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MonkeyNotes-Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Chapter 16

Summary

Sixteen years have passed since Eppie came to Silas and changed his drab course of life for the better. The Sunday morning church service has ended, and the crowd surges out of the building.. Among the crowd are Godfrey Cass, now a "tall blond man of forty," and his pretty wife Nancy, who still retains the "dainty neatness and purity" of her youth. Silas Marner has aged with time; his shoulders are bent and his hair has turned white. His daughter, Eppie, who is the "freshest blossom of youth", accompanies him. Closely following them is Aaron Winthrop, desperately trying to get Eppie's attention. Eppie mentions that she has to start a garden, and Aaron eagerly offers to help her out with the project.

Silas and Eppie have many pets at home. Besides the presence of animal life, there have been many additions to Silas' cottage. Godfrey Cass has provided furniture, and the house is quite decently maintained. In the process of seeking what was needed for Eppie according to Raveloe's customs, Silas has tried to blend his impressions of Raveloe's beliefs with the memories of his past faith. Dolly Winthrop has helped him to blend the two. In fact, Silas told her about the bitter episode at Lantern Yard. Dolly, after pondering over Silas' tale, comes to the conclusion that he should have trusted higher beings and should not have run away and made his life miserable. After the garden is ready, Eppie decides to plant a furze bush at the site where her mother was found dead. Silas has always told his daughter as much as knew about her mother, and now he agrees to help her plant this memorial. He will gather rocks from the Stone Pits, which are being drained by Mr. Godfrey Cass; Eppie is sure that Aaron will volunteer to carry the stones from the pits to the proper location. She knows how deeply Aaron loves her. He has proposed marriage, but Eppie has made it clear that she will marry him only on the condition that Silas will live with them. Silas feels that Eppie is too young to get married, but at the same time adds that he has no objection to the match. He also speaks of consulting Dolly Winthrop on the matter.


Notes

In the last chapter, Eppie was a child; in this chapter, she is a young woman contemplating marriage. Sixteen years have passed in between the two chapters, and the author describes some of the changes that have taken place. Godfrey has not changed much, except in appearance, but his wife Nancy shows signs of maturity, and her "soul is ripened into fuller goodness." Silas has also aged, but his being now reflects years of happiness, and "his large brown eyes seem to have gathered a longer vision." He has become one with the Raveloe community and regularly goes to church. His daughter Eppie has grown up into "the freshest blossom of youth." It is obvious that she is in love with Aaron; but she refuses to forsake her father for her fiancée. She will only marry Aaron if he agrees to let Silas live with them. Obviously, the father and daughter have a close and loving relationship. As a result, he has almost forgotten about his lost gold; but Nancy remarks that Silas' kindness will bring his money back, a foreshadowing that is soon to become reality.

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