Silas Marner Part 2, Chapter 16
It has been sixteen years since Silas found the little girl in his house. Villagers are leaving the church after that Sunday's service. Godfrey Cass leaves the church with his wife, Nancy Lammeter, at his side. Godfrey looks the same as he had when he was twenty-six. However, Nancy has changed; she is now looking even more beautiful and womanly than she had before. Also leaving the church are Silas Marner and Eppie.
Silas looks older and frail at age fifty-five, while Eppie has become a beautiful blond girl of eighteen years. As time has been good to Nancy, Eppie has transformed into a radiant young woman, cheerful and content.
Eppie asks Silas if they can have a garden. Silas readily agrees to Eppie's garden, and Aaron Winthrop, Eppie's suitor, offers to dig in the yard for the garden. Aaron tells Silas that he needn't do any of the work, as it is heavy and tedious for the older man. When Aaron suggest getting some soil and flowers from the Red House, Silas tells him that they would be imposing on Mr. Godfrey Cass, who he has already done so much for them - supplying them with furniture, and adding a new section to the cottage.
Silas and Eppie's home is now filled with animals: a dog, a donkey, and a kitten. Silas reflects on how his life has changed since Eppie entered his life: he is now viewed as an "exceptional person, whose claims of neighbourly help were not to be matched in Raveloe." Chapter 16, pg. 170. Silas also smokes a pipe - the sages of Raveloe had recommended it two years ago for his health. Although he does not enjoy smoking that much, he continues to do so because the townspeople believe it to be a beneficial remedy, and anything that is good he will do so for Eppie.
Life with Eppie makes him appreciate the good in his current life, remember his old faith, and blend both past and present together in his life to create a hopeful outlook.
Silas tells Dolly the whole story of his life in Lantern Yard; Dolly cannot believe that there is man as horrid and unpious as William Dane. When talking about the drawing of lots, Dolly believes that the wickedness of one man, Silas's so-called friend, William Dane, must have prevented the truth in the drawing lots from happening. She remarks to him that perhaps if he had trusted more he would not have left Lantern Yard and been so alone, for there is goodness around them.
Silas agrees with Dolly; he declares that "there's good in this world - I've a feeling o' that now; and it makes a man feel as there's a good more nor he can see, in spite o' the trouble and the wickedness. That drawing o' the lots is dark; but the child was sent to me" Chapter 16, pg. 175.
Eppie has been told of her mother's death, but as Silas does not know who her biological father is, he cannot supply her the information on her father. Eppie is perfectly happy and content with her life with Silas, though, and does not care to know her real father. The wedding ring found on Molly's finger, which Silas has kept for Eppie and shown to her many times, makes her think about her mother. Eppie asks Silas if they can move the furze bush where he had found Molly years ago, into their garden, so that she can remember her mother. She remarks at how low the water level in the Stone-pits has gone down; Silas tells her that Mr. Godfrey Cass has taken possession of the land now and is draining the Stone-pits for land. Eppie tells Silas that she has been thinking of marrying since Aaron Winthrop had proposed to her last week. She and Aaron would like to live together with Silas, as Aaron knows that Eppie and Silas cannot be separated. A sad Silas believes that Eppie is too young to get married, but decides to ask Dolly Winthrop's advice in doing the right thing.