Part 10 Summary

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Last Updated April 5, 2023.

The narrative continues to focus on Septimus’s apathy and depression. He and Lucrezia visit Dr. Holmes, who suggests various methods of healing Septimus’s mind, including hobbies and exercise. Despite the high regard with which so many people hold Dr. Holmes, Septimus sees the doctor as a devilish, fearsome adversary whose cheerful demeanor conceals sinister schemes and a devious character.

When Lucrezia expresses agreement with Dr. Holmes’s counsel, Septimus feels intensely betrayed, feeling as if the one person he trusts has abandoned him to side with the enemy. He experiences intense inner turmoil, and his thoughts are consumed by suicidal tendencies due to a feeling of powerlessness. This internal struggle is worsened by the perceived presence of Evans, who Septimus believes is trying to send him a message. 

Septimus's erratic behavior terrifies those in his proximity, so Lucrezia calls once more for Dr. Holmes, who proves unable to help Septimus. Big Ben chimes, announcing that it is now noon, and from the window, Lucrezia spots Sir William Bradshaw's vehicle approaching.

After providing some information about Bradshaw, the narrative slips back in time to detail Bradshaw's initial interview with Septimus, who was uncooperative and not fully mentally clear. Septimus asserts that he has committed a serious crime, but Lucrezia refutes this claim. Bradshaw has a private conversation with Lucrezia, in which he suggests that Septimus requires a proper rest in an institution—although he does not specifically use the word “asylum,” it is certainly implied. Bradshaw assures Rezia that he will confirm the plans between five and six o'clock, then take Septimus away.

Prior to departure, Bradshaw pays another visit to Septimus, who has been pondering on how human nature has afflicted him like a ravenous creature. Bradshaw recognizes the gravity of Septimus's situation and remains unemotional but not cruel. Upon his departure, both the husband and wife experience a sense of abandonment. Rezia feels deserted, as she had hoped that Bradshaw would heal Septimus.

The narrative briefly touches on Bradshaw's individual belief system, which centers around the idea of proportion. By valuing proportion, Bradshaw has been able to preserve his mental stability and live a commendable life. He has also used these values to heal others; for example, Lady Bradshaw once lost her sense of proportion, which caused her to lose interest in the world and neglect herself. She withdrew from society and required intervention to reintegrate. Bradshaw’s philosophy of proportion helped her reprise her love for life and helped her reintegrate into society. Given his success with his wife, Lucrezia had high—if misplaced—hopes that he could help Septimus. 

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Part 9 Summary

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Part 11 Summary