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While the Vincys, comfortably installed at Stone Court were complacent about Fred’s inheritance, Featherstone’s other relatives were agitated. Knowing that his death was close, his brothers and sisters all clustered round him, though he had never hidden his dislike for them. The rich ones believed their wealth gave them a claim to his property; the poorer ones felt the same way about their need. There was constant jockeying for his favors, and resentment of the Vincys and Mary Garth - who were considered "deep" and undeserving upstarts. Mary struggled to do her work and care for the dying man. His fatal illness did not make him any more pleasant.
Mary is also invited at Mrs. Vincy’s constant attempts to keep Fred away from her. Some of the younger men and Featherstone’s associate, Trumbell, the auctioneer, are interested in Mary as a possible wife - both because she is hardworking and in the belief she will get a bequest from the old man.
The relatives keep haunting Featherstone’s bedroom door, and getting thrown out by him.
While a diversion from the plot, this chapter is worthwhile for its satirical observation of human greed. Its importance to Fred is that he relies on and is confident of his inheritance yet the outcome is still in suspense.