Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 6, Chapter 13

By George Eliot

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Book 6, Chapter 13

Borne Along by the Tide

  • Maggie is spending most of her time with her mother and visiting the Gleggs. But Lucy still insists she come to see her daily.
  • Stephen and Maggie have a silent understanding between them and are waiting for Maggie to leave soon for her new governess job.
  • Maggie is still struggling internally with her decision to leave again and to put the whole Stephen thing behind her.
  • Part of Maggie wants to tell everyone to shove it and run off with Stephen.
  • Stephen has taken a page of Philip’s Quasi-Stalker Manual and is now expressing his feelings to Maggie through song.
  • The kids decide to row up the river sometime soon.
  • Stephen gives some lame excuse for not going though, since Maggie will be there.
  • Philip also tries to get out of going and it’s all very awkward.
  • Philip is once again suspicious of Stephen and Maggie. He watches them interact for an evening and goes home depressed.
  • He thinks that Stephen obviously loves Maggie and is pressuring her. Maggie is clearly confused.
  • But now Philip starts to feel bad for imposing himself on Maggie and wonders if she would rather be with Stephen.
  • Lucy arranges to go out the next day so that Philip and Maggie can have some alone time in the rowboat.
  • But Stephen shows up at the house instead.
  • Turns out Philip isn’t coming over. He’s sick, apparently.
  • Stephen and Maggie make googly-eyes at each other for a bit and then debate whether or not they should go out on the river.
  • The decide to go and have another romantic moment on the river.
  • Maggie finally notices that they have drifted a really long way from home and it will take hours to get back now.
  • Stephen doesn’t seem to care. In fact, he insists that this is some sort of divine sign and that he and Maggie should elope together and get married.
  • Maggie insists that Stephen pull the boat over and let her out.
  • Stephen defends himself against Maggie’s insinuation that he was aware of how far they had gone all along. He agrees to let her out and says he will take the blame.
  • But Maggie is swayed by Stephen once again and stays in the boat.
  • Maggie feels like she’s in a dream.
  • Finally they see a bigger boat, a Dutch trading ship, and they get the crew to let them come aboard.
  • Stephen lies and says that he and his "wife" were headed up the river and got delayed. They ask for a lift to the nearest port.
  • The crew says OK and Maggie and Stephen spend the night camped out on the deck of the ship together.
  • Maggie lets herself enjoy the moment and being with Stephen.

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