Silas Marner
George Eliot
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 2

Raveloe is quite different from Lantern Yard. It’s more prosperous, and in Silas’ crisis of faith, such luxury seems obscene. He is in a numbed state -- numb to his old sense of faith, numb to having lost faith. He turns to his work and works late into the night, weaving on his loom almost mechanically. Whereas in Lantern Yard Silas had worked for a dealer and had made less money, Silas finds his work quite profitable in Raveloe. Furthermore, he is accustomed to giving a portion of his earnings to church charity. Now he begins to save it. The purpose of money, for him, had been to give it to others. Now that such purpose is gone, Silas begins to love money in and of itself. 

One day, when bringing some wares to a customer, Silas finds the customer’s wife -- Sally Oates -- suffering from a heart condition that the town’s doctor has been unable to cure. He brings her herbs and cures her. Since Sally is a well-known member of the community, the town gets word of Silas’ powers. Silas’ cottage is swamped with villagers seeking cures for their various ailments. They begin to regard him as a wise man -- something he does not consider himself to be -- and he turns them away angrily, feeling misunderstood. 

Silas begins to work longer hours -- 16 per day -- and spend less and less money. He’s accumulating quite a hoard, and he becomes paranoid that someone will try to steal it from him. He begins inventing elaborate systems by which to hide his gold. He makes a hole in the floor of his home, sets a pot of gold inside, and covers it with dirt. He begins shrinking and withering, mimicking an appendage of the loom itself. By day he weaves, and at night he takes out his pot of gold and gazes at it lovingly. But at Christmas of Silas’ fifteenth year in Raveloe, a change takes place, we’re told, that links Silas with his neighbors in a way that he hasn’t been before.

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