Part 1, Chapters 10, 11, and 12
Part One, Chapter Ten
Without the thought of his stash to sustain him, Silas begins to become very depressed. He loses interest in his work, moaning and groaning as he tries to weave. His neighbors, however, begin to take pity on him, changing their impressions of him as hard-hearted and cruel, to simply crazy and simple-minded -- unable to guard and keep what he'd earned. They begin to come by, bringing him food, particularly Christmas dishes like pork and black pudding. Villagers begin speaking to him on a regular basis.
One of the villagers who takes a particular interest in Silas is Mrs. Dolly Winthrop. She is a kind, even-tempered woman who frequently wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to begin her daily chores. She thrives on household duties, we're told, and loves to take care of people who are sick or even simply sad. She brings her son Aaron by one morning with a gift of lard-cakes. Whereas in the past, Silas would react angrily to unexpected visitors, he greets the Winthrops with great patience, even though they've interrupted his work.
Dolly has Aaron sing Christmas carols for Silas, hoping that it will help interest him in going to church. He's unmoved, however, and the Winthrops leave Silas to spend Christmas day by himself.
Part One, Chapter Eleven
The chapter opens with a view of Nancy Lammeter approaching the Cass Christmas party and ruminating about Godfrey. She's unsure of what Godfrey feels for her, and why he acts so strange. She recognizes that she has made clear to him that she won't marry him, but then expects him to act consistently towards her. Instead he often ignores her for weeks, and then flirts as if he intends to court her again. Nancy visits with friends and family for some time, meeting the sisters Gunn, and speaking with her aunt Mrs. Ladbrook and her sister Priscilla. As the group sits in the parlor, Nancy takes pride in thinking that she could have been the woman of this grand house, but turned it down.
Later in the evening, Nancy dances with Godfrey, and he admits to her that he enjoys dancing with her more than with anyone else. She's startled by his directness, and he rambles on, asking if he gave up all the unsavory activities that she disapproves of, would she forgive him? She responds coldly, saying it would be nice if he changed, but better if he weren't so in need of changing in the first place. The two begin to bicker, and Godfrey takes Nancy's irritation with him as a sign that she's still interested in him. They are interrupted by the entrance of Priscilla.
Part One, Chapter Twelve
While Godfrey and Nancy are flirting, we're told, Godfrey's wife -- Molly, an opium addict -- is walking towards Raveloe, holding her child in hr arms. This is the first explicit reference we have to Godfrey's wife, although intimations have been made to a secret he's keeping. Godfrey, we're told, has refused to acknowledge his relationship with Molly, and she's determined to show up at the New Year's party and spoil his efforts.
Molly has tried to wait out the snow, but to no avail, and is now trudging through the cold and precipitation with her spirits dragging. As she walks, she takes a hit of opium and soon after begins to feel the urge to simply lie down in the snow. When she falls asleep, her arms loosen and she drops her baby. The baby toddles off into the snow, right to the door of Silas' cottage. She enters and goes to sit by the fire, falling asleep on Silas' coat.
Silas is in the cottage the whole time this takes place, but doesn't notice the child. The narrator tells us that since he's lost his money, Silas periodically opens his door and looks out, as if the money might simply come back to him. Because it's New Year's Eve, he's been told to stay awake until midnight, for that's good luck, his neighbors say. They tell him perhaps his money will return if he waits up. Silas goes to the door one last time that evening, looks out, and of course, no money returns to him. When he turns back around, however, he sees a bundle sitting on his coat in front of the fire. He imagines it might be his money and gets very excited. He reaches out to touch it, but finds, instead of gold coin, the golden curls of the child's hair. He wonders if this is his little sister who died when he was a young boy. He wonders if he's dreaming. Silas is stupefied by the arrival of the child, and sits and marvels at her, confused.
The child wakes and Silas picks her up. She clings to him, calling for Molly, her mother. Silas hushes her kindly and feeds her some porridge. He takes off her wet boots and realizes that if they're wet she must have been walking in the snow. He returns to the door and looks out for the child's mother, and sees someone lying in a heap in the snow.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Part 1, Chapter 1
Part 1, Chapters 2 and 3
Part 1, Chapters 4, 5 and 6
Part 1, Chapters 7,8, and 9
Part 1, Chapters 10, 11, and 12
Part 1, Chapters 13, 14, and 15
Part 2, Chapters 16 and 17
Part 2, Chapters 18, 19, and 20
Part 2, Chapters 20 and 21
Part 2, Conclusion