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Dorothea’s fascination with Casaubon continues next morning as he reveals to her his work of "attractively labyrinthine extent." His chosen goal is to show how all the mythical systems in the world are fragments of a tradition originally revealed. Dorothea is wonder-struck by this concept, which unifies knowledge with piety. This is very far removed from the ladies’ school literature she is used to. His attentive audience also charms the dry Casaubon. He even suffers the endless confused monologue of Mr. Brooke. He leaves for his rectory late, and Dorothea, in an elevated mood, walks into the woods nearby. Until now, she has been confined within the "walled-in maze of small paths" leading nowhere. She longs for a marriage that will deliver her from it and guide her along the grandest path."
Her happy walk is disturbed by Chettam making or her house with the gift of a Maltese puppy. Dorothea snubs him, saying she doesn’t approve of breeding creatures merely as pets. Chettam accepts this gracefully and turns to a more fruitful topic. He asks for her plans for laborers’ cottages for use on his estate. Dorothea responds eagerly for it is her favorite scheme, and Chettam goes away happy. Only Celia, the silent observer sees his interest in Dorothea, and that it is not mutual.
Some days later, Casaubon returns for a visit. Again he converses chiefly with her. Dorothea is thrilled with his attention and his lack of small talk. Everything he says seems to her "like a specimen from a mine or the inscription on the door of a museum, which might open on the treasure of past ages. "She is faintly disappointed when he diverts her from the topic of laborers’ cottages to a discussion of the narrow houses of the ancient Egyptians. However, Chettam takes up her cottages seriously, and she decides he will make an ideal brother-in-law!
This chapter continues to develop points raised in the earlier one. Chettam still pursues his lost cause with Dorothea, while Chettam’s suit is strengthened. Dorothea’s ardent desire for liberation from a comfortable but futile life finds a "mortally" object for her devotion. Her blindness to the unsuitability of their union is emphasized through the novelist’s imagery Casaubon’s work is compared to a labyrinth and later, his remarks, to a specimen from a mine or the inscription on a museum door. These similes are used with careful irony, as in Dorothea’s mind they stand for value and permanence, while to the reader they could symbolize something lifeless and sterile.