Tom explains that Mr. Tulliver is to meet the creditors tomorrow at the Golden Lion. Mr. Tulliver triumphs at the realization that Wakem must know of the publicized event. He tells Tom that Tom must make a speech to the creditors and make his father proud and, in turn, make Wakem ashamed of his own crooked son. Mr. Tulliver stays up late savoring his triumph with Tom. He wakes up with a start in the morning from a dream, presumably about Wakem—"I thought I'd got hold of him."

Sitting at the Golden Lion the next day, Mr. Tulliver seems his old self. Tom makes a brief speech of which Mr. Tulliver is quite proud. After the party, Tom remains in town to take care of business, and Mr. Tulliver heads home, hoping to meet Wakem in the street. At the gates of Dorlcote Mill, Tulliver does meet Wakem, who scolds him about a farming method. Mr. Tulliver becomes furious and proclaims that he'll "serve no longer under a scoundrel." As Wakem tries to pass, Tulliver spurs his horse, and Wakem's horse throws Wakem from the saddle. Tulliver jumps off his horse and flogs Wakem with a riding whip. Maggie rushes out of the house and holds her father back. Luke arrives and helps Wakem back onto his horse, as Wakem vows that Tulliver will "suffer for this."

After Wakem's departure, Tulliver becomes faint and goes to bed. Tom arrives home triumphant, becomes gloomy again upon hearing the awful news of his father's violence. The next morning, Mrs. Tulliver awakens Tom and Maggie to tell them she has sent for a doctor and that their father is asking for them. Tulliver charges Tom with the task of getting the old mill back in the family and caring for Mrs. Tulliver and Maggie. Tulliver announces that he doesn't forgive Wakem, and his last words before death are "This world's … too many … honest man … puzzling…. " Maggie asks Tom to forgive her, and they hold each other and weep.


The second part of Book Fifth moves quickly with events: Maggie's declaration of love for Philip, Tom's discovery of Maggie and Philip's meetings, Tom's repayment of the Tulliver debt, Mr. Tulliver's death. This section of the novel also works to cement the particular difficulties of Maggie's relationships with both Tom and Philip that will underlay their interactions for the rest of the novel.

In Chapter IV of Book Fifth, Philip's admission of love to Maggie takes her by surprise. The new, less innocent tint that this puts on their meetings of the last year works to increase Maggie's guilt about their secrecy and secure a quicker agreement to Tom's ultimatum. Though Maggie returns Philip's love in declaration, doubt is cast upon the romantic quality of this love. When Maggie and Philip first met as children, her love for him was compared to her love for deformed animals—she loved them more because she found that they appreciated and returned her love more than healthy animals. Here, Maggie's love has matured but still is not portrayed as the love of one equal to another. Maggie's love for Philip still involves some level of pity but now also reflects her newfound desire for self-denial. Loving Philip and devoting herself to his happiness would imply making a sacrifice, putting his happiness before her own. While Maggie does not see herself and Philip as equals, the narrative also reflects this difference. Philip has been described as "womanly" several times throughout Book Fifth, and the narrative implies that his love for Maggie involves neediness rather than romantic desire. Finally, Maggie is portrayed as too young and inexperienced to know the difference between romantic love and other love and thus to be able to distinguish her love for Philip as the latter. When Philip fears that Maggie loves him only as a brother, Maggie agrees that she does, because for Maggie, her love for Tom is the pinnacle of her career of loving—it represents the ideal to her. Chapter IV opens with Maggie scorning the conventional scenes of love in which the blond haired woman wins the man, yet Maggie's unconventional acceptance of Philip's love is not fully endorsed by the narrative commentary.

Tom's angry scolding of Maggie in Chapter V shifts the terms of Maggie's internal debate slightly. While before, Maggie was at war about whether to stick to her tranquil plan of self-denial or to experience the fullness of life through her meetings with Philip, Tom now reminds her that it is her "duty" to stay away from Philip. Thus the terms of Maggie's internal debate shift to an argument between her duty to her family and her selfish love of what Philip offers her. Though Tom's terms change Maggie's internal struggle slightly, Tom's authority over Maggie is somewhat undermined by his cruel treatment of Philip. Soon, however, the death of Mr. Tulliver insures that Maggie will be mindful of family duties much more efficiently than Tom could have done. In death, with his admonitions to bring down the Wakem family still ringing, Mr. Tulliver's will seems much more compelling than when he was alive.


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