There are, as in life, occasions within the two novels where the characters do not say and do the same thing. Some of the occasions are obvious, others not so until later but the situation remains highly political when dealing with relationships between the characters. In 'Middlemarch', a great deal is left unspoken by the characters that the reader is told either by narration or by assumption. It is not always for the character to speak what he or she thinks at the time, but this is broken in some amusement by Celia Brooke in the fifth chapter: " 'Then I think the commonest minds must be rather useful.
I think it is a pity Mr Casaubon's mother had not a commoner mind : she might have taught him better. ' Celia was inwardly frightened, and ready to run away, now she had hurled this light javelin. Dorothea's feelings had gathered to an avalanche, and there could be no further preparation. 'It is right to tell you, Celia, that I am engaged to marry Mr Casaubon. ' Perhaps Celia had never turned so pale before. " p. 72 This small faux pas on the part of Celia is brushed aside by Dorothea after a swift apology, and Celia soon changes here spoken opinion of Mr Casaubon when she is in company not suited to her unspoken opinions.
The relationship between Celia and Dorothea does not suffer greatly as a result of Celia's slip of tongue, but it resulted in embarrassment for Celia whilst Dorothea was left 'hurt and agitated'. This perhaps best illustrates what can happen when there is not a difference between what a character says and thinks, from thereon in Celia tends to censor her speech and actions when talking to Dorothea. There are occasions on which she does say what she thinks, but these are always intentional and hardly ever in error.
When Casaubon dies, for example, great volumes of water have passed under the bridge of the Casaubon's marriage and it has not turned out to be at all happy. The codicil to his will, cancelling Dorothea's share of Casaubon's estate if she marries his cousin Ladislaw leaves Dorothea in a much different frame of mind to the optimistic and ever-loving Dorothea of the fifth chapter. "What I think, Dodo,' Celia went on, observing nothing more than that Dorothea was leaning back in her chair, and likely to be passive, 'is that Mr Casaubon was spiteful.
I never did like him, and James never did… If he has been taken away, that is a mercy, and you ought to be grateful. ' " p. 533 Dorothea is quite passive here, and does not interrupt the announcement of the arrival of Lydgate with a crushing defense of her late husband. Celia is without doubt the best illustrator of discrepancy between thought and spoken opinions, whether in fault of her self or the positions she is placed in by Eliot. In 'The Masters', two themes stand out as examples of differences between spoken and thought opinions. Firstly, the death of Royce.
As Royce is not initially told, it places the characters in the awkward position of having to visit him whilst giving the pretence that it is just a stomach ulcer and everything will be alright and back to normal before Christmas. When they learn of the situation some have no hesitation in telling Lady Muriel exactly they think, even if they know it is unmoderated and controversial. Joan, in the second chapter: " 'Then for God's sake don't go on with this farce. ' The girl was torn with feeling, the cry welled out of her. 'Give him his dignity back. '
'His dignity is safe,' said Lady Muriel. She got up… " p. 14 Once again, it is a younger female with difficulty restraining her opinion, even if it would be tactful. When the fellows discuss it, they do so outside of Lady Muriel's earshot, and do try not to make a difficult situation worse for her. They may not agree with her, but don't try to confront her about it because they consider their judgement better. " 'He's quite certain he'll soon be well,' Jago said. 'That is the most appalling thing. ' 'You would have told him? ' 'Without the shadow of a doubt. ' " p. 22
" 'There are not many serious things in a man's life – but one of them is how he shall meet his death. You can't be tactful about death : all you can do is leave a man alone. ' " (Jago) p. 23 By no means do the fellows all share Lady Muriel's view on the best thing to do, but they demonstrate the difference between spoken and thought opinions. The second occasion within 'The Masters' when there is a great difference between speech and thought is during the election of the Master's successor. It could well be expected that each man would make himself clear about who he was to support, and to a certain extent they do.
Two reasonably clear parties emerge. For Jago, vote Luke, Calvert, Eliot, Brown, Crawford and Gay. In the beginning, Pilbrow pledges allegiance to the Jago camp, and in the end Chrystal switches as well. When Chrystal crosses over to Crawford, it transpires that he was never a keen supporter of Jago. He admits freely that Jago may well have the advantage over Crawford in some areas, but at the end of the day: " 'You know as well as I do,' said Jago, 'that seeing him elected is the last thing any of us want. '