Study Guide

Silas Marner Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

  • The famed Nancy finally shows. She's so pretty that she even looks lovely when she's badly dressed. But she's feeling awkward as she and her father ride up to the Red House, since Godfrey, who has been something of a pest, is waiting to help her off the horse.
  • After he helps her down, she hurries into the house. Upstairs, the bedrooms are filled with women fixing themselves up.
  • Nancy visits with her aunt, Mrs. Osgood, and some other women. The Miss Gunns, fashionable but not very pretty girls, watch Nancy get ready. Nancy is just the cutest! Everything she has is pure and neat—she even sticks her pins in a precise order (OCD, much?)—except that her hands are a little coarse because she helps out at home with the butter- and cheese-making.
  • Well, our narrator assures us, she may be a country girl, but she's still 100% lady.
  • Finally, some comic relief: Nancy's sister Priscilla shows up. The two sisters dress alike, because Nancy believes that, aside from matching tattoos, matching gowns are the best way to show they're sisters.
  • For her part, Priscilla insists on having silver gowns to suit Nancy's complexion, even though silver makes Priscilla "look as yallow as a daffadil" (1.11.19).
  • In the parlor, Godfrey leads Nancy to her seat. She feels a little twinge, not because of Godfrey but because of the grand house she could have been mistress of.
  • In the parlor, the men tease Nancy for blushing, Priscilla for being shrewish, and Mrs. Kimble for being a bad cook. Surprisingly, no drinks are thrown in anyone's faces.
  • Eventually the fiddler (Solomon Hale) shows up, and everyone hits the dance floor.
  • Squire Cass has oh-so-graciously allowed a few villagers to sit in the doorway and watch. Like at-home viewers watching the Oscars, the villagers enjoy their vicarious thrill. Also like at-home viewers, they like to share their opinions on what they're watching. Namely, the Squire's light on his feet for such a fat man; Mr. Lammeter has good posture; Mrs. Osgood is nimble; Godfrey and Nancy are a cute couple.
  • The couple leaves the dance floor when Nancy's dress tears. Nancy sits down to wait for Priscilla to come help. She and Godfrey bicker until Priscilla saves the day by tartly ordering Godfrey to leave.

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