Silas Marner
George Eliot
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 8
Summary

Godfrey returns from a party at Mrs. Osgood’s, and finds Dunstan not at home. By the next morning, he’s still not returned. The entire village is in an uproar over the robbery, and many people -- Godfrey included -- go out to Silas’ house to see what they can find. No footprints are visible, of course, but a tinder box is found close by, half-buried in mud. (A tinder box, incidentally, is used for making a flame). The villagers begin to construct a narrative in which a peddler, who had visited Raveloe about a month earlier, had carried a tinder box with him. Could this be the thief, they wonder? Godfrey begins to worry more and more about Dunstan and Wildfire, and begins to be distracted from the Marner case. Godfrey runs into Bryce, who tells him of the deal he’d had with Dunstan, and that Dunstan had gotten Wildfire killed while jumping. Godfrey knows now that he’s got to confess to his father that he’s lost the rent money, since he won’t be getting anything for Wildfire. But by the next morning, however, he’s convinced himself that confession will only lead to his disgrace, and losing Nancy once and for all. He decides to wait until Dunstan comes home to deal with the situation. 

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