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BOOK VII: TWO TEMPTATIONS
Mr. Farebrother meets the medical men at various Christmas parties. He hears a lot of talk about Lydgate’s dwindling patients and increasing debts. As a good friend, the vicar wants to help. The chance comes at a New Year party at the Vincys’. All the Vincy children, the Farebrothers’ family, and even Mary Garth were present at Fred’s persuasion. Fred is jealous of the vicar whenever he is near Mary. Mrs. Vincy begins to look more benignly on Mary because her younger children are fond of the girl. She discusses Mary’s looks rather slightingly with Mrs. Farebrother, who is indignant. Both ladies look on Mary as a potential daughter-in-law!
Lydgate is in and out, due to his patients. Once, Farebrother gets hold of him and thanks him for his recommendation to Dorothea. Lydgate is embarrassed, and Farebrother delicately hints that he too could be a good friend in need. Lydgate understands his offer, but is too proud to take it up, and ignores it. Farebrother is hurt and goes out, Rosamond appears indifferent to her husband’s movements and mood.
This little scene highlight Lydgate’s deepening crisis, and growing isolation form his friends. Rosamond’s father is aware of their problems, but keeps aloof. Will has his own worries. Farebrother wants to help but is snubbed. Thus a combination of weakness, pride and a misguided marriage combine to drag Lydgate into a mire of petty financial troubles, away form his plans of path-breaking medical work.