Summary of Chapter 44: Arthur’s Return
Arthur’s thoughts on returning to England are all about his grandfather whom he pities and thinks of kindly, and his new position. He is happy and on top of the world thinking that now he has come into his own. He thinks on all the benevolent acts he will accomplish, starting with the Irwines and the Bedes. He has no worry about Hetty, for he had heard she was engaged to Adam. He wants to do something handsome for the couple and is glad he has left behind the mistakes of last summer. Although he is not in love with Hetty, she still causes his heart to beat faster when he thinks of her. When he returns home, the servants are all silent and downcast, but he thinks it is for his grandfather. Mr. Irwine’s letter is waiting for him, and he reads it first. It says that Hetty is being tried for child murder in Stoniton. He rushes out of the house, gets his horse and gallops to Stoniton.
Commentary on Chapter 44
As Arthur returns home, he seems to be stuck in the same mode as before. He thinks he just scraped by in the affair with Hetty, and he won’t do it again. He vows to be better in the future. The fact that he rushes out of the house to Stoniton as soon as he hears the news confirms Mr. Irwine’s better thoughts of Arthur’s character. He does not slink away or try to reason himself out of culpability. He rushes to help. Like Adam, Arthur will be baptized anew by Hetty’s suffering.