Silas Marner: Novel Summary: Chapter 3

Eliot’s third chapter discusses the Cass family, a very prominent and wealthy family of nobles headed by Squire Cass. The Squire has four sons, including Godfrey and Dunstan. While the author says that Dunstan is commonly thought of as the mischievous one, lately Godfrey has been following in his brother’s footsteps. The two brothers hate each other deeply, but realize they need each other in order to advance their own selfish desires.
It soon becomes evident that Godfrey is hiding a very dark secret. It seems he has married “a drunken woman,” Molly Farren, without consulting his father, who thinks he should marry Nancy Lammeter. Godfrey now wishes he was in fact married to Nancy, but realizes that he will have to decline since he’s already married. Furthermore it seems the first-born son is in financial trouble, having borrowed heavily from a friend of his father.
Dunstan uses all of this to his own advantage, threatening to tell the truth of Godfrey’s marriage to their father is his brother refuses to do him favors. Finally in order to raise money to pay their father, Godfrey reluctantly allows Dunstan to sell Wildfire, his prized horse. The scene ends with the following description of Godfrey: “The yoke a man creates for himself by wrong-doing will breed hate in the kindliest nature; and the good-humoured, affectionate-hearted Godfrey Cass, was fast becoming a bitter man, visited by cruel wishes, that seemed to enter and depart, and enter again, like demons who had found in him a ready-garnished home.”