74 pages 2 hours read

George Eliot

Daniel Deronda

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1876

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Book 7, Chapters 50-57Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 7: “The Mother and the Son”

Book 7, Chapter 50 Summary

Sir Hugo presents Deronda with a letter from a woman named Leonora Halm-Eberstein. She is a princess and she claims to be his mother. She has recently become sick and has decided that now is the time to reveal the secrets that she has kept for Deronda’s entire life. She invites him to meet her in Genoa, Italy. Deronda tells his friends that he must leave the country but he does not say why. Sir Hugo bids farewell to Deronda, assuring him that he will always love him as though he were a son. While waiting to meet his mother in Italy, Deronda goes sailing. While at sea, he reflects on what he knows about Jewish history. He imagines the Spanish Jewish refugees sailing into the Genoa harbor, just as he is about to do. They had been driven out of Spain and were dying of “famine and plague” (522). Increasingly, Deronda is hopeful that he may have some Jewish ancestry. This would bring him closer to Mordecai and Mirah. However, he reminds himself that he has no control over his parents’ identity. He also reflects on Gwendolen’s situation. He feels as though he has become embroiled in a potential scandal and—though Gwendolen stirs some emotion inside him—he is beginning to understand that he truly loves Mirah.