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How we cite our quotes:
Godfrey's was an essentially domestic nature, bred up in a home where the hearth had no smiles, and where the daily habits were not chastised by the presence of household order; his easy disposition made him fall in unresistingly with the family courses, but the need of some tender permanent affection, the longing for some influence that would make the good he preferred easy to pursue, caused the neatness, purity, and liberal orderliness of the Lammeter household. (1.4.38)
A house isn't a home without a woman at the hearth. "Neatness, purity, and liberal orderliness" are Nancy's characteristic. They're also the characteristics of Dolly Winthrop, Eppie, and, to some extent, Silas himself—but they're the exact opposite of Dunstan's slovenly drunkenness. Girls rule, boys drool.
I tell Nancy, it's a folly no woman need be guilty of, if she's got a good father and a good home: let her leave it to them as have got no fortin, and can't help themselves. (1.11.13)
Priscilla Lammeter is a coarser version of her sister Nancy, but unlike Nancy, she's perfectly content to tend to her father and her dairy. As men need women to make a home, women also seem to need men: without her man, Molly, Godfrey's first wife, ends up dead under a bush. But lucky Priscilla doesn't need to marry because she's already got a man (her father) to make a home for.
[…] as some man who has a precious plant to which he would give a nurturing home in a new soil, thinks of the rain, and the sunshine, and all influences, in relation to his nursling, and asks industriously for all knowledge that will help him to satisfy the wants of the searching roots, or to guard leaf and bud from invading harm. (1.14.49)
To up the variety of comparing people to insects, Eliot draws a lot of comparisons between plants and people. Uprooting destroys both, and here, Silas becomes the best sort of gardener as he seeks out all the information he can gain to make a good home for his little transplant. When Eppie grows up, she becomes a gardener too. Yep, there's definitely something going on with plants and gardens.