Silas Marner Chapter 12
While the Red House party is going on, Molly, Godfrey's wife, is walking to Raveloe with their child in her arms. She plans to crash Squire Cass's New Year's Eve party so that she can reveal that she is Godfrey's wife and that the child is Godfrey's to the Squire himself. Ever since Godfrey had told her that he would rather die than admit her as his wife, she has been planning to avenge his words. Exposing herself at the Squire's party would be a double humiliation to Godfrey - one, because she is his wife, dressed in rags, and two, because she is heavily drugged. She has been taking opium to relieve her emotional and physical pain in the cold, snowy weather. Unable to walk any longer because of her craving for opium and her weak, exhausted state, Molly drops onto the snow and falls into a deep sleep, which turns into death. The child in her arms cries for her mother when Molly's limp, lifeless hands allow the child to escape her mother's grasp and is attracted to a bright light on the ground. Following the light to Silas Marner's cottage, where the fire gives off the light she sees, the little girl walks through the open door, settles herself easily on the hearth and falls asleep promptly.
Silas has left the door open at alternate times, as he has made it a habit of checking to see if his gold has somehow returned. He does not see the child enter his home because he is in one of his fits. When he regains consciousness and closes the door, to his astonishment, he sees gold on the floor in front of the fireplace. The gold seems to be larger and brighter than usual; to his deep disappointment, he sees that the gold is not money but the golden hair of a sleeping child.
Remembering that his younger sister, who had died when he was a boy, looked very similar to this sleeping child also makes him recall memories of his childhood and his home in Lantern Yard. Silas feels that the child is a "message come to him from that far-off life" Chapter 12, pg. 136, and loves her immediately.
She is indeed his first connection to Lantern Yard since he arrived in Raveloe. When the child awakens, Silas comforts her cries by holding her in his arms and feeding her. He takes off her wet boots, which tell him that she had been walking in the snow and that someone must have brought her there. Going outside with the child, Silas finds the body of Molly, the child's mother.