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What is the summary for Chapter 20 of The Blithedale Romance?

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted December 15, 2008 at 5:20 AM via web

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What is the summary for Chapter 20 of The Blithedale Romance?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 16, 2008 at 4:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Priscilla arrives at Zenobia's drawing room, where Zenobia and Coverdale are waiting.  She is wearing a gauzy dress of pure white, which accentuates her ethereal beauty.  Coverdale notices this, and Zenobia asks him why, "in such Arcadian freedom of falling in love as (they) have lately enjoyed, it never occurred to (him) to fall in love with Priscilla".  She notes that, in the environment of the farm, the discrepancy in their classes should make no difference.  Coverdale says there are other reasons he has not fallen in love with Priscilla, and brings up Hollingsworth's name, at which mention Zenobia becomes angry.  She berates Coverdale for deferring to Hollingsworth, calling Coverdale's "sense of duty...bigotry, self-conceit...a most irreverent propensity to thrust Providence aside and substitute one's self in its awful place".  She holds Coverdale responsible "for any mischief that may follow from (his) interference" with what she considers the the way things should happen.

Coverdale gently asks Priscilla if she came away from Blithedale of her own free will, and she replies that she never has free will.  It is Holllingsworth who sent her away, and Coverdale, exasperated, wipes his hands of the situation and prepares to leave.  A carriage pulls up, and Zenobia announces that she and Priscilla "have an engagement", the nature of which she will not reveal to Coverdale.  Westervelt, whom Coverdale detests, appears to escort the ladies.  Coverdale asks Priscilla if she knows where she is going; she does not.  He tells her if she does not wish to go he will help her, but she declines, and leaves on the arm of Westervelt, along with Zenobia (Chapter 20).

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