Study Guide

Silas Marner Chapter 6

By George Eliot

Chapter 6

  • When Silas shows up, the Rainbow is picking up after a slow start. The landlord Mr. Snell has a knack for starting conversations, like the following:
  • "That was a nice cow you brought in yesterday," he says to the butcher.
  • "Sure was."
  • Shockingly, no one picks up on this conversational thread.
  • The farrier (the guy who takes care of horses) tries to get conversation moving again: was it a nice looking red Durhan with a white star on its forehead? The butcher says it might have been. The farrier says that it must have been one of Mr. Lammeter's cows, and the butcher says that he's not going to contradict that.
  • This riveting discussion continues until the landlord takes mercy on us and turns the conversation to how the Lammeters came to Raveloe.
  • The other people in the room, including the tailor, deputy parish clerk, and wheelwright, join in. They take a minute to hotly debate whether or not Mr. Tookey should sing in the choir—Ben Winthrop says that his inside "isn't right made for music" (1.6.25), and then get back to the original point.
  • The villagers don't know exactly where Mr. Lammeter came from, but they have their priorities straight: they do remember that he brought some fine sheep with him.
  • They also remember the Lammeters' peculiar wedding, where Mr. Drumlow, the previous rector, mixed up the words. Instead of saying "Do you take this man to be thy husband," he said "Do you take this man to be thy wife?"
  • Mr. Lammeter's land, the Warrens, is tough. The previous owner, Mr. Cliff, used to be a tailor in London ("Lunnon" [1.6.45]), but he and his son both died. Mr. Cliff left the land to a London charity, and the big stables he built are never used. Something funny seems to go on there at night. Ghosts? Maybe.