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‘CHAPTER 3: Summary
Squire Cass was the most prominent family in Raveloe. Squire Cass owned a lot of lands and kept tenants on his land to work for him. During the winter months, the rich were invited to feast and celebrate lavishly in the Red House, Squire Cass’s home. They then moved to Mr Osgood’s home for the further celebration.
The Cass family, the Osgoods, and the Lammeters are wealthy families with lavish lifestyles. Their extravagance is contrasted to the existence of the villagers. Squire Cass’s wife died years ago and the Red House lacked a woman’s touch. Likewise, Squire Cass’s two sons seemed to have gone astray. In particular, Squire Cass’s second son, Dunstan Cass, who would spend his time betting and drinking. These were attributed to having been kept at home in leisure all his life. Godfrey Cass, the elder son, of late, appeared troubled and perhaps was taking after his younger brother’s bad ways. The village folk felt that such conduct on Godfrey’s part would cost him the heart of a young woman, Nancy Lammeter, who looked favourably upon him for the past year.
At this time period, and especially in a small village like Raveloe, one’s reputation was of the utmost importance. One’s social class determined whom one could marry. Godfrey Cass, as the son of the Squire, was an excellent match for Miss Lampeter. However, a bad reputation could cause Nancy to refuse any offer of marriage from him. As the second son, Dunstan will not inherit as much as Godfrey and his reputation was less important to maintain. Godfrey and Dunstan confronted each other in the parlour of the Red House one November afternoon. Dunstan was drunk but had appeared at his older brother’s summons. One of Squire Cass’s tenants, Fowler, paid his rent to Godfrey, and Godfrey loaned this money to Dunstan. Now their father was short of cash and had demanded that the tenant pay him. Godfrey insisted that Dunstan should pay him back, so he could deliver the rent money to the Squire. Dunstan threatens Godfrey’s that he would reveal the latter’s secret marriage to a drunken, low-class woman named Molly Farren. Dunstan’s power over Godfrey became significant in several of Godfrey’s decisions and actions. Godfrey went to great length to keep his secret. He would indulge Dunstan. He preferred to rely on chance and hope rather than taking responsibility for his actions. Godfrey was weak. When Godfrey argues that he had no money to offer in place of the loaned rent money, Dunstan suggested that he would sell the former’s horse, Wildfire. The horse could be sold the next day at the hunt, but Godfrey protests that he was supposed to attend Mrs Osgood’s birthday dance the next day. Dunstan teased him about Nancy Lammeter who would be at the dance. Godfrey desperately claimed he could tell the Squire himself of his secret marriage so that Dunstan could no longer hold the secret as bargaining power. Godfrey’s horse Wildfire is well cared for and a better horse than Dunstan’s own. Godfrey’s fear of his brother’s knowledge of his secret forced him to comply.
Q1. Describe the Cass family headed by Squire Cass.
Ans. The Cass family constituted the gentry of Raveloe because they were landowners as well as people of renowned name and history in the village.
The head of the family was Squire Cass, a hardworking man who had achieved his successes by his own efforts. He was the richest man in Raveloe, hardened by hard work, and unfortunately, not too good a father as his children will prove. Like a real landlord, he collected rent from tenants. Parties at Squire Cass’s were the best because his wife was dead—which meant that there was no limit to the food. Sadly, the villagers thought, his sons were a little wild. The eldest son was Godfrey, a good man but totally weak and dependant on his younger brother. Godfrey lacked motivation and was easily led to do things he should not be doing. Dustan or Dunsey to his friends was the youngest and last of the Cass clan. He was possibly the most irresponsible, heartless, mean-spirited, abusive man in Raveloe. He was also the man responsible for stealing Silas’s gold and he ultimately died in a freak accident with the gold in hand. The two brothers start to fight. Godfrey gave some rent money to Dunsey rather than handing it over to his father. Godfrey has married already—and his wife, Molly Farren. Godfrey’s had a big strong body, but a weak mind, and he could not decide what to do. He was afraid to lose Nancy Lammeter. Dunsey knew Godfrey’s secret and used the knowledge to blackmail his brothers to do him favours. The latter had to comply.