Silas Marner Chapter 13
Godfrey is watching Nancy from a distance at the party when he is startled by the figure of Silas Marner, carrying a child. Immediately, Godfrey knows that the child is his and that his dark secret has come to haunt him. When Silas says that there is a dead woman lying on the snow near his house, Godfrey fears that his wife might not be dead as Silas believes. The people remark at how pretty the child is, and offer to take the child off Silas's hands, but Silas staunchly refuses. "I can't part with it, I can't let it go...It's come to me - I've a right to keep it," Silas says with feeling Chapter 13, pg. 140. Dr. Kimble and Mr. Crackenthorp rush to Silas's cottage, while Godfrey goes to fetch Dolly Winthrop. Dolly tells him that he isn't needed, as he is not wearing heavy shoes, but Godfrey insists that he wants to stay.
Walking around Silas's cottage, Godfrey wonders what his next action should be. He knows that he should reveal that Molly was his wife and that he should claim the child and raise it, but he does not have the "moral courage enough to contemplate that active renunciation of Nancy as possible for him: he had only conscience and heart enough to make him for ever uneasy under the weakness that forbade the renunciation." Chapter 13, pg. 142.
All Godfrey can think about is the possibility or impossibility of marrying Nancy Lammeter if Molly lives or dies. Dr. Kimble comes out of Silas's cottage and tells him that the woman has been dead for a while. Godfrey sees the face of his dead wife one last time, then turns his attention to the child in Silas's arms. The child looks and evokes a serene, calm presence that awes Godfrey. Although Godfrey feels somewhat jealous when he looks at the little girl in Silas's arms, the little girl only has eyes for Silas. When Silas informs Godfrey that he would like to keep the little girl as his own, Godfrey gives him money for the girl's care.
When Godfrey returns to the party, he thinks about how he can win Nancy's heart by telling her all that she wants to hear, by promising her that he will be what she wants him to be. Now that Molly is no longer a threat to his marrying Nancy, Godfrey feels unusually confident and secure in his future. Even the thought of Dunsey's blackmail plot does not faze him - he figures that he can win Dunsey over, now that the past cannot hurt him. Godfrey promises to himself that he will ensure that the child will be taken care of - but he will see to it that he will not jeopardize his happiness by acknowledging that the girl is his own daughter.