Chapter 3 Where is Silas's gold? (2)
‘What do you want, Master Marner? Come, tell us.’
‘Robbed!’ cried Silas, suddenly able to speak. ‘I've been robbed! I want the police, and the Squire!' He waved his arms wildly as he spoke.
‘Hold him, Jem,’ said the landlord to the poacher, who was sitting near the door. ‘I think he's gone mad.’
But Jem moved quickly away. 'Not me!’ he replied. ‘I don’t want anything to do with a ghost!’
‘Jem Rodney!’ cried Silas, turning and staring at the man he suspected.
‘Yes, Master Marner?' answered Jem, trembling a little.
‘If it was you who stole my money,’ said Silas, going close to Jem, ‘just give it back to me, and I won't tell the police. Please- just give it back.'
‘Stole your money!’ cried Jem angrily. 'I’ll throw this glass at you you accuse me of stealing your
‘Come now, Master Marner,' said the landlord firmly, taking Silas by the arm. ‘You must explain what you mean if you want us to believe you. And sit down by the fire to dry you clothes. You're very wet.’
‘That’s right,’ said the farrier. ‘No more staring like a madman. That’s what I thought you were at first - not a ghost, of course.’
The weaver sat down, in the centre of the little group of men, and told his story. It felt strange but pleasant to him, to talk to his neighbours and tell them his problems. The men realized at once that Silas was telling the truth. They had Suspected him of working for the devil, but they knew now that the devil was no longer taking care of him.
‘Well, Master Marner,’ said the landlord in the end, ‘you mustn't accuse poor Jem. He sometimes steals a chicken, we all know that, but he's been sitting here drinking with us all evening. So he’s not the thief.’
‘That’s right,’ said old Mr Macey. ‘You can't accuse someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, Master Marner.’
These words brought the past back to Silas, and he remembered standing in front of his accusers in the Light Street chapel. He went up to Jem.
‘I was wrong,’ he said miserably. ‘I’m sorry, Jem. I had no reason to accuse you. But -where can my gold be?’
‘Perhaps some stranger came to your cottage while you were out,’ said the farrier. ‘But we must report the robbery to the police and the Squire immediately.’
Next morning, when the whole village heard about the stolen gold, they all discussed it excitedly. A few people still did not trust Silas or believe his story. Most people, however, were suspicious of the pedlar who had visited Raveloe the month before. Perhaps he had returned to hide near the quarry, and steal the money when Silas left his cottage. Several villagers thought they remembered his evil-looking face, and felt sure he was not honest.
Silas himself remembered that the pedlar had come to his cottage door recently. He hoped the pedlar was indeed the thief, because the police could catch him and make him give back the money. His home seemed very empty to him without his gold, and he desperately wanted to get it back.