Yet the next moment there seemed to be some evidence that ghosts had a more
condescending disposition than Mr. Macey attributed to them; for the pale thin
figure of Silas Marner was suddenly seen standing in the warm light, uttering no
word, but looking round at the company with his strange unearthly eyes. The long
pipes gave a simultaneous movement, like the antennae of startled insects, and
every man present, not excepting even the sceptical farrier, had an impression
that he saw, not Silas Marner in the flesh, but an apparition; for the door by which
Silas had entered was hidden by the high-screened seats, and no one had
noticed his approach. Mr. Macey, sitting a long way off the ghost, might be
supposed to have felt an argumentative triumph, which would tend to neutralize
his share of the general alarm. Had he not always said that when Silas Marner
was in that strange trance of his, his soul went loose from his body? Here was
the demonstration: nevertheless, on the whole, he would have been as well
contented without it. For a few moments there was a dead silence, Marner's want
of breath and agitation not allowing him to speak. The landlord, under the
habitual sense that he was bound to keep his house open to all company, and
confident in the protection of his unbroken neutrality, at last took on himself the
task of adjuring the ghost.
"Master Marner," he said, in a conciliatory tone, "what's lacking to you? What's
your business here?"
"Robbed!" said Silas, gaspingly. "I've been robbed! I want the constable--and the
Justice--and Squire Cass--and Mr. Crackenthorp."
"Lay hold on him, Jem Rodney," said the landlord, the idea of a ghost subsiding;
"he's off his head, I doubt. He's wet through."
Jem Rodney was the outermost man, and sat conveniently near Marner's
standing-place; but he declined to give his services.
"Come and lay hold on him yourself, Mr. Snell, if you've a mind," said Jem, rather
sullenly. "He's been robbed, and murdered too, for what I know," he added, in a
"Jem Rodney!" said Silas, turning and fixing his strange eyes on the suspected
"Aye, Master Marner, what do you want wi' me?" said Jem, trembling a little, and
seizing his drinking-can as a defensive weapon.
"If it was you stole my money," said Silas, clasping his hands entreatingly, and
raising his voice to a cry, "give it me back-- and I won't meddle with you. I won't
set the constable on you. Give it me back, and I'll let you--I'll let you have a
"Me stole your money!" said Jem, angrily. "I'll pitch this can at your eye if you talk
o' my stealing your money."
"Come, come, Master Marner," said the landlord, now rising resolutely, and
seizing Marner by the shoulder, "if you've got any information to lay, speak it out
sensible, and show as you're in your right mind, if you expect anybody to listen to