HomeLiterature Study GuidesDaniel DerondaVolume 4 Book 8 Chapters 65 67 Summary

Daniel Deronda | Study Guide

George Eliot

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Daniel Deronda | Volume 4, Book 8, Chapters 65–67 : Fruit and Seed | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 65

Deronda receives Sir Hugo's note with trepidation. He does not wish to hurt Gwendolen, and he realizes if he had met her before becoming involved with the Cohens he would have felt compelled to rescue her and "shelter her life for evermore from the dangers of loneliness." But now his heart is committed to someone else. When he arrives, Gwendolen asks whether he thinks she should take all of Grandcourt's money or just enough to support her family. In his view, she should abide by the will. "Let your remorse tell only on the use that you will make of your monetary independence," he says. Since her grief came in the spring of her life to show her what she must avoid, Gwendolen can now become "the best of women, such as make others glad that they were born." She continues to ask him to be her strength and support. In her mind their bond is a spiritual tie. He visits her again in the presence of her mother and learns the family is planning to return to their previous life before Grandcourt. Meanwhile, Deronda has not made his position clear.

Chapter 66

After Mr. Lapidoth runs out of money, he returns to his children and Mordecai agrees to take him in, but not before telling him he is an evil man who is not to be trusted. Mr. Lapidoth is so addicted to gambling his son's words hardly touch him. Rather, when he is in his bed that night, all he can think about is the roulette wheel and wonders how much money Mirah might have in the house.

Chapter 67

When Deronda first visits the Cohens with Mr. Lapidoth present in the room, Mordecai is teaching himself to tolerate his father. Deronda is at first cold with Mr. Lapidoth, thinking about the terrible things he has done to his family, but he warms up a little when Mr. Lapidoth helps him decipher some difficult German from his father's papers. Mr. Lapidoth is on his best behavior because he wants to get into Deronda's good graces.

Deronda stops by his friend Hans's rooms as soon as he can and finds him recovering from a bout of opium smoking. He tells Hans about his discovery of his heritage, but he already knows. Hans gets testy with Deronda, asking him if Mrs. Grandcourt has been told about his plans to "travel to the East and be away for some years." Once again Deronda says he is not in love with Gwendolen and admits his interest lies in Mirah, although he has no evidence she returns his feelings. He also asks Hans if he has any reason to think she cares for him (Hans) rather than Deronda. Hans now confesses he has evidence Mirah cares for Deronda and is jealous of "the Duchess." He grudgingly advises his friend to quell Mirah's fears as soon as possible.

Analysis

Deronda puts off telling Gwendolen he must separate himself from her because he fears he may hurt her while she is in such a vulnerable state. She makes it very clear to him she relies on him to guide her, not thinking deeply about what she is asking for—to give up his own life apart from her and simply become her secular priest. By now it is clear Gwendolen is in love with Deronda, even if she does not recognize her feelings as such. Perhaps because for so long she has equated sexuality with coquetry, shallow feelings, and domination, Gwendolen cannot recognize the complicated feelings she has for Deronda as romantic love.

When Deronda leaves Gwendolen, he returns to the Cohens and is sorry to see Mr. Lapidoth has been installed in their home as a permanent guest. Mr. Lapidoth has run out of the money Mirah gave him, and now he is angling to steal some more from her. "The gambling appetite is more absolutely dominant than bodily hunger," the narrator says. Mordecai has agreed to let his father stay because he believes it is his and Mirah's responsibility to take care of their reprobate parent. He has nonetheless told his father he is untrustworthy. Mordecai's words make no impression on his father, however, since "the very tissue of Lapidoth's consciousness" is constantly overwhelmed by images of the gaming tables.

Deronda finally sees a path toward revealing his feelings for Mirah when he pays a visit to Hans, who tells him, albeit resentfully, that Mirah is in love with him: "Confound you!" Hans says somewhat jokingly, "You turn out to be in love in the right place—a Jew—and everything eligible." Hans has behaved immaturely—mainly because he is immature, having been spoiled for so long by four women. However, in the end he acts with maturity and manliness, getting out of the way of his friend by telling him the truth of what he has observed about Mirah's feelings.

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