But I say again, search me and my dwelling, for I have been nowhere else. On this William exhorted his friend to confess, and not to hide his sin any longer. Silas turned a look of keen reproach on him, and said, " William, for nine years tliat we have gone in and out together, have you ever known me to tell a lie? But God will clear me. Suddenly a deep flush came over his face, and he was about to speal impetuously, when be seemed checked again by some inward shock, that sent the flush back and made him tremble.
But at last he spoke feebly, looking at William. God will clear me. Any resort to legal measures for ascertaining the culprit was contrary to the principles of the church : prosecution was held by them to be forbidden to Christians, even if it had been a case in which there was no scandal to the community. But they were bound to take other measures for finding out the tnith, and they resolved on praying and drawing lots. Silas knelt with his brethren, relying on his own innocence being certified by immediate divine inter- ference, but feeling that there was sorrow and mourning behind for him even then — that his trust in man hac been cruelly bruised.
The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilt y. He was solemnly suspended from church-membership, and called upon to render up the stolen money : only on confession, as the sign of repentance, could he be received once more within the fold of the church. Marner listened in silence. At last, when every one rose to depart, he went towards William Dane and said, in a voice shaken by agitation : — " The last time I remember using my knife was when I took it out to cut a strap for you. I don't remember putting it in my pocket again. Yolc stole the money, and you have woven a plot to lay the sin at my door.
But you may prosper, for all that : there is no just God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent. AVilliam said meeklj', " I leave our brethren to judge whether this is the voice of Satan or not. I can do nothing but pray for you, Silas. In the bitterness of his wounded spirit, he said to himself, " She will cast me off too.
To people accustomed to reason about the forms in which their religious feeling has incor- porated itself, it is difficult to enter into that simple, untaught state of mind in which the form and the feeling have never been severed by an act of reflection. If there is an angel who records the sorrows of men as well as their sins, he knows how many and deep are the sorrows that spring from false ideas for which no man is culpable. Marner went home, and for a wliule day sat alone, stunned by despair, without any impulse to go to Sarah and attempt to win her belief in his innocence.
The second day he took refuge from benumbing unbelief, by getting into his loom and working away as usual ; and before many hours were past, the minister and one of the deacons came to liim with the message from Sarah, that she held her engagement to him at an end. Silas received the message mutely, and then turned away from the messengers to work at his loom again. In little more tlian a month from that time, Sarah was married to William Dane ; and not long afterwards it was known to the brethren in Lantern Yard that Silas Marner had departed from the town.
Minds tliat have been unhinged from tlieir old faith and love have perhaps sought this Lethean" influence of exile. But even their experience may hardly enable them thoroughly to imagine what was the effect on a simple weaver like Siliis Marner, when he left his own country and people and came to settle at Raveloe. Nothing could be more unlike his native town, set within sight of the wide-spread hillsides, than this low, wooded region, where he felt hidden even from the heavens by the screening trees and hedge-rows.
There was nothing here, when he rose in the deep morning quiet and looked out on the dewy brambles and rank tufted grass, that seemed to have any relation with that life centring in Lantern Yard, which had once been to him the altar-place of high dis- pensations. A weaver who finds hard words in his hymn-book knows nothing of abstractions ; as the little child knows nothing of parental love, but oialy knows one face and one lap towards which it stretches its arms for refuge and nurture.
And what could be more unlike that Lantern Yard world than the world at Raveloe?
Silas Marner | Study Guide
There were no lips in Raveloe from which a word- could foil that would stir Silas Marner's benumbed faith to a sense of pain. In the early ages of tlie world, we know, it was believed that each territory was inhabited and ruled by its own divinities, so that a man could cross the bordering heights and be out of the reach of his native gods, whose presence was confined to the streams and the groves and the hills among which he had lived from his birth.
And poor Silas was vaguely conscious of something not unlike the feeling of primitive men, when they fled thus, in fear or in sul- lenness, from the face of an unpropitious deity. It seemed to him tliat the Power in which he had vainly trusted among the streets and in the prayer-meetings, was very far away from this land in which he had taken refuge, where men lived in careless abundance, knowing and needing nothing of that trust, which, for him, had been turned to bitterness. The little light he pos- sessed spread its beams so narrowly, that frustrated" belief was a curtain broad enough to create for him the blackness of niglit.
His first movement after the shock had been to work in his loom ; and he went on with this unremittingly, never asking himself why, now he was come to Raveloe, he worked far on into the night to finish the tale of Mrs. Osgood's table-linen sooner than she expected — without contemplating beforehand the money she would put into his hand for the work. He seemed to weave, like the spider, from pure impulse, without reflection. Every man's work, pursued steadily, tends in this way to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the love- less chasms of his life.
Silas's hand satisfied itself with throw- ing the shuttle, and his eye with seeing the little squares in the cloth complete themselves under his effort. He hated the thought of the past ; there was nothing that called out his love and fellowship towards the strangers he had come amongst ; and the future was all dark, for there was no Unseen Love that cared for him. Thought was arrested by utter be- wilderment, now its old narrow pathway was closed, and affec- tion seemed to have died under the bruise that had fallen on its keenest nerves.
But at last Mrs. Osgood's table-linen was finished, and Silas was jjaid in gold. His earnings in his native town, where he worked for a wholesale dealer, had been after a lower rate; he had been paid weekly, and of his weekly earnings a large pro- portion had gone to objects of piety and charity. Now, for the first time in bis life, he had five bright guineas" put into his hand ; no man expected a share of them, and he loved no man that he should offer him a share. It was needless for him to ask that, for it was pleasant to him to feel them in his palm, and look at their bright faces, which were all his own : it was another element of life, like the weav- ing and the satisfaction of hunger, subsisting quite aloof from the life of belief and love from which he had been cutoff.
The weaver's hand had known the touch of hard-won money even before the palm had grown to its full breadth; for twenty years, mysterious money had stood to him as the symbol of earthly good, and the immediate object of toil. He had seemed to love it little in the years when every penny had its purpose for him ; for he loved the purpose then. But now, when all purpose was gone, that habit of lodking towards the money and grasping it with a sense of fulfilled effort made a loam that was deep enough for the seeds of desire ; and as Silas walked home- SILAS MARNER 17 ward across the fields in the twilight, he drew out the money, and thought it was blighter in the gathering gloom.
About this time an incident happened which seemed to open a possibility of some fellowship with his neighboi-s. One day, taking a pair of shoes to be mended, he saw the cobbler's wife seated by the fire, suffering from the terrible symptoms of heart- disease and dropsy, which he had witnessed as the precursors of his mother's death. He felt a rush of pity at the mingled sight and remembrance, and, recalling the relief his mother had found from a simple preparation of foxglove, he promised Sally Gates to bring her something that would ease her, since the doctor did her no good.
In this office of charity, Silas felt, for the first time since he had come to Eaveloe, a sense of unity between his past and present life, which might have been the beginning of his rescue from the insect-like existence into which his nature had shmnk. But Sally Oates's disease had raised her into a personage of much interest and importance among the neighbors, and the fact of her having found relief from drinking SUas Mamer's "stuff" became a matter of general discourse.
When Doctor Kimble gave physic, it was natural that it should have an effect ; but when a weaver, who came from nobody knew where, worked wonders with a bottle of brown waters, the occidt character of the process was evident. Such a sort of thing had not been known since the "Wise Woman at Tarley died ; and she had charms as well as " stuff : " everybody went to her when their children had fits.
Silas Mamer must be a person of the same sort, for how did he know what would bring back Sally Oates's breath, if he didn't know a fine sight more than that? The Wise Woman had words that she muttered to herself, so that you couldn't hear what they were, and if she tied a bit of red thread round the child's toe the while, it would keep off the water in the head. Silas Marner could very likely do as much, and more ; and now it was all clear how he should have come from unknown parts, and be so " comical-looking. Silas now found himself and his cottage suddenly beset by mothers who wanted him to charm away the whooping-cough, or bring back the milk; and by men who wanted stuff against the rheumatics or the knots in the hands ; and, to secure themselves against a refusal, the applicants brought silver in their palms.
Silas might have driven a profitable trade in charms as well as in his small list of drugs ; but money on this condition was no temptation to him : he had never known an impulse towards falsity, and he drove one after another away with growing irritation, for the news of him as a wise man had spread even to Tarley, and it was long before people ceased to take long walks for the sake of asking his aid. But the hope in liis wisdom was at length changed into dread, for no one believed him when he said he knew no charms and could work no cures, and every man and woman who had an accident or a new attack after applying to him, set the mis- fortune down to Master Marner's ill-will and irritated glances.
Thus it came to pass that his movement of pity towards Sally Gates, which had given him a transient sense of brotherhood, heightened the repulsion between him and his neighbors, and made his isolation more complete. Have not men, shut up in solitary imprisonment, found an interest in marking the moments by straight strokes SILAS MARNER 19 of a certain length on the wall, until the growth of the sum of straight strokes, arranged in triangles, has become a master- ing purpose? Do we not while away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit?
Tiiat will help us to understand how the love of accumulating money grows an absorbing passion in men whose imaginations, even in the very beginning of their hoard, showed them no purpose beyond it. Marner wanted the heaps of ten to grow into a square, and then into a larger square ; and every added guinea, while it was itself a satisfaction, bred a new desire.
In this strange world, made a hopeless riddle to him, he might, if he had had a less intense nature, have sat weaving, weaving — looking towards the end of his pattern, or towards the end of his web, till he forgot the riddle, and everything else but his immediate sensations : but the monej' had come to mark off his weaving into periods, and the money not only grew, but it remained with him. He began to think it was conscious of him, as his loom was, and he would on no account have ex- changed those coins, which had become his familiars," for other coins with unknown faces.
He had taken up some bricks in his floor underneath his loom, and here he had made a hole in which he set the iron pot that con- tained his guineas and silver coins, covering the bricks with sand whenever he replaced them. How could they have spent the money in their own village without betraying them- selves 1 They would be obliged to " run away," a course as dark and dubious as a balloon journey.
So, year after year, Silas Marner had lived in this solitude, his guineas rising in the iron i3ot, and his life narrowing and hardening itself more and more into a mere pulsation of desire and satisfaction that had no relation to any otlier being. His life had reduced itself to the mere functions of weaving and hoarding, without any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended. The same sort of process has perliaps been undergone by wiser men, when they have been cut off fi'om faith and love — only, instead of a loom and a heap of guineas, they have had some erudite research, some ingenious project, or some well-knit theory.
Strangely Marner's face and figure shrank and bent themselves into a constant mechani- cal relation to the objects of his life, so that he produced the same sort of impression as a handle or a crooked tube, which has no meaning standing apart. The prominent eyes that used to look trusting and dreamy, now look as if they had been made to see only one kind of thing that was very small, like tiny grain, for which they hunted everywhere : and he was so with- ered and yellow, that, though he was not yet forty, the children always called him " Old Master Marner.
One day as he was returning from the well, he stumbled against the step of the stile, and his brown pot, tailing with force against the stones that over- arched the ditch below him, was broken in three pieces. Silas picked up the pieces and caiTied them home with grief in his heart. The brown pot could never be of use to him any more, but he stuck the bits together and propped the ruin in its old place for a memorial. This is the history of Silas Mamer until the fifteenth year after he came to Raveloe.
The livelong day he sat in his loom, his ear filled with its monotony, his eyes bent close down on the slow growth of sameness in the brownish web, his muscles mov- ing with such even repetition that their pause seemed almost as much a constraint as the holding of his breath. But at night came his revelry ; at night he closed his shutters, and made fiist his doors, and drew out his gold.
Long ago the heap of coins had become too large for the iron pot to hold them, aud he had made for them two thick leather bags, Avhich wasted no room in their resting-place, but lent themselves flexibly to every corner. How the guineas shone as they came pouring out of the dark leather mouths!
The silver bore no large proportion in amount to the gold, because the long pieces of linen which formed his chief work were always partly paid for in gold, and out of the silver he supplied his own bodily wants, choosing always the shillings and sixpences to spend in this way. He loved the guineas best, but he would not change the silver — the crowns and hau-crowns that were his own earnings, begotten by his labor ; he loved them all.
He spread them out in heaps and bathed his hands in them ; then he counted them and set them up in regidar piles, and felt their rounded outline between his thumb and fingere, and thought fondly of the guineas that were only half earned by the work in his loom, as if they had been unborn children — thought of the guineas that were com- 22 SILAS MABNER ing slowly through the comhig years, through all his life, which spread far away before him, the end quite hidden by countless days of weaving.
Silas Marner: Webster's Tagalog Thesaurus Edition (Electronic book text, annotated edition)
No wonder his thoughts were still with his loom and his money when he made his journeys through the fields and lanes to fetch and carry home his work, so that his steps never wandered to the hedge-banks and the lane-side in search of the once familiar herbs : these too belonged to the past, from which his life had shrunk away, like a rivulet that has sunk far down from the grassy fringe of its old breadth into a little shivering thread that cuts a groove for itself in the bar- ren sand. But about the Christmas of that fifteenth year a second great change came over Marner's life, and his history became blent in a singular manner with the life of his neighbors.
He was only one among several lauded parishioners, but he alone was honoi-ed with the title of Squire ; for though Mr. I am speaking now in relation to Raveloe and the parishes that resembled it ; for our old-fashioned country life had many dif- ferent aspects, as all life must have when it is spread over a various surface, and breathed on variously by multitudinous currents, from the winds of heaven to the thoughts of men, which are forever moving and crossing each other within calcu- lable results.
For the Raveloe feasts were like the rounds of beef and the barrels of ale — they were on a large scale, and lasted ft good while, especially in the winter-time. After ladies had packed up their best gowns and top-knots in bandboxes, and had incurred the risk of fording streams on pillions" with the precious burden in rainy or snowy weather, when there was no knowing how high the water would rise, it was not to be supposed that they looked forward to a brief pleasure. On this ground it was always contrived in the dark seasons, when there was little work to be done, and the hours were long, that several neigh- bors should keep open house in succession.
Osgood's, at the Orchards, and they found hams and chines" uncut, pork-pies with the scent of the fire in them, spun butter in all its freshness — everything, in fact, that ap- 24 SILAS MARNER petites at leisure could desire, in perhaps greater perfection, though not in greater abundance, than at Squire Cass's.
Raveloe was not a place where moral censure was severe, but it was thought a weakness in the Squire that he had kept all his sons at home in idleness ; and though some license was to be allowed to young men whose fathers could afford it, people shook their heads at the courses of the second son, Dunstan, commonly called Dunsey Cass, whose taste for swopping and betting might turn out to be a sowing of something worse than wild oats. To be sure, the neighbors said, it was no matter what became of Dunsey — a spiteful, jeering fellow, who seemed to enjoy his drink tlie more when other people went dry — always provided that his doings did not bring trouble on a family like Squire Cass's, with a monument in the church and tankards older than King George.
But it would be a thousand- pities if Mr. Godfrey, the eldest, a fine, open-faced, good-natured young man, who was to come into the land some day, should take to going along the same road as his brother, as he had seemed to do of late. If he went on in that way, he would lose Miss Nancy Lammeter; for it was well known that she had looked very shyly on him ever since last Whitsuntide twelvemonth," when there was so much talk about his being away from liome days and days to- gether. There was something ivrong, more than common — that was quite clear ; for Mr.
Godfrey didn't look half so fresh- colored and open as he used to do. Such a daughter-in-law would be a saving to the old squire, if she never brought a penny to her fortune, for it was to be feared that, notwithstand- ing his incomings, there were more holes in his pocket than the one where he put his own hand in. But if Mr. Godfrey didn't turn over a new leaf, he might say " Good-by " to Miss Xancy Lammeter. It was the once hopeful Godfrey who was standing, with his hands in his side-pockets and his back to the fire, in the dark wainscoted parlor, one late November afternoon, in that fifteenth year of Silas Marner's life at Eaveloe.
The fading gray light fell dimly on the walls, decorated with guns, whips, and fuxes' brushes, on coats and hats flung on the chairs, on tankards sending forth a scent of flat ale, and on a half-choked fire, with pipes propped up in the chimney-corners : signs of -a domestic life destitute of any hallowing charm, with which the look of gloomy vexation on Godfrey's blond face was in sad accordance. The door opened, and a thick-set, heavy-looking young man entered, with the flushed face and the gi-atuitously elated bearing which mark the first stage of intoxication.
It was Dunsey, and at the sight of him Godfrey's face parted with some of its gloom to take on a more active expression of hatred. The handsome brown spaniel that lay on the hearth retreated under the chair in the chimney-corner. He had himself been drinking more than was good for him, trying to turn his gloom into uncalculating anger. He said just now, be- fore he went out, he should send word to Cox to distrain, if Fowler didn't come and pay up his arrears this week. The Squire's short o' cash, and in no humor to stand any nonsense ; and you know what he threatened, if ever he found you making away with his money again.
So, see and get the money, and pretty quickly, will you? Since you was so kind as to hand it over to me, you'll not refuse me the kindness to pay it back for me : it was your brotherly love made you do it, you know. I might get you turned out of house and home, and cut off with a shilling any day. I might tell the Squire how his handsome sou was married to that nice young woman, Molly Farran, and was very unhappy because he couldn't live with his drunken wife, and I should slip into your place as comfortable as could be.
But you see I don't do it — I'm so easy and good- natured. You'll take any trouble for me. You'll get the hun- dred pounds for me — I know you will. And it's a lie that you'd slip into my place : you'd get yourself turned out too, that's all. For if you begin telling tales, I'll follow. Bob's my father's favorite — you know that very well. He'd only think himself well rid of you. But you'd like better for us botia to stay at home together; I know you would. So you'll manage to get that little sum o' money, and I'll bid you good-by, though I'm sorry to part.
I must have the money directly. There'll be Bryce and Keating there, for sure. You'll get more bids than one. I'm going to Mrs. Osgood's birthday dance. I'd advise you to creep up her sleeve again ; it 'ud be saving time, if Molly should happen to take a drop too much laudanum some day, and make a widower of you. Miss Nancy wouldn't mind being a second, if she didn't know it. And you've got a good-natured brother, who'll keep your secret well, because you'll be so very obliging to him. If you'd a little more sharpness in you, you might know that you may urge a man a bit too far, and make one leap as easy as another.
See a Problem?
I don't know but what it is so now : I may as well tell the Squire everything myself — I should get you off my back, if I got nothing else. And, after all, he'll know some time. She's been threatening to come herself and tell him. So, don't flatter yourself that your secrecy's worth any price you choose to ask. You drain me of money till I have got nothing to pacify her with, and she'll do as she threatens some day. It's all one. I'll tell my father everything myself, and you may go to the devil.
But he said with an air of unconcern : " As you please ; but I'll have a draught of ale first. Godfrey stood still with his back to the fire, uneasily moving his fingers among the contents of his side-pockets, and looking at the floor. That big muscular frame of his held plenty of ani- mal courage, but helped him to no decision when the dangers to be braved were such as could neither be knocked down nor throttled. The results of confession were not contingent, they were certain ; whereas betrayal was not certain.
From the near vision of that certainty he fell back on suspense and vacillation with a sense of repose. The disinherited son of a small squire, equally disin- clined to dig and to beg, was almost as helpless as an uprooted tree, which, by the favor of earth and sky, has grown to a handsome bulk on the spot where it first shot upward. The utmost concession to Dunstan about the horse began to seem easy, compared with the fulfilment of his own threat. But his pride would not let him recommence the conversation otherwise than by continuing the quarrel.
Dun- stan was waiting for this, and took his ale in shorter draughts than usual. And if you'd got a spark of pride in you, you'd be ashamed to see the stables emptied, and everj'body sneering about it. You know I'm a jewel for 'ticing people into bargains.
For which reason I advise you to let me sell Wildfire. I'd ride him to the hunt to-morrow for you with pleasure. I shouldn't look so handsome, as you in the saddle, but it's the horse they'll bid for, and not the rider. You received the money from him when you went to Bramcote, and you told the Squire it wasn't paid. I'd nothing to do with that ; you chose to be so obliging as give it me, that was all.
If you don't want to pay the money, let it alone ; it's all one to me. But I was willing to accommodate you by undertaking to sell the horse, seeing it's not convenient to you to go so far to-morrow. He would have liked to spring on Dunstan, wrench the whip from his hand, and flog him to within an inch of his life ; and no bodily fear could have deterred him ; but he was mastered by another sort of fear, which was fed by feelings stronger even than his resentment.
When he spoke again, it was in a half-conciliatory tone. You'll sell hira all fair, and hand over the money? If you don't, you know, everything 'ull go to smash, for I've got nothing else to trust to. And you'll have less pleasure in pulling the house over my head, when your own skull's to be broken too.
I thought you'd come round. I'm the fellow to bring old Bryce up to the scratch. I'll get you a hundred and twenty for him, if I get you a penny. It might rain if you wanted to go yourself. You never hold trumps, you know — I always do. Besides, whenever I fall, I'm warranted to fall on my legs. The subtle and varied jiains springing from the higher sensibility that ac- companies higher culture are perhaps less pitiable than that dreary absence of impersonal enjoyment and consolation which leaves ruder minds to the perpetual urgent companionship of their own griefs and discontents.
The lives of those rural fore- fathers, whom we are apt to think very prosaic creatures — men whose only work was to ride round their land, getting heavier and heavier in their saddles, and who passed the rest of their days in the half-listless gratification of senses dulled by monotony — had a certain pathos in them nevertheless. Calam- ities came to them too, and their early errors carried hard con- sequences : perhaps the love of some sweet maiden, the image of purity, order, and calm, had opened their eyes to the vision r;f a life in which the days would not seem too long, even with- 32 SILAS MARNER out rioting : but the maiden was lost, the vision passed away, and then what was left to them, especially when they had be- come too heavy for the hunt, or for carrying a gun over the furrows, but to di-ink and get merry, or to drink and get angry, so that they might be independent of variety, and say over again with eager emphasis the things they had said already any time that twelvemonth?
Assuredly, among these flushed and dull-eyed men there wei'e some whom — thanks to their native human kindness — even riot could never drive into bru- tality ; men who, when their cheeks were fresh, had felt the keen point of sorrow or remorse, had been pierced by the reeds they leaned on, or had lightly put their limbs in fetters from which no struggle could loose them ; and under these sad cir- cumstances, common to us all, their thoughts could find no resting- place outside the ever trodden round of their own petty history.
It was an ugly story of low passion, delusion, and waking from delusion, which needs not to be dragged from the privacy of Godfrey's bitter memory. He had long known that the delusion was partly due to a trap laid for him by Dunstan, who saw in his brother's degrading marriage the means of gratifying at once his jealous hate and his cupidity.
And if Godfrey could have felt himself simply a victim, the iron bit that destiny had put into his mouth would have chafed him less intolerably. If the curses he muttered half aloud when he was alone had had no other object than Dunstan's diabolical cunning, he might have shrank less from the consequences of avowal. But he had something else to curse — his own vicious folly, which now seemed as mad and unaccountable to liim as almost all our follies and vices do when their promptings have long passed SILAS MARNER 33 away.
For four years he had thought of Nancy Lammeter, and wooed her with tacit, patient worship, as the woman who made him think of the future with joy : she would bo his wife, and would make home lovely to him, as his father's home had never been : and it would be easy, when she was always near, to shake off those foolish habits that were no pleasui'es, but only a feverish way of annulling vacancy.
And yet the hope of this paradise had not been enough to save him from a course which shut him out of it forever. Instead of keeping fast hold of the strong silken rope by which Nancy "rt'ould have drawn him safe to the green banks, where it was easy to step firmly, he had let himself be dragged back into mud and slime, in which it was useless to struggle. He had made ties for him- self which robbed him of all wholesome motive, and were a constant exasperation.
Still, there was one position worse than the present ; it was the position he would be in when the ugly secret was disclosed ; and the desire that continually triumphed over every other was that of warding off the evil day, when he would have to bear the consequences of his father's violent resentment for the wound inflicted on his family pride — would have, perhaps, to turn his back on that hereditary ease and dignity, which, after all, was a sort of reason for living, and woidd carry with 34 SILAS MARNER him the certainty that he was banished forever from the sight and esteem of Nancy Lammeter.
The longer the interval, the more chance there was of deliverance from some, at least, of the hateful consequences to which he had sold himself — the more opportunities remained for him to snatch the strange gratification of seeing Nancy, and gathering some faint indica- tions of her Ungering regard. Towards this gratification he was impelled fitfully, every now and then, after having passed weeks in which he had avoided her as the far-off bright-winged prize, that only made him spring forward, and find his chain all the more galling.
One of those fits of yearning was on him now, and it would have been strong enough to have persuaded him to trust Wildfire to Dunstan rather than disappoint the yearning, even if he had not had another reason for his disin- clination towards the morrow's hunt.
That other reason was the fact that the morning's meet was near Batherley, the market-town where the unhappy woman lived whose image became more odious to him every day ; and to his thought the whole vicinage" was haunted by her. What was he to do this evening to pass the time? He might as well go to the Rainbow, and hear the talk about the cock- fighting : everybody was there, and what else was there to be done?
Though, for his own part, he did not care a button for cock-fighting. Snuff", the brown spaniel, who had placed her- self in front of him, and had been wat ;hing him for some time, now jumped up in impatience for the expected caress. But Grodfrey thrust her away without looking at her, and left the room, followed humbly by the unresenting Snuff — perhaps be cause she saw no other career open to her. How was it that he, Duustan Cass, who had often heard talk of Marner's miserliness, had never thought of suggesting to Godfrey that he should frighten or persuade the old fellow into lending the money on the excellent security of the young squire's pi'ospectsl The resource occurred to him now as so easy and agreeable, especially as Marner's hoard was likely to be large enough to leave Godfrey a handsome surplus beyond his immediate needs, and enable him to accommodate his faithful brother, that he almost turned his horse's head towards home again.
Godfrey would be ready enough to accept the sug- gestion : he would snatch eagerly at a plan that might save him from parting vnth Wildfire. But when Dunstan's meditation reached this point, the inclinatiou to go on grew strong and pre- vailed. He didn't want to give Godfrey that pleasure : be pre- ferred that Master Godfrey should be vexed. Moreover, Dunstan enjoyed the self-important consciousness of having a horse to sell, and the opportunity of driving a bargain, swaggering, and, possi- bly, taking somebody in.
So he rode on to cover. Bryce and Keating were there, as Dunstau was quite sure they would be — he was such a hicky fellow. I accommodated him by taking the horse, though it was against my will, for Itl got an itch for a mare o' Jortin's — as rare a bit o' blood as ever you threw your leg across. But I shall keep Wildfire, now I've got him, though I'd a bid of a hundred and fifty for him the other day from a man over at Flitton — he's buying for Lord Croraleck — a fellow with a cast in his eye, and a green waist- coat. But I mean to stick to Wildfire : I sha'n't get a better at a fence in a hurry.
The mare's got more blood, but she's a bit too weak in the hind quarters. You'll be lucky if you get a hundred. It ended in the purchase of the horse by Bryce for a hundred and twenty, to be paid on the delivery of Wildfire, safe and sound, at the Batherley stables. It did occur to Dunsey that it might be wise for him to give up the day's hunting, pro- ceed at once to Batherley, and, having waited for Bryce's return, hire a horse to carry him liome with the money in his pocket.
But the inclination for a run, encouraged by confidence in his luck, and by a draught of brandy from his pocket-pistol at the conclusion of the bargain, was not easy to overcome, especially with a horse under him that would take the fences to the admi- ration of the field.
Dunstan, however, took one fence too many, and " staked " his horse.
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His own ill-favored person, which was quite unmarketable, escaped without injury, but poor Wildfire, unconscious of his price, turned on his flank, and painfully panted his last. It happened that Dunstan, a short time be- fore, having had to get down to arrange his stirrup, had mut- tered a good many curses at this interruption, which had thrown him in the rear of the hunt near the moment of glory, and under this exasperation had taken the fences more blindly. Dunstan, whose nature it was to care more for immediate annoy- ances than for remote consequences, no sooner recovered his legs, and saw that it was all over with Wildfire, than he felt a satis- faction at the absence of witnesses to a position which no swag- gering could make enviable.
Re-enforcing himself, after his shake, with a little brandy and much swearing, he walked as fast as he could to a coppice on his right hand, through which it occurred to him that he could make his way to Batherley with- out danger of encountering any member of the hunt. His first intention was to hire a horse there and ride home forthwith, for 38 SILAS MARNER to walk many miles without a gun in his hand, and along an ordinary road, was as much out of the question to him as to other spirited young men of his kind.
He did not much mind about taking the bad news to Godfrey, for he had to offer him at the same time tiie resource of Marner's money ; and if God- frey kicked, as he always did, at the notion of making a fresh debt, from wliich he himself got the smallest share of advantage, why, he wouldn't kick long : Dunstan felt sure he could worry Godfrey into anything. The idea of Marner's money kept grow- ing in vividness, now the want of it had become immediate ; the prospect of having to make his appearance with the muddy boots of a pedestrian at Batherley, and encounter the grinning queries of stable-men, stood unpleasantly in the way of his impatience to be back at Raveloe and carry out his felicitous plan ; and a casual visitation of his waist-coat pocket, as he was ruminating, awakened his memory to the fact that the two or three small coins his forefinger encountered there were of too pale a color to cover that small debt, without payment of which Jennings had declared he would never do any more business with Dunsey Cass.
After all, according to the direction in which the run had brought him, he was not so very much farther from home than he was from Batherley ; but Dunsey, not being remarkable for clearness of head, was only led to this conclusion by the gradual percep- tion that there were other reasons for choosing the unprecedented course of walking home. It was now nearly four o'clock, and a mist was gathering : the sooner he got into the road the better. He remembered having crossed the road and seen the finger-post only a little while before Wildfire broke down ; so, buttoning his coat, twisting the lash of his hunting-whip compactly round the handle, and rapping the tops of his boots with a self-pos- sessed air, as if to assure himself that he was not at all taken by surprise, he set off with the sense that he was undertaking a remarkable feat of bodily exertion, which somehow, and at some time, he should be able to dress up and magnify to the SILAS MARNER 39 admiration of a select circle at the Rainbow.
When a young gentleman like Dunsey is reduced to so exceptional a mode of locomotion as walking, a whip in his hand is a desirable correc- tive to a too bewildering dreamy sense of unwontedness in his position ; and Dunstan, as he went along through the gathering mist, was always rapping his whip somewhere. It was God- frey's whip, which he had chosen to take without leave because it had a gold handle ; of course no one could see, when Dunstan held it, that the name Godfrey Cass was cut in deep letters on that gold handle — they could only see that it was a very hand- some whip.
Dunsey was not without fear that he might meet some acquaintance in whose eyes he would cut a pitiable figure, for mist is no screen where people get close to each other ; but when he at last found himself in the well-known Raveloe lanes without having met a soul, he silently remarked that that was part of his usual good-luck. But now the mist, helped by the evening darkness, was more of a screen than he desired, for it hid the ruts into which his feet were liable to slip — hid every- thing, so that he had to guide his steps by dragging his whip along the low bushes in advance of the hedgerow.
He must soon, he thought, be getting near the opening at the Stone-pits : he should find it out by the break in the hedgerow. He found it out, however, by another circumstance which he had not ex- pected — namely, by certain gleams of light, which he presently guessed to proceed from Silas Marner's cottage. That cottage and the money hidden within it had been in his mind con- tinually during his walk, and he had been imagining ways ol cajoling and tempting the weaver to part with the immediate possession of his money for the sake of receiving interest.
Dun- stan felt as if there must be a little frightening added to the ca- jolery, for his owm arithmetical convictions were not clear enough to aff'ord him any forcible demonstration as to the advantages of interest ; and as for security, he regarded it vaguely as a means of cheating a man, by making him believe that he would be 40 SILAS MARKER paid. Altogether, the operation ou the miser's mind was a task that Godfrey would be sure to hand over to his more daring and cunning brother : Duustan had made up his mind to that ; and by the time he saw the light gleaming through the chinks of Marner's shutters, the idea of a dialogue with the weaver had be- come so fomiliar to him, that it occurred to him as quite a natu- ral thing to make the acquaintance forthwith.
There might be several conveniences attending this cours ; the weaver had pos- sibly got a lantern, and Duustan was tired of feeling his way. He was still nearly three-quarters of a mile from home, and the lane was becoming unpleasantly slippery, for the mist was pass- ing into rain. But he felt the ground before him cautiously with his whip- handle, and at last arrived safely at the door.
He knocked loudly, rather enjoying the idea that the old fellow would be frightened at the sudden noise. He heard no movement in reply : all was silence in the cottage. Was the weaver gone to bed, then? If so, why had he left a light 1 That was a strange forgetfulness in a miser. Dunstan knocked still more loudly, and, without pausing for a reply pushed his fingers through the latch-hole, intending to shake the door and pull the latch-string up and down, not doubting that the door was fastened.
But, to his surprise, at this double motion the door opened, and he found himself in front of a bright fire, which lit up every corner of the cottage — the bed, the loom, the three chairs, and the table — and showed him that Marner was not there. Nothing at that moment could be more inviting to Dunsey than the bright fire on the brick hearth ; he walked in and seated himself by it at once. The old staring simpleton had hot meat for his sup- per, then? People had always said he lived on mouldy bread, on purpose to check his appetite. But where could he be at this time, and on such an evening, leaving his supper in this stage of preparation, and his door unfastened?
That was an interesting idea to Dunstan, carrying consequences of entire novelty. If the weaver was dead, who had a right to his money? Who would know where his money was hidden 1 Who tvould know that anybody had come to take it awayl He went no farther into the subtleties of evidence : the pressing question, " Where is the money? And Dunstan's mind was as dull as the mind of a possible felon usually is.
There were only three hiding-places where he had ever heard of cottagers' hoards being found ; the thatch, the bed, and a hole in the floor. Marner's cottage had no thatch ; and Dun- stan's first act, after a train of thought made rapid by the stimulus of cupidity, was to go up to the bed ; but while he did so, his eyes travelled eagerly, over the floor, where the bricks, distinct in the firelight, were discernible under the sprinkling of sand. But not eveiywhere ; for there was one spot, and one only, which was quite covered with sand, and sand showing the marks of fingers, which had apparently been 42 SILAS MARNER careful to spread it over a given space.
It was near the tred dies of the loom. In an instant Dunstan darted to that spot, swept away the sand with his whip, and, inserting the thin end of the hook between the bricks, found that they were loose. In haste he lifted up two bricks, and saw what he had QO doubt was the object of his search ; for what could there be but money in those two leathern bags 1 And, from their weight, they must be filled with guineas. Dunstan felt round the hole, to be certain that it held no more ; then hastilj' re- placed the bricks, and spread the sand over them.
Hardly more than five minutes had passed since he entered the cottage, but it seemed to Dunstan like a long while ; and though he was without any distinct recognition of the possibility that Marner might be alive, and might re-enter the cottage at any moment, he felt an undefinable dread laying hold on him, as he rose to his feet with the bags in his hand. He would hasten out into the darkness, and then consider what he should do with the bags.
He closed the door behind him immediately, that he migiit shut in the stream of light ; a few steps would be enough to carry him beyond betrayal by the gleams from the shutter-chinks and the latch-hole. The rain and darkness had got thicker, and he was glad of it ; though it was awkward walking with both hands filled, so that it was as much as he could do to grasp his whip along with one of the bags.
But when he had gone a yard or two, he might take his time. So he stepped forward into the darkness. The sense of security more frequently springs from habit than from conviction, and for this reason it often subsists after such a change in the conditions as might have been expected to suggest alarm. The lapse of time during which a given event has not happened, is, in this logic of habit, constantly alleged as a reason why the event should never happen, even when the lapse of time is precisely the added con- dition which makes tlie event imminent.
A man will tell you that he has worked in a mine for forty years unhurt by an ac- cident, as a reason why he should apprehend no danger, though the roof is beginning to sink ; and it is often observable, that the older a man gets, the more difficult it is to him to retain a be- lieving conception of his own death. This influence of habit was necessarily strong in a man whose life was so monotonous as Marner's — who saw no new people and heard of no new events to keep alive in him the idea of the unexpected and the changeful ; and it explains, simply enough, why ' is mind could be at ease, though he had left his house and his treasure more defenceless than usual.
Silas was thinking with double com- placency of his supper : first, because it would be hot and savory ; and secondly, because it would cost him nothing. For the little bit of pork was a present from that excellent house- wife, Miss Priscilla Lammeter, to whom he had this day carried home a handsome piece of linen ; and it was only on occasion of a present like this, that Silas indulged himself with roast meat.
But this evening, he had no sooner ingeniously knotted his string fast round his bit of pork, twisted the string according to rule over his door-key, passed it through the handle, and made it fast on the hanger, than he remembered that a piece of very fine twine was indispensable to his " setting up " a new piece of work 44 SILAS MARXER in his loom early in the morning.
It had slipped his memory, because, in coming from Mr, Lammeter's, he had not had to pass through the village ; but to lose time by going on errands in the morning was out of the question. It was a nasty fog to turn out into, but there were things Silas loved better than his own comfort ; so, drawing his pork to the extremity of the hanger, and arming himself with his lantern and his old sack, he set out on what, in ordinary weather, would have been a twenty minutes' errand.
He could not have locked his door without undoing his well-knotted string and retarding his supper ; it was not worth his while to make that sacrifice. What thief would find his way to the Stone-pits on such a night as this 1 and why should he come on this particular night, when he had never come through all the fifteen years before?
These questions were not distinctly present in Silas's mind ; they merely serve to represent the vaguely felt foundation of his freedom from anxiety. He reached his door in much satisfaction that his errand was done: he opened it, and to his short-sighted eyes everything remained as he had left it, except that the fire sent out a wel- come increase of heat. He trod about the floor while putting by his lantern and throwing aside his hat and sack, so as to merge the marks of Dunstan's feet on the sand in the marks of his own nailed boots.
Then lie moved his pork nearer to the fire, and sat down to the agreeable business of tending the meat and warming himself at the same time. Any one who had looked at him as the red light shone upon his pale face, strange straining eyes, and meagre form, would perhaps have understood the mixture of contemptuous pity, dread, and suspicion with which he was regarded by his neigh- bors in Raveloe. Yet few men could be more harmless than poor Marner. In his truthful simple soul, not even the grow- ing greed and worship of gold could beget any vice directly injurious to others.
The light of his faith quite put out, and SILAS MARNER 45 his affections made desolate, he had clung with all the force of his nature to his work and his money ; and like all objects to which a man devotes himself, they had fashioned him into cor- respondence with themselves.
His loom, as he wrought in it without ceasing, had in its turn wrought on him, and confirmed more and more the monotonous craving for its monotonous re- sponse. His gold, as he hung over it and saw it grow, gathered his power of loving together into a haixl isolation like its own. As soon as he was warm he began to think it would be a long while to wait till after supper before he drew out his guineas, and it would be pleasant to see them on the table before him as he ate his unwonted feast.
For joy is the best of wine, and Silas's guineas were a golden wine of that sort. He rose and placed his candle unsuspectingly on the floor near his loom, swept away the sand without noticing any change, and removed the bricks. The sight of the empty hole made his heart leap violently, but the belief that his gold was gone could not come at once — only terror, and the eager effort to put an end to the terror. He passed his trembling hand all about the hole, trying to think it possible that his eyes had deceived him ; then he held the candle in the hole and examined it curiously, trembling more and more.
At last he shook so violently that he let fall the candle, and lifted his hands to his head, try- ing to steady himself, that he might think. Had he put his gold somewhere else, by a sudden resolution last night, and then forgotten it 1 A man falling into dark waters seeks a momentary footing even on sliding stones ; and Silas, by acting as if he believed in false hopes, warded off the moment of de- spair. He searched in every corner, he turned his bed over, and shook it, and kneaded it ; he looked in his brick oven where he laid his sticks.
When there was no other place to be searched, he kneeled down again and felt once more all round the hole. There was no untried refuge left for a moment's shelter from the terrible truth. Silas got up from his knees trembling, and looked round at the table : didn't the gold lie there after all? The table was bare. Then he turned and looked behind him — looked all round his dwelling, seem- ing to strain his brown eyes after some possible appearance of the bags where he had already sought them in vain.
He could see every object in his cottage — and his gold was not there. Again he put his trembling hands to his head, and gave a wild ringing scream, the cry of desolation. For a few mo- ments after, he stood motionless ; but the cry had relieved him from the first maddening pressure of the truth. He turned and tottered towards his loom, and got into the seat where he worked, instinctively seeking this as the strongest assurance of reality.
And now that all false hopes had vanished, and the first shock of certainty was past, the idea of a thief began to pre- sent itself, and he entertained it eagerly, because a tliief might be caught and made to restore the gold. The thought brought some new strength with it, and he started from his loom to the door. As he opened it the rain beat in upon him, for it was falling more and more heavily.
There were no footsteps to be tracked on such a night — footsteps? When had the thief come? During Silas's absence in the daytime the door had been locked, and there had been no marks of any inroad on his return by daylight. And in the evening, too, he said to him- self, everything was the same as when he had left it. The sand and bricks looked as if they had not been moved. Was it a thief who had taken the bags? He shrank from this vaguer dread, and fixed his mind with struggling effort on the robber with hands, wlio could be reached by hands.
His thoughts glanced at all the neighbors who had made any remarks, or asked any questions which he might now regard as a ground of suspicion. There was Jem Rodney, a known poacher, and otherwise dis- reputable : he had often met Marner in his journeys across the fields, and had said something jestingly about the weaver's, money ; nay, he had once irritated Marner, by lingering at the nre when he called to light his pipe, instead of going about his business.
Jem Rodney was the man — there was ease in the thought. The robber must be laid hold of. Marner's ideas of legal authority were confused, but be felt that he must go and proclaim his loss ; and the great people in the village — the clergyman, the constable, and Squire Cass — would make Jem Rodney, or somebody else, deliver up the stolen money. He rushed out in the rain, under the stimu- lus of this hope, forgetting to cover his head, not caring to fasten his door ; for he felt as if he had nothing left to lose.
He ran swiftly, till w'ant of breath compelled him to slacken his pace as he was entering the village at the turning close to the Rainbow. He lifted the latch, and turned into the bright bar or kitchen on the right hand, where the less lofty customers of the house were in the habit of assembling, the parlor on the left being reserved for the more select society in which Squire Cass frequently enjoyed the double pleasure 48 SILAS MARNER of conviviality and condesicension.
But the parlor was dark to-night, the chief personages who ornamented its circle being all at Mrs. Osgood's birthday dance, as Godfrey Cass was. At last, Mr. Snell, the landlord, a man of a neutral disposition, accustomed to stand aloof from human differences, as those of beings who were all alike in need of liquor, broke silence, by saying in a doubtful tone to his cousin the butcher, — " Some folks 'ud say that was a fine beast you drav in yester- day, Bob?
He gave a few puffs before he spat and replied, " And they wouldn't be fur wrong, John. The forrier looked at the landlord, and the landlord looked at the butcher, as the person who must take the responsibility of answering. And she'd a white star on her brow, I'll bet a penny? Lammeter's cows, I should like to know who does — that's all. All I say is, it's a lovely carkiss — and anybody as was reasonable, it 'ud bring tears into their eyes to look at it.
Lammeter's cow, else you told a lie when you said it was a red Durham. All I say is, it's a lovely carkiss. And what I say I'lJ stick to ; but I'll quarrel wi' no man. The truth lies atween you : you're both right and both wrong, as I allays say. And as for the cow's being Mr. Lammeter's, I say nothing to that ; but this I say, as the Rainbow's the Rainbow. And for the matter o' that, if the talk is to be o' the Lammeters, you know the most upo' that head, eh, Mr. You re- member when first Mr. Lammeter's father came into these parts, and took the Warrens 1 " Mr.
Macey, tailor and parish-clerk, the latter of which func- tions rheumatism had of late obliged him to share with a small featured young man who sat opposite him, held his white head on one side, and twirled his thumbs" with an air of complacency, slightly seasoned with criticism. He smiled pityingly, in answer to the landlord's appeal, and said : — " Ay, ay ; I know, I know ; but I let other folks talk.
I've laid by now, and gev up to the young uns. Ask them as have been to school at Tarley : they've learnt pernouncing ; that's come up since my day. Macey," said the deputy-clerk, with an air of anxious propriety, " I'm nowise a man to speak out of my place. He winked, as he spoke, at two of the company, who were known officially as the " bassoon " and the "key-bugle," in the confidence that he was expressing the sense of the musical profession in Eaveloe.
Tookey, the deputy-clerk, who shared the unpopularity common to deputies, turned very red, but replied, with careful moderation, — "Mr. Winthrop, if you'll bring me any proof as I'm in the wrong, I'm not the man to say I won't alter. But there's people set up their own ears for a standard, and expect the whole choir to follow 'em. There may be two opinions I hope. Macey, who felt very well satisfied with this attack on youthful presumption; "you're right there, Tookey : there's allays two 'pinions ; there's the 'pinion a man has of himsen, and there's the 'pinion other folks have on him.
There'd be two 'pinions about a cracked bell, if the bell could hear itself" "Well, Mr. Macey," said poor Tookey, serious amidst the general laughter, " I undertook to partially fill up the office of parish-clerk by Mr. Crackenthorp's desire, whenever your infir- mities should make you unfitting ; and it's one of the rights thereof to sing in the choir — else why have you done the same yourself? Why, the Squire used to invite him to take a glass, only to hear him sing the ' Red Rovier ' ; didn't he, Mr.
It's a nat'ral gift. There's my little lad Aaron, he's got a gift — he can sing a tune off straight, like a throstle. Master Tookey, you'd better stick to your ' Amens ' : your voice is well enough when you keep it up in your nose. Macey's epi- gram. Tookey, unable to keep cool any longer. But I shall speak to Mr. Crackenthorp ; I'll not be put upon by no man. There's things folks 'ud pay to be rid on, besides varmin.
We're all good friends here, I hope. We must give and take. You're both right and you're both wrong, as I say. I agree with Mr. Macey here, as there's two opinions ; and if mine was asked, I should say they're both right. Tookey's right and Winthrop's right, and they've only got to split the difference and make themselves even.
He had no ear for music him- self, and never went to church, as being of the medical profes- sion, and likely to be in requisition for delicate cows. But the butcher, having music in his soul, had listened with a divided desire for Tookey's defeat, and for the preservation of the peace. Reviews 0 Reviews There are no reviews yet. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, Dr. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
What has this edition got over other editions? Standard size 10 font- no horrible tiny font as seen in other editions Original text, word for word. Background information Designed for easy reading Approved and tested on readers! Once you buy a CBy Light Classics book, you'll never buy anything else again!
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Visit www. It tells of Ebenezer Scrooge, a man to whom the ideas of Christmas, charity and kindliness to one's fellow man are as alien as anything. However, a visit upon Christmas Night from a multitude of ghosts, bearing visions of Christmases past, present and future, may affect his world view more drastically than any could have expected Following A Christmas Carol 's inclusion upon the new GCSE specification for English Literature first assessments in , CBy Publishing hereby publishes the full, unabridged text, complete with original illustrations , annotation-friendly margins and a plethora of background material to aid student analysis.
What has this student edition got over other editions? Wide margins that you can annotate in Original text, word for word.