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At the Red House, Godfrey Cass thinks little about Dunsey's long absence because his mind is too full of Nancy Lammeter's thoughts and disgust at his own weak self. But the town thinks long and hard about the theft at "poor Marner's place." In a small place like Raveloe, a robbery is a big happening and so for months the theft is discussed animatedly. Upon investigation, a tinder-box is found at the Stone-Pits, and the majority of the villagers think that there is a clear connection between the robbery and the tinder-box. The landlord of the Rainbow recalls that a month back he had seen a peddler who possessed a tinder-box. Once this declaration was made, the villagers frantically gather information about the peddler. Colorful versions of the peddler's personality emerge from the fertile imaginations of the villagers. Some recall the peddler to be a sinister looking fellow while others dismiss him as a harmless soul.After awhile, Godfrey begins to get anxious about Dunstan and hates himself for trusting his horse with his reckless brother. He decides to go to Batherley and make inquiries about Dunsey. He is approached by Bryce and is informed about the deal and Wildfire's accidental death. Godfrey is outraged and remarks bitterly that Dunsey is "made to hurt other people." He still expects his brother to return and tell the truth about Molly Farren and him. As a result, Godfrey has begun to think about of confessing his sins to his father, especially since the revelation about the missing money has to be made anyway. Godfrey, more confused and upset than ever, wishes that chance might favor him in the future.
The news of the theft of Marner' money spreads and is the topic of village gossip for months to come. The way in which Silas' plight is handled and the responses it triggers give further insight into the rural community. The case is duly carried for "a higher consultation" to the upper class of Raveloe. Because they distrust all outsiders, they assume either a passerby or a peddler committed the crime. Colorful versions of a peddler's fictitious personality spring from the imaginative minds of the villagers. Silas and Godfrey are the only people who recall nothing suspicious about the traveling man, the former on account of his honesty and the latter because of his rationality. In addition, the community sentiment is so strong that no one ever suspects Dunstan even though he is known as an evil fellow and has been missing since the theft.The chapter is also concerned with Godfrey. George Eliot is remarkable in portraying the moral chaos that grips a person who has sinned, and Godfrey has sinned. Eliot skillfully brings out the inner drama in Godfrey's mind as he rehearses to tell his father the truth about the missing money and his marriage to Molly. He is torn between his conscience, which urges him to confess, and the consequences of the confession. He says to himself, "I don't pretend to be a good fellow, but I'm not a scoundrel at least, I'll stop short somewhere."Chapter 9The next morning the Squire is in an awful mood when Godfrey informs him about Wildfire's death and the circumstances that led to it. The squire rages even more upon hearing that Godfrey had given the money to Dunstan. He orders that Dunstan be brought to him, but Godfrey explains that he has been absent for awhile. The father then quizzes Godfrey about why Dunstan was given the money in the first place. In spite of all his rehearsing to tell the truth, Godfrey only manages to give an evasive answer about foolery, a response that angers the Squire even more. He rudely tells Godfrey to quit his fooleries and pay attention to the prospect of marrying Nancy; the father even offers to intervene on his son's behalf. Godfrey awkwardly says that he would manage for himself and hopes that his father will stay out of it. The Squire says that he can do as he pleases and tells Godfrey to inform Dunstan that he need not come home again. After the interview with his father, Godfrey realizes that he is left more entangled in the web of deceit than ever and prays for the invisible hand of fortune to favor him, an ironic foreshadowing of coming events involving Molly.NotesEliot examines the Squire's household.