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George Eliot

Book VII: Chapters 68-71

Book VII: Chapters 63-67

Book VII: Chapters 68-71, page 2

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Looking rather ill, Raffles appears at Bulstrode's home on Christmas Eve and spends the night. Bulstrode sends him away the next morning with a hundred pounds. Bulstrode's wife is uneasy, so he tells her he is merely taking care of the "wretched creature."

Bulstrode arranges to transfer the management of the bank and the hospital. He speaks to Caleb Garth and asks him to manage Stone Court in his absence. Garth wants to give the management to Fred. Eager to secure Garth's competent services, Bulstrode agrees. His wife is angry that he didn't give Lydgate a loan. She wonders why he is so stingy with her brother's family, so he agrees to help Fred in order to mollify her. Garth examines the property and prepares to tell Fred the good news.

Garth visits Bulstrode at the bank to report that he found Raffles at Stone Court. He advises Bulstrode to secure the services of a doctor because Raffles is very sick. Bulstrode fears that Raffles told Garth everything. Garth confirms his suspicion when he tells Bulstrode that he must decline to do business with him after all. However, Garth promises not to repeat Raffles' accusations.

Lydgate meets Bulstrode at Stone Court. Raffles suffers from the ravages of alcoholism. Lydgate prescribes bed rest and instructs Bulstrode to refuse Raffles' requests for alcohol. The case is serious, but Raffles, being strong, could still live.

Bulstrode discovers a handbill about a horse-fair in Raffles' things. He follows Lydgate's instructions faithfully. He hopes that Raffles will die and considers defying Lydgate's advice. Lydgate visits again and prescribes small doses of opium to help Raffles sleep. Lydgate is bitter that Bulstrode aids a wretch like Raffles though he would not help him with his debts. The auction of his furniture has been published in the papers. He expresses optimism for Raffles' recovery.

Anxious to earn Lydgate's goodwill, Bulstrode tells him that he has changed his mind and wants to loan Lydgate the money. Enormously relieved, Lydgate goes away with a check for a thousand pounds. Exhausted, Bulstrode asks the housekeeper to take over. The housekeeper knocks on his door and tells him that Raffles is begging for brandy. After a moment's hesitation, Bulstrode gives her the key to the liquor cabinet. Lydgate returns in the morning to watch Raffles take his dying breath. Lydgate is puzzled at the change, but he is so happy to be saved from bankruptcy that he thinks nothing of it.

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