"Silas Marner was
both sane and honest, and as with many
honest and fervent men,
culture had not defined any
channels for his sense of mystery,
and so it spread itself over the
proper pathway of inquiry and knowledge.
He had inherited from his
mother some acquaintance with
medicinal herbs and their preparation, a little store of wisdom which she
had imparted to him as a solemn bequest but of late years he had had doubts
about the lawfulness of applying this knowledge, believing that herbs could
have no efficacy without prayer, and that prayer might suffice without herbs;
so that the inherited delight he had in wandering in
the fields in search of foxglove and dandelion and coltsfoot, began to wear
to him the
character of a temptation.
members of his church there was one young man, a little older than himself,
with whom he had long lived
in such close friendship that; it was the tradition of their Lantern Yard
brethren to call them David and Jonathan.
The real name of the
friend was William Dane,
and he, too, was regarded as a shining instance of
youthful piety, though somewhat
given to over severity towards weaker brethren, and to be so dazzled by his own
light as to hold himself wiser than his teachers.
blemishes others might discern in William, to his friend's mind he was
faultless; for Silas Marner had one of those
impressible self doubting
natures which, at an inexperienced age, admire imperativeness and
expression of trusting simplicity in
Silas Marner's face, heightened by that absence of
special observation, that
defenseless, deer like gaze which belongs to large prominent eyes, was
by the self complacent suppression of inward triumph that lurked in the narrow
slanting eyes and compressed lips of William Dane.
One of the most
frequent topics of conversation between the two friends was assurance of
salvation: Silas Marner confessed that he could never arrive at anything higher
than hope mingled with
listened with longing wonder when
William declared that he had
possessed unshaken assurance ever since, in the period of his conversion, he
had dreamed that he saw the words 'calling and election sure' standing by
themselves on a white page in the open Bible.
Such colloquies have entranced many
pale faced weavers, whose
unnurtured souls have been like
young winged things, fluttering forsaken in the twilight.
It had seemed to the unsuspecting Silas Marner that
the friendship had suffered no
chill even from his formation of another attachment of a closer category.
For some months he had been engaged to a young servant woman, waiting
only for a little increase to their mutual savings in order to marry; and it
was a great delight to
him that Sarah did not object to William's occasional presence in their Sunday
It was at this point in their history that Silas Marner's
cataleptic fit occurred during the prayer meeting; and amidst the various
queries and expressions of interest addressed to him by his fellow members,
William's suggestion alone jarred with
the general sympathy towards a
brother thus singled out for special dealings.
observed that, to him, this trance looked more like
a visitation of Satan than
a proof of divine
favor, and exhorted his friend
to see that he hid no accursed thing within his soul.
feeling bound to accept rebuke and admonition as a brotherly office, felt no
resentment, but only pain, at
his friend's doubts concerning him; and to this was soon added some
anxiety at the perception
that Sarah's manner towards him began to exhibit a strange fluctuation between
an effort at an increased manifestation of regard and involuntary signs of
shrinking and dislike.
He asked her if
she wished to break off their engagement; but she denied this: their engagement
was known to the church, and had been recognized in the prayer meetings; it
could not be broken off without strict investigation, and Sarah could render no
reason that would be sanctioned by the feeling of
At this time the senior deacon was taken dangerously
ill, and, being a childless widower, he was tended night and day by some of the
younger brethren or sisters.
frequently took his turn in
the night - watching with William, the one relieving the other at two in the
The old man,
contrary to expectation, seemed
to be on the way to recovery, when one night Silas Marner, sitting up by his
bedside, observed that his usually audible breathing had ceased.
candle was burning low, and he had to lift it to see the patient's face
Examination convinced him that the deacon was dead - had
been dead some time, for the limbs were rigid.
Silas Marner asked
himself if he had been asleep, and looked at the clock: it was already four in
How was it
that William had not come?
anxiety he went to seek
help, and soon there were several friends assembled in the house, the minister
among them, while Silas Marner went away to his work, wishing he could have met
William to know the reason of his non-appearance.
At six o'clock, as he
was thinking of going to seek his friend, William came, and with him the
They came to summon him to Lantern Yard, to meet the church
members there; and to his inquiry concerning the cause of the summons the only
reply was, 'You will hear.'
No thing further was said until Silas
Marner was seated in the vestry, in front of the minister, with the eyes of
those who to him represented God's people fixed solemnly upon him.
The minister, taking out a pocket-knife, showed it to Silas Marner,
and asked him if he knew where he had left that knife?
said, he did not know that he had left it anywhere out of his own pocket - but
he was trembling at this strange interrogation.
He was then exhorted
not to hide his sin, but to confess and repent.
The knife had been
found in the bureau by the departed deacon's bedside - found in the place where
the little bag of church money had lain, which the minister himself had seen
the day before.
Some hand had removed that bag; and whose hand could it
be, if not that of the man to whom the knife belonged?
For some time
Silas Marner was mute with astonishment:
then he said, 'God will clear me: I know nothing about the
knife being there, or the money being gone. Search me and my dwelling: you will
find nothing but three pound five of my own savings, which William Dane knows I
have had these six months.'
At this William groaned, but the minister
said, 'The proof is heavy against you, brother Silas Marner. The money was
taken in the night last past, and no man was with our departed brother but you,
for William Dane declares to us that he
was hindered by sudden sickness
from going to take his place as usual, and you yourself said that he had not
come; and, moreover, you neglected the dead body.'
'I must have slept,'
said Silas Marner. Then, after a pause, he added, 'Or I must have had another
visitation like that which you have all seen me under, so that the thief must
have come and gone while I was not in the body, but out of the body. But, I say
again, search me and my dwelling, for I have been nowhere else'.
search was made, and it ended - in William Dane's finding the well known bag,
empty, tucked behind the chest of drawers in Silas Marner's chamber!
this William exhorted his
friend to confess, and not to hide his sin any longer. Silas Marner turned
a look of keen reproach on him, and said, 'William, for nine years that we have
known each other, have you ever known me tell a lie?
But God will clear me.'
said William, 'how do I know what you may have done in the secret chambers of
your heart, to give Satan an
advantage over you?'
Silas Marner was still looking at his friend.
Suddenly a deep flush came over his face, and he was about to speak
impetuously, when he seemed checked again by some inward shock, that sent the
flush back and made him tremble.
But at last he spoke feebly, looking
at William. 'I remember now -
the knife wasn't in my pocket.'
William said, 'I know nothing of what
The other individuals present, however,
began to inquire where Silas Marner meant to say that the knife was, but he
would give no further explanation: he only said, 'I am sore stricken; I can say
nothing. God will clear me.'
On their return to the vestry there was further
deliberation. Any resort to legal measures for ascertaining the culprit was
contrary to the principles of the Church: prosecution was held by them to be
forbidden to Christians, even if it had been a case in which there was no
scandal to the community.
But they were bound to take other measures
for finding out the truth, and they resolved on praying and drawing lots.
resolution can be a surprise to those who are unacquainted with that obscure
relgious life which has gone on in the alleys of our towns.
Marner knelt with his brethren,
relying on his own innocence
being certified by immediate divine intervention, but feeling that there
was sorrow for him even then that
his trust in man had been cruelly bruised.
declared that Silas
Marner was quilty.
was solemnly suspended from church membership, and called upon to render up the
stolen money: only on confession, as the sign of repentance, could he be
received once more within the fold of the church.
Silas Marner listened
when every one rose to depart, he went towards William Dane and said, in
a voice shaken by agitation -
'The last time I remember using my knife, was when I took it out to cut a strap
for you. I don't remember putting it in my pocket again. You stole the money,
and you have woven a plot to lay the
sin at my door. As you may prosper,
for all that: there is no just God that governs
the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the
was a general shudder at this blasphemy.
William said meekly, 'I
leave our brethren to judge whether this is the voice of Satan or not. I can do
nothing but pray for you,
Poor Silas Marner went out with that despair in his soul
- that shaken trust in God and man, which is little short of madness to a
bitterness of his wounded spirit, he said to himself, 'She will cast me off
And he reflected that, if she did not believe the testimony
against him, her whole faith must be upset, as his was.
accustomed to reason about the forms in which their relgious feeling has
incorporated itself, it is difficult to enter into that simple, untaught state
of mind in which the form and the feeling have never been severed by
an act of reflection.
We are apt to think it inevitable that a man in Silas Marner's position
should have begun to question the validity of an appeal to the divine judgement
by drawing lots; but to him this would have been an effort of independent
thought such as he had never known; and he must have made the effort at a
moment when all his energies were turned into
the anguish of disappointed
is an angel who records the sorrows of men as well as their sins, he desire how
many and deep are the sorrows that spring from false ideas for which no man is
Silas Marner went home, and for
a whole day sat alone, stunned by
despair, without any impulse to go to Sarah and
attempt to win her belief in
The second day he took refuge from benumbing
unbelief, by getting into his loom and working away as usual; and before many
hours were past, the minister and one of the deacons came to him with the
message from Sarah, that she held her engagement to him at an end.
Silas Marner received the message mutely, and then
turned away from the messengers to work at his loom again.
little more than a month from that time, Sarah was married to William Dane; and
not long afterwards it was known to the brethren in Lantern Yard that Silas
Marner had departed from the village.
"Year after year, Silas
Marner had lived in this solitude, his guineas rising in
the iron pot, and his life narrowing and hardening itself more and more into a
mere pulsation of desire and satisfaction that had no relation to any other
life had reduced itself to the mere functions of weaving and hoarding, without
any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended.
same sort of process has perhaps been under gone by wiser men, when they have
been cut off from
faith and love only, instead of a loom and
a heap of guineas, they have
had some erudite
research, some ingenious project, or
'Where is the money?' now took
such entire possession of Dunstan as to make him quite forget that the weaver's
death was not a certainty.
A dull mind, once arriving at
an inference that flatters
an unnatural desire, is rarely able to
retain the impression that the notion from which
the inference started was problematic.
And Dunstan's mind was
as dull as the mind of
a psychopath usually is.
There were only three hiding places where
he had ever heard of cottagers' hoards being found: the thatch, the bed, and a
hole in the floor.
Silas Marner's cottage had no thatch; and Dunstan's first act,
after a train of thought made rapid by the stimulus of cupidity, was to go up
to the bed; but while he did so, his eyes traveled eagerly over the floor,
where the bricks, distinct in the
fire light, were discernible
under the sprinkling of sand.
But not everywhere; for there was one
spot, and one only, which was quite covered with sand, and sand showing the
marks of fingers which had apparently been careful to spread it over a given
It was near the treddles of the loom.
In an instant
Dunstan darted to that spot, swept away the sand with his whip, and, inserting
the thin end of the hook between the bricks, found that they were loose.
In haste he lifted up two bricks, and saw what he had no doubt was the
object of his search; for what could there be but money in those two leathern
And, from their weight, they must be filled with
Dunstan felt round the hole, to be certain that it held no
more; then hastily replaced the bricks, and spread the sand over
"There was pauper's burial that
week and it was known that the dark haired
woman with the fair child, who had lately come to lodge there, was gone away
That was all the note taken that Molly had disappeared from the
eyes of men.
But the unwept death which, to the general lot, seemed as
trivial as the summer shed leaf, was charged with the force of
destiny to certain human
lives that we know of, shaping their joys and
sorrows even to the
Silas Marner's determination to keep the 'tramp's child' was matter
of hardly less surprising and iterated talk in the
village than the robbery of his money.
That softening of feeling towards him which dated from his misfortune,
that merging of suspicion and dislike in a
rather contemptuous pity for him as lone and crazy, was now accompanied
with a more active sympathy,
especially among the women.
Notwithstanding the difficulty of carrying
her and his yarn or linen at the time, Silas Marner took Eppie with him on most
of his journeys to the farm houses, unwilling to leave her behind at Dolly
Winthrop's, who was always ready to take care of her; and little curly headed
Eppie, the weaver's child, became an object of interest at several out lying
homesteads, as well as in the village.
Hitherto he had been treated very much as if he had been a useful gnome
or brownie - a queer and
unaccountable creature, who must necessarily be looked at with
wondering curiosity and
repulsion, and with whom one would be glad to make all greetings and
bargains as brief as possible, but who must be dealt with in a propitiatory
way, and occasionally have a present of
pork or garden stuff to carry
home with him, seeing that without him there was no getting the yarn woven.
Now Silas Marner met with open smiling faces and cheerful
questioning, as a individual whose
satisfactions and difficulties could be understood.
Even here he must
sit a little and talk about the child, and words of interest were always ready
for him: 'Ah, Master Silas Marner, you'll be lucky if she takes the measles
soon and easy!' - or, 'Why, there isn't many lone men 'ud ha' been wishing to
take up with a little un like that: but I reckon the weaving makes you handier
than men as do outdoor work - you're partly as handy as a woman, for weaving
comes next to spinning.' "
Elderly masters and mistresses, seated
observantly in large kitchen armchairs, shook their heads over the difficulties
attendant on rearing children, felt Eppie's round arms and legs, and pronounced
them remarkably firm, and told Silas Marner that, if she turned out well
(which, however, there was no telling), it would be a fine thing for him to
have a steady lass to do for him when he got helpless.
were fond of carrying her out to look at the hens and chickens, or to see if
any cherries could be shaken down in the orchard; and the small
girls approached her slowly, with
cautious motion and steady gaze, like little dogs face to face with one of
their own category, till attraction had reached the point
at which the soft lips were put out for a kiss.
No child was afraid of approaching Silas Marner when Eppie
was near him: there was no repulsion around him now, either
for young or old; for the little child had come to link him once more
with the Earth.
There was intense compassion between him and the child
that blent them into one, and there was compassion between the child and the
Earth - from men and women with parental looks and tones, to the red lady-birds
and the round pebbles.
Silas Marner began now to think of life entirely
in relation to Eppie: she must have every thing that was good; and he listened
docilely, that he might come to understand better what this life was, from
which, for fifteen years, he had stood aloof as from a strange thing, with
which he could have no communion: as some man
who has a precious plant to which he would give a nurturing
home in a new
soil, thinks of the rain and sunshine,
and all influences, in
relation to his nursling, and asks industriously for all knowledge that will
help him to satisfy the wants of the searching roots, or to guard leaf and bud
to hoard had been utterly crushed at the very first by the loss of his long
stored gold: the coins he earned afterwards seemed as irrelevant as stones
brought to complete a house suddenly buried by an
the sense of bereavement was too heavy upon him for the old thrill of
satisfaction to arise again at the touch of the newly earned
And now something had come to replace his hoard which gave a
growing purpose to the earnings, drawing his
hope and joy continually onward
beyond the money.
In old days there were angels who
came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of
see no white winged angels now.
But yet men are led
away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them
forth gently towards a calm and bright earth, so that they look no more
backward; and the hand may be a little child's.
mistake Silas Marner.
large brown eyes appear to have gathered a longer
vision, as is the way with eyes that have
been short-sighted in early life, and they
have a less vague, a
more answering look; but in everything else one sees signs of a frame much
enfeebled by the lapse of the sixteen years.
weaver's bent shoulders and white hair give
him almost the look of advanced age, though he is not more than five-and-fifty;
but there is the freshest blossom of youth close by his side.
dimpled girl of eighteen, who has vainly tried to chastise her curly auburn
hair into smoothness under her brown bonnet: the hair ripples as
obstinately as a brooklet under
the March breeze, and the little ringlets burst away from the restraining comb
behind and show themselves below the bonnet-crown.
"Since the time the child was sent to me and I have come to love
her as myself, I have had light enough to trust in God; and, now she says
she'll never leave me, I think I shall
trust in God until I die," said Silas Marner.
- From "Silas Marner"
- George Eliot or Mary Ann Evans
This web site is not a commercial web site and
is presented for educational purposes only.
This website defines a
new perspective with which to engage reality to which its author adheres. The
author feels that the falsification of reality outside personal experience has
forged a populace unable to discern propaganda from reality and that this has
been done purposefully by an international corporate cartel through their
agents who wish to foist a corrupt version of reality on the human race.
Religious intolerance occurs when any group refuses to tolerate religious
practices, religious beliefs or persons due to their religious ideology. This
web site marks the founding of a system of philosophy named The Truth of the
Way of the Lumière Infinie - a rational gnostic mystery religion based
on reason which requires no leap of faith, accepts no tithes, has no supreme
leader, no church buildings and in which each and every individual is
encouraged to develop a personal relation with the Creator and Sustainer
through the pursuit of the knowledge of reality in the hope of curing the
spiritual corruption that has enveloped the human spirit. The tenets of The
Truth of the Way of the Lumière Infinie are spelled out in detail on
this web site by the author. Violent acts against individuals due to their
religious beliefs in America is considered a "hate crime."
This web site
in no way condones violence. To the contrary the intent here is to reduce the
violence that is already occurring due to the international corporate cartels
desire to control the human race. The international corporate cartel already
controls the world economic system, corporate media worldwide, the global
industrial military entertainment complex and is responsible for the collapse
of morals, the elevation of self-centered behavior and the destruction of
global ecosystems. Civilization is based on cooperation. Cooperation does not
occur at the point of a gun.
American social mores and values have
declined precipitously over the last century as the corrupt international
cartel has garnered more and more power. This power rests in the ability to
deceive the populace in general through corporate media by pressing emotional
buttons which have been preprogrammed into the population through prior
corporate media psychological operations. The results have been the destruction
of the family and the destruction of social structures that do not adhere to
the corrupt international elites vision of a perfect world. Through distraction
and coercion the direction of thought of the bulk of the population has been
directed toward solutions proposed by the corrupt international elite that
further consolidates their power and which further their purposes.
views and opinions presented on this web site are the views and opinions of
individual human men and women that, through their writings, showed the
capacity for intelligent, reasonable, rational, insightful and unpopular
thought. All factual information presented on this web site is believed to be
true and accurate and is presented as originally presented in print media which
may or may not have originally presented the facts truthfully. Opinion and
thoughts have been adapted, edited, corrected, redacted, combined, added to,
re-edited and re-corrected as nearly all opinion and thought has been
throughout time but has been done so in the spirit of the original writer with
the intent of making his or her thoughts and opinions clearer and relevant to
the reader in the present time.
Fair Use Notice
This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has
not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making
such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal
justice, human rights, political, economic, democratic, scientific, and social
justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such
copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In
accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For
more information see: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
© Lawrence Turner
All Rights Reserved