Silas Marner Chapter 17
At the Red House, Godfrey, Nancy, her sister Priscilla, and their father are eating dessert after they have come from the Sunday services. Priscilla and Nancy step outside for a private talk. Now managing their father's farm, Priscilla tells Nancy that she should have started a dairy, to take her mind off things - namely, children. Nancy tells her sister that Godfrey was very disappointed that they are childless, but he seems to be good-natured about it now.
As Godfrey leaves to see how the draining at the Stone-pits is going, Nancy is by herself, contemplating the years of their marriage. She asks herself if she has been a good wife to Godfrey all these years. Nancy wonders if the fact that they have no children has made him so unhappy, thinking about their one child who died when it was just a baby. She questions if she had been right in refusing Godfrey's request to adopt a child; it is her belief that adopting a child would be like changing what Providence means to happen. When Godfrey had suggested that they adopt Eppie, Nancy denied his suggestion. Godfrey had not the faintest idea that Eppie might be perfectly content with Silas. Reflecting over her marriage and Godfrey's desire to have children, Nancy wonders where her husband might be. When Nancy's servant informs her that there is an unusual amount of activity going on outside, she feels uneasy.