The Mill on the Floss
I.13. Mr. Tulliver Further Entangles the Skein of Life
Owing to this new adjustment of Mrs. Glegg's thoughts, Mrs. Pullet found her
task of mediation the next day surprisingly easy. Mrs. Glegg, indeed checked her
rather sharply for thinking it would be necessary to tell her elder sister what was
the right mode of behavior in family matters. Mrs. Pullet's argument, that it would
look ill in the neighborhood if people should have it in their power to say that
there was a quarrel in the family, was particularly offensive. If the family name
never suffered except through Mrs. Glegg, Mrs. Pullet might lay her head on her
pillow in perfect confidence.
"It's not to be expected, I suppose," observed Mrs. Glegg, by way of winding up
the subject, "as I shall go to the mill again before Bessy comes to see me, or as I
shall go and fall down o' my knees to Mr. Tulliver, and ask his pardon for showing
him favors; but I shall bear no malice, and when Mr. Tulliver speaks civil to me,
I'll speak civil to him. Nobody has any call to tell me what's becoming."
Finding it unnecessary to plead for the Tullivers, it was natural that aunt Pullet
should relax a little in her anxiety for them, and recur to the annoyance she had
suffered yesterday from the offspring of that apparently ill-fated house. Mrs.
Glegg heard a circumstantial narrative, to which Mr. Pullet's remarkable memory
furnished some items; and while aunt Pullet pitied poor Bessy's bad luck with her
children, and expressed a half-formed project of paying for Maggie's being sent
to a distant boarding-school, which would not prevent her being so brown, but
might tend to subdue some other vices in her, aunt Glegg blamed Bessy for her
weakness, and appealed to all witnesses who should be living when the Tulliver
children had turned out ill, that she, Mrs. Glegg, had always said how it would be
from the very first, observing that it was wonderful to herself how all her words
"Then I may call and tell Bessy you'll bear no malice, and everything be as it was
before?" Mrs. Pullet said, just before parting.
"Yes, you may, Sophy," said Mrs. Glegg; "you may tell Mr. Tulliver, and Bessy
too, as I'm not going to behave ill because folks behave ill to me; I know it's my
place, as the eldest, to set an example in every respect, and I do it. Nobody can
say different of me, if they'll keep to the truth."
Mrs. Glegg being in this state of satisfaction in her own lofty magnanimity, I leave
you to judge what effect was produced on her by the reception of a short letter
from Mr. Tulliver that very evening, after Mrs. Pullet's departure, informing her
that she needn't trouble her mind about her five hundred pounds, for it should be
paid back to her in the course of the next month at farthest, together with the
interest due thereon until the time of payment. And furthermore, that Mr. Tulliver
had no wish to behave uncivilly to Mrs. Glegg, and she was welcome to his
house whenever she liked to come, but he desired no favors from her, either for
himself or his children.