s by which he j u s t i f i e s i t t o h i m s e l f : "There i s no g e n e r a l d o c t r i n e which i s n o t c a p a b l e of e a t i n g out our m o r a l i t y i f unchecked by the deep-seated h a b i t of d i r e c t f e l l o w - f e e l i n g w i t h i n d i v i d u a l fellow-men" (ch. 6 l ) . E a r l i e r i n the same c h a p t e r she says, "Metaphors and p r e c e d e n t s were not wanting." One i s reminded of F e l i x H o l t ' s contemptuous o u t b u r s t : "Oh yes! , . . g i v e me a h a n d f u l o f g e n e r a l i t i e s and a n a l o g i e s , and I ' l l undertake t o j u s t i f y Burke and Hare . . . " (FH, ch. 16). The tendency of h e r age (and ours) " t o see a ground f o r complacency i n s t a t i s t i c s " (JR, ch. 22) was p a r t i c u l a r l y repugnant to George E l i o t , who f e l t t h a t "the m i s e r y of one c a s t s so tremendous a shadow as to e c l i p s e the b l i s s of n i n e t y - n i n e " (Ibid.) 20George E l i o t ' s Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e (New Haven and London: Y a l e Univ. P r e s s , 1965), ch. 3 . - 163 -I t would be unfounded to a s s e r t w i t h e q u a l c o n f i d e n c e and b l u n t n e s s t h a t F a r e b r o t h e r r e f l e c t s W i l l i a m Cowper. What may j u s t l y be c l a i m e d i s t h a t i n r e l a t i o n t o B u l s t r o d e , F a r e b r o t h e r p a r a l l e l s George E l i o t ' s view of Cowper more c l o s e l y than does any o t h e r c h a r a c t e r i n Middlemarch. H i s v e r y name i s s u g g e s t i v e of f a i r r a i n d e d n e s s and human brotherhood.2 1 Mary Garth equates him w i t h the V i c a r of W a k e f i e l d (ch. 57)» f o r whom most r e a d e r s c h e r i s h an a f f e c t i o n . Lydgate c a l l s him "'one of the most b l a m e l e s s men I e v e r knew'" (ch. 50) . L i k e Mr. I r w i n e i n Adam Bede, he i s l a x i n h i s s t r i c t l y p a r o c h i a l d u t i e s and even p l a y s c a r d s f o r money (ch. 50). He a l s o smokes a p i p e , an i n d u l g e n c e which " B u l s t r o d e and Company" h o l d a g a i n s t him ( c h . 17) , though i t i s r e a l l y a mote as a g a i n s t t h e i r beam. H i s f a u l t s , s i f t h e y can be c a l l e d t h a t , a r e v e n i a l ; t h e i r s a r e of the s p i r i t . I n e s s e n t i a l s he i s a t h o r o u g h l y good m a n — a g a i n l i k e Mr, I r w i n e — a s i s m a n i f e s t e d i n many s m a l l ways, among which h i s c a r e f o r h i s mother, aunt, and s i s t e r , and h i s g e n e r o s i t y t o F r e d a r e c o n s p i c u o u s . What he does f o r F r e d s e r v e s as a g l o s s on B u l s t r o d e ' s p r e t e n t i o u s and pompous m o r a l i z i n g ( c h . 13) about t h a t average young man, j u s t as h i s genuine f r i e n d s h i p f o r Lydgate (e.g.^ chs. 17, 63, 70) con-t r a s t s w i t h B u l s t r o d e * s use of him as a convenience. One r e c a l l s Mrs. P o y s e r ' s p i t h y comparison between Mr. I r w i n e and h i s s u c c e s s o r , Mr. Ryde, as quoted by the aged Adam Bede i n d i r e c t c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h h i s c r e a t o r s "'Mr. I r w i n e was l i k e a 21Since George E l i o t , u n l i k e D i c k e n s , seldom uses names i n t h i s way (except i n some of h e r e s s a y s ) , the e x c e p t i o n w i t h F a r e b r o t h e r i s worth n o t i n g . - 164 good meal o' v i c t u a l , you were the b e t t e r f o r him w i t h o u t t h i n k i n g on i t , and Mr. Ryde was l i k e a dose o* p h y s i c , he g r i p e d you and worreted you, and a f t e r a l l he l e f t you much the same'" (AB, ch. 17). I n more c o n v e n t i o n a l E n g l i s h , but I n the same s p i r i t , Lydgate t e l l s Dorothea t h a t "*a good d e a l of [Mr. T y k e ' s ] d o c t r i n e i s a s o r t of p i n c h i n g h a r d t o make peop l e u n c o m f o r t a b l y aware of him"' (M, ch. 50). As Mr. Ryde i s u n f a v o u r a b l y c o n t r a s t e d w i t h Mr. I r w i n e , so B u l s t r o d e ' s p r o t e g e , Mr. Tyke, i s u n f a v o u r a b l y c o n t r a s t e d w i t h Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r . Tyke teaches what B u l s t r o d e c a l l s " s p i r i t u a l r e l i g i o n , " by which he means h i s own o p i n i o n s (M, ch. 17) . We may be sure t h a t George E l i o t e s s e n t i a l l y agrees w i t h Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r when he t e l l s Lydgate» "I am opposed to B u l s t r o d e i n many ways. I don't l i k e the s e t he b e l o n g s t o i they a r e a narrow i g n o r a n t s e t , and do more t o make t h e i r neighbours uncomfortable than t o make them b e t t e r . T h e i r system i s a s o r t of w o r l d l y - s p i r i t u a l c l i q u e i s m : they r e a l l y l o o k on the r e s t of mankind as a doomed c a r c a s e which i s t o n o u r i s h them f o r heaven." (M, ch. 17) The v i c a r ' s sentiments and e x p r e s s i o n a r e here v e r y c l o s e t o s e v e r a l passages from " W o r l d l i n e s s and O t h e r - W o r l d l i n e s s j the P o e t Young," I n an e a r l i e r c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Lydgate, B u l s t r o d e c a l l s F a r e b r o t h e r "'a man d e e p l y p a i n f u l t o contemplate'" (ch. 1.3). One can h ear George E l i o t s a y i n g to h e r s e l f , " W e ' l l put them to the t e s t . " She does, and draws our a t t e n t i o n to the f a c t I n the motto f o r c h a p t e r 66— " ' • T i s one t h i n g to be tempted, E s c a l u s , / A n o t h e r t h i n g to f a l l ' " — a n d i n the t i t l e of Book 7--"Two Temptations." Chapter 7 THE FUSION OF TWO CONCEPTS: AESTHETIC TEACHING AND TEMPTATION Long before Henry James, George E l i o t worked out and held decided views on the theory of the novel i n general, and on her own a r t i n p a r t i c u l a r . She expressed them In many pertinent and f a m i l i a r pro-nouncements. 1 Because of t h e i r high relevance, I quote a few of them here. On J u l y 5$ 1859* about f i v e months a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of Adam Bede, she wrote i n a l e t t e r to her f r i e n d , Charles Brayt I f Art does not enlarge men's sympathies, i t does nothing morally. . . . the only e f f e c t I ardently long to produce by my writings, i s that those who read them should be better able to imagine and to f e e l the pains and the joys of those who d i f f e r from themselves i n everything but the broad f a c t of being struggling e r r i n g human creatures. (Letters, I I I , 111) And some seven years l a t e r (August 15» 1866), i n a l e t t e r to her young Comtist f r i e n d , Frederic Harrison, !See, e s p e c i a l l y , George E l i o t ' s two a r t i c l e s , "The Natural History of German L i f e " and " S i l l y Novels by Lady Novelists." Both appeared i n v o l . 66, 1856, of the Westminster Revlewt the f i r s t i n the J u l y issue, pp. 51-79? the second i n the October issue, pp. 442-461. Both are reprinted i n Thomas Pinney, ed., Essays of George E l i o t (New York* Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1963), pp. 266-299 and 300-324. On September 23 of that same year—1856— George E l i o t began her own w r i t i n g of f i c t i o n with "Amos Barton." See a l s o these two booksi Richard Stang, The Theory  of the Novel i n Englandi 1850-1870 (New Yorkj Columbia Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1959) and Kenneth Graham, E n g l i s h  C r i t i c i s m of the Novelt 1865-1900 (Oxford* Clarendon Press, 1965). - 166 -she remarkedi I think aesthetic teaching i s the highest of a l l teaching because i t deals with l i f e i n i t s highest complexity. But i f i t ceases to be purely a e s t h e t i c — i f i t lapses anywhere from the picture to the diagram—it becomes the most offensive of a l l teaching. (Letters, IV, 300) In her later years, especially, she emphasized that her social contribution must be made through the medium of art. Thus on January 25, I876, she commented i n a l e t t e r to Dr. Joseph Frank Paynet But my writing i s simply a set of experiments i n l i f e L 2 J . . , , I become more and more timid—with less daring to adopt any formula which does not get i t s e l f clothed for me i n some human figure and individual experience, and perhaps t h a t i s a s i g n that i f I help others to see at a l l i t must be through that medium of art. (Letters, VI, 216-217) Like the rest of us, George E l i o t often f e l l a long way below her own idealt her work certainly exhibits serious lapses from the picture to the diagramj and i n a l e t t e r (dated October 29, I876) to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe—. author of Uncle Tom's Cabin—she defends the Zionist part of Daniel Deronda on blatantly didactic grounds.3 Her best work, however, does achieve a close approach to the presentation of l i f e i n i t s highest complexityt partly for that reason, i t succeeds i n enlarging the 2Bernard J . Paris adopts those three words—experi-ments i n l i f e — a s the main t i t l e of his book (Detroiti Wayne State University Press, 1965) on George E l i o t . 3Letters, V I , 301-302. - 167 -reader's sympathies. And her best work, c e r t a i n l y , Includes the struggles of her great temptees. These struggles are presented so convincingly, so perceptively, so dramatically, that a creative reader, p a r t i c i p a t i n g imaginatively, may i d e n t i f y him-s e l f with the temptee, experience the t h r i l l or shock of recognition, and i n consequence amend h i s own conduct. P o s s i b l y a l i e n to us (though I f a i l to see why i t should be), such a response appeared natural to the author's contemporaries. Fortunately, we possess someevidence of i t s occurrence. Readers 9 reactions to two of the greatest temptees—Bulstrode and Gwendolen—included the following instances! i n November, 1872, when Middle-march, Book 7. had Just been published, a M i n i s t e r , preaching a sermon on the prophet Hosea, referre d to Bulstrode i n these termsj "Many of you no doubt have read the work which that great teacher George E l i o t i s now publishing and have shuddered as I shuddered at the awful d i s s e c t i o n of a g u i l t y conscience. Well, that Is what I mean by the prophetic s p i r i t . " 4 S i m i l a r l y , a young lady i n New York g r a t e f u l l y ascribed her rescue from probable d i s a s t e r to beholding i n the experience of Gwendolen an ominous semblance of the doom she h e r s e l f had been unconsciously courting! "• . , . much gratitude f o r being saved, by reading Daniel Deronda, from marrying a man whom [ i ] could not love, ^From a l e t t e r by George Henry Lewes to John Blackwood, dated November 25, 1872. L e t t e r s . V, 333; quoted i n Haight, George E l i o t , p. 445. - 168 -but whom [I] was disposed to accept for the sake of his wealth . . . .•"5 Precisely. A number of the temptees conclude one phase of their tussle i n doing what at the outset appeared as abhorrent and as impossible to them as i t does to the reader, who perhaps murmurs something l i k e , "Here but for the grace of God go I," on realizing that, despite equal revulsion and equally good intentions, he too may (in Pope's words) " . . . f i r s t endure, then pity, then embrace." Hence he cannot but be driven to take precautions against himself, and to try to.learn through the medium of George Eliot's art what the temptees there portrayed leam only i n consequence of harrowing suffering, both for themselves and others, and generally not u n t i l i t i s too latet not too late, indeed, for profiting from their experience by doing better i n future, but too late to undo the harm to others, and i n part to themselves, that has already arisen from their past conduct. Thus, simply by the outstanding success with which she depicts the struggles of her great temptees, George E l i o t f u l f i l l s i n ample measure one of her main functions as an aesthetic teacher of morals. Her aesthetic and her didactic impulses triumphantly fuse into a single, powerful, and salutary effect on the reader. George E l i o t thinks of l i f e primarily as conduct, 5According to a l e t t e r from George E l i o t to William Blackwood, written i n July 1877. Letters. VI, 396-397i quoted i n Haight, George E l i o t , p. 491. - 1 6 9 -defined In i t s widest sense to Include the part that, roughly speaking, corresponds to Arnold's "culture." Viewed i n t h i s way, the problems of human choice and act i o n f i n d neat expression i n one of Bishop Thomas Wilson's maxims, repeatedly quoted by Arnold throughout Culture and Anarchyt " ' F i r s t , never go against the best l i g h t you havei secondly, take care that your l i g h t be not d a r k n e s s . ' " 6 As exacting i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n as i t i s concise, t h i s c r u c i a l i n j u n c t i o n (or i t s equivalent) shines as a guiding s t a r from the sky above George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n a l world. Apt to be metamorphosed i n t o manifold, b a f f l i n g impediments upon contact with an ac t u a l set of circumstances, i t constrains each i n d i v i d u a l to a l i f e - l o n g , ceaseless struggle. His performance i n that struggle determines h i s worth and ( i n human as d i s t i n c t from t h e o l o g i c a l terms) h i s sal v a t i o n . I t a l s o e n t a i l s far-reaching consequences f o r a l l those who come i n contact with him, and indeed f o r human l i f e i n general. Each one of the novels abounds i n confirmation of these l a s t two statements. By way of obvious i l l u s t r a t i o n , we may c i t e part of the author's comment on Maggie's culmin-a t i n g dilemma, one of F e l i x ' s exhortations to Esther, and a few of the famous c l o s i n g words of Middlemarch. 6The quotation i s found, among other places, near the opening of chapter 4, e n t i t l e d "Hebraism and Hellenism." In the "Notes" to h i s e d i t i o n of Culture and Anarchy (Cambridge, 1932), p. 213, John Dover Wilson t e l l s us that Arnold f i r s t found a copy of the Maxims i n h i s father's study a t Fox How i n I867. The Bishop's dates are 1663-1755. 170 -"Moral judgments must remain f a l s e and hollow, unless they are checked and enlightened by a perpetual r e f e r -ence to the s p e c i a l circumstances that mark the i n d i v i d u a l l o t " (MP, bk. 7, ch. 2)? " 9You may be e i t h e r a b l e s s i n g or a curse to many*" (FH, ch. 10)j "The growing good of the world i s p a r t l y dependent on u n h i s t o r i c acts" (M, " F i n a l e " ) . Once we accept Bishop Wilson's maxim as an adequate formulation of George E l i o t ' s basic approach to human l i f e , we recognize that the word "temptation" must be understood i n two senses—with the usual pro-v i s o that the d i s t i n c t i o n i s not absolute—whenever we are discussing her novels. I n i t s wider sense i t encompasses everything that hinders us from following one part or both parts of the Bishop's i n j u n c t i o n i from doing the best we could do and being the best we could be. I t includes—borrowing Arnold's terms—our "ordinary s e l f " as d i s t i n c t from our "best s e l f " ? and the "spots^ of commoness" (M, ch. 15) i n a Lydgate. I n i t s more l i m i t e d and semi-technical sense, i t r e f e r s to a major character struggling with a s p e c i f i c temptation, and to the elaborate presentation of that struggle and i t s consequences. Obviously, every temptee i n the second sense i s also a temptee i n the f i r s t ; and obviously, 7The d i s t i n c t i o n between our "ordinary s e l f " and our "best s e l f " i s emphasized throughout Culture and  Anarchy, and e s p e c i a l l y i n the l a s t few pages of chapter 2, e n t i t l e d "Doing as One Likes." - 171 -too, most human beings ( i n l i t e r a t u r e as i n l i f e ) are concerned with temptation i f we define the word i n the f i r s t sense. The common and mistaken b e l i e f that Lydgate 9 s i s one of the "Two Temptations" i n Book 7 of Middlemarch derives from f a i l u r e to d i s t i n g u i s h between these two senses* ., ; r :. Why i s the charge "Temptation—nothing els e " more applicable to George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n than to most other works of l i t e r a t u r e ? P a r t l y because of the i n -c l u s i o n i n every novel of a major character grappling with temptation i n the l i m i t e d and semi-technical sense, but p r i m a r i l y because she views, presents, and judges her characters—and a l s o encourages the characters to judge themselves and o t h e r s — i n terms of t h e i r endeavour to apply Bishop Wilson's i n j u n c t i o n or i t s equivalent. These e f f o r t s are of course beset with endless d i f f i -c u l t i e s and problems—psychological, s o c i a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l . The pattern of temptation provides a l o c a l h a b i t a t i o n and a name f o r the struggle and f o r the hindrances! i t i s t h e i r embodiment. Let us b r i e f l y r e c a p i t u l a t e the pattern. At the center of the c o n f l i c t stands the p r i n c i p a l temptee, planted (metaphorically speaking) with one foot on each side of the moral boundary that divides George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n a l world. His struggle to r e s i s t i s described at length and with great penetration, and usu a l l y c u l -minates i n defeat. The defeat r e s u l t s i n acute and protracted nemesis, both f o r himself and f o r most of - 172 -those with whom he has been associated. Nemesis may-even be present when a p r i n c i p a l temptee r e s i s t s success-f u l l y , as Esther Lyon doesi the a p p a l l i n g spectacle of Mrs. Transome's nemesis helps her to make the r i g h t choice. The associates p a r t i c i p a t e i n the c o n f l i c t , not only through the s u f f e r i n g that the p r i n c i p a l temptee unwittingly i n f l i c t s on them, but a l s o through animated discussion i n various forms of the moral issues involved. Their own problems and cases often present p a r a l l e l or contrasting s i t u a t i o n s that serve to illuminate, and enrich the c e n t r a l c o n f l i c t . The author's voice, used with increasing subtlety as we pass from the early to the l a t e r novels, hovers over the scene, commenting, guiding, analyzing; and i n general helping us to keep hold of the c e n t r a l moral clue i n the midst of much complexity. The rhythm of l i f e , upset by the temptee*s wrongdoing, i s tsstially restored i n some degree before the novel ends, and the temptee himself derives the well-known purgatory b e n e f i t from h i s s u f f e r i n g (unless he sinks deeper and deeper, as T i t o does). He ends a sadder and a wiser mam wiser because he would know bett e r i f he could r e l i v e the span of h i s l i f e that we have witnessed; sadder because he knows that he cannot. The wrong that he has i n f l i c t e d on others i s i n a large measure i r r e t r i e v a b l e ! and the opportunity f o r a morally higher l i f e that had beckoned to him i s gone and may - 173 -never recur. We r e c a l l Arthur Donnithorne*s belated realization that "'There i s a sort of wrong that can never be made up for*" (AB, "Epilogue"), and Gwendolen*s feeling that "She [ i s ] a banished soul—beholding a possible l i f e which she had sinned herself away from" (DD, ch. 57). Moral continuity resulting from singleness of vision i s the central clue, I believe, to an understanding of George Eliot*s novels. I t i s also the hallmark of her pattern of temptation and a major source of i t s scope and power. Many excellences and some weaknesses that c r i t i c s have either noted i n isolation or p a r t i a l l y missed f a l l i n line and cohere once we recognize her f i c t i o n a l world as the emanation of a mind that sees, guides, and judges i n terms of the struggle to apply Bishop Wilson's injunction, and that i s able to present the struggle with unusual breadth and power. Singleness of vision does not, of course, mean narrowness of vision. The two parts of the injunction give equal weight to the conscience and to the mind (or consciousness)—roughly equivalent to Arnold*s "Hebraism and Hellenism"*-1—and the standards that George E l i o t brings to bear upon both are of the highest. A l l men must fight the battle to walk staunchly by the best lig h t they have and to take 8cf. Culture and Anarchy, ch. 4. U.C. KnoepfImacher stresses the a f f i n i t i e s between George E l i o t and Arnold (Religious Humanism and the Victorian Novel [Princeton, 1965J), especially pp. 60-71. - 174 -care that t h e i r l i g h t be not darkness. Thus the p r i n -c i p a l temptee, straddling the two moral worlds i n t o which the novel i s divided (broadly speaking) and f i g h t i n g h i s b a t t l e with a s p e c i f i c temptation, i s seen i n perspective as part of the great b a t t l e with temptation i n the wider sense—the b a t t l e from which none can escapei i n which a l l men, within the novel and without, must p a r t i c i p a t e . By and large, George E l i o t does divide her world into two camps, with a boundary between them, but moral continuity i s maintained because she applies the same standards of'judgment to both sides, and perceives and exhibits the grades of goodness and badness with un-usual penetration. She never forgets that a small glass and a large glass cannot hold the same amount of water, though they may be equally f u l l . At her best she even recognizes that there i s no absolute break as we pass from one side of the d i v i d i n g l i n e to the other. In F e l i x Holt, f o r example, the two contrasted poles are the world of the protagonist and the world of Transome Court, where Harold and h i s p a r e n t s — t h a t i s , h i s mother and his natural father, the unsavoury lawyer Matthew Jermyn—are the p r i n c i p a l f i g u r e s . Between them stands Esther Lyon, l e g a l h e i r to Transome Court, and wooed by both F e l i x and Harold. A temptee i n the l i m i t e d and semi-technical sense, she I s , i n e v i t a b l y , a lso a temptee i n the f i r s t and wider sensei she i s part of the spectrum or hierarchy of i n d i v i d u a l and - 175 -unfolding moral values that extends from pole to pole, cutting across any boundary between moral camps, as climate and vegetation ignore p o l i t i c a l boundaries. Early In the novel, before the influence of Felix Holt has begun i t s fermenting work within her, Esther might be rated lower than two good women of very limited scope—Mrs. Transome*s f a i t h f u l attendant, Denner, and Felix's mother, Mrs, Holt. They at least are useful, devoted, active, and frugal, while the unregenerate Esther i s vain, i d l e , frivolous, and luxury-loving. But her potential as a human being i s greater than theirs, and once the best that l i e s latent within her has been stirred, she reaches moral heights that are certainly beyond the ken of Mrs. Holt. With Denner one hesitates to make a dogmatic pronouncement. More Intelligent than Mrs. Holt, she might i n propitious circumstances have developed, a long way beyond her actual level i n the novel. As for Mrs. Transome, the contrast between what she i s and what we are constantly made aware that she might have been i s so poignant that i t hurts. Those most intimately associated with her at Transome Court—her son Harold and Harold's natural father, Matthew Jermyn—are discriminated with equal s k i l l and insight. A long way below Felix Holt, Harold nevertheless towers above Jermyn, whose own standards are higher than those of his electioneering agent, Mr. Johnson, As Shakespeare can have three murderers on the stage for - 176 -ten minutes and make each speak d i f f e r e n t l y , so George E l i o t discerns and presents the v a r i e t i e s of moral scope.9 In consequence of such discernment, the r e s u l t of an outlook as homogeneous as i t i s wide and penetrating, an atmosphere of moral continuity pervades the novels. Even the minor characters contribute s i g n i f i c a n t l y to the c e n t r a l theme. For example, nearly everyone i n The M i l l on the Floss struggles tenaciously to remain f a i t h f u l to the best l i g h t he h a s — t h a t i s , i n e f f e c t , to guide himself by the f i r s t part of the Bishop's twin i n j u n c t i o n . The p r i n c i p a l temptee—Maggie—tries very hardj but so does Tom, and much more suc c e s s f u l l y ! so does Mrs. Glegg, e s p e c i a l l y i n the chapter e n t i t l e d "Showing that Old Acquaintances are Capable of Surp r i s i n g us" (Bk. 7, ch. 3)i so does benighted Mrs. T u l l i v e r i so ( i r o n i c a l l y and to h i s own ruin) does the headstrong and Impetuous father» so does P h i l i p Wakem. The author's moral v i s i o n extends equally to the p r i n c i p a l temptee, to minor temptees of the semi-technical kind, and to the other characters, most of whom are also temptees— i n the wider and looser sense. Applying the same moral standards to a l l , as George E l i o t h e r s e l f does, the reader perceives that t h e i r judgments of each other are often grossly astray. Shocked by sudden recognition of the close correspondence i n t h i s respect between the 9The discussion of F e l i x Holt i n th i s paragraph and. the preceding one owes something to Joan Bennett's George E l i o t t Her Mind and Her Ar t (Cambridge, 1948), ch. 9. - 177 -n o v e l and a c t u a l l i f e , he may h e n c e f o r t h o r i e n t h i m s e l f toward g r e a t e r c a u t i o n , u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and sympathy i n r e a c h i n g c o n c l u s i o n s about h i s fellow-men\ Whenever George E l i o t i n f l u e n c e s a reader i n t h i s way, her aim of moral t e a c h i n g through a r t i s v i n d i c a t e d t r i u m p h a n t l y . The p l o t impinges p r i m a r i l y on the second o f the twin i n j u n c t i o n s * "Take care t h a t your l i g h t be not darkness." Confronted w i t h c h a l l e n g e , c r i s i s , e x c e p t i o n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s , unforeseen r e v e l a t i o n s o f c h a r a c t e r , e v e r y o n e — t h a t i s , the temptees i n the semi-t e c h n i c a l sense, as w e l l as those i n the wider and l o o s e r i s f o r c e d to re-examine h i s p r e v i o u s g u i d i n g s t a r s , h i s p r e v i o u s " l i g h t , " I t i s t h i s j o l t — o f t e n amounting to a v i o l e n t wrench, a d i s l o c a t i o n — t h a t o c c a s i o n s the a g i t a t e d moral debates so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f the n o v e l s , and l e n d s support to George E l i o t ' s c o n c e p t i o n of her own work as "simply a s e t of experiments i n l i f e " ( l e t t e r s , V I , 216). I t a l s o g i v e s f u l l scope to her t a l e n t f o r p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s , f o r showing how a c h a r a c t e r develops, and f o r p r e s e n t i n g moral c o m p l e x i t y — s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l — without moral c o n f u s i o n . Her n o v e l s never d i s t r e s s the r e a d e r by r e p r e s e n t i n g human l i f e as a b e w i l d e r i n g maze to which no c l u e can be found. V/.ithin obvious l i m i t s , she knows what to t h i n k and what to b e l i e v e . Her "experiments" do l e a d to c e r t a i n con-c l u s i o n s , or c o n f i r m those they were d e v i s e d to c o n f i r m . Anxious to g i v e a l l t h a t she has, and s e e i n g the o n l y - 178 -p r a c t i c a b l e way i n the f u l l e s t p o s s i b l e communication, she i s prepared to complement the v o i c e o f h e r c h a r a c t e r s w i t h the j u d i c i o u s use o f her own. George E l i o t *s a b i l i t y t o show how a c h a r a c t e r develops, so remarkably d i s p l a y e d i n the f i g u r e o f the p r i n c i p a l temptee, extends e q u a l l y to those w i t h whom he i s a s s o c i a t e d , and indeed to most o f the major c h a r a c t e r s . Examples abound throughout the n o v e l s . Adam Bede and Tom T u l l i v e r , f o r i n s t a n c e , r i g i d and s e l f - r i g h t e o u s , from the b e g i n n i n g of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e n o v e l s walk s t a u n c h l y (and w i t h g r e a t success) by the b e s t l i g h t they have, but b o t h d i s c o v e r b e f o r e the end t h a t t h e i r p r e v i o u s l i g h t had been p a r t l y darkness. Tom's change takes the form of a sudden f l a s h o f i n s i g h t i n the l a s t few minutes o f h i s l i f e : I t [j'the f u l l meaning of what had happened"7 came w i t h so overpowering a f o r c e — i t was such a new r e v e l a t i o n to h i s s p i r i t , o f the depths i n l i f e t h a t had l a i n beyond h i s v i s i o n , which he had f a n c i e d so keen and c l e a r . (MF, "bk. 7 , ch. 5) Adam's i s much more g r a d u a l and p r o t r a c t e d , and may e a s i l y be imagined to continue (under h i s w i f e ' s i n f l u e n c e ) beyond the c l o s e o f the n o v e l . H i s words to A r t h u r j u s t p r i o r to t h e i r f i n a l (except f o r the " E p i l o g u e " ) p a r t -i n g i n the Wood (AB, ch. 48) may be c i t e d as p a r t i -c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g i l l u s t r a t i o n s . Eeva Stump's book on George E l i o t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e , but she does have a p o i n t - 179 -i n emphasizing the importance of vision.1° At times one i s reminded of Shakespeare's "Light, seeking l i g h t , doth l i g h t of l i g h t beguile."11 I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that so i n t e l l e c t u a l an author as George E l i o t should do f u l l j u s t i c e to that part of the Bishop's twin i n j u n c t i o n . Talking about Lydgate a f t e r Bulstrode's exposure, Farebrother and Dorothea exchange these words* "Character i s not cut i n m a r b l e — i t i s not something s o l i d and unalterable. I t i s something l i v i n g and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do." "Then i t may be rescued and healed," said Dorothea. (M, ch. 72) The truth expressed i n t h i s dialogue i s demonstrated again and again i n George E l i o t ' s writings. S i l a s Marner w i l l immediately come to mind as an obvious example. But the person referr e d to i n the dialogue i s himself a memorable i l l u s t r a t i o n . The completely convincing pre-sentation of Lydgate's t r a g i c transformation from ardent s c i e n t i s t and medical reformer to fashionable physician ranks among George E l i o t ' s great achievements. The author leads us to think that Lydgate's f a l l Is due to h i s own "spots of commonness"(M, ch. 15) combined with " t h i s petty medium of Middlemarch" (ch. 18). lOMovement and V i s i o n i n George E l i o t ' s Novels (Seattle, 1959). Also to the point are the protagonist•s words on v i s i o n during h i s walk with Esther i n chapter 27 of F e l i x Holt. ll L o v e ' s Labour's Lost, I , i , 77. - 180 -Her special aptitude for presenting l i f e as a moral struggle i s i n large measure dependent on her a b i l i t y to show how the inner and outer fact interact, and to do f u l l justice to both. Ever mindful that "there i s no creature whose inward being i s so strong that i t i s not greatly determined by what l i e s outside i t " (M, "Finale"), she deliberately involves her temptees i n circumstances calculated to expose and act on their weakest spots. Emphasis on the "medium" i s very strong throughout the novels, so much so that a fine anthology entitled Scenes of English Town and Village L i f e i n the Early  Nineteenth Century might be compiled from George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n . The worlds of Milby, Hayslope, St. Ogg's, Raveloe, Treby Magna, and Middlemarch are memorable cases i n p o i n t . 1 2 They should not, however, be regarded as "background," except i n the sense that they constitute the outer fact for each of their inhabitants. I t i s much more helpful to think of them as arenas i n the struggle to apply Bishop Wilson's twin injunction. This view emphasizes moral continuity resulting from the author's singleness of vision and judgment, and reminds us that practically a l l of her characters are temptees i n the 12Much less f e l i c i t o u s l y , George E l i o t adheres to the same principle i n her presentation of Florence at the close of the fifteenth century (cf. Romola. ch. 21, second paragraph, and Letters. IV, 97). The only i n -tentional exception—the exception that proves the r u l e -i s Daniel Deronda, where the protagonist's and Gwendolen's rootlessness forms part of the author's conception (cf. DD, ch. 3, opening). - 181 -f i r s t and wider sense of the word. The arenas become not only the physical but the moral s e t t i n g f o r the concentrated struggle that i s focused on the p r i n c i p a l temptees--on the temptees i n the more l i m i t e d and semi-tech n i c a l sense. A comparison of Middlemarch with Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point may be i l l u m i n a t i n g . They are a l i k e i n some respectss both, emphasize discussion, both present many varie d points of view, both are preoccupied with moral problems, both are remarkable f o r t h e i r play of Ideas. But Huxley's novel i s t a l k y i n a way that George E l i o t ' s i s decidedly not. Her c l o s e s t equivalent, perhaps i s a long p h i l o s o p h i c a l discussion i n blank verse, e n t i t l e d "A College Breakfast Party." Far l e s s would be l o s t i f a l l the characters i n Point Counter Point were simply s i t t i n g round a table and discussing t h e i r subjects than would be l o s t i f the characters i n Middlemarch were to do the same. P a r t l y t h i s i s simply due to a difference i n tale n t , Huxley may be George E l i o t ' s equal i n i n t e l l i g e n c but she i s by f a r the more g i f t e d n o v e l i s t . To a much greater extent than Huxley can she embody herideas i n l i v i n g , recognizable characters and s i t u a t i o n s . Mark Rampion, f o r example, i s e v e r l a s t i n g l y advocating the "whole l i f e , " but we never see him l i v i n g i t . By contrast Lydgate's i n t e l l e c t u a l passion i s splendidly a c t u a l i z e d (as i s Klesmer's musical genius i n Daniel Deronda)t the reader i s not asked to b e l i e v e — h e sees and f e e l s . Her best characters assume a l i f e of t h e i r own, f a r beyond any - 182 -requirements of the moral scheme; o r r a t h e r , the moral scheme i t s e l f becomes more complex i n p r o p o r t i o n as the c h a r a c t e r s develop. One may suspect an o r i g i n a l diagram, but i t i s f a r out of s i g h t . ^ L i k e Browning, George E l i o t seems t o f i n d t h a t "speaking t r u t h " can b e s t be done "the a r t i s t i c way." 1^ Her n o v e l s are d i s t i n g u i s h e d , p o w e r f u l , and a b s o r b i n g ( a t times g r e a t ) , not because o f any q u a l i t i e s i n h e r e n t i n the p a t t e r n of temptation, but because the p a t t e r n r e s u l t e d from e x t r a o r d i n a r y t a l e n t s used i n the a r t i s t i c p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a s i n g l e , c oherent, and i n t e n s e v i s i o n o f human l i f e . W r i t i n g i n the 1930*s, Huxley l a c k e d ^ c f . "I t h i n k a e s t h e t i c t e a c h i n g i s the h i g h e s t of a l l t e a c h i n g because i t d e a l s w i t h l i f e i n i t s h i g h e s t c o m p l e x i t y . But i f i t ceases to be p u r e l y a e s t h e t i c — i f l t l a p s e s anywhere from the p i c t u r e to the d i a g r a m -i t becomes the most o f f e n s i v e of a l l teachings ( L e t t e r s , IV, 300). P a r t i a l l a p s e s do o c c u r j they i n c l u d e Homola, F e l i x H o l t , and ( e s p e c i a l l y ) Mordecai i n D a n i e l Deronda. T h e i r r e l a t i v e i n f r e q u e n c y i s one measure of George E l i o t ' s g r e a t n e s s and i n s p i r a t i o n . ll*Cf. The R i n g and the Book. X I I , 841-844; a l s o , George E l i o t ' s remarkt " I f I h e l p o t h e r s to see a t a l l , i t must be through t h a t medium of a r t " ( L e t t e r s , V I , 217). B e r n a r d J . P a r i s d e r i v e s the t i t l e o f h i s book ( D e t r o i t , 1965) from words i n the same letter« "My w r i t i n g i s s i m p l y a s e t of Experiments i n L i f e " [ c a p i t a l s and i t a l i c s addedJ.. The i n t o l e r a n c e , sarcasm, and dogmatism of h e r essays on Dr. John Cumming ( " E v a n g e l i c a l T e a c h i n g . . .") and on Edward Young ("Worldllness and O t h e r - W o r l d l i n e s s . . . " ) , both i n Thomas Pinney, ed., Essays of George  E l i o t (New York, 1963), may b e ' c o n t r a s t e d w i t h the p i t y , u n d e r s t a n d i n g , and even sympathy she shows toward B u l s t r o d e , whom she endows w i t h most o f the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t she f l a y s i n these gentlemen. - 183 -the v i s i o n (or any equivalent)15 that constitutes so v i t a l a source of George E l i o t ' s creative energy, and imparts so c h a r a c t e r i s t i o and memorable a stamp to the image of human l i f e she has l e f t us. I t i s an image that, i n Milton's words, one would not w i l l i n g l y l e t die. Based on a secular f a i t h i n the p o t e n t i a l n o b i l i t y and gradual p e r f e c t i b i l i t y of human nature—George E l i o t c a l l e d h e r s e l f a " m e l i o r i s t " — i t appeals to the modern reader, f o r i t emphasizes psychological analysis and development, s o c i a l background, and i n t e l l e c t u a l com-p l e x i t y . Freed from t h e o l o g i c a l or other dogma, 1°* George E l i o t steers c l e a r (except f o r occasional lapses) of the o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and r i g i d i t y that, by twentieth-century standards, v i t i a t e the approach to temptation i n many older works of l i t e r a t u r e . Her humanism has found wide recognition and admiration i n 1 5 i f one had to f i n d a motto f o r Point Counter Point (other than Huxley's own), one might choose two l i n e s from Macbeth ( I , i , 11-12) that George E l i o t c i t e s and s p e c i f i c a l l y deprecates i n her essay "Moral Swindlers" (Impressions of Theophrastus Such [Edinburgh! William Blackwood and Sons, 1901J), ch. 16, p. 158: " ' F a i r i s f o u l , and f o u l i s f a i n / H o v e r through the fog and f i l t h y a i r . , M l^Auguste Comte's, f o r example. Richard Congreve, founder of the P o s i t i v i s t community i n London, and a close f r i e n d of George E l i o t and Lewes since 1859» wrote i n 1880i "She i s not nor ever has been more than by her acceptance of the general idea of Humanity a P o s i t i v i s t . . . [she] never accepted the d e t a i l s of the system, never went beyond the c e n t r a l idea" (quoted by Gordon S. Haight i n L e t t e r s . I , l x i i ) . - 184 -the 1960's, even from c r i t i c s whose i n t e r e s t does not c e n t e r on her. 1'' A t the same time she does d e s c r y and f o l l o w c e r t a i n g u i d i n g s t a r s of conduct; she does have c o n v i c t i o n s and regards i t as p a r t of a n o v e l i s t ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o make the r e a d e r aware o f the f a c t . We a r e never p e r m i t t e d t o throw up our hands i n moral d e s p a i r . She abhors the t e n d e n c y — s o c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of our t i m e — t o see a c o n f u s i o n t h a t makes nonsense of e t h i c a l judgments. Complexity must i n a l l circumstances be g r a p p l e d w i t h , as a dog g r a p p l e s w i t h a bone. There always remains "the l e a s t p a r t i a l good" (M, ch. 20) t o be sought by means of "the conduct which, i n every human r e l a t i o n , would f o l l o w from the f u l l e s t knowledge and the f u l l e s t sympathy." 1^ •^Major p a r t s o f the f o l l o w i n g books a r e devoted t o George E l i o t : C.B. Cox, The Fr e e S p i r i t : a Study of  L i b e r a l Humanism . . . (London, 1963); U.C. Knoepflmacher, R e l i g i o u s Humanism and the V i c t o r i a n Novel . . . ( P r i n c e t o n , 1965)% Laurence L e r n e r , The T r u t h t e l l e r s . . . (London, 1967). 18"Moral S w i n d l e r s , " i n Impressions of Theophrastus  Such . . ., L i b r a r y e d i t i o n (Edinburgh and London: W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, 1901), p. 158. Omitted from Thomas Pinney's c o l l e c t i o n , t h i s essay i s a t p r e s e n t out of p r i n t . — I n c h a p t e r 50 of Adam Bede, George E l i o t r e f e r s t o sympathy as ?the one poor word which i n c l u d e s a l l our "best i n s i g h t and our b e s t l o v e . " - 185 -BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Cross, J.W. George E l i o t ' s L i f e as Related  In Her Letters and Journals. New Ed. Edinburgh and London* William Blackwood and Sons, [n.d.3. E l i o t , George. The Works of George E l i o t . E d i t i o n de Luxe. 8 v o l s . New Yorkt The Nottingham Society, [n.d.]. «,«,_«,—.. The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. Halght. 7 v o l s . New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 195^-55. . Essays of George E l i o t , ed. Thomas Pinney. New Yorkt Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1963. — I m p r e s s i o n s of Theophrastus Such [and] Essays and Leaves from a Note-book. Works of George E l i o t . V o l . X. Li b r a r y ed. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1901. — . The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems Old and" New. The Works of George E l i o t . Vol. X. Cabinet ed. Edinburgh and London William Blackwood and Sons, [n.d.]. • — — . The Spanish Gypsy. The Works of  George E l i o t . V ol. IX. Cabinet ed. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, [n.d.]. • . Wise, Witty, and Tender Sayings i n Prose and Verse„ s e l . from the WORKS OF GEORGE ELIOT, by Alexander Main. 11th ed, Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1904. - 186 -El i o t , George. Scenes, of C l e r i c a l L i f e . Introd., by Grace Rhys, Everyman's Library, no. 468. Londom J.M. Dent, 1932. — . Adam Bede. Introd. by Gordon S. Haight. New Yorkj Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965. .... The M i l l on the Floss. Ed. with an introd., and notes, by Gordon S. Haight. Riverside ed. Bostorn Houghton M i f f l i n Co., 1961. , Silas Marner. the Weaver of Raveloe. Ed. with an introd., by Q.D. Leavls. Penguin English Library, EL 30. Harmondsworthi Penguin Books Ltd., 1967. Silas Mamer. The Lifted V e i l . Brother Jacob. With an introd., by Theodore Watts-Dunton. The World's Classics. Londom Oxford University Press, 196 .^ Romola. With an introd., by Viola Meynell. The World's Classics. Londom Oxford University Press, I965. - — — — . Felix Holt, the Radical. Introd., by Sid Chaplin. A London Panther, London» Hunt Barnard & Co., Ltd., 1965. „ — — , Middlemarch1 a Study of Provincial  L i f e . Ed. with an introd,, and notes, by Gordon S. Haight. Riverside edition. Boston*. Houghton M i f f l i n , 1956. — — , Daniel Deronda. Ed. with an introd., by Barbara Hardy. Penguin Books. Harmondsworthi Penguin Books Ltd., 1967. Feuerbach, Ludwig. The Essence of Christianity, t r . from the German by Marian Evans. [_1854J. Introductory essay by Karl Barthj foreword by H. Richard Niebuhr. Harper Torchbooksj The Cloister Library. New Yorkt Harper & Row, 1957. Mudge, Isadore G., and Sears, M.E, A George  El i o t Dlotlonaryi The Characters and Scenes  of the Novels, Stories, and Poems, Alphabetically Arranged"! Londom George Routledge, 1924. - 187 -. SECONDARY SOURCESt GEORGE ELIOT A. BOOKS Allen, Walter. George E l i o t . Masters of World Literature Series, New Yorki Macmillan, 1964. Beaty, Jerome. 'Middlemarch', from Notebook  to Novelt A Study of George El i o t ' s Creative  Method. I l l i n o i s Studies i n Language and " Literature, vol. 47. Urbanat University of I l l i n o i s Press, i960. Bennett, Joan. George E l i o t fEng.1i Her Mind  and Her Art. Cambridge University Press, 1962. [c 19^8]. Blind, Mathllde. George E l i o t . Eminent Women Series. Londoni W.H. Allen and Co., 1883. Browning, Oscar. Li f e of George E l i o t . "Great Writers", ed. by Professor Eric S, Robertson, M.A. London1 Walter Scott, 1890. Bullett, Gerald. George Bllott Her Life and  Books. Londont Collins, 1947. Cockshut, A.O.J. Middlemarch (George E l i o t ) . Notes on English Literature. New Yorki Barnes & Noble, 1966. Cooke, George W i l l i s . George E l i o t : A C r i t i c a l  Study of Her L i f e , Wrltings and Philosophy. 'London1 Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, I883. Cooper, Lettice. George E l i o t . Bibliographical Series of Supplements to "British Book News' on Writers and their Work. Londoni Longmans, Green & Co., (for the B r i t i s h Council and the National Book League), 1966. Crompton, Margaret. George Ellot» The Woman. Londoni Cassell, I960. Daiches, David. George Ellott 'Middlemarch.' Studies i n English Literature, no. 11. Woodbury, New Xorki Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1963. -r 188 -Beakin, Mary H. The E a r l y L i f e o f George  E l i o t . With an I n t r o d u c t o r y Note by C H . H e r f o r d . P u b l i c a t i o n s o f the U n i v e r s i t y o f Manchester. E n g l i s h S e r i e s , no. 4. Manchester: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1913• Fremantle, Anne. George E l i o t . Great L i v e s [ s e r i e s ] • London: Duckworth, 1933. H a i g h t , Gordon S., ed. A Century o f George  E l i o t C r i t i c i s m . Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , T%F. . George E l i o t : A B i o g r a p h y . O x f o r d : Clarendon i T e s s , l^bts. . George E l i o t and John Chapman, w i t h Chapman 1s D i a r i e s. 2nd ed. Archon -Books. New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1969. Haldane, E l i z a b e t h S. George E l i o t and Her  Times: A V i c t o r i a n Study, flew York: l ) . A p p i e t o n , 1927. Hanson. Lawrence, and E l i s a b e t h Hanson. Marian Evans & George E l i o t . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1952. Hardy, B a r b a r a , ed. 'Middlemarch': C r i t i c a l  Approaches to the N o v e l . New York: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , I967. . The Novels of George E l i o t : A Study i n For mil London: Athlone P r e s s , 1 9 5 9 . Harvey, W i l l i a m John. The A r t o f George E l i o t ' . London: Chatto & Windus, L%L. Holmstrom, John, and Laurence L e r n e r . George  E l i o t and Her Readers: A S e l e c t i o n of"  Contemporary Keviews. London: B o d l e y Head, 1 9 6 6 . K i t c h e l , Anna Theresa. George Lewes and George  E l i o t ; A Review o f Records. New i o r k : The John Day Company, 1933. Knoepflmacher, U.C. George E l i o t ' s E a r l y N ovels: The L i m i t s o f R e a l i s m l -Berkeley and Los A n g e l e s , U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1968. - 189 -McAuley, James. Edmund Spenser and George  E l i o t : A C r i t i c a l ^Excursion. An i n a u g u r a l p u b l i c l e c t u r e , d e l i v e r e d i n Hobart on 4 A p r i l , 1963.^ Hobart: U n i v e r s i t y o f Tasmania, 19&3. McKenzie, J.A. E d i t h Sjmcox and George E l i o t . Y/ith an i n t r o d . , by Gordon S. H a i g h t . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1961 . Maheu, P l a c i d e - G u s t a v e . La Pens £e R e l i g i e u s e  e t Morale de George E l i o t : E s s a i  D ' I n t e r p r e t a t i o n . P r e f a c e de Jacques V i e r . P a r i s : M. D i d i e r , 1958. May, J . L e w i s . George E l i o t . I n d i a n a p o l i s : The B o b b s - M e r r i l l Co., 1930. Mottram, W i l l i a m . The True S t o r y o f George E l i o t i n R e l a t i o n t o "Adam Bede", G i v i n g the  R e a l L i f e H i s t o r y o f the More Prominent  C h a r a c t e r s . With e i g h t y - s i x i l l u s t r a t i o n s . London: F r a n c i s G r i f f i t h s , 1905. Noble, Thomas A. George E l i o t ' s 'Scenes o f  C l e r i c a l L i f e . ' Y a l e s t u d i e s i n E n g l i s h , v o l . 159• Hew Haven, Conn.: Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1965. O l c o t t , C h a r l e s S. George E l i o t : Scenes and  People i n Her N o v e l s . I l l u s . , from photographs. Uew York: Thomas Y. C r o w e l l , 1910. P a r i s , B e r n a r d J . Experiments i n L i f e : George  E l i o t ' s Quest f o r v a l u e s . D e t r o i t : Wayne S t a t e u n i v e r s i t y I'ress, 1965 • S p e a i g h t , R o b e r t . George E l i o t . The E n g l i s h N o v e l i s t s j Gen. ed.: Herbert Van T h a i . London: A r t h u r B a r k e r , 1954. Sprague, Rosemary. George E l i o t : A B i o g r a p h y . P h i l a d e l p h i a : C h i l t o n .Book Oo., I 9 6 8 . Stang, R i c h a r d , ed. D i s c u s s i o n s o f George  E l i o t , ed., w i t h an i n t r o d . , by R i c h a r d fcitang. D i s c u s s i o n s o f L i t e r a t u r e . G e n e r a l ed.: Joseph H. Summers, Washington U n i v e r s i t y . Boston: D.C. Heath and Co., I 9 6 0 . - 190 -Stephen, Leslie. George E l i o t . English Men of Letters. London: Macmillan, 19°9» Stump, Reva Juanita. Movement and Vision in  George Eliot's Novels". Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1959. Thale, Jerome. The Novels of George E l i o t I New York: Columbia University Press, 1959* Williams, Blanche Colton. George E l i o t t a  Biography. New York: Macmillan, 1936. B. PARTS OP BOOKS Anderson, Quentin. "George El i o t in Middlemarch." The Pelican Guide to English Literature, vol. 6. Ed. by Boris Ford. Penguin Books• Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, i960, pp. 274-293. Bald, Marjory Amelia. "George E l i o t . " Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Russell' & ttussell, 1963 £c 19233, pp. 162-208. Betham-Edwards, Matilda. "George E l i o t , Madame Bodichon, and Herbert Spencer." Mid-Victorian  Memories, with a personal sketdh,by Mrs. Sarah Grand. New York: Macmillan, 1919, PP« 37-83. B i s s e l l , Claude T. "Social Analysis in the Novels of George E l i o t . " Victorian Literature: Modern Essays in Criticism. Ed. by Austin Wright• A Galaxy Jioo"k. lew York: Oxford University Press, I .96I, pp. 154-171. Bullett, Gerald. "Introduction." Adam Bede by George E l i o t . London and Glasgow: ~ Collins, 1952, pp. 9-13. Cecil, David. "George E l i o t . " Early Victorian  Novelists: Essays in Revaluation. London: Constable, 1934, ch. v i i i , pp. [28l] -[328J. Colby, Robert A. "Middlemarch: Dorothea Brooke and the Emancipated Woman, or, The Heroine of the Nineteenth Century." Fiction with a  Purpose: Major and Minor Nineteenth-Century  Novels. uioomington: Indiana university I-ress, 1967, PP. 256-302. - 191 -Colby, Robert A. "The M i l l on the Floss> Maggie T u l l i v e r and the C h i l d of Nature." F i c t i o n with a Purposet Major and Minor  Nineteenth-Century Novels. Bloomingtont Indiana Uni v e r s i t y Press, 1967, PP. 213-255. Cox, C.B. The Free S p i r i t i A Study of L i b e r a l  Humanism i n the Novels of George Ellot"^ Eenry James, E.M. Forster, V i r g i n i a Woolf I and I Angus Wilson. London* Oxford Univer-s i t y Press, 1963, Dircks. Rudolf. "Introduction." Romola [By] George E l i o t . Everyman's Library, no. 231. Londoni J.M. Dent, 1948, pp. v l i ^ x i . Dowden, Edward. "George E l i o t " [and] "George E l i o t i I I . Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda." Studies i n L i t e r a t u r e , 1789-1877. 4th ed. Londoni K. Paul, Trench & Co., 1887. Gregor, Ian, and Nicholas, Brian. "The Two Worlds of Adam Bede." The Moral and the  Story. Londoni Faber and Faber, 1962, ch. 1. pp. 13-32. Haight, Gordon S. "Introduction." The M i l l  on the Floss [£y] George E l i o t . Riverside E d i t i o n s . Bostoni Houghton M i f f l i n , 1961, pp. v - x x i . Harvey, W.J. "Introduction," Middlemarch. [by] George E l i o t . Penguin Books. Harmondsworthi Penguin Books Ltd., 1965, pp. [7>22. Holloway, John. "George E l i o t . " The V i c t o r i a n  Sagei Studies i n Argument. London1 Macmillan, 1953 • ch. 5. PP. 111-157. House, Humphry. " Q u a l i t i e s of George E l i o t ' s Unbelief," A l l i n Due Timet The Collec t e d  Essays and Broadcast Talks of Humphry House. Londont Rupert Hart-Davies, 1955, PP. 109-115. Knoepflmacher, U.C. Religious Humanism and the  V i c t o r i a n Novell George E l i o t , Walter Pater, and Samuel Butl e r . Princeton, N.J.t Princeton Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1965. - 192 -Leavis, F.R. "George E l i o t . " The Great  Tradition: George E l i o t , Henry James, Joseph Conrad. New York: New York Unlverslty Press, 1964, ch. 2, pp. 28-125. —....... "Introduction." Daniel Deronda, [By] George E l i o t . Harper Colophon Books. New Yorkt Harper & Row, i960, pp. x i i i - x x i i l . Lerner, Laurence. The Truthtellerst Jane Austen, George E l i o t . D.H. Lawrence. Londom Chatto & WIndus * 1 9 0 7 . Masefield, Muriel. "Life of George E l i o t " [and] "George E l i o t * s Novels." Women Novelists  from Fanny Barney to George E l i o t . Freeport, N.Y.t Books for Libraries Press, Inc., 1967. [c 1934], chs. rv and xvi, pp. 202-224. Matheson, Annie. "Introduction." Silas Marner. [fty] George E l i o t . Everyman's Library, no. 121. Londom J.M. Dent, 1944, pp. v i i - x . Moulton, Charles W., comp. "George E l i o t . " Moulton"s Library of Literary Criticism . . . » '. . rev. . ', .Martin Tucker. New Yorki Ungar, 1966, vol. I l l , pp. 528-553. Mulley, Winifred. "Introduction." Silas Marner. The Lifted V e i l . Brother Jacob. Poems, U&yJ George E l i o t . London and Glasgowi Collins, 1962, pp. 11-13. Oliphant, James. "George E l i o t . " Victorian  Novelists. London: Blackie, I899, ch. 6, pp. 78-143. Plnney, Thomas. "Introductions" [and] "Appendices. Essays of George E l i o t . New Yorki Columbia University Press, 1963. Royce, Josiah. "George E l i o t as a Religious Teacher," Fugitive Essays, with an introd. by Dr. J. Loewenberg, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1920, pp. [26l]-289. Thale, Jerome. "Introduction." Silas Marner:  The Weaver of Raveloe. By George E l i o t , New Yorki Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962, pp. [vii]-xxv. - 193 -Tillotson, Geoffrey, and Kathleen Tillotson. "The George El i o t Letters, I, II, III," in their Mid-Victorian Studies. London: Athlone Press, 1965» chs. VI, VII, VIII, pp. 62-79. Watts-Dunton, Theodore. "Introduction." Silas Marner. The Lifted V e i l . Brother  Jacob. The World's Classics, no. 80. London: Oxford University Press, 1952, pp. [vii] - xix. Willey, B a s i l . "George E l i o t , " in his Nineteenth-Century Studies: Coleridge to Matthew  Arnold. London: Ohatto & Windus, 19^9, ~~~ pp. 204-250. Woolf, Virginia. "George E l i o t , " in her The Common Reader: F i r s t Series. London: Hogarth Press, 1962, pp. 205-218. Young, George Malcolm. "The Mercian Sibyl," i n his Victorian Essays, chosen and introd. by W.D. Handcock. Oxford Paperbacks, no. 55» London: Oxford University Press, 196*2, pp. 129-132. SECONDARY SOURCES: GEORGE ELIOT . ARTICLES Adam, I.W. "Restoration Through Peeling in George Eliot's Fiction: A New Look at Hetty Sorel" L s i c ] , Victorian Newsletter, XXII, (1962), 9-12. *~~ Adam, Ian. "Character and Destiny in George Eliot's Fiction," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, XX, (September 1965), 127-143. ' A l l o t t , Miriam. "George Eliot in the 1860's," Victorian Studies, V (December 1961), 93-108. Beaty, Jerome. "History by Indirection: The Era of Reform in Middlemarch," Victorian  Studies, I (December 1957), 173-179. Buchrn, Irving H. "Arthur Donnithorne and Zeluco: Characterization via Literary Allusion in Adam Bede," Victorian Newsletter, XXIII (1963), 18-19. - 194 -Carroll, David R. "Felix Holt: Society as Protagonist," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, XVII (December 1962), 237-252. . "Unity Through Analogyt An Inter-pretation of Middlemarch," Victorian Studies, II (1959). 305-316. Creeger, George R. "An Interpretation of Adam Bede," ELHt A Journal of English  Litera*ry~Hlstory, XXIII (September 1956). 218-238. Haight, Gordon S. "George El i o t * s Theory of Fiction," Victorian Newsletter. X (Autumn 1956), 1. Hardy, Barbara. "The Moment of Disenchantment i n George El i o t ' s Novels," Review of English  Studies. N.S. V (1954), 256^&*~ "*~ Harvey, William John. "George E l i o t and the Omniscient Author Convention," Nineteenth- Century Fiction. XIII (September 1958), 88-90. , "Ideas In George E l i o t , " Modem Language Quarterly. XXVII (1966), 86-91. Hester, Erwln. "George Eliot's Messengers," Studies i n English Literature* 1500-1900. VII (Autumn 1967), 679-690. Hurley, Edward T. "Piero DI Cosimoi An Alternate Analogy for George Eliot's Realism." Victorian  Newsletter. XXXI (Spring 1967), 54-56"! Isaacs, Neil D. "Middlemarcht Crescendo of Obligatory Drama," Nineteenth-Century Fiction. XVIII (June 1963), 21-34. Knoepflmacher, U.C. "George E l i o t , Feuerbach, and the Question of Criticism," Victorian  Studies. VII (March 1964), 306-309'. . "George Eliot's Anti-Romantic Romance: Mr. G l l f l l ' s Love-Story." V i c t o r i a n " N e w s l e t t e r XXXI- ( S p r i n g 1967), 11-15 • Lerner, Laurence. "The Education of Gwendolen Harleth," C r i t i c a l Quarterly. VII (Winter 1965), 355- 364. ~ - 195 -Levine, George. "Determinism and Responsibility i n the Works of George E l i o t , " PMLA, LXXVII (June 1962), 268-279. — , "Intelligence as Deception: 'The M i l l on the Floss 1," PMLA, LXXX (September 1965), 402-409. Mansell, Darrel, J r . "George E l i o t ' s Conception of •Form9," Studies i n English Literature! 1500-1900. V (Autumn 1965), 651-662. " . "George E l i o t ' s Conception of Tragedy," Nineteenth-Century Fiction. XXII (September 1967), 155-171. : — — . "A Note on Hegel and George E l i o t , " Victorian Newsletter. XXVII (Spring 1965), 12-15. •»• . "Ruskin and George Eliot's'Realism'," Criticism. VII (Summer 1965), 203-216. Masters, Donald C. "George E l i o t and the Evangelicals," Daihousle Review. XLI (Winter 1961-62), 505-511. Merton, Stephen. "George E l i o t and William Hale White," Victorian Newsletter. XXV (Spring 1964), 13-15. Mliner, Ian. "Structure and Quality i n •Silas Marner'," Studies i n English  Literature. VI (1966), 717-729. Paris, Bernard J . "George Eliot's Religion of Humanity," ELH, XXIX (December 1962), 418-443. ••Science and Art i n George E l i o t ' s Quest for Values," The Humanist. XX (i960), 47-52. "Toward a Revaluation of George Eliot's The M i l l on the Floss." Nineteenth-Century FiTHon7^cOjlSe~1936), 18-31. Plnney, Thomas. "The Authority of the Past i n George El i o t ' s Novels," Nineteenth-Century  Fiction. XXI (September I966), 131-147. - 196 -Pinney, Thomas. "George E l i o t ' s Reading of Wordsworthj The Record," V i c t o r i a n  Newsletter, XXIV (1963), 20-22. Robinson, Carole, "Romolat A Reading of the Novel," V i c t o r i a n Studies, VI (September 1962), 29-42. - — — — . "The Severe Angeli A Study of 'Daniel Deronda 0," ELH, XXXI (September 1964), 278-300. Ryals, Clyde De L. "The Thorn Imagery i n Adam Bede." V i c t o r i a n Newsletter. XXII (1962), 12-13. Sambrook, A.J. "The Natural H i s t o r i a n of our S o c i a l Classes," English* Magazine of the English Association . XIV (Spring 1963). 130-134. Stang, Richard. IThe L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m of George E l i o t , " PMLA, LXXII (1957^952-996. Svaglic, Martin James. "Religion i n the Novels of George E l i o t , " Journal of English  and Germanic Philology . LIII ( A p r i l 195^), 145-159. Thomson, Fred C. " F e l i x Holt as C l a s s i c Tragedy," Nineteenth-Century F i c t i o n . XVI (1961/62), 47-58. ' ........ "The Theme of A l i e n a t i o n i n S i l a s Marner," Nineteenth-Century F i c t i o n , XX (June 1965), 69-b4. Y u l l l , W.E. "'Character i s Fate,' A Note on Thomas Hardy, George E l i o t and Novalls," Modern Language Review. LVII (July 1962), 401-402. THESES. Anderson, Roland Frank. "Formative Influences on George E l i o t , with S p e c i a l Reference to George Henry Lewes." Unpublished Diss,, Univ. of Toronto, 1963. Bedient, Ca l v i n Bernard. "The Fate of the Self t S e l f and Society i n the Novels of George E l i o t , D.H. Lawrence, and E.M Forster." Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Univ. of Washington, 1964. - 197 -Burns, John Sandidge. "The Wider L i f e " . A Study of the Writings of George Eliot.** Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Rice Univ., 1964. Campbell, P a t r i c k Anthony Charles. "Middlemarch and Moral!tyt A Study of the Development of George E l i o t ' s E t h i c a l Creed." Unpublished Master's t h e s i s , Univ. of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1959. Chander, Jagdish. "Religious and Moral Ideas i n the Novels of George E l i o t . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss,, Univ. of Wisconsin, I963. C o l l i n s , Rowland Lee. "The Present Past1 The O r i g i n and Exposition of Theme i n the Prose F i c t i o n of George E l i o t . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Standford Univ., I96I . Duncan, Charles Freeman, J r . "Time-Levels and Value-Structures i n George E l i o t ' s Novels." Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Emory Univ., 1965. Hester, Waverly Erwin. "George E l i o t ' s Technique as a Novelist." Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Univ. of North Caroline, 1961. Knoepflmacher, U.C. "The V i c t o r i a n Novel of Religious Humanismt A Study of George E l i o t , Walter Pater, and Samuel Butler . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Princeton Univ., 1961. Mansell, Darrel Lee, J r . "George E l i o t ' s Theory of F i c t i o n . " Unpublished Dootoral Diss., Yale Univ., 1963. Peterson, V i r g i l A l l i s o n . "Moral Growth i n the Heroines of George E l i o t . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Univ. of C a l i f o r n i a , Los Angeles, i960. Pinney, Thomas C l l v e , "Wordsworth's Influence on George E l i o t . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Yale Univ., i960. Robinson, Carole L a t t e r . "The Ideology of Sympathy1 A Study of George E l i o t ' s Later Phase." Ph. D. thesis, Brandels Univ., 1965. - 198 -Schutz, Fred Christman. "Sense and Sensibilityi A Study of Reason and Emotion as Elements of Character and Conduct In the Novels of George E l i o t . " Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley, i960. Templin, Lawrence Howard. "George Eliot 1 A Study of the Omniscient Point of View i n Her Fiction*" Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Indiana Univ., 1964. Tucker, Houston Clay. "George E l i o t ' s Ideal Self1 A Study of Subjective Influences on Her Prose Fiction." Unpublished Doctoral Diss., vanderbi.lt Univ., i960. Wheatley, James Holbrook. "George E l i o t and the Art of Thought* Studies i n the Early Novels." Unpublished Doctoral Diss., Harvard Univ., i960. Willey, Frederick William. "George E l i o t and the Conventions of the Novell Studies of a Writer i n the Traditions of Fiction." Unpublished Doctoral Diss,, Harvard Univ., 1962. III. SECONDARY SOURCESt PERIPHERAL TOPICS A. TEMPTATION Howard, Donald R. The Three Temptations! Medieval Man i n Search of the World. Princeton, N.H.t Princeton University Press, 1966. B. THE NOVEL1 CRITICISM, HISTORY, STRUCTURE Allen, Walter. The English Novell A Short  C r i t i c a l History. Penguin Books. Londoni Phoenix House, 1954. Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicagoi University of Chicago Press, I 9 6 I . Brown, E.K. Rhythm i n the Novel. The Alexander Lectures. Torontot University of Toronto Press, 1963. - 199 -Church, Richard. The Growth of the English  Novel. U n i v e r s i t y Paperbacks, U.P.28. Londom Methuen, 1957. Cross, Wilbur L. The Development of the English Novel. New Yorki Macmillan, 1899. Drew, Eliz a b e t h . The Novell A Modem Guide  to F i f t e e n English Masterpieces. A Laurel E d i t i o n . New Yorkt D e l l Publishing Co., 1963. Forster, E.M. Aspects of the Novel. P e l i c a n Books, A 557. Harmondsworthi Penguin Books Ltd., 1966. Girard, Rene. Deceit, Desire, and the Novell S e l f and other i n L i t e r a r y Structure. Translated by Yvonna Freccero. Baltimore! The John Hopkins Press, 1965. Graham, George Kenneth. English C r i t i c i s m of the Novell 1865-1900. Oxford En g l i s h Monographs. Oxfordi Clarendon Press, 1966. Harvey, William John. Character and the Novel. Ithaca, N.Y.t C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1965. James, Henry. The A r t of the Novell C r i t i c a l  Prefaces. With an i n t r o d . by Richard P. Blackmur. New Yorki Charles Scribner's Sons, I962. K e t t l e , Arnold. An Introduction to the  E n g l i s h Novel. Vol. It Defoe to George E l i o t . Harper Torchbookst The Academy Library, New Yorki Harper & Row, 1965. Kizener, Arthur. The Sense of L i f e i n the  Modern Novel. Boston! Houghton M i f f l i n , 19637 P r i t c h e t t , V.S. The. L i v i n g Novel & Later  Appreciations. Vintage Books. New Yorki Random House, Inc., 1967. Sale, Roger, ed. Discussions of the Novel. Ed. with an introd, by Roger Sale* Discussions of L i t e r a t u r e . Bostorn D.C. Heath and Company, 1965. - 200 -S c h o l e s , Robert, ed. Approaches t o the Novelt M a t e r i a l s f o r a P o e t i c s . Rev. ed. San F r a n c i s c o : C h a n d l e r Pub. Co., 1966. S c h o l e s , Robert, and K e l l o g g , Robert. The  Nature of N a r r a t i v e . New Y o r k i Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , I966. Stang, R i c h a r d . The Theory of the Novel i n  England: 1850-1870. New Y o r k i Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1959. S t a n t o n , Robert. An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o F i c t i o n . New Yorkt H o l t , R i n e h a r t and Winston, 1965. Stevenson, L i o n e l . The E n g l i s h Novelt A Panorama. B o s t o m Houghton M i f f l i n , i 960 . T i l l o t s o n , K a t h l e e n . Novels of the E l g h t e e n -F o r t i e s . Londoni Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 19BX Van Ghent, Dorothy. The E n g l i s h N o v e l l Form  and F u n c t i o n . New Yorkt R i n e h a r t , 1953. Wagenknecht, Edward. Cavalcade o f the E n g l i s h  Novel. New Yorkt H o l t , R i n e h a r t and Winston, 195"+. W a l c u t t , C h a r l e s C h i l d . Man's Changing Mask: Modes and Methods of C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i n  F i c t i o n . M i n n e a p o l i s : U n i v e r s i t y of M i n n e s o t a P r e s s , I966. RELIGION AND POSITIVISM Brown, F o r d K. F a t h e r s of the V i c t o r i a n s : The Age of W l l b e r f o r c e ~ Cambrdi ge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 19o~I. Chadwick, Owen, ed. The Mind of the Oxford  Movement. Londoni A. and C. B l a c k , i960. Cockshut, A.O.J., ed. R e l i g i o u s C o n t r o v e r s i e s  of the N i n e t e e n t h Century: S e l e c t e d Documents. L i n c o l n : U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska P r e s s , I966T Comte, Auguste. A G e n e r a l View of P o s i t i v i s m . O f f i c i a l Centenary £d. of the I n t e r n a t i o n a l Auguste Comte Centenary Committee. New York: Robert S p e l l e r & Sons, 1957. - 201 -E l l i o t t - B i n n s , L.E. R e l i g i o n I n the V i c t o r i a n  E r a . L u t t e r w o r t h L i b r a r y , v o l . V I . London: L u t t e r w o r t h P r e s s , 1964. Feuerbach, Ludwig Andreas. L e c t u r e s on the  Essence of R e l i g i o n . Tr. by Ralph Manheim. New York; Harper & Row, 196?. •Maurice, F r e d e r i c k Denison. The P r a y e r Book. Foreword by the A r c h l b i s h o p of Canterbury. London: James C l a r k e , 1966. — - — — . Toward the Recovery of U n i t y : The  Thought of F r e d e r i c k Denison Maurice. Ed, From h i s L e t t e r s , w i t h an i n t r o d , by John F. P o r t e r and W i l l i a m J . Wolf. New York: Seabury P r e s s , 1964. M i l l , John S t u a r t . Auguste Comte and P o s i t i v i s m Ann Arbor Paperbacks. Ann Arbor; U n i v e r s i t y of M i c h i g a n P r e s s , 1965. Reardon, Bernard M.G. ed., R e l i g i o u s Thought i n the Nineteenth Century. I l l u s . from W r i t e r s of the P e r i o d . Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1966. W i l b e r f o r c e , W i l l i a m . A P r a c t i c a l View of the  P r e v a i l i n g R e l i g i o u s System of P r o f e s s e d  C h r i s t i a n s . . . . A Treasury of C h r i s t i a n Books, Ed. by Hugh M a r t i n . London: SCM Pr e s s L t d . , 1958. HISTORY B r i g g s , Asa. The Age of Improvement: 1783-1867. A H i s t o r y of England i n Ten V o l s . London; Longmans, Green & Co., 1967. C l a r k , G, K l t s o n , An Expanding S o c i e t y : B r i t a i n  1830-1900. Cambridge; U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , . 1967. —*• The Making of V i c t o r i a n England. The Ford Lectures D e l i v e r e d before the U n i v e r s i t y of Oxford. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962, Croce, Benedetto. History of Europe i n the  Nineteenth Century. Tr, froii the I t a l i a n by Henry Fu'rst. A Harbinger Book. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, I963, c 1 9 3 3 . - 202 -Deane, P h y l l i s . The F i r s t I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n . Cambridge i U n i v e r s i t y Press7 1967. Ensor, S i r Robert C h a r l e s Kirkwood. England; 1870-1914. Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1936". Evans, R.J. The V i c t o r i a n Age: 1815-1914. London* Edward A r n o l d , 1950. P r e s t , John. The I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n I n Coventry. London and New Yorkt Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , i960 . S m e l l i e , K.B. Great B r i t a i n s i n c e l688t A Modern H i s t o r y . The U n i v e r s i t y of M i c h i g a n H i s t o r y of the Modern World. Ann Arbor: U n i v e r s i t y of Michigan P r e s s , 1962. Thomson, David. England i n the Nineteenth  Century1 1815-1914. The P e l i c a n H i s t o r y of England, B. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1950. Wood, Anthony. Nineteenth Century B r l t a i n t 1815-1914. Londont Longmans, I960. Woodward, S i r L l e w e l l y n . The Age of Reformt 1815-1870. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1962. Young, George Malcolm. V i c t o r i a n England: P o r t r a i t of an Age. 2nd ed. A Galaxy Book. London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1953. A FEW PERTINENT TITLES BY FELLOW-VICTORIANS A r n o l d , Matthew. C u l t u r e and Anarchy. Ed., wi t h an i n t r o d . by J . Dover Wilson. Landmarks i n the H i s t o r y of Edu c a t i o n . Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1948. ~. — . L i t e r a t u r e and Dogma: An Essay Towards a B e t t e r Apprehension of the  B i b l e . New York: A.L. B u r t , (_n.d.J, "Wordsworth." Essays i n C r i t i c i s m . Second s e r i e s , London: Macmi l l a n , 1903, pp. 89-119. - 203 -C a r l y l e , Thomas. Past and Present. Ed. with an i n t r o d . and notes, by Richard D. A l t i c k . Riverside E d i t i o n s , B 9 2 . Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1965. . S c o t t i s h and other M i s c e l l a n i e s . Introd. by James R u s s e l l Lowell. Everyman's Li b r a r y , no. 703. Londom Dent, 1967. Huxley, Thomas Henry. The Essence of T.H. Huxleyt Selections from His Writings. Ed. with Several B r i e f I n t e r p r e t a t i v e Essays, by C y r i l Bibby, and a Foreword by S i r J u l i a n Huxley. Londom Macmillan, 1967. Lewes, George Henry. L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m of George Henry Lewes, ed. A l i c e R. Kaminsky. Regents C r i t i c s s e r i e s . L i n c o l n : U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska Press, 1964, M i l l , John Stuart. On L i b e r t y . Ed., with an int r o d by Cur r l n V, Shields, The L i b r a r y of L i b e r a l A r t s . New YorkL Bobbs-Merrill, 1956. Owen, Robert. A New View of Society, and Other  Writings. Introd. by G.D.H. Cole. Everyman's Li b r a r y , no. 799. Londont, Dent, I966. Ruskin, John. Unto This Last: Four Essays on  the F i r s t P r i n c i p l e s of P o l i t i c a l Economy. Ed. with an i n t r o d . by Lloyd J . Hubenka. L i n c o l m U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska Press, I967, GENERAL VICTORIAN BACKGROUND Briggs, Asa. V i c t o r i a n People: A Reassessment  of Persons and Themes, 1851-67. P e l i c a n Books, A684. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965. Buckley, Jerome Hamilton. The Triumph of Timet A Study of the V i c t o r i a n Concepts of Time, History, Progress, and Decadence. Cambridge, Mass.1 Harvard U n i v e r s i t y Press, I966. . The V i c t o r i a n Temper: A Study i n L i t e r a r y Culture. London: Frank Cass, I966. Chesterton, G i l b e r t Keith. The V i c t o r i a n Age i n L i t e r a t u r e . . Oxford Paperbacks. U n i v e r s i t y aerieu. Opu~8 0 London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1913. - 204 -H a r r o l d , C h a r l e s F r e d e r i c k ; and Templeraan, W i l l i a m D., eds. E n g l i s h P r o s e of the  V i c t o r i a n E r a . Chosen and ed., by C h a r l e s F r e d e r i c k H a r r o l d and W i l l i a m D. Templeroan, New Yorkt Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1938. Houghton, W a l t e r Edwards. The V i c t o r i a n Frame  of Minds 1830-1970. New Havent Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1957. I r v i n e , W i l l i a m . Apes, A n g e l s , and V l c t o r l a n s t The S t o r y of Darwin, Huxley, and E v o l u t i o n . New Yorki M c G r a w - H i l l , 1955. " Bobbins, W i l l i a m . The E t h i c a l I d e a l i s m o f  Matthew A r n o l d t A Study of the Nature and  Sources of H i s M o r a l and R e l i g i o u s Ideas. Torohtot U n i v e r s i t y of T o r o n t o P r e s s , 1959. Roe, F r e d e r i c k W i l l i a m , ed. V i c t o r i a n P r o s e , S e l . and ed. w i t h i n t r o d s . , b i b l s , and Notes, New Y o r k i Ronald P r e s s , 1947. S c h i l l i n g , B e r n a r d N i c h o l a s . Human D i g n i t y and  the G r e a t V i c t o r i a n s . New Y o r k i Pub. f o r G r l h h e l l C o l l e g e by Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1946. S t r a c h e y , L y t t o n . Eminent V i c t o r i a n s t C a r d i n a l  Manning, F l o r e n c e N i g h t i n g a l e , Dr.. A r n o l d , G e n e r a l Gordon. New Y o r k : C a p r i c o r n Books, 1963, W i l l e y , B a s i l . More N i n e t e e n t h - C e n t u r y S t u d l e s t A Group of Honest Doubters, New Yorkt Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1956. — . N i n e t e e n t h - C e n t u r y S t u d l e s t C o l e r i d g e t o Matthew A r n o l d . Londoni C h a t t o & WIndus, 1947: Wright, A u s t i n , ed. V i c t o r i a n L i t e r a t u r e ! Modern E s s a y s I n C r i t i c i s m . A Galaxy Book. "New.Yorki Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 196 l . Young, George Malcolm. V i c t o r i a n E s s a y s , Chosen and i n t r o d . , by W.D, Handcock. Oxford Paperbacks, no. 55, Londoni Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962. 

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