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Lydgate feels this is the worst calamity to strike him in his checkered career. The gulf between the noble tasks he had imagined for himself and the sordid "swamp" he is trapped in almost breaks him down.
He is tortured by doubts. Even if Bulstrode had given him the money to silence him about Raffles’ disclosures. Even if he disobeyed Lydgate’s orders, it could be a mistaken continuation of the older form of treatment, which liberally gave alcohol to the patient. Finally, one might wonder whether he himself would have inquired further into the death, had he not had a sense of obligation to Bulstrode. These doubts could not be resolved, but they strengthen. Lydgate’s power of resistance. He would not leave Middlemarch, neither would he hide his obligation to Bulstrode nor dissociate from him. Only about Rosamond’s reaction does he have a doubt. He dare not inform her about the facts, and leaves her to find out by chance.
Lydgate’s basic strength of character persists so far as his own work and associations are concerned. But in his relation to Rosamond, he is paralyzed by her "dumb mastery."