The Mill on The Floss: by George Eliot - Summary

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      The novel, The Mill on The Floss opens with a description of the countryside around the town of St. Ogg’s and the river Floss. Impersonal description quickly gives way to a more personal tone, and we see that the story is to be an account of the memories of the narrator who is none else but the novelist herself. She observes a wagon passing the mill, and watches a little girl and her dog playing near the water. This little girl is Maggie Tulliver, the heroine, with her dog, Yap. Thus the novel opens very much like a film, and the first chapter provides a panoramic view of the country round the river Floss. Attention is at once focused on the heroine.


      Mr. Tulliver, the owner of Dorlcote Mill, states his intention of sending his son Tom to a school, where he may learn to be “a sort o’ engineer, or a surveyor, or an auctioneer and lawyer, like Riley, or one o’ them smartish businesses as are all profits and no outlay...” Mrs. Tulliver wishes to call in Tom’s aunts and uncles to consult them on the subject. Tulliver does not want to consult anyone and says he will do as he pleases. His wife is shocked at the views of her husband and at his unwillingness to consult his much wealthier relatives, her sisters and their husbands. He decides to ask advice from Mr. Riley, a man of some education. Mrs. Tulliver worries as to how Tom will live, away from home, who will do his washing, and if he will get enough to eat.

      The talk then turns to Maggie, who is said to take after her father. She is clever, but it “all runs to naughtiness”. She cares little about her appearance and is forgetful and wild in other ways also. Tins is all seen to be true as Maggie comes in late for tea with her hair in disarray. Mrs. Tulliver tries to persuade her to do the patchwork for her aunt Oleag, blit Maggie expresses a strong dislike for both patch work and her aunt. This amuses Mr. Tulliver. Hill Mrs. Tulliver is annoyed, because Maggie is so different from what she herself was as a child.

      In this chapter both Maggie and her parents are sharply characterized. Tom also is introduced indirectly.


      Mr. Riley comes to visit the Tullivers and before supper, Mr. Tulliver asks Ins advice about a suitable school for Tom. He says that he wants to start Tom in another field, “as he may make a nest for himself and not want to push me out o’ mine”. Maggie is in the room, and she leaps to Tom’s defense. She drops the book she has been reading, and Mr. Riley picks it up. It is the History of the Devil. Riley is surprised that she reads such things, but Mr. Tulliver says he didn’t know what it was; he had bought it because of its attractive cover. Maggie shows the depth of her knowledge, but when she talks of the devil her father sends her away. He remarks that, unlike her mother, she is a little too intelligent for a woman. Mr. Riley agrees with Mr. Tulliver that a good education should be given to Tom, and he recommends as a tutor for him the son-in-law of a business acquaintance. He actually knows very little of the man, a clergyman named Rev. Walter Stelling; but he has heard him well spoken of. He is an M. A. from Oxford. Tulliver is anxious to know his fee and Riley thinks it is likely to be rather high. However, he says Stelling is “not a grasping man”, and he might do it for a hundred pounds, which is less than most clergymen would charge, Mrs. Tulliver again expresses her worry as to whether Tom, will get enough to eat, but Riley assures her that Mrs. Stelling is an excellent housekeeper and would take good care of her son. Mr. Tulhver then wonders whether Tom would get the right kind of education, a good practical education and not “the sort o’ learning as lies mostly out o’sight”. Riley is confident that Rev. Stelling can teach anything, just as a workman who know his tools can make a door as well as a window. He even offers to contact Stelling and settle matters with him on their behalf.

      The chapter throws further light on the Tulliver family. It seems that Maggie is the favorite of her father, and Tom that of his mother. Maggie’s love for Tom is also stressed.

      Tom is coming from School for, the vacations, and Mr. Tulliver goes to bring him home. Maggie also wants to go with her father, but is not allowed to do so. She is a sensitive child and she takes revenge by drenching her newly brushed hair in a basin of water and then goes to the attic to beat a doll she keeps there. When she tires of beating the doll and her anger has subsided, she goes out to talk to Luke, the miller. She tries to show off her cleverness to Luke, bill he is not interested in her learning. Luke reminds her that she has allowed Tom’s rabbits to die through neglect, and Maggie is very much upset. But Luke invites her to visit his home, and she quickly forgets the tragedy. At Luke’s home, she is enchanted with a picture of the prodigal son, and she expresses her happiness that he was taken back by his father. Maggie’s character is further developed. She is sensitive, blit extremely forgetful and careless.


      Tom returns home with his father. He has brought home a gift for Maggie, a new fishline. He acquired it at some cost to himself having had to fight every day at school because he wouldn't pay his share of the cost of toffees and gingerbread, for he was saving the money for the fish line. For this and for his promise to take Maggie out for fishing the next day, Turn receives the admiration and gratitude of his sister.

      Next, he proposes to go out to see his rabbits. Maggie tries to put him off by offering to buy him some more rabbits, but she finally has to admit that she has let his rabbits die. Tom is angry with her and says that he will not take her out for fishing as he had intended. Poor Maggie is heartbroken.

      After Tom leaves her alone, Maggie goes up to her attic to cry. She determines to stay there and starve herself and frighten everyone, but eventually, her need to be loved and forgiven overcomes her. She is coming down when Tom, who has been sent by their father to fetch her, meets her. Their father correctly suspected that Tom had been hard on her. But once they are together, the two quickly make up and share a bit of cake.

      The next day Tom takes Maggie out for fishing, and he is pleased with her when she catches a large fish. This makes her happy and pleased with herself. She dreams that life may go on like this always that they two may always be together.

      Life did change for them, but, the thoughts of these first years were always part of them. The love of our early surroundings never fades and childhood memories are a joy forever. The chapter is remarkable for the light it throws on the characters of Maggie and Tom. Tom’s ‘correctness’ is stressed and so is Maggie’s need to be loved, and her excitable imagination. Tom loves her but he does not understand her.


      The aunts and uncles are to be invited to give their advice regarding Tom’s education, and Mr. and Mrs. Tulliver are working out the details, Mr. Tulliver does not attach much importance to their opinions, and he does not care about the money their rich relatives might leave for Maggie and Tom Mrs. Tulliver laments that her children are so awkward and ill-behaved towards their aunts and uncles and wishes that they were more like their cousin Lucy. She holds “naughtiness” to be merely excusable in a boy than in a girl like Maggie.

      Tom and Maggie meanwhile show their independence by going out with some of the pastry being prepared for the guests. Tom
cuts the last cream puff exactly in half and gives Maggie the choice of the two halves. She tries to take the one Tom wouldn’t want, but he makes her choose with her eyes closed. She chooses the larger one. He finishes his piece first and becomes angry when she fails to offer him her own part. He leaves her and goes off to join Bob Jakin along the river.

      Bob is a poor boy but he has a profound knowledge of rat¬catching, tree-climbing and such other matters. He is going for rat-catching at a nearby barn. As they go along Bob idly tosses a half penny in the air and challenge’s Tom to say whether it would be beads or tails. Tom correctly calls tails, but Bob covers the coin and does not give it to him. Tom, with help from his dog Yap, wrestles with Bob and gets the coin. Tom then lets it lie on the ground and refuses to go any further with Bob, saying that he hates a cheat. Bob retaliates by throwing dawn the knife that Tom once gave him; but when Tom lets it lie, Bob picks it up again, and goes away.

      In this chapter, we get a long comment on the Dodsons and the Dodson Code is described in detail. Tom is a typical Dadson correct and self-righteous.


      Mrs. Glegg is the first of the aunts to arrive. She complains that the old ways have altered, and that some of the family come later than the others. She declines a bit of cheese cake because it is against her principles to eat between meals, but recommends that Mrs. Tulliver should have dinner earlier and advises her against providing so much for her guests.

      She is interrupted by Mrs. Pullet’s arrival. Mrs. Pullet, a finely dressed woman, comes in sobbing. Mrs. Glegg is scornful when she discovers that her sister is crying for the death of some one who was no kin to them. Mr. Pullet defends his wife and tells them of the details of the will the deceased woman has left. She has left much for them. Mrs. Pullet and Mrs. Tulliver then go upstairs to compare their bonnets’ until Mrs. Deane comes with Lucy. When Maggie comes in with Tom, she compares poorly with neat pretty Lucy. Both she and Tom are awkward and ill-behaved with their aunts and uncles, who talk critically about them and find fault with them. Mrs. Pullet is of the opinion that Maggie’s hair is too long, it falls on her lace, it does not curl, and it needs combing and dressing.

      Such remarks cause acute pain to the sensitive Maggie and she decide to cut her hair off and be done with it. She gets Tom to come upstairs and help her. But when it is cut and Tom laughs at her, she realizes how foolish she looks without her hair and is mortified. For a long time she refuses to go down to dinner, but Tom at last coaxes her to come down. Everyone is shocked at her rashness, except her father, who takes her part. Mrs. Glegg is of the view that he is spoiling the child.

      After dinner, the children are sent out, and Mr. Tulliver tells them of his intention to send Tom to Mr. Stelling for education. The news is received with general am azement, and with opposition from Mrs. Glegg because it will be very expensive. Mr. Tulliver says the expense will be a good investment. Mr. Deane remarks that Wakem, the lawyer, is also sending his son there, and Tulliver takes this to be an indication that his choice is correct. When her husband makes a jesting remark, Mrs. Glegg reminds him that his advice was not asked for. Mr. Tulliver reminds her angrily that she has been giving advice herself. Mrs. Glegg retorts that she has been ready enough at ‘giving’, a reminder that Tulliver owes her money. The quarrel quickly reaches a point at which Mrs. Glegg walks out, asking Mr. Tulliver to repay the money he owes her.

      The women busy themselves by attending to the children, while Mr. Tulliver and Mr. Deane talk politics and business, and Mr. Pullet listens to what they say.

      Further light is thrown on the character of the Dodsons. They adhere rigidly to the Dodson Code, and are always correct in whatever they do: Mrs. Glegg is the most rigid of the Dodson sisters.


      Mrs. Tulliver reminds her husband that it will be hard for him to find five hundred pounds to pay Mrs. Glegg. This convinces him
that he can find it easily. But the only way he can think of for arranging for the amount is to demand payment of the three hundred pounds he has loaned to Ids brother-in-law Mr. Moss. Accordingly, he rides the next day to the home of Mr. Moss, who is a farmer in the impoverished parish of Basset. Along the way, Tulliver encourages himself by thinking how it will be for Moss’s own good, if he repays the loan without further delay.

      The Moss farm is unfertile and unkept. Mr. Tulliver is met by his sister. Gritty, and her many children. He addresses her formally, and asks for her husband. He declines to enter the home saying he must return home at once. Mrs. Moss asks about Tom and wishes that she could see Maggie. Her praise of Maggie’s cleverness softens Tulliver in spite of himself. To Tulliver’s remark that her four girls are enough for one family, she replies that they have four brothers who, she hopes, will love and remember them. Her hope that Tom will also be good to Maggie affects him even more strongly, for it reminds him that Mrs. Moss is his own sister, and be should not be hard on them.

      Mr. Moss now comes, and the two men go into the garden to talk. Tulliver begins by pointing out that Moss has not taken sufficient pains with his farm. Moss defends himself by saying that poor farmers have no money to invest on the maintenance of their farm and this slight quarrel allows Tulliver to remind Moss of the money - he had from him a long time ago. He tells him that now he needs it, without further delay. Moss says he will have to sell his farm to repay the loan. Tulliver tells him to arrange for the money in whatever way he can, and then leaves him. He refuses his sister’s invitation to come in, and rides off with a curt good-by.

      Before he has ridden far, he stops his horse and starts thinking. He returns to the Mosses and finds that Mrs. Moss has been crying, and that her husband has gone back to the field. She offers to call him, but Tulliver prevents; her from doing so. He tells her that he does not need the money any longer, and that he will send Maggie to see her. His sister thanks him with tears in her eyes, and sends with him a colored egg which she has prepared for Maggie. Tulliver rides home feeling that he has done the right thing, and that somehow this will make Tom kinder to Maggie on some distant day.

      The Mosses me poor, but they are loving and generous, and are thus, contrasted with the Dodsons, Mr. Tulliver’s nobility and: generosity are further brought out.


      One day, Maggie with her mother and Tom and cousin Lucy comes to visit the Pullets at Garum Firs, their residence. Maggie is uncomfortable in her new clothes, but Lucy is pretty and neat as ever. They have been dressed early, so the children pass the time by building card-houses. Maggie is not good at it, and she becomes angry when Tom laughs at her. He further annoys her by saying that he likes Lucy better. In her agitation, she upsets Tom's card house which makes him all the more angry. He is so angry that he does not care for her apologies and interties. He says he will not play with her.

      At Garum Firs they are met at the door by Aunt Pallet who spreads out and old doormat for them to wipe their feet on, so that the new one may not be soiled. Inside the house it is the same as usual—the stair carpels are rolled up to avoid wear, and the polished steps are slippery. Mrs. Pullet offers to show Mrs. Tulliver her new bonnet, but first, it is necessary to unlock the linen closet to get the key to the best room, where the banned is kept. The children are taken along so that they may not spoil things by touching them.

      In the best room, the furniture is covered with white sheets, and the bonnet is wrapped in many layers of paper. Mrs. Pullet is mournful at the possibility of Cousin Abbstt’s dying, and so she may not get a chance to wear her new bonnet and thus show it off.

      During this time Tom has been talking with uncle Pullet, whom he considers being a silly fellow, even though he is rich. When the women return, uncle Pullet suggests they have some sweet cakes. Maggie drops hers and then crushes it underfoot. This makes her sad, for she has been looking forward to enjoying the music of Pullet’s music box, and now she is afraid that the pleasure will be denied to her. However, she gets Lucy to ask their uncle to play it, and after some delay, he does so.

      Maggie is enchanted by the music, and when it ends she runs to Tom to put her arm around him. In the process, she upsets his cowslip wine, and he rightfully repels her. Mrs. Tulliver foreseeing further misbehavior, suggests that the children go outdoors and play there.

      Mrs. Tulliver takes the opportunity to talk to Mrs. Glegg on the purpose of her visit, but she is sidetracked on the subject by the talk of Mrs. Pullet’s health, and Mr. Pullet’s excellent memory for the proper time to fake medicines. However, Mrs. Pullet is finally prevailed upon to intercede with Mrs. Glegg, not to insist on the repayment of Mr. Tulliver’s debt. Mrs. Tulliver is convinced that this must be done because her husband will never humble himself by making a similar request. She is still unaware of her husband’s determination to repay the debt. The Dodsons are further characterized, and Maggie is again contrasted with her cousin Lucy.


      The gathering is startled by the reappearance of Lucy, a little later, covered with mud from head to toe. Her condition is the result of the attention Tom paid to her while he slighted Maggie. To punish Maggie, Tom offered to take Lucy to see the pike in the pond at the end of the garden. When Maggie also came along, he told her to get away and not to follow them. This was too much for Maggie, and she showed her resentment by pushing, “poor little pink and white Lucy” into the cow-trodden mud.

      Tom decides that justice clearly demanded that Maggie should be visited with the utmost punishment, and he must complain against her. Lucy returns home with him. Tom takes her to the kitchen and tells the maid that Maggie pushed Lucy into the mug.

      While Lucy is being cleaned, Mrs. Tulliver goes out to speak to her children. She finds Tom and sends him to fetch Maggie But Maggie cannot be found, and Mrs. Tulliver is instantly certain that the girl must have been drowned in the pond. But Tom suggests that she may have gone home, and so they set out in search of her. Maggie is contrasted both with Tom and Lucy. Mrs. Tullivers’ fears that Maggie might have been drowned are prophetic.


      Maggie does not return home, but decides to run away to the gypsies who, she has heard, are camping in the neighborhood. She had often been told she was like a gypsy, and so she expects they will be glad to have her, and would respect her for her knowledge.

      She meets two tramps on the way, and one of them begs a sixpence from her. After that, she passes through the fields to avoid meeting strangers. She does not know where she is, but hopes to come to a place where she expects to find the gypsies. While walking down a wide lane she comes upon a small camp. It is the camp of the gypsies. There is only one tent, with two women arid several children. Maggie is happy enough with the friendly reception; given to her, but she wishes that they had not been so dirty. She tells them she has come to live with them and that she will teach them a great many things. The two women question her about her family and her home.

      Maggie soon tires, feels hungry and demands tea, but she does not like the dry bread and bacon she is offered, It is dirty and foul-smelling. She begins to feel lonely, and is terrified when two men arrive. They talk to the two women about Maggie, and one of them examines the contents of her pockets and takes away her silver timber. Then they have their food. The women try to persuade Maggie to eat, but she cannot. She says she had better go home and come again some other day. She wants to go alone, but one of the men insists on taking her to her home on his donkey. Her fear becomes less, however, when she sees a signboard pointing to St. Ogg’s. Just as they reach a crossroad, she sees her father coming on his horse. He pays the gypsy for taking good care of Maggie and takes her up on his horse. Mr. Tulliver speaks his mind very strongly when he reaches home that evening, and Maggie is never reproached for running away.

      Maggie’s adventure with the gypsies is yet another illustration of her impulsive, emotional nature. She is rash and thoughtless in her actions, and later repents of what she has done.


      St. Ogg’s is “one of those old, old towns which impress one as a continuation and outgrowth of nature”. It is named after its patron saint, who was a boatman operating a ferry across the river Floss, it is said that one evening when the winds were high, a woman with a child wished to cross the river, but no one would take her. Ogg took pity on her and ferried her across, when she stepped ashore, her rags were turned into robes of flowing white and she blessed Ogg and his boat When floods came Ogg saved many lives. When he died, his boat floated off to the sea, but ever after when the floods came, he could be seen at evening on the water with the Blessed Virgin in his boat.

      St. Ogg’s is the town in which the Gleggs live. Mr. Glegg is a retired wool merchant who now devotes himself to his garden and thinks constantly on “the contrariness of the female mind”. His wife is his best example of this contrariness. He married her because she was handsome and thrifty, but somehow her stinginess is different from his own. Mr. Glegg is “a lovable skinflint,” a miser, but while his wife is also a skinflint, she is less lovable. However, he has convinced himself that “a little daily snapping and quarreling” is not objectionable, add harms no one.”

      On this particular day he is silent at breakfast so that there may be no quarrel, “but by and by it appeared that his silence would not answer the purpose”. Mrs. Glegg snubs him for allowing her to be insulted by Mr. Tulliver. He replies that, she was wrong in demanding back her money, since it will be hard to get as much return on it elsewhere. She agrees with this, but continues the argument until Mr. Glegg hints that he has provided for her in case of his death “beyond anything she could expect”. At this Mrs. Glegg retires to her room, apparently still angry, to cherish the thought of being a widow well left. When Mr. Glegg comes in after his gardening, she is quite cheerful, and agrees that she should let Mr. Tulliver keep her five hundred pounds a while longer. Mrs. Glegg in one of the four Dodson sisters, the other three being Mrs. Pullet, Mrs. Deane and Mrs. Tulliver. They are proud of their family and have great respect for the Dodson code of conduct.


      Next day, Mrs. Pullet visits the Gleggs at the request of Mrs. Tulliver to persuade Mrs. Glegg not to press for the repayment of her money. “Owing to this new adjustment of Mrs. Glegg’s thoughts,” Mrs. Pullet finds it easy to convince her that the money should be left with Mr. Tulliver for sometime more. Mrs. Glegg predicts a dim future for the Tulliver family, but she intends, “to set an example in every respect,” and be generous to her relatives, as a Dodson should.

      Unfortunately, Mrs. Tulliver, through her “irrepressible hopefulness,” told her husband that “sister Pullet was gone to try and make everything up with sister Glegg, so that he needn’t think about paying back the money”. This is too much for the self-respect of Mr. Tulliver. He immediately writes to Mrs, Glegg that she will have the money paid by the next month.

      The letter convinces Mrs. Glegg that Mr. Tulliver’s state of mind was diseased, and he could not think in the right way. Mr. Tulliver’s anxiety to repay the money leads him, against his better sense, to borrow the money from a client of his old enemy Wakem, the lawyer.


Tom’s First Half

      Tom is the only pupil of Rev. Stelling at King’s Lorton. He finds life, difficult. He is good at games but a poor scholar, and now that he has no companions he feels lost. He is no good at Latin and other subjects he has to study now. Mr. Stelling is an ambitious man, impressive in appearance and eloquence; but of no particular ability as a scholar or teacher. He lives well beyond his means, and so is often in debt.

      Tom is treated as a member of the family, but he has no taste for Latin grammar and no appreciation of Mr. Stelling’s jokes. Mr. Stelling has assured Mr. Tulliver that Tom will learn to be a man who will make his way in the world; but Mr. Tulliver has no definite idea of what is required for the purpose and Stelling knows only one way of educating a young man. Consequently, Tom receives a thorough drilling in Latin grammar and geometry, he makes a poor show and Mr. Stelling “very soon set down poor Tom as a thoroughly stupid lad.” Tom is aware that he appears uncouth and stupid, but he is unable to take any interest in his lessons. He longs for home. He begins to yearn to have Maggie with him.

      In October Maggie comes to visit him and stays there for a few days. She is much interested in Tom’s lessons. Tom tells her that, girls can’t learn Latin, but she shows a quick grasp of the subject. However, she thinks geometry to be sheer nonsense. But after she has been there a fortnight, she begins to understand geometry also, and asks Mrs. Stelling if she couldn’t learn to do Tom’s lessons as well as he. Tom is indignant and Mr. Stelling agrees with him that women “have a great deal of superficial cleverness; but they couldn’t go far into anything”. Maggie has no reply to this, and keeps silent.

      After Maggie goes back home, Tom feels lonely again, but at last the time comes for the Christmas holidays; and his delight in home-coining makes him forget his loneliness and Latin Grammar.

Christmas Holidays

      Despite Tom’s delight in coming home, this Christmas is not quite so happy as the past ones. His father has picked up a new quarrel, and Tom is “distracted by a sense that there were rascally enemies in the world...” This quarrel is with one Mr. Pivart, a new neighbor, who is planning to irrigate his farm further up the river, and so has cut a channel. Mr. Tulliver feels that this is an infringement of his legitimate share of water power and that his own farm would not get sufficient water. Tulliver loudly assures Mr. and Mrs. Moss, when they visit him, that this will be resisted. Mrs. Moss hopes that her brother will not be forced to go to law. Tulliver does not know, but he is sure that Wakem is at the back of this trouble also. He must have instigated Mr. Pivart.

      Mrs. Moss tells Mrs. Tulliver that she is sorry to see her brother so “put out”, and Mrs. Tulliver replies that she fears she will be driven “off her head” by his talk. Her constant warning is, “Well Mr. Tulliver, do as you like; but whatever you do, don’t go to law”. But to Mr. Tulliver any dissent by his wife represents the stupidity of the Dodson females and only makes it more certain that he will act contrary to her advice. But even that does not “heighten his disposition towards” going to the law so much as the thought of Wakem, the arch-lawyer, his enemy.

      The matter is much discussed, but no decision is taken by the time Tom is to return to school, but it has become known that Wakem’s son will also be sent to Mr. Stelling with Tom. Tom is uneasy, but “Mr. Tulliver in his heart was rather proud of the fact that his son was to have the same advantages as Wakem’s son”.

The New School-Fellow

      On his return to school, Tom meets Philip Wakem. Mr. Stelling introduces the two boys and then leaves them alone together. Philip is a small, deformed youth with a hump, as the result of a childhood accident. Tom takes a dislike to him, and Philip is too proud and timid to speak, so they are both silents until Tom sees the pictures which Philip is drawing, He is struck with admiration for their realism. They begin to talk, and Philip says that he has taught himself drawing and that he likes Latin, and can help him to prepare his school lessons. He tells Tom that the Greeks were “great fighters”, and Tom is eager to hear stories of Greek heroes. Tom tells Philip that lying himself is a lighter. He thrashed all the follows at Jacob’s Academy. He feels superior because Philip is deformed and is unable to fight.

Tom Gets a Sword

      Despite his admiration for Philip’s stories and drawings, Tom never quite overcomes the feeling that Philip is his enemy. Tom’s school work does not improve very much. Mr. Stelling is convinced that a boy so stupid at Latin and geometry must be stupid at everything else. But Tom is not so very unlucky in other respect. He is well-fed, “and gets some fragments of more or less relevant knowledge”. His health and personality improve greatly, through the instruction of his drill master, Mr. Poulter. Poulter is the village schoolmaster and a retired soldier, and his stories of battles fought under the Duke of Wellington are one of Tom’s chief delights.

      Tom presses Mr. Poulter to bring his sword to show it to him. One day he does so, and Tom runs in to bring Philip to see the exhibition of swordsmanship. Philip is singing at the piano and is annoyed by the interruption. He flares up at Tom, and in return, Tom calls Philip’s father a rogue. After Tom leaves him, Philip cries bitterly. Mrs. Stelling tries halfheartedly to comfort him, but he tells her it is only a headache. Tom is very eager to have a sword, and he bribes Mr. Poulter to let him keep it under his bed, for a few days. Tom smuggles it to his room and plans to show it as a surprise to Maggie when she comes to see him. She is expected soon to come and stay with him for a few days.

Maggie’s Second Visit

      Tom tries to make up the quarrel with Philip, by behaving as if nothing had happened; but Philip does not respond. However, when Maggie comes, she is interested in Philip, specially because she “had rather a tenderness for deformed things”. She is kind and generous and is drawn towards Philip because he is deformed.

      Tom shows Maggie his sword on the very first day. He goes up stairs and then calls her up and appears before her wearing the sward. He tries, to look ferocious, but Maggie laughs. To better impress her, Tom draws out the sword, but it is too heavy for him. It falls and wounds his foot. Maggie screams and faints.

A Love Scene

      Tom “bore his severe pain heroically”, but he was afraid that he will be lame. Philip understood his fear, and pity made him forgive Tom, He learned from Mr. Stalling that the injury was not permanent and told the good news to Tom. After this Philip became more friendly with Tom and Maggie. He told them many a story of Greek heroes, and they were much interested. Maggie pitied him, and was drawn towards him.

      Once they were alone in the library, Philip asked Maggie if she could love him as if she were her brother. She answered that she could do so, because she would be sorry for him. When Philip blushed, Maggie felt her mistake. She should not have referred to his deformity. They promised not to forget one another. Maggie was struck by his fondness for her, and she kissed him, and promised to do so again whenever they meet. She wished that he were her brother.

      When her father came to take her home, she told him how much she loved Philip and also that Tom, too, loved him. Tom admitted that they were friends now, but he said they won’t be friends once he left school. His father advised him to be good to Philip, who is “a poor crooked creature” but not to get too close to him. The result was that the two boys drifted apart once again.

The Golden Time is Over

      Tom stays on at King’s Lorton until his fifth half-year, while Maggie is sent to a girls boarding school with Lucy. She does meet Philip once in the street, but she is by then too much of a young lady to honor her promise to kiss him. As Philip’s father is conducting the lawsuit of her father’s enemy, Maggie knows they are not likely to be friendly with Philip again. Tom brings home new books from school and he has “a deposit of vague, fragmentary, ineffectual notions”. Mr. Tulliver thinks it is probably all right with Tom’s education.

      One November day while at Kings Lorton, Tom is told that Maggie has come to see him. She tells him that their father has lost the lawsuit and will have to sell everything he owns. “Tom had never dreamed that his father would fail,” and the news is “a violent shock” to him. It is even worse, for Maggie further tells him that Mr. Tulliver fell off his horse and he recognizes no one, but her, ever since. Maggie begins to sob, but Tom tries to bear the misfortune heroically, though he too is stunned by the news.

      Tom bids the Stellings good-bye, and he and Maggie set out for home, with “the golden gates of their childhood forever closed behind them”.

      This is the end or Tom’s education. The misfortune transforms him from a mere school boy into a man. It things out the best in him.


What had Happened at Home

      When he learns that the suit is lost, Tulliver thinks of some way to avoid financial ruin and bankruptcy. He hopes to find someone who will buy the mill and take him on as a tenant. “The really vexatious business” is that he has mortgaged his household goods in order “to raise the money to pay Mrs. Glegg. He thinks now that it would be best for his wife to go to the Pullets and ask them to advance him that much money.

      Mr. Tulliver rides to St. Ogg’s to see his lawyer about selling the mill. The lawyer is out, but Tulliver finds a note waiting for him. On the way home he reads it and finds that the mortgage on his property has been transferred to his enemy Wakem, the lawyer. This is too much for him. He is shocked and dazed and falls down from his horse. Half an hour later he is found lying insensible by the roadside, and is brought home by Maggie.

      Maggie is the first person Mr. Tulliver asks for when he becomes partly conscious. When she comes to him he recognizes her but becomes unconscious again. He regains consciousness for brief periods, and he “seemed to have a sort of infantile satisfaction in Maggie’s near presence, such satisfaction as a baby has when it is returned to the nurse’s lap”.

      Mrs. Tulliver sends for her sisters, who see the case as “a judgment fallen on Mr. Tulliver which it would be an impiety to counteract by too much kindness”. Mrs. Tulliver wants Tom to come home, and she seems to think more of him than of her husband. That is how Maggie went to Kings Lorton, to fetch Tom. On the way home, Tom thought that Wakem was responsible for his father’s ruin and vowed to make him, “feel for it”. The hard-heartedness of the Dodsons is to be contrasted with the generosity of Mr. Tulliver. But Mr. Tulliver is obsessed with the thought that Wakem is his enemy, though in reality, he is not an enemy at all.

The Household Gods of Mrs. Tulliver

      When Tom and Maggie arrive from King’s Lorloh they find “a coarse, dingy man” in the parlor. Tom immediately realizes that he is the bailiff who has come to “sell them up”. Maggie does not recognize him, but is afraid, that this stranger has something to do with the financial ruin of her father, She finds that Mr. Tulliver is still unconscious upstairs, so she and Tom go to look for their mother. They find her in the storeroom with her “best things”. She is crying over her beautiful table cloth which will be sold. Torn says fos aunts would not let their goods be sold, but Mrs. Tulliver says she has sent for them and they will buy for themselves only the things they want. Other goods will be sold out to strangers. She tells Tom he’ll never have a penny, but it’s not his, “poor mother’s fault”. Tom says bravely that he will find some suitable job, and earn money to tide over the crisis. Mrs. Tulliver says she wouldn’t mind so much, “If we could ha’ kept the things wi’ my name on em’. She cares more for her goods than for her ill husband.

      Maggie reproaches her mother for talking in this way, for crying about her goods when their father was ill. Almost heartbroken she goes up to her father.

      For Mrs. Tulliver her things are her gods. She cares more for them than for her husband. She is a Dodson after all.

The Family Council

      The next day the aunts and uncles come to their home for giving their advice and guidance. Mrs. Tulliver, “with a confused impression that it was a great occasion”, makes the house look its best. Mrs. Deane arrives first. Her husband, who is rising in the world, is away on business. She offers to send jelly for Mr. Tulliver if the doctor so advises. This reminds Mrs. Tulliver of her beautiful jelly glasses which must be sold. The Gleggs and Pullets come soon after. Mrs. Pullet is much concerned about Tulliver’s illness and makes inquiries about his health, but sister Glegg recalls her to the subject of the meeting — “for one to hear what the other will do to save a sister and her children...” There is no sympathy for Mrs. Tulliver’s desire to keep her “best things”. It is felt that she should be content with the bare necessities. As none of them personally desires Mrs. Tulliver’s things they are of the view that there is no need to try to keep them in the family. As for Mrs. Tulliver’s plea that she has never asked them to do anything for her, Mrs. Glegg replies that she should have asked them for help, if she needed it, “how are you to be provided for, if your own family don’t help you?” Mr. Pullet suggests that Mr. and Mrs. Moss should help, and points out that they are absent. They should also have been present. This reminds Mrs. Glegg that Tom and Maggie are not there, she says that someone should tell them “what they’re come down to,” and that they should be present in the meeting.

       When Tom arrives, Mr. Glegg tells him that now he must put his education to good use. He must use it to bring the family out of the present difficulty. Mrs. Glegg advises Tom to work hard, and be “humble and grateful to his aunts and uncles” and Maggie also must follow this advice.

      Tom says that since it will be a disgrace for the entire family for them to be sold up, it should be prevented. He proposes that any legacies which are to be left to him and Maggie should be given to them now. Mr. Glegg admires the proposal, but Mrs. Glegg says that she would have to alter her will, as she will leave less behind, if she gives anything now. Mrs. Glegg is of the view that it is useless to save the furniture when such heavy debts have to be paid. At last, Maggie angrily demands why do they interfere with them, if they don’t mean to help them. Her mother is frightened by the outburst, and Tom is “vexed; it WAS no use to talk so”.

      Mrs. Moss now comes in and goes at once to the children. She discloses that she owes three hundred pounds to them but she is incapable of repaying the loan without being sold up herself. This was unknown to the family, and they inquire for details. Mr. Glegg warns that if there is a legal document concerning the loan the creditors will force them to make the payment. Tom objects that it would not be right for them to demand payment from Mrs. Moss, for his father didn’t wish it. He says his father has told him that the loan was not to be paid back. Uncle Glegg then says that any legal document about the loan, must be destroyed. Mrs. Tulliver would like to sell the document and save her things, but Tom asks his uncle to help him destroy it. They go into Mr. Tulliver’s room to search for the document. Mrs. Moss vows that the debt will be paid as soon as it is possible, even though the document may be destroyed.

      The character of the Dodson sisters is sketched, and then rigidity and selfishness is revealed. Maggie’s emotional nature is contrasted with that of the correct and practical Tom.

A Vanishing Gleam

      Maggie and Mrs. Moss go to Mr. Tulliver’s bedroom while Tom and Mr. Glegg search for the document in Tulliver’s old oak chest. They take out some papers but the chest lid falls, and the noise awakens Mr. Tulliver. He asks sharply what is happening. He recognizes his sister and Maggie and asks about Mrs. Tulliver. When Tom comes, he asks him to take care of them, and reminds him to repay the fifty pounds which Luke had invested in the mill. Tom asks him about the pronate, and Tulliver advises him that he mustn’t mind losing the money”. He says that the pronate is in his box. When Maggie brings Mrs. Tulliver in, he asks her forgiveness, but says “It’s the fault o’ the law—not mine”. He insists that Tom must make Wakem suffer. He is excited and says that Mrs. Tulliver's family should arrange to pay all his debts, “and yet leave you your furniture”. Then he says that Tom’s education will help him; and that Maggie will marry well. After this, he becomes unconscious again.

      When the doctor comes, he is confident that Mr. Tulliver will recover soon. This is some consolation to them.

Tom Looks out for a Job

      Soon after, Tom goes to see his uncle Deane to request him to secure a job for him. He has no definite plan, but he knows he does not “want to save money slowly and retire on a moderate fortune like his uncle Glegg,” but to rise fast like his uncle Deane. Mr. Deane occupies an important position in the firm Guest & Co. which have a bank, a warehouse and a wharf Mr. Deane is at the bank, and Tom waits until he finishes the work in hand. Mr. Deane asks Tom whether he knows book keeping. Tom admits he does not know it; nor does he know much else which is of value to a businessman. Mr. Deane tells him frankly that his acquirement in Latin, history, and geometry are entirely useless. He advises Tom that the way to get ahead is to start at the bottom and keep his eyes, open. But he says one has to be “right sort of material” for that, and Tom’s education will be a hindrance in his way, instead of being of help to him. Tom promises that he can soon forget it all. He says he would rather do what will be best in the end, and asks his uncle if there is a job vacancy in the warehouse or the wharf. Mr. Deane says he will help Tom, but for no better reason than that Tom is his nephew, for “it remains to be seen whether you’re good for anything”. Tom is hurt by his remarks, but promises to do his best. He is dismissed without any promise but with some hope.

      At home, Maggie asks Tom what their uncle said, and Tom says that his education is of no good in business, that he must learn bookkeeping. Maggie wishes that she knew bookkeeping so that she could teach it to Tom. Tom having “just come from being lectured,” is in an angry mood and accuses Maggie of being vain and conceited. His harshness drives Maggie to tears.

An Unexpected Visitor

      The sale of their household goods is finally over. Mrs. Tulliver’s face “seems to have aged ten years.” That evening Tom has a visitor, a young man in dirty clothes, who is none else but Bob Jakin. Bob shows the knife which Tom once gave him and recalls that “there was never anybody else gen me nothing. Tom asks him if he can do anything for him, but Bob replies that he has come to repay a good turn.

      Just then Maggie comes in looking for her books, only a Glegg had told her he would buy them, but she can find Uncle few. Tom tells her that only those few were bought; the others were sold out with the rest of their goods.

      Bob tells them that he has been working on a barge and that two weeks before he had happened to see a mill on fire and put it out. The owner gave him ten sovereigns but that is much more money than he needs. Therefore, he offers it to Tom. Tom thanks him but refuses to accept the money saying that the money is not enough to do him any good, but that Bob can put it to better use. Bob regretfully takes the money back, after Maggie promises that if they need help at any time, they will ask him for it. Bob then goes away.

      Bob Jakin is a minor character, but he has been assigned an important role in the novel.

Mrs. Tulliver Acts to Help the Family

      Mr. Tulliver slowly recovers, but he is unaware of the lapse of time and still imagines himself to be in the first stage of his misfortunes. He hopes that he would be able to find a plan to save the mill. His wife and children hope that uncle Deane’s company may buy the mill and carry it on, but “business caution” forbids the company from bidding too high. Uncle Deane is clearly interested in the family, for he brings Lucy to visit them and he also finds Tom a job in the warehouse.

      Mrs. Tulliver decides to speak to Wakem for she hopes that, in this way she can make certain that Mr. Deane’s company will be able to buy the mill. She believes that the lawyer will be kindly disposed toward herself; “whom he knew to have been a Miss Dodson”

      Therefore she goes secretly to Wakem’s office and informs him that she is not responsible for her husband’s actions, that she herself has never abused Mr. Wakem, and that it would be kind of him not to buy the mill. She tells him that Guest and Company are thinking of buying it and employing Mr. Tulliver as the manager. Wakem suggests that he would buy the mill himself and employ Mr. Tulliver, but Mrs. Tulliver says her husband would never agree to become his manager. She reminds Wakem that their sons were at school together. As she is too talkative, she is shown out of the office.

      Wakem had never intended to buy the mill, but now he begins to see its advantages. Mr. Tulliver’s anger and abuses had never bothered Wakem and he does not feel vindictive; but he thinks it would be pleasant to “see an enemy humiliated” by his benevolence, And there are other good reasons for purchasing the mill, “quite apart from any benevolent vengeance on the miller”. It is a good business investment, and Mr. Tulliver would be an honest manager. In addition, Wakem has other sons besides Philip, and the mill might in the future “furnish a highly suitable position for a certain favorite lad whom he meant to bring on in the world”.

      Wakem is here presented in a new light. He is not at all the wicked man, Mr. Tulliver took him to be. He is merely a prudent and clever man of the world. He is not at all vindictive.

Mr. Tulliver Becomes the Manager

      At last, the farm and the mill are sold out to Wakem, who proposes that Tulliver should continue as manager. This is regarded us a reasonable offer by the aunts and uncles, although Tom protests against it. But even by the time when Mr. Tulliver is able to move out of his room, he knows nothing of this offer. Tom and Maggie and Luke go to his room to prepare him for the shock of finding
that he is bankrupt, and that all his goods have been sold out. Mr. Tulhver is still planning a way out, but Tom tells him that everything is settled “for the present”. Luke tries to show sympathy by saying that Mr. Tulliver would have paid everybody if he could. Mr. Tulliver then realizes that he is ruined. He is much upset for some time. When he calms down he wishes to know what has happened, and Tom tells him that everything has been sold. When he comes downstairs, the bareness of the rooms brings the fact home to him. He is satisfied with Tom’s assurance that Moss’s pronate was burnt. When his wife comes in lamenting her condition, he promises to make amends to the best of his ability. Tom tries to silence his mother, but she tells Mr. Tulhver that Wakem owns the mill and that she wants him to give in and agree to become Wakem’s manager, Tulliver says that world has been “too many for him” but finally agrees to work as the Manager of his enemy.

What is Noted in the Family Bible

      As Mr. Tulliver regains his health, he struggles with himself to keep his promise to work for Wakem. His wife’s sisters remind him “what he was bound to do for poor Bessy’s sake,” and only “dread of needing their help” keeps him from disregarding their advice. His inability to do any other work, and most of all his love of his home and farm influence him to stay on. But one evening his “choice of hardships” makes him particularly irritable, and when Tom comes home from work Mr. Tulliver tells him that there is something he must write in the family Bible. He says he has decided to stay in the house and serve Wakem, but he will not forgive, him, Maggie argues that it is “wicked to curse and bear malice”, but her father makes Tom write down in the family Bible that he has taken service under Wakem to make amends to his wife, but that he wishes “evil may befall him”. After Tom reads it over, Tulliver makes him write that Tom himself “will make him and his feel it when the chance comes”. In other words, Tom must take revenge upon him for the wrongs of his father. Tom and signs it, though Maggie vehemently opposes it.


The Dodson Code

      Family life in the country round Floss may strike the reader as narrow and ugly because of its conventionality and “oppressive narrowness”; but it must be understood if the reader is to understand the lives, of Tom and Maggie and other young natures who live there.

      The Dodsons and the Tullivers are representatives of this life. The religion of the Dodsons and Tullivers is “of a simple semi-pagan kind.” It consists of whatever, is customary and respectable. The Dodson character is “a proud, honest egoism,” that dislikes anything which is against its own interest. It will not allow relatives to “want bread, but only require them to eat it with bitter herbs”. The Tul liver character is much the same, but with a little of rashness and affection. Such is the traditional views of the Dodsons and Tullivers, and their society contains no modifying influences. Their life is strongly controlled by custom, and their moral and religious ideas are governed by convention.

      Since the Tullivers had a touch of the Pagan in their nature, it should be no surprise to the readers, that Mr. Tulhver “records his vindictiveness on the fly-leaf of his Bible, for to him church was one thing and commonsense another”.

      The narrow-mindedness of the life around them has an oppressive effect on Maggie and Tom, and Maggie struggles against this influence and is crushed. The Dodson and Tulliver characters clash, and the result is the tragedy of Maggie.

The Tullivers in Adversity

      Maggie in thirteen, is sufficiently mature for her years but lacks Tom’s self-command. Tom throws himself into his work and is busy all the time, but Maggie has nothing to do Mrs. Tulliver remains “bewildered in this empty life,” but this is less painful to Maggie than her father’s constant gloom. He is always depressed. She fails to understand why they never feel any joy.

      Mr. Tulliver refuses to be “reconciled with his lot,’’ but all of the family feel that his debts must be paid, although that seems “a deep pit to fill”. Few visitors come now, for “there is a chill air surrounding those who are down in the world”.

A Voice from the Past

      One afternoon in the spring, Bob Jakin, carrying a pack and followed by a bull terrier, comes to the house of the Tuilivers. He has brought Maggie a gift of books, chosen mainly for their pictures. Maggie thinks him, saying she hasn't many friends. So she feels lonely and the books would be of great help to her. Bob advises her to have a dog, (since) they’re better friends than any Christian”. He says Mumps his dog, is good company and knows all his secrets, including his big thumb. He explains that his broad thumb gives him some advantage in measuring out the cloth he carries for sale. Bob cheerfully admits that he cheats, but he only cheats those who want to cheat him. His talk is very humorous and entertaining.

      Maggie’s merriment soon dies out when Bob leaves. Her loneliness is deeper than ever; she had always wanted more of everything, but now she has nothing. She longs to go to some great man and tell him “how wretched and how clever” she is, so that she may be comforted. But she is always called back to reality, by the fact that her father’s sadness is deeper than her own.

      Maggie turns the pages of Bob’s books. One is by Thomas a Kempis. She begins to read it, and is thrilled by the words that promise that renunciation of the world’s delights shall bring the death off “vain imaginations,” of “inordinate love”. Maggie takes this advice to heart as a means of conquest to be won entirely “within her own soul”. She clutches at self-renunciation with “some exaggerating and wilfulness, some pride and impetuosity,” just as she has taken up sewing to help the family finances in a way calculated to give the most “self-mortification” rather than some other. But she is sincere, and from this time her “new inward life” may be seen in her face and in her actions. But her “graces of mind and body” only feed her father’s gloom as he sees his daughter being “thrown away” in the degradation of debt.

      The chapter brings out the salient features of Maggie’s character—Her self-renunciation and her feeling of loneliness.


In the Red Deeps

      One day Philip comes to the mill with his father, Maggie is surprised to see him after such a long time. She hurries upstairs, for she does not want to meet Philip in the presence of their fathers, as it would be impossible for them to talk in a friendly manner before their fathers. Maggie would like to “say a few kind words to him,” for she feels that he would appreciate her kindness.

      Maggie is seventeen now, beautiful but a little darkish. She has stood well the “involuntary and voluntary hardships other lot”. The one pleasure she allows herself is a daily walk. She goes to the Red Deeps, a secluded spot, and reads there. One day, it is on such a walk to the Red Deeps, that she meets Philip. Philip admits that he has waited there hoping to meet her. When Maggie says she is glad he came, Philip shows her a picture of her which he has painted, a sketch of real merit as a porlrait. Maggie is pleased, but bill remarks that, “she really was like a gypsy”. When she asks if she is now like what Philip expected her to be, he replies that she is much more beautiful.

      Maggie tells Philip that she wishes they could be friends, but that everything is so much changed. Philip understands that she is referring to the hostility of their parents and says that he would give up nothing in obedience to a wish that was not right. Maggie says she would give up anything rather than make her father’s life harder, for he is “not at all happy”. Philip replies that he is not happy either. When Maggie says she is happier since she gave up wishing anything for herself. Philip answers that there are things “we must hunger after...” He says he would be content if he could see her sometimes. Maggie is inclined to think that such meetings might “help him to find contentment, us she had found it,” and that this new interest would also introduce some variety in her life. But along with the sweet music of the voice that says this, comes another voice warning her that secrecy would be necessary and that would make their relationship wrong. At last she declines to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but agrees to allow him to meet her there once again to receive her answer. She then talks to him for sometime more, and they talk of books and music. She refuses his offer of a book, and he tells her it is wrong to “starve your mind”.

      After Maggie leaves, Philip goes home feeling that if she could never love him, he will endure that for “the happiness of seeing her, now and then”. It is obvious to him that Maggie does not think of him as someone to love, but she might do so in course of time. He hopes he might help her by “persuading her out of her system of privation”.

How does Bob Cheat Aunt Glegg and Help Tom

      While Maggie has struggled “within her own soul”, Tom has been “gaining more definite conquests”. He has done well in service. His salary has been raised, and it is hinted that he might be trusted to go on tours for the firm. All of Tom’s money goes into his father’s tin box; for despite his “very strong appetite for pleasure” he is shrewd enough to see that only “present abstinence”, can gain that end. The debts must be repaid before they can enjoy any real happiness. Now that Tom is doing well, the Dodson aunts begin to talk of doing something for the boy.

      Bob Jakin visits Tom and Maggie regularly, and one evening he asks Tom privately if he would be interested in “sending out a bit of cargo to foreign ports”. Bob has a ship-captain friend who; is willing to help them. All of Tom’s money is in his father’s care, and he knows Mr. Tulliver will not be able to bear to part with any of it, for if it was lost he would never be able to make up the loss in his lifetime. He wants to accumulate enough money to pay alibis debts at once.

      But Tom likes the surest of Bob, so he goes to Mr. Glegg. Bob goes along with him to explain his plan of business. Bob’s eloquent talk leaves Mr. Glegg astonished and amused, but he is interested and asks to know more about the plan. Tom desires a small loan at a suitable rate of interest. When Mr. Glegg asks what Bob will do for Tom, Bob first answers that he is doing it for the sake of friendship; but when he sees that Mr. Glegg does not like such sentiments, he adds that the transaction will bring some money to him also.

      Mr. Glegg calls her husband to tea, telling Bob that he needn’t stay any longer. Tom may talk of his business inside. Bob says that he knows his place, but that Mrs. Glegg would do well to have business dealings with him. However, he admits that times are not what they once were, and pack-goods are not of the old quality. All he has is “bargains picked up dirt cheap,” with only a little damage that won’t show. He asks her, if he could offer her anything.

      When Mrs. Glegg finds that Bob’s business transaction may bring in large profits, she is offended at being left out, but she is equally offended at being asked to contribute some money. Mr. Glegg decides to let Tom have fifty pounds, his wife is indignant that she has not been consulted. Bob admires her business acumen, and wishes he had it, so that he wouldn’t loss money on his goods. Mrs. Glegg becomes interested in his goods. Bob is unwilling to show a sample, but does so on her request, all the while complaining that his things should be saved for poorer women, for they pay “three times the money for a thing as isn’t half so good” for a lady like her. He is at last ‘persuaded’ to sell her two damaged pieces. In this way, he cheats her.

      Mr. Glegg is setting out with Bob and Tom to finish their business deal with the captain, when Mrs. Glegg calls them back, insisting that she has not yet finished speaking. She had decided to lend Tom twenty pounds of her own. She demands interest, as giving charily was ‘never looked for’ in the Dodson family.

      Tom enters this business without telling anything about it to his father, and when it brings him profits he expands his business so that by the time of Maggie’s meeting with Philip he has a hundred and fifty pounds of his own and expects to pay off all the debts of the family by the end of another year.

The Wavering Balance

      Maggie goes horns from the meeting with Philip after agreeing to meet him there by chance, but not by appointment. She is of the view that further meetings would be a kindness to him and at the same time would make “her mind more worthy of its highest service....” Nevertheless she feels that she is doing a wrong by agreeing to meet him secretly. “When they meet again, she says first that concealment is wrong and that discovery would bring misery.” However, she agrees to slay another half-hour with him at his request. Philip tells her he has started painting another picture of her and that he must study her now, while he can. When Maggie remarks that he thinks more of painting than of anything else, he replies that he thinks of too many things. He has “susceptibility in every direction, and effective faculty in none”; but unlike most men, he is not satisfied with the average life. Maggie says she once thought she could not bear life as it was always the same, but now she is resigned to her lot, and this has brought her peace. Philip does not agree with her views and says that her attitude of resignation is wrong.

      Philip wishes to talk of other things while they are together, so Maggie asks him to sing. He sings a song familiar from their days together at King’s Lorton. Maggie cannot bear the pain the recollection of the past causes her and she wants to go away. Philip tries again to convince her that she cannot carry on ‘this self-torture,’ She still refuses to stay; but she does not deny Philip the opportunity to come there again and meet her by chance, She is never happy at ‘this subterfuge’.

      Philip justifies this to himself by thinking that it will be ‘better for Maggie’s future life; but he is “half-independent of justifying motives’ because of his longing for Maggie. His deformity, and the fact that even Maggie feels only pity for him, increase his need of her company. He has never known a mother’s love and his ‘half-feminine... sensitiveness’ causes a repulsion in him towards this father’s worldliness, so that “this on strong natural tie... was like an aching limb to him”. This also makes his need of Maggie greater, and his personal desire for her company is as great as his good intentions. So they continue to meet in the Red Deeps.

Another Love-Scene

      It is April nearly a year later Maggie has to return a book to Philip, and so she goes to the Red Deeps, she tells him she disliked the book because in it the fair-haired heroine wins all the love from the dark woman. She says she wants to avenge all the dark, unhappy ones. Philip tells her that perhaps she will do so by taking away all the love from her cousin Lucy, who, “is sure to have some handsome young man of St. Ogg’s at her feet now”. The words; are prophetic, for they come true in the novel.

      Maggie does not like to have her nonsense applied to any real person and she says she would never be Lucy’s rival. She says she is not jealous for herself but for ‘unhappy people’, and she always take the side of the ‘rejected lover’. Philip asks if she would reject some lover herself and when she playfully replies that she might reject him, if he were conceited, he asks her to suppose it were someone who “had nothing to be conceited about,” who loved her and was happy to see her at rare moments. Would she reject even such a lover?

      Maggie feels that he is referring to his own love for her, and so remains silent. Philip asks her to forget what he has said, but she says that though she has never thought, of him as a lover, she does love him. However, she says that no more should be said about the matter lest it ‘lead to evil’ He tells her that true love can overcome all obstacles and then reminds her of her promise of long standing to kiss him. She kisses him, but Philip is still not content, for Maggie seems unhappy. She reminds him that she can hurt the feelings of her father and that they can never be more than friends. As they part, she feels that she has unintentionally hurt Philip. She tell him she should like “never to part, in one of those dangerous moments when speech is at once sincere and deceptive”, when feeling is at height not to be reached again. The chapter is remarkable for its close psychoanalysis of the thought processes, both of Maggie and Philip.

Maggie’s Promise

      Maggie was always afraid of meeting either Torn or her father while walking with Philip, but it never occurred to her that aunt Pullet might see her in his company. Nevertheless, it is aunt Pullet who gives her away by remarking one day to Tom that she has frequently seen Philip Wakem in the Red Deeps. As a matter of fact, she had seen Philip there only twice, but Maggie blushed and Tom notices it. His suspicions are aroused. The next afternoon while Tom is talking to Bob Jakin on the wharf Bob points out to Philip on the other bank, near the Red Deeps.

      Tom hurries home and meets Maggie coming out of the gate of their house. When she asks him why he is home so early, Tom says he has come to go out with her to meet Philip, She says she will not go out, but Tom insists that she must go out with him to meet Philip. He threatens to tell their father of her meeting with Philip; unless she tells him ‘everything that has passed’ between her and Philip. She says she will tell it to him, for her father’s sake. Tom is scornful of her love for their father, but he forces out of her the fact that she and Philip are declared lovers. Tom tells her she must either swear on the Bible never to inset Philip again, or he will tell their father everything. He rebukes her saying, why he should work so hard to pay off their father’s debts, if she is to, “bring madness and vexation on him,” just when he, “might hold up his head once more”. Maggie feels sudden joy at the hint that the debts are to be paid; she begins to blame herself and tells Tom that she was lonely, that she was sorry for Philip, and that she thinks “enmity and hatred are wicked”. She says that she must see Philip, at least, once more, but Tom says she may talk to him only in his presence, and that, too, only after she swears never to see him after that.

      Maggie hopes Philip will not be there, but he is present. Tom accuses him of taking advantage of ‘a young girl’s foolishness’. Philip retorts that he honors her more than Tom does and says Tom is incapable of understanding what he feels for her. Tom replies that he has no need to understand his feelings, but he, Philip, must understand that he will thrash him if he comes near ‘Maggie again. Philip says that if Maggie wishes to give him up, he will never trouble her again. Poor Maggie says that she gives him up for her father’s sake. Then Tom catches hold of Maggie and takes her away.

      When they have parted from Philip, Maggie tells Tom that she detests his ‘insulting unmanly allusions’ to Philip’s deformity; and adds that his mind is not large enough to consider that anything else can be better than his own conduct. She does not defend her actions but she says that if Tom were ever at fault, she would be sony for him, whereas he has no pity for her. She says she would never have given up Philip in obedience to him; she has done so only for the sake of her father.

      Tom returns to St. Ogg’s and Maggie goes to her room and cries. She sees now that she is not ‘above worldly temptations,’ and she is sorry for the insults Philip had to bear for her sake. Yet, she feels ‘a certain dim background of relief which she thinks is due to, ‘her deliverance from concealment’.

      Philip appears in a better light in this chapter than does Tom. Maggie is more noble and generous than Tom who is self-righteous and self-centered. The Chapter is important from the point of view of character contrast.

The Hard-won Triumph

      One day three weeks later, Tom comes home early, in good humor, and asks his father to count their money, Mr. Tulliver is sure of the amount but he does as his son wishes. The amount comes out as he expected, with three hundred pounds still needed for his debts. Mr. Tulliver fears he will not live enough to repay the debt, long. Tom tells him that the debts can be paid with his own hand, for he has saved over three hundred pounds from a business
he has carried on for sometime. Tulliver is struck dumb with surprise and finally breaks into tears of joy. He is triumphant that Wakem will know that he can pay his debts, for Tom has arranged a dinner to pay the creditors, and it had been advertised in the papers. They drink to this success, and Tulliver insists upon bearing all the details again and again. He cannot sleep well that night, and early in the morning, he wakens, dreaming that he has Wakem in his grasp.

How does Tulliver Meet his End

      At the dinner with his creditors, Tulliver looks like his old self. He makes a long speech about his honesty and Ins admiration for his son. Tom makes a brief speech, giving thanks for the honor done to him by his creditors in dining with him. This creates a very good impression on the audience. Tulliver rides home through the main street, ‘with uplifted head and free glance,’ wishing he would meet Wakem. They do inset, at the gate leading to the mill yard, Wakem makes a harsh comment on Tulliver’s farming. Tulliver says angrily that he will ‘serve no longer under a scoundrel,’ and when Wakem tries to pass him by, Tulliver knocks him down from his horse. He is still whipping Wakem, when Maggie comes and restrains him.

      Luke helps Wakem to get on his horse, while Maggie helps her father to his bed, for he is faint and pale after the exertion. A half-hour later Tom comes home. He is dejected that his ‘exemplary effort’ in paying off the debt has resulted in his father behaving in this way.

      At the time no one is worried about Mr. Tulliver, but in the early morning Tom and Maggie are wakened by their mother: the doctor has been sent for, and their father has asked for them. When they come in, Mr. Tulliver asks Tom to try to get the mill back and charges him to take care of his mother and be good to Maggie, he himself had been good to his sister. Then he says, with difficulty, that he has had his revenge. He has beaten Wakem. Maggie begs him to forgive Wakem, but Tulliver says he cannot love a rascal like him. He then becomes unconscious, and can only mutter incoherently. The doctor arrives an hour later only to pronounce him dead. Tom and Maggie embrace each other and promise always to love each other.


Stephen and Lucy

      Years pass by. Both Lucy and Maggie grow into fine young women. Lucy Deane is being courted by Stephen Guest, son of the principal partner of Guest and Company. He is a handsome, apparently flippant young man. Lucy tells him that she has important news. Her cousin Maggie is coming to stay with her. At the same time, she worries aloud that Maggie will object to the coming of Philip Wakem to her house. He often comes to sing with Stephen and Lucy. Stephen is annoyed that Lucy is to have company. When he inquires as to why Maggie dislikes Philip, Lucy tells him of the quarrel between Tulliver and Wakem. She says that Maggie has been working as a teacher in a nearby school since Mr. Tulliver’s death. This is to be her first holiday. She has invited her to stay with her as it will enable her to be near her mother, who has been the housekeeper for Lucy and Mr. Deane since the death of Mrs. Deane Stephen is of the view that Maggie will he like her mother, “a fat, blonde girl with round blue eyes, who will stare at us silently”. Lucy says with a merry twinkle in her eyes that is Maggie exactly.

      Stephen goes to the piano and asks Lucy to sing with him. After several songs, Stephen departs leaving Lucy with ‘an inclination to walk up and down the room’. She gets busy with the preparation of Maggie’s room, and half forgets ‘her own happy love affair’.

      Stephen Guest is of the opinion that Lucy is the sort of woman he should marry—a woman thoughtful of other women, Pretty bat ‘no’ to a maddening extent’, gentle and not stupid. He must overcome a slight unwillingness on the part of his father and sisters, but he is sure he will be able to do so.

      This chapter is important because it introduces to as an entirely new character, Stephen Guest. He has come in for a deal of criticism at the hand of critics. He has not been fully realized, and the good in him has not been brought out. Hence he has been considered unworthy of Maggie.

First Impressions

      When Maggie arrives, Lacy tells her how clever Stephen is and hopes she will like him. She says he is too good for her, and Maggie replies playfully that if she disapproves of him, she can give turn up since she is not yet engaged to him. Lucy hopes Maggie win not be disappointed when she meets Stephen. She expects Stephen to be surprised, and she remarks how beautiful Maggie looks even in shabby clothes.

      Maggie has been poor and overworked, Lucy promises to make her happy during her stay with her. The old scenes are pleasant to Maggie, and Lucy has prepared ‘a riotous feast’ of music for her pleasure. She tactfully tells her that Philip Wakem is to come and sing with them. Maggie assures her that she does not dislike Philip as Tom does: but before she can explain further, she is interrupted by Stephen’s arrival.

      Stephen is quite astonished to see the dark-haired and intelligent looking Maggie. He covers his confusion by paying her a compliment. Maggie thinks that he is satirical, and she answers somewhat defiantly that he has said more than what was necessary to say. This ‘alarming amount of devil’ in her attracts Stephen. Lucy is afraid that they are going to dislike each other, for they continue to speak rather sharply. To forestall further embarrassment, Stephen beings to talk about the Bazar which is to be held the next month.

      The talk then turns to Dr. Kean, the clergyman who ‘gives away two-thirds of his income as charity’ and who, Stephen thinks is ‘one of the finest fellows in the world’. Then they talk of Stephen’s hopes of standing for election to the parliament: and then about books. Stephen tries to be clever, hoping to impress Maggie: At last he suggests that they should go out moving. While Maggie goes up to get her bonnet, Lucy tells Stephen to bring
Philip the next day. She asks whether Stephen doesn’t find Maggie a dear, noble-looking creature’. Stephen replies that she is not his type. Lucy believes him, but is determined that Maggie should not know his views.

      Stephen thinks if there were any chances of Maggie’s taking his hand for support while entering the boat. He finds Maggie interesting, but is sure that he could never love her. However, he is disappointed when Maggie fails to look at him all the time they are in the boat. When they step out of the boat, Maggie slips and Stephen steadies her. Maggie had never before felt what it is ‘to be taken care someone taller and stronger than one’s self.

      When they reach home, they find that Mr. and Mrs. Pullet are there, Stephen hurries away. Aunt Pullet is shocked at Maggie’s shabby clothes and promises to give her some of her own there is a general criticism of her shape of Maggie’s arms and their darkness. Lucy defends her colour, saying a painter would find her complexion beautiful. Maggie thanks that so much talk on that subject will drive her crazy, ‘like uncle Pullet’s song about Nutbrown Maid’. Stephen is already in love with Maggie, though he does not realize this at this time. Maggie, too, is impressed by him, for he can take care of her, while Philip cannot. The contrast is intentional.

Confidential Moments

      Maggie is unable to sleep that night because she constantly thinks of Stephen’s singing and he glances. The feelings aroused by the music, the ‘presence of a world of love and beauty and delight,’ remain with her and prevent sleep. At length, Lucy comes to talk to her. She asks what Maggie thinks of Stephen, and is told that he is too self-confident. Lucy then informs her that Philip is to come the next day. Maggie tells Lucy that she cannot see Philip without Tom’s permission for she had promised to never see Philip without her permission. She tells Lucy the full story of her connection with Philip. Lucy finds it “very beautiful”, and she says she will find a way out to bring them together again and hopes that she may marry Philip some day. At this Maggie trembles, as if she felt a sudden chill.

Tom and Maggie

      Tom has been lodging with Bob Jakin for sometime. Then Maggie goes to visit him, she is received by Bob’s wife, who is excited to meet Maggie. She rushes off to the back of the house to call Bob, who tells Maggie that Tom is ‘glumpish’ and sits at home staring at the fire except when he is at work. Bob believes that Tom has ‘a soft place in him,’ for he made great effort, to find out a black spaniel, which was then presented to Lucy. However, Maggie does not think that Tom is in love with Lucy.

      Tom soon comes in. He speaks coldly to Maggie when she asks to be absolved of her promise not to see Philip, and Tom agrees to it, still more coldly. Maggie tells him that she is obliged to meet Philip because he is a constant visitor at Lucy’s home, but Tom says that she will have to give up her brother if she begins to think of Philip as a lover. He says he has no confidence in her. Maggie feels that he is cruel to her and cannot keep back her tears. Tom speaks more kindly then, and tells her that she lacks judgment and should be guided by him.

      He says he does not like her to take up a job, but would support her as a lady, if she follows his guidance. Now he can never feel certain as to what she will do. Maggie says in return that she has given up Philip, and will meet, him only as a friend. It is unreasonable of Tom to condemn her for acts not yet done, but he is self-righteous and harsh on Maggie. His attitude, is rigid and hard. This is the Dodson trait in his character.

Regarding the Purchase of the Dorlcote Mill

      One day Uncle Deane calls Tom in to talk about a trip he desires Tom, to make for the firm. He tells him of the increasingly good trade opportunities and praises Tom for the services he has rendered to the firm during the last seven years. Finally, he tells Tom that he and Mr. Guest have decided to offer Tom a share in the business. Tom is grateful, but he takes the opportunity to suggest that the purchase of the Dorlcote Mill from Wakem would be a good investment for the company. He further requests that, if it is bought, he himself be given the management of the mill and the chance to buy it by working for its price. He also tells him that; Wakem may like to part with it, since its present manager, Jetsome, has taken to drinking. Mr. Deane promises to consider the matter. The Chapter foreshadows the events to come, and also brings out the practical, business-like nature of Tom.

Stephen and Maggie

      When the people of St. Ogg see Maggie, she becomes the subject of much interest both for the men and women of the town. They comment, on her unpretentious, simple nature. They admire her frankness and innocence. Maggie is enchanted by ‘this new sense of leisure’ and the feeling that she is ‘one of the beautiful things of this spring time’. She begins to practice at the piano again and cases to think of the future.

      Philip does not come for a few days. He is out of town and returns only after twelve days. In the meantime, Maggie grows, ‘oppressively conscious’ of Stephen’s presence, and he of hers. On the day of Philip’s return, Lucy has to spend the evening with Mrs. Kenn, who is in ill health and needs help to organize the charily bazar which is to be held shortly. It is understood that Stephen will not come that evening, but as Maggie is sitting in the drawing room after dinner, Stephen comes in from the garden. He tells her he has brought some books of music for Lucy. He sits by Maggie Neither of them speaks for sometime. At last, he mentions that Philip is due to return home. This breaks the spell of silence, and now Maggie takes up some sewing. She drops some yarn, and when Stephen picks it up, the glance they exchange unsettles him. He starts to go, and then asks her to walk with him a little way into the garden. He offers her his arm, and the firm support is ‘strangely winning’ for Maggie. But soon she comes to her. senses, and returns to the house, wishing that she and Philip were together again in the Reel Deeps.

      Stephen spends the rest of the evening in a billiards room thinking of Maggie, and in an effort to control himself reminding that this is madness. Stephen and Maggie are in love, though they are not yet conscious of the fact. It is a spontaneous passion.

Philip Re-enters

      The next morning is rainy, and Lucy expects Stephen to come earlier. But instead, it is Philip who comes. He and Maggie meet with inward agitation. After some formal, ‘artificial conversation’ Maggie tells him that Tom has consented to their being friends, but that she will soon go away ‘to a new situation’. After he begs her to stay on and she insists on going, Philip tells her she is returning to renunciation, to find ‘an escape from pain’. The love and anguish in Philip’s face make Maggie conscience-stricken, and she remains lost in thought for quite a long time.

      Stephen comes soon after. Stephen and Maggie are barely polite to each other, and each is hurt by the other’s coldness. To brighten the situation and dispel the gloom Lucy suggests that music be played. Philip plays the piano as he and Stephen sing. Maggie is moved by the music. Lucy requests them for more music, and Philip, “not quite unintentionally”, begins to play “I love thee still,” a sone he had sung to Maggie before also, it makes Maggie feel “regret in place of excitement”. But when Stephen begins to sing, “Maggie is home along by a wave too strong for her”. After some minutes, Maggie walks across the room to bring a footstool. Stephen fetches it for her, and the glance they exchange is ‘delicious to both’. Philip sees it and he feels ‘a vague anxiety.

      Mr. Deane comes in at this moment, and the music stops. He asks Philip about his father’s farming. Lucy is curious at this and that night at dinner she asks him why he had asked all those questions about Wakem’s farming. Her Hither tells her that he intends to buy the mill on behalf of the firm. He asks her to any nothing about the matter to anybody. Lucy says if he will allow her to speak to Philip, she believes she can persuade him to press his father to sell the mill. Since Mr. Deane sees no harm in it, he agrees to her suggestion. Philip and Stephen are contrasted, and Philip's deformity is thus thrown into sharper relief.

Lawyer Wakeni in a New Light

      Lucy speaks privately with Philip, who plans to win over his father so that he may no longer be an obstacle in the way of his marriage with Maggie. He asks his father to come up to his studio to see some new sketches. Among them are several sketches of Maggie. When Mr. Wakem discovers whose they are, he questions Philip about his relationship with Maggie. Philip tells him their past history, and says that he would marry her if she would have him. Mr. Wakem is enraged at this return for all his ‘indulgences’ to him; but Philip replies that he was indulgent to him out of love and affection, and not that he would ever require any sacrifice for any indulgence shown to him. Mr. Wakem tells Philip that he can marry her if he pleases but then he should go out of his house. But Philip replies that he is unable to support himself and that he will not offer her poverty through marriage. He says his father has the power to deprive him of his one chance of happiness, if he so wished. He further tells him that Maggie has never entered her family’s quarrels, and has always resented it, as being ridiculous. Wakem replies that what women do is of less importance than to whom they belong, i.e. the family from which they come. At this Philip becomes angry for the first time. He defends Maggie as being more than his equal and says perhaps she would not agree to marry a deformed creature like himself. Wakem storms out, and Philip goes out of home to avoid meeting him again at once. He returns in the evening. He is dozing in his studio when his father enters. He asks Philip if Maggie loves him. Philip replies that she once said, so, but that she was very young, and he did not wish to force her at that time. Mr. Wakem has seen Maggie and has realized that she is charming and cultured. He is reminded of his own wife, whom he apparently loved very much.

      In this way, the father and son are reconciled. Now Philip is able to get his father’s agreement to sell the mill to Guest & Co. Lucy gives this news to her father, Mr. Deane is much surprised. He wonders how this has been brought about. But he does not ask many questions.

      In this chapter, Wakem is seen to be an indulgent father. He agrees to the marriage, for the happiness of his son.

The Charity Bazar

      On the day of the bazar, Maggie helps Lucy in a booth, selling, 'certain large plain articles’. These include gentlemen’s dressing gowns, which become the centre of much attention. Thus Maggie is noticed and later it will be recalled by the people of St. Ogg’s that there was something ‘rather bold’ about her. Stephen purchases nothing from Maggie until Lucy asks him to do so. Mr. Wakem also comes and speaks to Maggie quite amiably for a minute, and then goes away. Both Maggie and Stephen feel triumphant that they have been able to disregard one another, so cleverly, but Maggie’s imminent departure from St. Ogg’s makes, ‘self-conquest in detail’ unnecessary. Still, they are unable to avoid one another. They continue to talk. As they are talking Stephen notices Philip watching them from a distance. He goes to speak to him, but Philip angrily calls him a hypocrite. He has begun to suspect him. Stephen goes off to another room to be alone with his emotions, while Maggie sits in the booth struggling with herself.

      Now Dr. Kenn comes to Maggie. He observes that there is something wrong with her. He offers his services, if he can be of some help. Maggie says nothing, but she feels that she would like to, ‘have Stephen Guest at her feet’. She longs for a life of ease which he alone can provide her, but she cannot accept it for herself for Stephen is the lover of Lucy. Philip has said nothing to her, although Lucy has told her that Tom will get back the mill.

      Soon after when Maggie wants to go on a visit to her aunt, Mrs. Moss, Lucy tries to dissuade her from the visit. But Maggie says that she must go, for she will soon go away from St. Ogg’s to take up a new position as a teacher. Lucy insists that she must stay, for now, there is nothing to keep her and Philip apart, but Maggie reminds her that she must take into consideration Tom’s feelings. Lucy promises to speak to Tom and asks her if she really loves Philip. Maggie says that she would agree to marry him, if it were not that Tom dislikes him.

The Spell Seems Broken

      There is a dance at Park House, Stephen’s home. Maggie at first refuses to dance, but at length, the music softens her and she agrees to dance even though her partner is ‘a horrible young Tory’. Stephen has not asked her to dance, for he feels Philip’s attachment to her to be a claim of honor, but the sight of her dancing with the Tory is too much for him to resist. He makes his way to her and asks her to come out with him into the garden. Maggie says little but in the conservatory, she reaches for a rose, and Stephen impulsively kisses her arm. She indignantly darts away from him. Stephen follows her to ask her forgiveness, but Maggie sends him away in anger. She cannot be treacherous to her cousin Lucy.

      The next morning Maggie is to go on her visit to aunt Moss. Philip comes to see her before she leaves. He reminds her of their earlier days. When she tells him that she is going away, he asks her if they can ever come together again. She replies that only Tom’s dislike separated them now. Philip persists and asks if that is the only reason. She says that it is, and she herself believes it to be so at the moment. But despite all his faith in Maggie, Philip is not completely satisfied with her answer. He suspects that she has a soft corner for Stephen.

      The horrible young Tory introduced in this Chapter is not a character in reality, but merely a symbolic figure, symbolizing St. Ogg’s reaction, to Maggie’s actions.

In the Lane

      Maggie has been for four days with her aunt when Stephen comes to see her. At the time she is walking with Mrs. Moss and Stephen rides to them. He desires to Speak to Maggie alone. They walk together into a lane, and then Maggie tells him that his, coming is not gentlemanly and she will go no further with him. Stephen says it is not right for her to treat one who is mad with love of her as if he were ‘a coarse brute, who would willingly offend her. Maggie firmly tells him not to talk in this way. Stephen asks her forgiveness for having kissed her arm the other evening. She forgives him but asks him again; to leave her. He says he cannot, unless she walks a little further with him. She walks on with him, trying to tell him that this is wicked because he belongs to Lucy and she to Philip. Stephen says if Maggie loves him, then they should be married. Maggie ‘replies that’ she would ‘rather die than for into’ that temptation, but she cannot deny that she loves him. Therefore, he asks her again to marry him. He says they are breaking no ‘positive engagement’ because he is not yet betrothed to Lucy, nor she to Philip. When Maggie replies that in that case, ‘there would be no such thing as faithfulness’. He argues that to pretend that they love Philip and Lucy respectively is a wrong to them, when they do not love them in reality. Maggie says that some duties come before love. She convinces Stephen that they must part, and they exchange one kiss and then Stephen goes away.

      Maggie’s position is wrong. Stephen is right in pointing out that they should not think of marrying where there is no love. Had Maggie reached this truth, the course of events would have been different.

A Family Party

      At the end of the week, Maggie goes to visit aunt Pullet. The Pullets have given a party to celebrate Tom’s getting buck of the mill. Lucy comes early in order to talk to Maggie and to convince aunt/Pullet that she should donate something to Tom and his mother to make their housekeeping easier. Mrs. Pullet finally agrees to give up some of her hen, but she says she will not give anything to Maggie as she insists on ‘going into service’. Maggie’s employment is a sore point with all the members of the family, who all wish her to come and live with them now that she is ‘capable of being at once ornamental and useful’. Mrs. Glegg is indignant that Maggie is not dutiful to her aunts but, ‘settles to go away’ without their knowledge. However, she is unwilling to have Maggie to come and
stay with her, as that would involve opening another room. Instead, she insists that Maggie visit her every morning, from the place where she may be putting up in St. Ogg’s.

      At the party, Tom is welcomed warmly, and is reminded that he owes his success to the good example of his mother’s family. Lucy contrives to have Tom drive her home with his mother after the party. She counts on this chance for getting his consent for Maggie’s marriage with Philip. But all she accomplishes is to make Tom think that Maggie is going to change one “perverse resolve...into something equally perverse, but entirely different...” Tom refuses to give his blessing to the marriage, although he says Maggie may do as she likes.

Borne Along by the Tide

      Maggie tries to avoid Stephen by going to aunt Glegg’s each day, after her return to St. Ogg’s, but she is forced to see him each evening. He has taken to dining with the Deanes, despite his resolution to keep away from the house, as long as Maggie was there. Maggie is tempted by her desire for Stephen, but she will not let herself do anything which may cause pain, to Lucy and Philip. But because they are soon to part, both Maggie and Stephen feel that an expression of mutual love, now and then, will be harmless. Philip comes infrequently. But one evening when he is there, Lucy suggests that Maggie would like to go out boating more often. She persuades Philip to come for rowing with them, the next day. Stephen moodily declines to come, for he does not wish to remain for any length of time in Maggie’s company. He says he will come the day after.

      Philip does not want to doubt Maggie, bill which he sees Maggie blush at a word from Stephen, he finds it impossible not to believe that she loves him. He rightly thinks that Maggie is planning to go away in order to escape from the temptation of loving Stephen. That night he lies awake with worry, and so is too ill to come for the boating, the next day. He sends a note to Stephen asking him to go for boating in his place.

      Lucy meanwhile has arranged ‘a charming plan’ to throw Philip and Maggie together. She decides to go to a neighboring town to make ‘important purchases’. Maggie is content to be alone with Philip. She is startled when Stephen comes instead. She first refuses to go out alone with him. but at last, he persuades her to come out. The river carries them swiftly downstream with little effort on their part. They speak little until Maggie suddenly realizes that they had passed Luckreth, their destination. She is frightened for they will be unable to get home for hours. They cannot return home that evening. Stephen then asks Maggie to continue sailing with him and marry him. He says that ‘everything has concured’ to help them. Maggie refuses to go any further with him and that Stephen has taken advantage of her thoughtlessness. He denies that he intended it, but says that he can send her home from there, so that the blame will be all his. Maggie feels that she has been too harsh, and he is conscious of all the relenting in her look and tone’. He moves to her side and lets the boat drift, while Maggie is content in having everything decided for her by chance and accident.

      After sometime, Stephen sees a vessel coming down river, and he proposes that they board it and land at Mudport ‘or any other convenient place on the coast’. Maggie does not refuse, for ‘one course seemed as difficult as another’. Stephen hails the boat and tells them that he and his wife have come out too far and are fatigued. They are taken up into the ship. By this time, it is too late for Maggie to do anything but wait for tomorrow. Stephen is triumphant, for he now believes that they will never be parted. But Maggie falls asleep with the sense that ‘the tomorrow must bring, back the old life of struggle’.

      Maggie is borne along by the tide both literally and metaphorically. Her emotional drift is the cause of her tragedy.


      Next morning Maggie awakes form a dream that she was on the water with Stephen, and there was the boat of St. Ogg with the Virgin seated in it. The Virgin becomes Lucy and the boatman Philip and then Tom, who rows past without looking at her. She calls to him, and they begin to sink. She dreams the dream, and then wakes to reality. She feels that she has committed an ‘irrevocable wrong’ and that life with Stephen asleep on the deck close to her, and she feels that the worst bitterness would be the pain she must cause Io him. To delay causing pain to him as long as possible, she says nothing of parting until they come to Mudport.

      On rebelling Mudport, they go into an inn and Stephen orders a carriage, but Maggie insists that they must part, Stephen tries to tell her that it is too late, that whatever damage can be done is done already, and that ‘constancy without love’ is of no use. His reasoning is quite sensible, But Maggie argues that the past must bind them, and that she would never be at peace with herself; if she were to commit a willful sin. Stephen remarks that her love is nothing compared to his, for he could commit crimes further, while she is robbing him of his ‘life’s happiness’. She rejects his argument that the position has changed since the previous day, for the fact that she has made others suffer would embitter their own love still remains unchanged. Stephen says she will be criticized when she returns to St. Ogg, but Maggie replies that Lucy and Philip will believe her and she does not care for the views of others. Stephen lets her go at last, angry with her and her unreasonable attitude, at least for the moment.

      Maggie gets into a coach, but it lakes her farther from home, She spends the night at York, half-sick with anguish, intending to return home the next day. In Maggie there is a bitter conflict, between ‘Duty’ and ‘Desire’. The novelist has analyzed her thought processes and laid her soul bare before the readers.


The Return to the Mill

      Maggie returns to the mill on the fifth day after her departure. She could not return earlier owing to her illness. Tom has learned from Bob Jakin that Maggie he had seen with Stephen at Mudport. So. he fully expects the worst, that she is not married to Stephen, and that she must live forever in disgrace. When Maggie comes to him for refuge, he angrily refuses to have her in his home. He accuses her of using Philip as a screen to deceive Lucy, who is ill as a result of the shock and unable to speak to anyone. He will not shelter Maggie in his home, for he wishes the world to know that at least, he knows the difference between right and wrong.

      Mr. Tulliver is with Tom at the time, and when she hears all this she leaves Tom and comes with Maggie. They go to Bob Jakin who takes them in as his lodgers. Bob is perplexed and worried because Maggie is not married, but for several days he asks no questions. Maggie at last asks him to bring Dr. Kenn to her. Bob tells her that Mrs. Kenn has recently died, and the clergyman may not yet like to come out, as he is in mourning. But talking to Maggie loosens Bob’s tongue, and he others to punish anyone who has harmed her. She declined the other, saying that she herself has done wrong so often that she would not like to see anyone punished. But she is grateful to Bob. Her reply puzzles Bob, but he does not ask any other questions.

      The character contrast between Bob and Tom is interesting. Tom is self-righteous and has no real understanding of the character of his sister.

St. Ogg’s Passes Judgement

      It soon becomes known in St. Ogg’s that Maggie has returned, and since she is unwed, all the blame falls on her. She is disgraced. If she had returned as Stephen’s wife, the affair would have been quite romantic land to refuse to associate with the couple would have been regarded as nonsense. But since Maggie has returned unwed, it is evident that her conduct had been of the most, ‘aggravated kind’. Says the novelist, “Public opinion, in these cases, is always of the feminine gender, not the world, but the world’s wife”... “The world’s wife assumes that Stephen refused to marry Maggie and recalls that Lucy and Philip have been treated badly. It is hoped that Maggie will leave so as to purify, the air of St. Ogg’s...”

      Maggie is filled with remorse and is unable to see either Philip or Lucy. She intends to take up some employment to support herself She decides to carry her problems to Dr. Kenn.

      He is quite kind and tells her that “the church ought to represent the feeling of the community, but that Christian brotherhood hardly exists in the world”. He adds that probably she does not anticipate the injustice she will receive; but she has begun to experience that already.

      A letter soon arrives from Stephen and Dr. Kenn informs her of it. He has gone abroad and has written back to say that Maggie is blameless. However, even this evidence is insufficient to satisfy public opinion. He advises her to ‘take a situation at some distance,’ from St. Ogg but Maggie wishes to remain there. Dr. Kenn promises to try to find out some job for her. He stands ‘ruminating’. He is of the view that a marriage between Stephen and Maggie: is ‘the least evil,’ but he appreciates Maggie’s point of view who regards it as a discretion. He hesitates to intervene, for he realizes that life is too complex to be guided by general rules, “and the special circumstance of Maggie’s feeling would reject any conclusions arrived at by any balancing of consequences”.

      What is the right, course for Maggie to pursue, is a difficult problem to solve. The conflict between duly and desire is hard to resolve.

Old Acquaintances in a New Light

      Aunt Glegg takes Tom to task for ‘admitting the worst of his sister until he was compelled’. Mr. Glegg, in his sympathy for Lucy, is completely against Maggie; and Mrs. Pullet does not know how to act; but Mrs. Glegg stands firmly by her kin. She offers to take Maggie in and shelter her, although she still threatens to ‘give her good advice’. Maggie is grateful, but she wishes to live independently and work for her own living.

      Maggie conies to know that Lucy is better, but nothing has been heard from Philip. At last Bob brings Maggie a letter from him. Phi bp writes that he believes in Maggie that he is sure she meant to stick to him and to renounce Stephen for his sake and for Lucy’s. He believes that her going away with Stephen was only an impulse of the moment, that there is something stronger in her for him than her love for Stephen. He would hot like to stand in her way, but only the thought that she might need him kept him from suicide. He says that she should suffer no self-reproaches because of him, for she has been true and kind. He offers her any help he can give.

      The letter makes Maggie sure that her own’ happiness, would never make her forget the pain of others.

Maggie and Lucy

      Dr. Kenn is unable to find a suitable job for Maggie and he finally decides that the only hope for her is for him to employ her himself Most of his parishioners are set against her, and the few who are not, are too timid to make their views public. Still, Dr. Kenn takes in Maggie as a governess to his children. This shows his kindness, generosity, as well as fearlessness. But the people of St. Ogg’s think otherwise. Dr. Kenn, exemplary as he had hitherto appeared, ‘now appears to have his weaknesses’. It begins to be said that he may soon marry Maggie.

      The Miss Guests, Stephen’s sisters, know that Stephen wishes to marry Maggie. They do not want him to do so. Their fear that Maggie will relent and marry their brother, prompts them to plan to take Lucy to the seacoast to mast Stephen, as soon as Lucy can leave home. Lucy does not yet go out, and Maggie has had no contact with her so far, although she hungers to see her.

      One evening, Maggie is sitting alone in her room when Lucy appears. She has stolen out to see Maggie. Maggie tells her that she did not mean to deceive her, and that Stephen struggled too, and that he will come back to her. Lucy cannot stay for long at this time, but she promises to come to Maggie again when she returns from the coast, when she is stronger and can do as she pleases.
Her parting words are that Maggie is better and nobler than she herself.

The Last Conflict

      Rain has fallen continuously for two days, and the old men are reminded of the weather which preceded the great floods, some sixty years ago. It is past midnight and still raining heavily as Maggie sits alone in her room ‘battling with the old shadowy enemies’. Two days earlier, Dr. Kenn was forced to ask her to ‘quit her’ position as governess because of the ‘gossip and slander’ ‘which had arisen. ‘He advised Maggie that it would be best for her to go away from St. Ogg’s. At this time Maggie received a letter from Stephen saying that two months have ‘deepened the certainty’ that he can never care for life without her, and praying to her to write to him to come to her. Her longing for him and her misery combine to make her desire to reply in the affirmative, and the thought that Stephen is miserable makes the desire stronger.

      But she considers it, a weakness, and rejects the very thought of it. Hours of prayer make her resolve to bear her burden alone herself She burns the letter, vowing to remain alone and bear her burden of sorrows. She hopes that death would come soon to relieve her from her misery.

      At this very moment, Maggie feels water about her knees. She, starts up, knowing at once that it is the flood. She runs out to wake Bob and hurries down to help him to get the boats ready. Maggie is swept away in one boat into the darkness. She floats out over the flooded fields, and in the growing twilight she paddles to reach the mill, where the house stands ‘drowned up to the first story’.

      Maggie calls out Tom loudly, and Tom comes to the window. Their mother is away at Garum Firs. Tom climbs out into the boat. When they are atoning on the flood the meaning of this rescue comes home to him, “a new revelation to his spirit, of the depths in life that had lain beyond his vision”. They set off to try to find Lucy, but below the wharves, there are huge fragments of machinery floating down. People in another boat shout a warning to them, but Tom and Maggie are borne down by the drifting mass of machinery. They disappear ‘in an embrace never to be parted’. The flood solves Maggie’s problem. This was the only solution possible, though the novel has been much criticized for its unnatural end.


      Five years have passed, and little trace of the desolation caused by the flood is visible. The autumn is rich in golden cornstalks; the wharves and warehouses are busy again. But scars of the flood are still to be scan, and ‘uptom trees are not rooted again’. The mill has been rebuilt.

      In Dorlcote churchyard, near the grave of a lather whom we know, has been created a tomb for two bodies found after the flood. The tomb is frequently visited by two men who feel that ‘their keenest joy and keenest sorrow were forever hurried there’. One of them returns again, years after, with a sweet face beside him. The other is always alone. On the tomb, below Tom and Maggie’s names, is written, “In their death, they were not divided”. Stephen and Lucy marry, but Philip remains true to the memory of Maggie. It is he who visits their Tomb alone. The brother and sister are permanently reconciled in death.

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