Study Guide

Silas Marner Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • The next morning, Dunstan sets off on his new horse, Wildfire. He passes Silas Marner's cottage and suddenly realizes he should have suggested that Godfrey borrow money from Silas. He almost heads home to do just that and then decides it's much more fun to watch Godfrey squirm.
  • Dunstan sells the horse to men named Keating and Bryce and agrees to deliver it after he's done hunting for the day. Big mistake. The horse promptly impales himself on a fence stake and dies.
  • Dunstan is less upset about this than you might think. He's mostly grateful that no one's around to see the accident, and he starts walking home because he doesn't want to appear at the stable to hire a horse and let the stableman know that he'd had an accident.
  • He's got a whip in his hand, a nice gold one. It happens to be his brother's, but that doesn't bother him—heck, it probably adds to the experience.
  • As the night grows darker and wetter, he finds himself near Silas's cottage. Silas's gold starts to seem powerfully interesting. He decides to bypass Godfrey and ask Silas for the money himself.
  • But Silas isn't home.
  • Not one for social graces, Dunsey lets himself in and sits down by the fire. There's a sausage roasting in the fireplace, and Dunsey wonders where Silas is. Maybe he's dead? He notices some sand on the floor.
  • In a second, he's moved the sand, got the bricks up, snatched two heavy leather bags, and left—rather ominously, he steps "forward into the darkness" (1.4.11). Yeah, we're thinking that's metaphorical.

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