Insult of the Week: you confounded fools

Middlemarch‘s Fred Vincy momentarily loses the run of himself while intervening in a local territorial skirmish:

“What do you confounded fools mean?” shouted Fred, pursuing the divided group in a zigzag, and cutting right and left with his whip. “I’ll swear to every one of you before the magistrate. You’ve knocked the lad down and killed him, for what I know. You’ll every one of you be hanged at the next assizes, if you don’t mind,” said Fred, who afterwards laughed heartily as he remembered his own phrases.

Typically for Middlemarch, all appears peaceful and serene on the surface while tensions are bubbling away underneath. Behind this image, “six or seven men in smock-frocks with hay-forks in their hands [are] making an offensive approach towards four railway agents”…


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