Study Guide

The Mill on the Floss Book 6, Chapter 6

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Book 6, Chapter 6

Illustrating the Laws of Attraction

  • Maggie is currently living it up with Lucy. She has an actual social life for the first time ever and she’s pretty popular in St. Ogg’s.
  • Stephen’s sisters feel that Maggie’s manners are questionable though and lots of people feel sorry for her in town.
  • Maggie is really enjoying herself though and starts playing the piano again.
  • The narrator lets us know that Maggie’s ultimate fate is hidden since circumstances are always changing, but the narrator also hints that Maggie’s ultimate fate won’t be very happy. It’s a bit of a contradiction really – basically the narrator knows more than we do.
  • Stephen hangs out with Lucy and Maggie all the time and the group have great conversations.
  • Lucy is happy that Stephen and Maggie get along and can’t wait for Maggie to marry Philip so they can all hang out together.
  • But Stephen and Maggie never spoke when they were left alone. The two were hyper-aware of each other's presence, though, and steal looks at one another.
  • Basically the two are only comfortable when Lucy is with them.
  • One day Lucy has to go out and do some stuff for the bazaar. Lucy has gotten roped into the planning committee.
  • Stephen gripes about how this is taking up all her time now.
  • While Lucy is out Stephen comes by unexpectedly. He gives Maggie a flimsy excuse for showing up, telling her he wants to drop off some sheet music.
  • Maggie and Stephen then play some with Lucy’s dog. Stephen starts patting the dog while it’s sitting on Maggie’s lap (ooh!) and the two are sitting really really close together. Stephen and Maggie that is. Though the dog is there too.
  • The two have a very stilted conversation. Stephen brings up Philip and then internally kicks himself for it.
  • Stephen goes to leave and Maggie asks him to stay. Then Stephen says he has to go, but asks Maggie to walk him outside.
  • The two are super attracted to one another.
  • Maggie abruptly ditches Stephen and runs back inside.
  • She wishes she were with Philip again since he was much less confusing to be around than Stephen.
  • Maggie starts to panic about her feelings for Stephen and Stephen is also agitated. He promises to himself that he’ll distance himself from Maggie.

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