Silas Marner HTML version

Chapter 21
The next morning, when Silas and Eppie were seated at their breakfast, he said
to her--
"Eppie, there's a thing I've had on my mind to do this two year, and now the
money's been brought back to us, we can do it. I've been turning it over and over
in the night, and I think we'll set out to-morrow, while the fine days last. We'll
leave the house and everything for your godmother to take care on, and we'll
make a little bundle o' things and set out."
"Where to go, daddy?" said Eppie, in much surprise.
"To my old country--to the town where I was born--up Lantern Yard. I want to see
Mr. Paston, the minister: something may ha' come out to make 'em know I was
innicent o' the robbery. And Mr. Paston was a man with a deal o' light--I want to
speak to him about the drawing o' the lots. And I should like to talk to him about
the religion o' this country-side, for I partly think he doesn't know on it."
Eppie was very joyful, for there was the prospect not only of wonder and delight
at seeing a strange country, but also of coming back to tell Aaron all about it.
Aaron was so much wiser than she was about most things--it would be rather
pleasant to have this little advantage over him. Mrs. Winthrop, though possessed
with a dim fear of dangers attendant on so long a journey, and requiring many
assurances that it would not take them out of the region of carriers' carts and
slow waggons, was nevertheless well pleased that Silas should revisit his own
country, and find out if he had been cleared from that false accusation.
"You'd be easier in your mind for the rest o' your life, Master Marner," said Dolly--
"that you would. And if there's any light to be got up the yard as you talk on,
we've need of it i' this world, and I'd be glad on it myself, if you could bring it
So on the fourth day from that time, Silas and Eppie, in their Sunday clothes, with
a small bundle tied in a blue linen handkerchief, were making their way through
the streets of a great manufacturing town. Silas, bewildered by the changes thirty
years had brought over his native place, had stopped several persons in
succession to ask them the name of this town, that he might be sure he was not
under a mistake about it.
"Ask for Lantern Yard, father--ask this gentleman with the tassels on his
shoulders a-standing at the shop door; he isn't in a hurry like the rest," said
Eppie, in some distress at her father's bewilderment, and ill at ease, besides,
amidst the noise, the movement, and the multitude of strange indifferent faces.
"Eh, my child, he won't know anything about it," said Silas; "gentlefolks didn't
ever go up the Yard. But happen somebody can tell me which is the way to
Prison Street, where the jail is. I know the way out o' that as if I'd seen it
With some difficulty, after many turnings and new inquiries, they reached Prison
Street; and the grim walls of the jail, the first object that answered to any image in
Silas's memory, cheered him with the certitude, which no assurance of the town's
name had hitherto given him, that he was in his native place.