What is a description of life in Squire Cass's house?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hello! Below is a description of life in Squire Cass's house.

According to the writer, Squire Cass is the greatest man in the town of Raveloe. His Red House is well known as the venue for late summer feasts, Christmas parties, and New Year's dances. The Squire's two grown sons live with him. Godfrey is the elder; he is good-natured, but weak-willed. Dunsey, the younger brother, is a gambler who is prone to drinking too much. He is manipulative and unscrupulous. The atmosphere in Squire Cass's house is one lacking in domestic warmth. Squire Cass's wife passed away while the brothers were still growing up and the house is bereft of a mother's love and touch.

With his grown sons greatly disappointing him, Squire Cass prefers to spend more time at the Rainbow Inn than at home. When Godfrey and Dunsey interact, their conversations are usually fraught with tension and conflict. Mealtimes do not appear to present any further opportunity for domestic fellowship and intimacy; everyone breakfasts at a different hour at the Red House. When Squire Cass does venture to converse with his sons, the tone of the conversation is often antagonistic. The day that Godfrey confesses the truth about Fowler's rent, Squire Cass is furious and almost incoherent with rage. It is quite clear that Squire Cass believes that he has every right to run his sons' lives as he sees fit.

Despite his poor domestic life, Squire Cass is adamant that his reputation for unstinting hospitality should never be doubted. The decadence of his New Year's Eve parties dwarf even the extravagance of his Christmas parties.

This was the occasion on which fair dames who came on pillions sent their bandboxes before them, supplied with more than their evening costume; for the feast was not to end with a single evening, like a paltry town entertainment, where the whole supply of eatables is put on the table at once, and bedding is scanty. The Red House was provisioned as if for a siege; and as for the spare feather-beds ready to be laid on floors, they were as plentiful as might naturally be expected in a family that had killed its own geese for many generations.

On such important occasions, Mrs. Kimble, the Squire's sister, would play the role of interim lady of the house. The Red House would be decorated to perfection to highlight the wealth of its owner.

...the White Parlour, where the mistletoe-bough was hung, and multitudinous tallow candles made rather a brilliant effect, gleaming from among the berried holly-boughs, and reflected in the old-fashioned oval mirrors fastened in the panels of the white wainscot.

Although the relationship between Squire Cass and his grown sons may be less than optimal, the Squire appears to spare no efforts in keeping up appearances.

Thanks for the question!