Eliot just said no to drugs. She wrote: "The highest 'calling and election' is to do without opium and live through all our pain with conscious, clear-eyed endurance." (George Eliot, letter of 26 December 1860.)
George Eliot knew about the different genres that her novel adopted. She wrote: "It came to me first of all, quite suddenly, as a sort of legendary tale, suggested by my recollection of having once, in early childhood, seen a linen weaver with a bag on his back; but as my mind dwelt on the subject, I became inclined to a more realistic treatment." (George Eliot, letter of early 1861 to her publisher, Blackwood.)
Maybe we should rethink the steaminess rating: scholar Donald E. Hall interprets Silas's solitary pleasure in hoarding as masturbation; scholar Jeff Nunokawa interprets his love of money as a nod toward homosexuality. (Source.)
George Eliot's a lady. Surprise! Actually Mary Ann Evans, she wrote under a male name because women writers weren't always taken very seriously in the 19th century.