The peaceful village of Raveloe
The story starts in the small, peaceful village of Raveloe where well-to-do country-folks lived. It was not a barren parish, but it lay in the rich central plain called “Merry England”. It was an important looking village with a fine old church, a large churchyard, large homesteads, well-walled orchards and striking weathercocks. But, it was a solitary village, away from the influence of the outside world. Some undersized men lived up in the hills who worked at the spinning wheels. These lonely weavers, who migrated to the country from the town, were found to be quite mysterious and it was common for the rustic population to be suspicious of any strange happenings.
A strange weaver, Silas Marner
In this village, a silent weaver, Silas Marner, worked continuously at his spinning wheel. He was considered to be an eccentric by the villagers and strange stories about him circulated among the villagers. Silas had come to the village fifteen years back, when he was a young man and he still remained a mystery to the villagers. Silas had a pale face and large protruding eyes that made him look formidable. It was believed that he could heal rheumatism with his hand and that he could speak to the devil. He has once cured Sally Oates. Therefore, the villagers chose to stay on fair terms with him. Over the years, the their opinion of Silas did not change, but his strange ways had become a habit to them and they believed that he had a huge pot of money hidden somewhere.
A man with a sad past
Before he came to Raveloe, Silas had led a life as an artisan and was closely associated with the church. He was highly respected in that world and was known as a man of exemplary life and ardent faith. Once at a prayer meeting, Silas had fallen unconscious for nearly two hours and this made people believe that he was chosen for a special cause. Silas had a friend called William Dane, who was a pious youth like Silas. Their friendship was known to all as a strong one. Silas Marner trusted his friend and could not find any fault in him. Silas was engaged to a young servant woman, Sarah, and they were saving for their upcoming marriage.
Betrayed by a friend
Events took a serious turn when the old deacon took ill and there was no one to take care of him. The young brethren and sisters volunteered and Silas was one of them, with William relieving him. One night, as Silas was watching over the old deacon, he sensed that the man was not moving and upon taking a closer look he realised that he had been dead for a while. Later, he was accused of stealing the old man’s money and William was one of the people to blame him. Silas was not able to defend himself but it dawned on him that William was the one to have committed the theft and he was pinning the blame on Silas. He was heartbroken and secluded himself, but later when he came to know that Sarah had broken the engagement and married William, he could bear it no longer and left the town quietly.
A new dwelling of solitude
After leaving his town, Silas settled down in the stone cottage in Raveloe. This place was very different from his native land. Back in Lantern Yard, people went to church regularly and Silas could hear the well-known voices uttering the phrases from the holy book. It was place of Christianity and God for Silas and he found solace in his hymn book. Raveloe was very different with neglected orchards and lazy men. People did not go to church regularly and when they did, they longed to go back home.
Work therapy for Silas
After his migration to Raveloe, Silas found solace in his work. He worked at his wheel for hours on end and tried to forget his past. He was at his wheel the whole day only leaving it to satisfy his hunger. He spent little time for himself and when he was rewarded with gold coins for his labour, he felt good. Whenever he completed the work, he would be paid well and he started loving the pile of money that grew day by day. He did not share any bond of love or friendship with his neighbours and preferred to stay alone.
Silas is troubled by the villagers
A little hope of sharing some kind of a bond with his neighbours was raised when Silas was able to treat Sally Oates of her disease. Sally had been suffering from a heart ailment and the doctor had been unsuccessful in treating her. Silas had seen his mother suffer the same way and knew what could cure her. But the hope of experiencing a sense of brotherhood was shattered when the villagers flocked to him with all kinds of ailments and expected him to cure them all. They thought Silas knew some kind of magic and when he refused to treat them, they thought he had cast a spell on them. This isolated him all the more from the villagers.
Change after fifteen years
Day after day, year after year, Silas worked at his wheel and earned a lot of gold and silver coins. He spent very little on his needs and kept the coins in an iron pot, hidden in a hole under his wheel. Every night he would count his coins, whic…
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