Study Guide

Silas Marner Chapter 10

By George Eliot

Chapter 10

  • Back to the manhunt. The villages turn to Justice Malam, who's widely considered to be a pretty smart dude. Unfortunately, he's actually useless. As the weeks pass, the villagers predictably lose their enthusiasm to see justice done.
  • Since they're also not too worked up about Dunstan Cass's disappearance—he runs away all the time—no one, not even Godfrey, puts two and two together.
  • While the villagers argue about whether the culprit was the peddler or the devil, poor Silas is in mourning. Without his little stash, his life is meaningless.
  • There's just one bright spot. Instead of thinking of him as too clever and cunning, the villagers now think he's a little dim. Naturally, they like him better. Mr. Macey, for example, visits expressly to tell Silas that there's one good thing about the theft—Mr. Macey likes him better!
  • Silas is not too overwhelmed by this show of friendship, but he does rouse himself to thank Mr. Macey. The visitor continues: if Silas would only get some nice clothes, he could come to church be "a bit neighbourly" (1.10.15).
  • Dolly Winthrop, the wheelwright's wife, has the same advice. She visits Silas one Sunday afternoon with some delicious-sounding "lardy-cakes" (1.10.20), carrying along her seven-year-old son, Aaron.
  • She invites Silas to eat the lard cakes—like nachos and wings, they're especially popular with men—and she points out that the cakes even have special letters on them: I.H.S.
  • Neither Mrs. Winthrop nor Silas knows that they mean (we do—they're the first letters of "Jesus" in Greek), but Silas appreciates that Dolly wants to make him feel better.
  • Dolly gently suggests that Silas come to church on Christmas, which is coming up. Silas says that he's never been to church—he used to go to chapel. Dolly's never heard of chapels, but promises that church is awfully nice.
  • Silas's only response is to offer Aaron a little piece of lard cake.
  • Dolly intervenes because Aaron's had enough cake already, thinking to herself that it's good for Silas to see a pretty child (and then proceeds to post yet another picture of him on Facebook). She gets Aaron to sing a Christmas carol—"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (1.10.47).
  • Silas, who isn't used to visitors, just offers Aaron more cake. Dolly leaves with two final points: she'd be happy to help clean up for Silas if he ever finds himself sick, and she really wishes he'd stop weaving on Sundays.
  • Christmas day finally comes, and Silas celebrates alone. All the villagers feel just a little more religious than usual at church, and, at Squire Cass's house, no one talks about the fact that Dunstan still hasn't reappeared.
  • Everyone looks forward to Squire Cass's annual Near Year's Eve dance, especially Godfrey—who can't wait to sit near Nancy.