The Mill on the Floss
by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss Book 5, Chapter 1 Summary
In the Red Deeps
- Maggie is sitting at home sewing when she sees Philip and Mr. Wakem outside. Maggie runs upstairs to avoid Mr. Wakem and wishes that she could see Philip without his father around some day.
- She reminisces about how she met Philip but tries to stop thinking about him by reciting some Christian hymns to herself.
- Maggie now goes outside for a walk. She heads to an old stone quarry known as the Red Deeps.
- We learn that Maggie is now seventeen years old, so a few years have passed. Maggie is beautiful but a little odd looking – her dark hair, skin, and eyes really set her apart from everyone else in the neighborhood.
- Suddenly Maggie comes upon Philip. Turns out Philip was kind of stalking her in the hopes of catching her alone.
- Philip ups the stalker factor by showing Maggie a picture he painted of her after he first met her years ago. He’s been carrying this small picture around with him apparently. Getting weirder.
- He then tells Maggie that she’s more beautiful than he expected her to be. Things are still getting weirder.
- Maggie tells Philip she wishes they could be friends, but between her extreme religious views and the whole family feud business, she doesn’t see it working out.
- Philip is concerned by Maggie’s self-sacrificial attitude and tells her it is wrong and unhealthy.
- Philip, the sort-of stalker, would know all about healthy lifestyles after all.
- Maggie and Philip get into a lengthy debate about duty and life. Maggie feels that she needs to sacrifice things even though it’s hard for her. She says it’s easier to lead her miserable life if she isn’t hoping for anything better.
- Philip counters this by saying that life without hope is horrible and that Maggie needs to be true to herself. Philip wants them to remain friends and he says he can help Maggie and be a confidant for her and loan her books.
- Maggie is now conflicted – she doesn’t want to hurt Philip’s feelings but she is also worried about upsetting her family by seeing him. Plus she has trained herself to not do anything fun, so this whole friend business is freaking her out some.
- While Maggie has an internal debate, Philip presses the issue and asks to see her again. He tells Maggie that he’s been devoted to her since her first met her.
- He then tries to give Maggie a novel to read after she tells him she has given up reading for fun.
- Maggie refuses the book and says that she’d lose all her powers of self-denial if she took it. Maggie should probably look into getting better super hero powers – self-denial is a lame one.
- Maggie tries to tell Philip goodbye and he keeps stalling her.
- Philip says he’ll keep coming to the Red Deeps to see her and Maggie finally gets away.
- Philip hopes that Maggie could learn to love him someday.
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