Silas Marner Chapter 3
Squire Cass is the most revered and respected man in town. The townspeople live in excess, enjoying themselves at parties thrown by Squire Cass at his home, the Red House, and by Mr. Osgood, at his place. Squire Cass's younger son, Dunstan (called Dunsey) is notoriously known for his gambling and his recklessness, and is an all-around selfish, contemptuous, and rude person, while Godfrey, Dunstan's older brother, is a good-natured, honest man. The people of Raveloe fear that Godfrey will become vile under Dunsey's influence, especially if he were to lose the love of Nancy Lammeter, one of the most beautiful and wealthiest daughters of Raveloe and the woman he had been courting.
One November day of Silas's fifteenth year in Raveloe, Dunsey and Godfrey are arguing. When Godfrey asks Dunsey to pay back the money the Squire's tenant had given Godfrey, who'd given the money to Dunsey, Dunsey blackmails Godfrey. He tells him to pay the money himself, or else he would tell their father about Godfrey's illicit former marriage to Molly Farren, a poor woman. Rather than have his marriage broadcast to their father and the town, Godfrey feels that he has no choice but to come up with the money himself, although he has no money to his name and does not know how he will come up with a hundred pounds. Dunsey suggests that Godfrey sell his horse, Wildfire, for the money. An angry Godfrey tells him that he (Godfrey) might as well as tell their father about his marriage, for Molly has been threatening to come forward with the news herself. The more Godfrey thinks about telling his father, the more he does not want to come forward - he decides that he cannot risk losing his inheritance and the love of Nancy Lammeter. He also cannot risk being the disinherited son of a squire. Godfrey is left to allow Dunsey to sell his horse, Wildfire, after the hunting race. Godfrey needs stability, which Squire Cass's home lacks after his mother's death, and Godfrey is sure that Nancy Lammeter would bring permanent love and order to his home. He fears tomorrow's hunting race for two reasons: that Dunsey is riding Wildfire, and that the race is held near the town Batherley, where Molly lives.