Letter: Dorothea's nature

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The Independent Online
Sir: I enjoyed reading Claire Tomalin's article on Middlemarch (11 January). However, may I suggest that the faultless last paragraph of the novel indicates that Dorothea developed precisely as George Eliot had envisaged? I do not feel that she 'produced apologetic words to cover Dorothea's diminished state'. This final paragraph is the key to her intention.

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Yours faithfully,



14 January