Mr. Tulliver, of Dorlcote Mill, Declares His Resolution about Tom. III. Mr. Riley be found in the early years of the heroine of “The Mill on the Floss.” In some. Download The Mill On The Floss free in PDF & EPUB format. Download George Eliot's The Mill On The Floss for your kindle, tablet, IPAD, PC or. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.
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The Mill on the Floss is novel written by Mary Ann Evans under her pen name George Eliot, a Victorian English writer remembered for her novels Middlemarch, . The Mill on the Floss. by George Eliot. Download the FREE e-Book version of English novelist George Eliot's story of affectionate, willful Maggie Tulliver, who is . aracer.mobi for downloading it from there; the download is very cheap Biology Questions and A.
From even a brief sketch of the life of Mary Ann Evans it becomes evident that there is a great deal of autobiography in The Mill on the Floss. If anything, Mary Ann was a more intelligent and sensitive version of Maggie who was fortunately able to obtain a better education. In addition, a certain similarity is to be found between Tom Tulliver and Isaac Evans. Her life is the central story of the novel.
Tulliver Fiery owner of Dorlcote Mill. He is particularly attached to his daughter Maggie, whom he resembles in his generosity and emotional spontaneity. Tulliver Mother of Tom and Maggie. She is the youngest of four Dodson sisters, and is a pleasant-looking, unintelligent woman concerned mainly with her household possessions.
She is cautious with money, unbending in personal relationships, and strict in observance of custom. Glegg A self-made businessman, now retired and concerned mainly with his garden and his reflections on the ways of women. Pullet The second Dodson sister, a hypochrondriac married to a scrawny gentleman-farmer.
Deane The third Dodson sister. She was once considered to have made a poor marriage, but it appears to be turning out better than any of the others. Deane A shrewd businessman, new partner in the firm of Guest and Company. By Dodson standards she is the perfect child—beautiful, obedient, and always quiet. Lawyer Wakem Archenemy of Mr.
Tulliver, who considers all lawyers to be in league with the devil. Philip Wakem Son of the lawyer. He has been deformed in a childhood accident and is highly sensitive about it. An artist of moderate talent, he falls in love with Maggie when they meet at the school Philip and Tom attend together.
Stephen Guest Son of the principal partner of Guest and Company. He intends to marry Lucy Deane, but falls in love with her cousin Maggie.
Bob Jakin A lower-class childhood companion of Tom Tulliver. Kenn Anglican clergyman of the parish of St. Walter Stelling A financially ambitious clergyman who is schoolmaster to Tom and Philip. Riley A local auctioneer who advises Mr. Tulliver to send Tom to school to Rev. Pivart A new neighbor against whom Mr. Tulliver goes to law over water rights. Luke The miller who works for Mr. Moss Mr. Tulliver has decided to remove Tom from the academy where he presently studies and send him to a school where he can learn things that will raise him in the world.
Tulliver has indefinite ideas on education, and he seeks advice from an acquaintance, Mr. Riley, whom he judges to be knowledgeable.
Riley, although he has no definite opinions on the subject, recommends Rev. Stelling, the son-in-law of a business acquaintance, as a tutor. He comes with gifts for her, but when he finds that his rabbits have died because she neglected them, he repulses her.
She retires heartbroken to the attic until Mr. Tulliver forces Tom to coax her down to tea. Tulliver has already made up his mind. One result of his hasty decision is a violent quarrel with Mrs. Glegg, to whom he owes five hundred pounds. Tulliver fears that she will call her money in, and he determines to head off that possibility by paying it back at once. Moss, has borrowed three hundred pounds from him, and Tulliver rides to see them to ask payment of the debt.
Meanwhile, Tom and Maggie with their cousin Lucy and their mother have gone to visit the Pullets. Tom becomes angry when Maggie upsets his cowslip wine and punishes her by paying no attention to her when he takes Lucy off to the pond. Maggie takes revenge by pushing Lucy into the mud. When Tom goes in to tell on her, Maggie runs off to live with the gypsies and be their queen.
She finds some gypsies, but they are not what she expects, and she is very frightened before they return her to her father. Glegg have been discussing the proposition of calling in her money from Mr. She is at last convinced that it will earn more where it is, and so she is receptive to Mrs. Tulliver that it would be best left alone.
However, Mrs. Tulliver makes the mistake of telling her husband that Mrs. Pullet has interceded with Mrs. He is so angry that he writes to Mrs. Glegg that he will pay in the money at once. To do this he finds it necessary to borrow five hundred pounds from a client of Lawyer Wakem. The Mill on the Floss 9 Tom turns out to be the only pupil of Rev.
Stelling, and he receives the full benefit of an education he does not want and cannot understand, an education consisting chiefly of Latin grammar and geometry. When he goes home at Christmas he learns that his father is about to go to law over water rights against a new neighbor, Mr. Pivart, a client of Wakem. He also learns that Philip Wakem will be his school-fellow after the holiday.
On his return to school Tom quickly decides that Wakem is an inconsiderable person, a hunchback who is touchy about his deformity. During this term Maggie comes to visit Tom and grows friendly with Philip, whose cleverness she admires.
It is two-and-a-half years later that Maggie comes to fetch Tom home with the news that their father has lost all his property in the lawsuit with Pivart. Tulliver has found that the mortgage on his property taken out to repay Mrs.
Glegg has passed to Wakem. That news has caused him to fall insensible. His property is all to be sold, including Mrs. There is some thought that Mr. Tulliver as manager. Unfortunately, Mrs. Tulliver tries to insure this by smoothing things with Wakem. Her plan goes wrong as Wakem keeps the mill for himself and takes Mr. Tulliver on as a hireling. Tom successfully applies to Mr. Deane for a position with Guest and Company, but his father requires him to swear on the family Bible that he will take vengeance on Wakem.
This is broken by a visit from Bob Jakin, who has become a packman. Bob brings her a gift of books. One of these turns out to be by Thomas a Kempis, and this book leads her to a life of renunciation of the world until on a walk near her home she meets Philip Wakem.
Philip convinces Maggie that she must not give up her desires and offers himself as a friend and tutor. While Maggie struggles within herself, Tom is at work in the business world. He has just saved up enough money to pay the debts when he discovers that Maggie has been meeting Philip and that they The Mill on the Floss 10 have declared their love for one another. By threatening to tell their father he forces her to give up Philip. Soon after this the debts are paid.
Maggie tries to hold her father back, but the excitement causes him to take to his bed, and he dies there. Lucy guesses that there was something between Philip and Maggie and forces Maggie to tell her. She begins to lay plans to bring the two together again. Tom meanwhile has been doing very well with Guest and Company, and he is offered a share in the business.
He proposes that the company try again to buy the mill and make him manager. The outcome is left indefinite as he goes off on business. A mutual attraction begins to develop between Stephen and Maggie, but both of them resist it. Philip quickly notices it but tries not to believe in it. Lucy never notices it at all; instead, she seizes on the mill as a way of bringing Philip and Maggie together.
She gets Philip to maneuver his father into consenting to sell the mill and allowing Philip to marry Maggie. She imagines that Tom will be so pleased at regaining the mill that he will consent to the marriage.
Tom will not. She feels that this frees her, but when she goes to visit her aunt Moss, Stephen comes there seeking forgiveness. They declare their mutual love but determine to part out of respect for Lucy and Philip.
But when Maggie returns, Philip becomes convinced that she and Stephen are in love. One morning Lucy goes out of town in order to leave Maggie alone with Philip.
Philip was supposed to take the two girls rowing, but he sends Stephen in his place, so that Stephen and Maggie are alone together. Carried away by the current of their emotion, they row down the river past their stopping-point and go on so far that they could not get home before dark. Stephen convinces Maggie that she should go away and be married to him. But by morning Maggie realizes what she has done, and she leaves Stephen and returns home.
The Mill on the Floss 11 Word that she had been seen with Stephen at a town downriver has been brought by Bob Jakin, and when Maggie returns home Tom refuses to allow her in his house. Maggie and her mother take lodging with Bob Jakin, and Maggie finds work as a governess with Dr.
Kenn, the clergyman of St. She is looked on as a fallen woman and cast out from local society. Eventually Dr. Kenn is forced to let her go because of persistent rumors that he intends to marry her.
A letter arrives from Stephen asking her to come to him. She is tempted, but resolves not to go. She plans instead to go away and find work.
Maggie wakes the family, but in trying to get them into boats she is swept away in a boat by herself. She steers the boat to the mill and rescues Tom. They are going together to find Lucy when they are swept under by floating debris. Their bodies are found and buried together when the flood recedes. Impersonal description quickly gives way to a more personal tone, and we see that the story is to be a personal reminiscence of a narrator whose character we do not yet know.
The narrator notes a wagon passing the mill, and watches a little girl and her dog playing near the water. Tulliver sitting by the fire in their parlor. Tulliver wishes to call in the aunts and uncles to discuss the proposition. Tulliver says he will do as he pleases. His wife is shocked at his independence of his wealthier relatives, and Tulliver himself does not know quite where he should send Tom. He decides to ask advice from Mr. Riley, a man of some education. Tulliver worries about how Tom will live, who will do his washing, and whether he will get enough to eat.
The talk turns to Maggie, who is said to take after her father. This is all seen to be true as Maggie comes in late for tea with her hair in disarray. Tulliver tries to persuade her to do her patchwork for her aunt Glegg, but Maggie expresses a strong dislike for both patchwork and her aunt.
This amuses Mr. Tulliver frets, because Maggie is so different from what she herself was as a child. Commentary Maggie Tulliver and her parents are strongly characterized at once, partly by their actions, but also partly by their speech. Tulliver speak a strong country dialect, but it never becomes obtrusive. Tulliver defiantly. Tulliver, shocked at this sanguinary rhetoric Note that Maggie does not speak this dialect at all. Both Maggie and her father are at once seen to be headstrong, inclined to have their own way against all objections.
He is said to take after Mrs. This is put in a humorous way, but it should be remembered as the story progresses. The nature of Mrs. She is supremely concerned with her household goods, with their maintenance and correct use. Correctness extends even to, or especially to, dying. The best sheets are to be saved for a funeral, rather than special use for the living.
Notice also the images which appear in Mrs. These, particularly keys, later are even more closely connected with her sisters.
Riley comes to visit, and before supper Mr. Tulliver asks his advice about a school for Tom. She drops the book she has been reading, and Mr. Riley picks it up. It is The History of the Devil. Riley is surprised that she reads such things, but Mr. Tulliver says he didn't know what it was; he had bought it for the cover. Maggie shows off the breadth of her knowledge, but when she talks of the devil her father sends her from the room.
He remarks that, unlike her mother, she is a little too intelligent for a woman. Riley easily agrees that a good education is the best thing for Tom, and he recommends as a tutor the son-in-law of a business acquaintance.
He actually knows very little of the man, a clergyman named Rev. Walter Stelling; but he has heard him well spoken of. Tulliver is anxious about the price, which Riley thinks likely to be rather high. Tulliver worries aloud as to whether Tom will get enough to eat, but Riley assures her that Mrs. Stelling is an excellent housekeeper. Stelling can teach anything, just as a workman who knows his tools can make a door as well as a window. He even offers to contact Stelling for them.
The author observes that Riley is not giving his aid from any hope of gain, as the reader might think. He simply wants to be of help, and the fact that he knows nothing is no reason to refuse his aid by withholding his opinion. But others do not see her cleverness as she does—it is considered almost harmful.
Riley, though he appears nowhere else in the book, is fully characterized here as part of the background provided for the main characters. Riley, knowing no harm of Stelling to begin with, and wishing him well, so far as he had any wishes at all concerning him, had no sooner recommended him than he began to think with admiration of a man recommended on such high authority But he is not shrewd enough to avoid joining Riley in judging Rev.
Stelling on the basis of social standing. This situation is compared ironically with the books which Tulliver has bought, and which Maggie reads. Tulliver, it is entirely fitting and proper to judge by the outside. The Mill on the Floss 17 Chapter 4 Summary Because Maggie is not allowed to go out to meet Tom on his arrival, she takes revenge by dousing her newly brushed hair in a basin of water and then goes to the attic to torment a doll she keeps as a fetish.
Finally she tires of that and goes out to talk to Luke the miller.
She tries to show off her cleverness to Luke, but he is not interested in any sort of learning. But Luke invites her to visit his wife, and she quickly forgets Tom. At the same time, it introduces new aspects of these relationships. Maggie is seen to be forgetful even with persons she loves: she neglects the rabbits which Tom asked her to care for.
And she is highly sensitive to criticism even when it is deserved. For this and for his promise to take Maggie fishing the next day Tom receives the admiration and gratitude he expects. Next he proposes to go see to his rabbits. Maggie tries to head him off by offering to buy him some new ones, but she finally has to admit that she has let the others die. Tom reminds her of previous failings of this sort and tells her that he will not take her fishing after all. He is unmoved by her sobs. After Tom leaves her alone, Maggie goes up in the attic to cry.
She determines to stay there and starve herself and frighten everyone, but eventually her need of love and forgiveness overcomes her. She is starting down when Tom, who has been sent by their father, comes to fetch her. Their father correctly suspected that Tom had been hard on her. But once they are together the two quickly make up and share a bite of cake.
The next day Tom takes Maggie fishing, and he is pleased with her when she catches a large fish. This makes her happy and pleased with herself. She dreams that life may go on like this always, that they two will never change. The narrator remarks that life did change for them, but that the thoughts of these first years were always part of them, and that the love of our early surroundings never fades. Commentary Tom is seen for the first time, but we are already somewhat familiar with him from what has been said of him.
The author devotes a long paragraph to analysis of his character. Tom loves his sister, but insists she act correctly. He brings her a gift, but he will not forgive her for neglecting his rabbits until their father forces him to bring her down to tea.
It is a sort of acquisitiveness, for, to Tom, Maggie is almost a possession. But for characters other than Maggie, this internal view tends to be used ironically. Note the imagery connected with the river.
And for the second time Mrs. Tulliver expresses a fear that Maggie has drowned. This is natural enough when living close to a river, but it also foreshadows the future. Tulliver are working out the details. Tulliver is not concerned about their opinions, and he cares less than does his wife about the money her relatives might leave to Maggie and Tom. Tulliver laments that her children are so awkward with their aunts and uncles and wishes that they were more like their cousin Lucy.
But she holds naughtiness to be more excusable in a boy than in Maggie. Tom and Maggie meanwhile show their independence by escaping with a stock of the pastry being prepared for their visitors.
Tom cuts the last cream puff exactly in half and gives Maggie the choice of halves. He finishes his piece first and becomes angry when she fails to offer him part of hers. He leaves her and goes off to join Bob Jakin along the river. Bob is a poor boy who is knowledgeable in matters of ratcatching, tree-climbing, and such matters. He is bound for a ratcatching at a nearby barn. As they go along Bob idly tosses a halfpenny in the air and challenges Tom to call it.
Tom correctly calls tails, but Bob covers the coin and keeps it. Tom, with help from his dog Yap, wrestles Bob into giving up the coin. Tom then lets it lie and refuses to go any farther with Bob, saying that he hates a cheat.
Bob retaliates by throwing down the knife that Tom once gave him; but when Tom lets it lie, Bob picks it up again. Commentary The Dodson family traditions are the subject of a long comment by the author. There is a rule of correctness for every occasion, and emotion is strictly subordinated to it. It is also the source of their selfrighteousness. This is partly involved in the further contrast which we are shown between Tom and Maggie. When Tom divides the cream puff, he is scrupulously fair; but he is indignant when Maggie eats her part after he refuses it.
Maggie thinks mainly of others. Already Bob is a talkative creature, but he hardly seems the same person who shows so much cleverness later. This may be partly because we see so much of Tom and Maggie in the meantime, while Bob disappears until much later in the book. However, Bob already knows what is in his own interest, and he will not let false principle come before it. Once again there is a reference to destruction by floods, preparing the reader to accept the sudden coming of the flood at the end.
Glegg is the first of the aunts to arrive. She passes the time by complaining how the old ways have altered, now that some of the family are later than others. She declines a bit of cheesecake because it is against her principles to eat between meals, but recommends that Mrs. Tulliver have dinner earlier and lectures her about providing so much for guests.
She is interrupted by Mrs. Pullet, a finely dressed woman, comes in sobbing. Glegg is scornful when she discovers that her sister is crying for the death of someone who was no kin to them. Pullet defends his wife with details of the will the deceased woman left.
Pullet and Mrs. Tulliver go upstairs to compare bonnets until Mrs. Deane comes with Lucy. When Maggie comes in with Tom, she compares poorly with neat, pretty Lucy. Both she and Tom are awkward with their aunts and uncles, who talk about them as though they were inconsiderable creatures. She gets Tom to come upstairs and help her. But when it is cut and Tom laughs at her, she realizes how foolish she looks and is mortified.
For a long time she refuses to go down to dinner, but Tom at last coaxes her down. Everyone is properly shocked at her rashness, except her father, who takes her part. Glegg proclaims that he is spoiling the child. After dinner the children are sent out, and Mr. Tulliver states his intention to send Tom to Mr.
Stelling for an education. It is received with general amazement, and with opposition from Mrs. Tulliver says the expense will be a good investment. Deane remarks that Wakem the lawyer is also sending his son there, which Tulliver takes as a favorable sign.
When her husband makes a jesting remark, Mrs. Glegg reminds him that his advice was not asked, and Tulliver answers angrily that she has been giving that herself. Glegg in turn says that she has been ready enough at lending, a reminder that Tulliver owes her money. The quarrel quickly reaches a point at which Mrs. Glegg walks out. The women soothe themselves by attending to the children, while Mr. Tulliver and Mr. Deane talk politics and business, and The Mill on the Floss 23 Mr.
Pullet listens. Commentary The aunts and uncles are to be seen in relation to the comments on the Dodson family given in the last chapter. Glegg is the strongest character among them; but her character consists entirely of rigid adherence to the Dodson code. She is as much oriented to things as Mrs. Tulliver is, but she always uses them correctly. And unlike Mrs. Pullet, she always maintains the correct social position—she cries for the death of no one who is not a relative. Pullet is more narrowly characterized, but serves a comic purpose adequately, simply through repeated exposure of his narrowness.
In this company the Deanes make hardly any impression except through the things other characters say of them. To die without having made a will is shocking.
Money is not to be wasted under any conditions; it is best to die leaving more than one was believed to have. Money is partly the root of the quarrel between Tulliver and Mrs. Glegg, but it is mainly a result of the clash of her instinct for correctness with his impetuosity. There are three passages preparing for the outcome of this quarrel: in one Mrs. The act of cutting off her hair is typical of her in that she acts without foreseeing any of the consequences and then repents too late.
Tulliver reminds her husband that it will be hard for him to find five hundred pounds to pay Mrs. This convinces him that he can find it easily. But the only way he can think of to accomplish this is to demand payment of the three hundred pounds he has loaned to his brother-in-law Moss.
Accordingly, he rides the next day to visit Moss, who is a farmer in the impoverished parish of Basset. The Moss farm is tumble-down and decrepit. Tulliver is met by his sister, Gritty, and her many children.
He addresses her formally, to keep his distance, and asks for her husband. He declines to come in, saying he must return home shortly. Moss asks about Tom and wishes that she could see Maggie. Her wish that Tom will also be good to Maggie affects him even more strongly, for it reminds him that Mrs. Moss is his own sister. Moss comes up, and the two men go into the garden to talk.
Tulliver opens by observing how poorly Moss is caring for his wheat. Moss defends himself by saying that poor farmers have no money to spare for that, and this slight quarrel allows Tulliver to remind Moss of the money he has borrowed. He says he cannot leave the money out any longer, but must have it back. Moss says he will have to sell his place to do it.
Tulliver tells him that he must do it any way he can, and leaves him. Tulliver has not ridden out of sight of the house before he stops his horse and sits thinking.
He returns and finds that Mrs.
Moss has been crying, and that her husband has gone back to the field. She offers to send for him, but Tulliver declines. He tells her that they may let the money go, and that he will send Maggie to see her.
His sister gives tearful thanks, and sends with him a colored egg which she had prepared for Maggie. Tulliver rides home feeling that he has escaped a danger, and that somehow this will make Tom kinder to Maggie on some distant day.
Moss is handled delicately. But she is seen to be the first person, besides Maggie, in whom love is of primary importance. She is contrasted with the Dodson sisters, in whom correctness and custom overweigh all emotion. In the conversation between Tulliver and Mrs.
The "hundreds of obscure hearths", the English counterpart of the wretched villages along the Rhone, can be as instructive to the observer of human life as the ruined castles on the Rhine, and also as emblematic of the "vast sum of conditions", the unity towards which science is toiling.
But again the "young natures" are seen as ineluctable casualities of it all. This "oppressive narrowness" finds its victims in "young natures in many genera- tions, that in the onward tendency of human things have risen above the mental level of the generation before them, to which they have nevertheless been tied by the strongest fibres of their hearts".
This is the pattern to be worked out. Maggie's first avenue of escape from the "oppressive narrow- ness" of her lot seems to be offered through the "little, old, clumsy book" p.
Dr Leavis has objected that "the soulful side of Maggie, her hunger for ideal exaltation", has been accepted with "a remarkable absence of criticism". In fact "it is offered by George Eliot herself-and this of course is the main point-with a remarkable absence of criticism" p. This could hardly apply to her account of Maggie's response to Thomas a Kempis.
The "given intensity" of Maggie's inner life here certainly does not preclude "the presence of a maturer intelligence than Maggie's own": With all the hurry of an imagination that could never rest in the present, she sat in the deepening twilight forming plans of self- humiliation and entire devotedness, and in the ardour of first dis- covery, renunciation seemed to her the entrance into that satisfaction which she had so long been craving in vain.
She had not perceived- how could she until she had lived longer? Maggie was still panting for happiness, and was in ecstasy because she had found the key to it.
The discovery of this "key" to it puts her into an "ecstasy"-it is a more intoxicating form of the opium which she was in the habit of taking long ago. This is the drift of the disquisition which follows on "emphatic belief". The theme of "obscure hearths" and "insignificant people" is resumed. I need to continue to quote generously, so that the fable may as far as possible expound itself.
In writing the history of unfashionable families, one is apt to fall into a tone of emphasis which is very far from being the tone of 75 SYDNEY STUDIES good society, where principles and beliefs are not only of an extre- mely moderate kind, but are always presupposed, no subjects being eligible but such as can be touched with a light and graceful irony.
But then, good society has its claret and its velvet carpets, its dinner- engagements six weeks deep, its opera and its faery ball-rooms; rides off its ennui on thoroughbred horses, lounges at the club, has to keep clear of crinoline vortices, gets its science done by Faraday, and its religion by the superior clergy who are to be met in the best houses: how should it have time or need for belief and emphasis?
But good society, floated on gossamer wings of light irony, is of very expensive production; requiring nothing less than a wide and arduous national life condensed in unfragrant deafening factories, cramping itself in mines, sweating at furnaces, grinding, hammering, weaving under more or less oppression of carbonic acid-or else, spread over sheepwalks, and scattered in lonely houses and huts on the clayey or chalky corn-lands, where the rainy days look dreary.
This wide national life is based entirely on emphasis-the emphasis of want, which urges it into all the activities necessary for the main- tenance of good society and light irony: it spends its heavy years often in a chill, uncarpeted fashion, amidst family discord unsoftened by long corridors.
Under such circumstances there are many among its myriads of souls who have absolutely needed an emphatic belief, life in this unpleasurable shape demanding some solution even to unspeculative minds; just as you inquire into the stuffing of your couch when anything galls you there, whereas eider-down and perfect French springs excite no question. Some have an emphatic belief in alcohol, and seek their ekstasis or outside standing-ground in gin; but the rest require something that good society calls enthusiasm, some- thing that will present motives in an entire absence of high prizes.
Now and then that sort of enthusiasm finds a far-echoing voice that comes from an experience springing out of the deepest need. We should not be surprised that her resignation will involve turning the mirrors to the wall so that she need not see her own reflec- tion, and also some nights of penance in sleeping on a wooden floor. Book Seventh and last begins with "The Return to the Mill". The novel is now working itself out almost like an equation.
Book Fifth is concerned with Maggie's relationship with Philip Wakem, which offers one form of happiness to her, as Philip could have been the object of her devotion. This possibility is of course closed off by the inscription in the family Bible, so that there can be no tie with Philip which does not involve cutting all ties with Tom.
The last chapter of Book Fifth, in which the miller's predominance reasserts itself in horsewhipping Lawyer Wakem, puts this possibility even further from Maggie's reach. Whatever the pretensions of Stephen Guest and his sisters, they are indis- solubly connected with "trade".
It is hard to agree with Dr Leavis, from this description, that George Eliot finds Stephen Guest irresistible; into the debate over how Maggie Tulliver can, I shall intrude only briefly. There is nothing very remarkable, then or now, in women falling in love with men who are hardly worth their fingertips. But Stephen is a more honourable figure than this would suggest: he is at least honourable in the same way as Arthur Donnithorne, who makes a manful decision to ride over to confide in Mr Irwin over the matter of Hetty Sorrel, but then cannot find the right opening in the conversation.
Stephen and Maggie are both self-deceived. She is pleased that he devotes himself to Lucy at the bazaar, and does not approach her. Studies in the image motifs of The Mill on the Floss might have paid more attention to opium, gin and the like as tokens of human fallibility. But all this overlooks the place which the relationship of Maggie and Stephen occupies in the novel's design. She is suscep- tible to him precisely because of her misreading of Thomas it Kempis, and of the life of privation which has followed.
On the evening of her first meeting with Stephen Guest, Maggie goes up to her bedroom, but is not inclined to undress. Nothing that you are not likely to consider in the highest degree unimportant. And she was conscious of having been looked at a great deal in rather a furtive manner from beneath a pair of well-marked horizontal eye- brows, with a glance that seemed somehow to have caught the vibratory influence of the voice.
Such things could have had no perceptible effect on a thoroughly wen-educated young lady with a perfectly balanced mind, who had had all the advantages of fortune, training and refined society. But if Maggie had been that young lady. But for Maggie it was very different: In poor Maggie's highly strung, hungry nature-just come away from a third rate schoolroom, with all its jarring sounds and petty round of tasks-these apparently trivial causes had the effect of rousing and exalting her imagination in a way that was mysterious to herself.
It was not that she thought distinctly of Mr Stephen Guest or dwelt on the indications that he looked at her with ad- miration; it was rather that she felt the half-remote presence of a world of love and beauty and delight, made up of vague, mingled images from all the poetry and romance she had ever read, or had ever woven in her dreamy reveries. Her mind glanced back once or twice to the time when she had courted privation, when she had thought all longing, all impatience, was subdued; but that condition seemed irrecoverably gone, and she recoiled from the remembrance of it.
No prayer, no striving now would bring back that negative peace: the battle of her life, it seemed, was not to be decided in that short and easy way-by perfect renunciation at the very threshold of her youth. George Eliot returns to the theme in chapter 6, "Illustrating the Laws of Attraction". The title is significant, in pointing not to individual choice, but to impersonal "laws" at work.
In the same way the miller had illustrated predominance as "a law of life", a law to be observed also in the animal kingdom. Here the second disquisition on tragedy is located. George Eliot's account of "that passionate sensibility" which belongs to Maggie's whole nature is interrupted for the purpose: 78 SYD NEY STUDIES But you have known Maggie a long while, and need to be told, not her characteristics, but her history, which is hardly to be pre- predicted even from the completest knowledge of characteristics.
For the tragedy of our lives is not created entirely from within. But not the whole of our destiny. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, was speculative and irresolute, and we have a great tragedy in consequence.
But if his father had lived to a good old age, and his uncle had died an early death, we can conceive Hamlet's baving married Ophelia and got through life with a reputation of sanity notwithstanding many soliloquies, and some moody sarcasms towards the fair daughter of Polonius, to say nothing of the frankest incivility to his father-in-law. Maggie's destiny, then, is at present hidden, and we must wait for it to reveal itself like the course of an unmapped river: we only know that the river is full and rapid, and that for all rivers there is the same final home.
It will happen regardless of individual intention, human choice, actions taken for this motive or that, errors admitted or atoned for. And so it is in The Mill on the Floss.
To question whether "character" is indeed "destiny" is to throw the onus on to circumstance, and certainly Maggie's circumstances have made her vulnerable, and she is the victim also of her father's impetuosity and vindictiveness, and of the un- forgiving nature of Tom.
A series of accidents will lead to her going out alone in the boat with Stephen Guest, especially Lucy's stratagem to throw Maggie and Philip together, and Stephen turning up as Philip's replacement. The excursion nonetheless depends on Maggie's choice. So the argument might go on, but it is idle to seek to allocate the shares between "character" and "destiny" when the pattern is to be fulfilled regardless.
The flood more than anything else defeats attempts to explicate the whole action in psychological terms, because the flood cannot be related psychologically to the problems it resolves. It has a different relationship to them, determined by the design of the moral fable. The broad intention of the moral fable of The Mill on the Floss will be familiar to anyone who recalls the discussion in chapter 5 of Amos Barton on the insight to be won from the study of the "palpably and unmistakably commonplace", or the "Dutch paintings" passage in Adam Bede Book II, chapter 1 , stressing the enlargement of sympathies possible from "faithful pictures of monotonous homely existence".
The more specific moral inten- tion is to show how the "oppressive narrowness" of such a life has been the martyrdom of "young natures in many generations, that in the onward tendency of human things have risen above the mental level of the generation before them, to which they have nevertheless been tied by the strongest fibres of their hearts".
The mode of the moral fable is more evident in the later Books than in the earlier ones, which have therefore seemed to exert an unimpaired charm. But it is the events of "Boy and Girl" and "School-Time" which tie Tom and Maggie to the past "by the strongest fibres of their hearts".
The experiences of childhood are consistently seen in this perspective: We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it Our delight in the sunshine on the deep bladed grass today, might be no more than the faint perception of wearied souls, if it were not for the sunshine and the grass in the far-off years, which still live in us and transform our perception into love. Maggie's destiny is by no means an unmapped river.
These childhood associations are responsible for her bond with Tom, and her loyalties to Lucy and Philip, and they draw her back to St Ogg's when prudence suggests that she should start life afresh elsewhere. When at Mudport she walks away from Stephen it is almost in "an automatic action that fulfils a forgotten intention", and she is impelled towards the coach by the thought that "that coach would take her away, perhaps towards home".
It is like a subconscious urging, which the punctuation of the first edition reflects more faithfully than the later ones: Home-where her mother and brother were-PhiIip--Lucy-the scene of her very cares and trials-was the haven towards which her mind tended-the sanctuary where sacred relics lay-where she would be rescued from more falling.
Whether the history of Tom does so is more uncertain. He rises above the generation before him in the sense that his life would not have been a duplication of his father's. But while Maggie protests at the wickedness of recording a vow of revenge in the Bible, Tom persists in it unshakably.
This may be a form of filial piety-Tom does repay the debts and become master of the mill-but this is the Tom we already know as "rather a Rhadamanthine personage, having more than the usual share of boy's justice in him-the justice that desires to hurt culprits as much as they deserve to be hurt" p.
He takes care of his sister because he has promised his father to do so, but he does it on his own terms. This Tom is somehow transfigured at the climactic moment in the flood, when he and Maggie are reconciled, but it still takes an effort of mind to see Tom as a martyr in the onward movement of the human race.