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Justice Malam presides over Silas Marner's case. An in-depth investigation is made about the peddler and fails to yield any vital clues. Meanwhile, with the passing of time, the excitement over the theft has ebbed, but the Raveloe folks continue to be sympathetic towards Silas. Dunstan Cass' absence is not regarded as portentous because he has been known to be away from home without notice in the past. It is presumed both by the villagers and Dunstan's family that Wildfire's death at his hands is responsible for his truancy.
Silas feels desolate and purposeless after the loss of his money, for in his cloistered existence his only happiness came from the gold. Now that it is gone, he feels aimless and baffled and looks pitiful. The villagers call him a "poor mushed creature." In an effort to cheer him, Mrs. Osgood sends Christmas delicacies to Silas. Neighbors visit him and offer verbal consolation; and Mr. Macey and Mr. Crackenthrop advise Silas to attend church, because they believe that Silas' calamity was a result of his preoccupation with money at the cost of neglect of his religious duties. Dolly Winthrop, a "good, wholesome woman" and a charitable neighbor, is much affected by Silas' tribulation. She takes some lard cakes for Silas and tries to befriend him. She also urges Silas to attend church and speaks at length about the Raveloe theology, as her rudimentary mental faculty comprehends it. In spite of much persuasion, Silas spends his Christmas day in loneliness, eating his meat pensively. Elsewhere in Raveloe, Christmas bells chime merrily, and there are feasts and parties in every house. The villagers also look forward to the New Year's Eve ball at the Red House. Godfrey is especially filled with eagerness, for he hopes to see Nancy at the dance; but he is also fearful that Dunstan may turn up and spill the beans about Molly, or even worse his father may bring matters to a point that would oblige him to decline marrying Nancy.
After the robbery, public opinion regarding Silas greatly improves, and there is a greater kindness towards him. Unfortunately, Justice Malam has not solved his case, and his gold is still missing. The theft has not merely taken away his money, but has snatched away his main purpose in living. The emptiness of his life, however, does make him more receptive to people, and he opens the door widely to admit Dolly when she comes to call. She, like Mr. Macey, advises Silas to attend church. When they discuss religion, Dolly cannot discover anything in common between her religion and the beliefs with which Silas has been brought up. The truth is that the community of Raveloe is limited spiritually, just as it is limited intellectually.