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CHAPTER 19: Summary
In the late evening, Silas and Eppie were sitting quietly in their home. Silas was glad of some peace and quiet after all the excitement that came from the discovery of Dunstan’s skeleton and Silas’s gold.
Silas explained to Eppie about the obsession he used to have for his gold. He expressed his gratitude to Eppie for coming into his life. Eppie said she too felt fortunate. Silas no longer felt an unhealthy possessiveness towards money and he planned to use it to help Eppie. A knock at the door brought in Godfrey and Nancy. Godfrey began by apologising for the wrong that was done to him by his brother. He said he would do whatever he could to make up for it. Silas thanked Godfrey for his wishes and was a little uncomfortable.
Godfrey offered to adopt Eppie, adding that she would be able to visit Silas very often and that he and Nancy would do everything to make Silas comfortable. Stunned, Silas asked Eppie to speak. Eppie thanked Godfrey and Nancy for their offer but declined. She did not want to leave her father or the working-class people she had grown used to.
Godfrey then explained that he was Eppie’s father. Silas, confident after Eppie’s refusal, asked Godfrey why it had taken him 16 years to make this claim. Godfrey admitted that he was wrong, but that he had finally relented. Silas refused to part with Eppie. Godfrey became slightly impatient, unable to understand why Silas would deny Eppie the better life that was her birthright.
Silas said the decision was Eppie’s. Eppie repeated her desire to stay with Silas, to live the life of the poor and marry Aaron whom she had promised to marry. She also reaffirmed that Silas was her only father.
Vexed and deeply saddened, Godfrey accepted Eppie’s decision and left with Nancy.
Q1. What was Godfrey’s offer to Silas? Was Eppie right in refusing Godfrey’s offer?
Ans. When Godfrey visited Silas, he broached the subject of adopting Eppie in a number of ways. When these approaches failed, Godfrey stated that they were offering to take Eppie into their care as their own child. Silas was upset but left the decision to her. Eppie politely but firmly declined the offer. Godfrey, who had not expected Eppie to refuse, replied that he was Eppie’s true father. Silas emboldened at Eppie’s response to the Causes’ offer, asked why Godfrey had waited sixteen years. Eppie reaffirmed that she was happy with Silas. She would not leave him. Moreover, she was promised to marry Aaron, a working man and Silas was the only father she will ever know. Godfrey turned and left the cottage.
Eppie chose to see Silas as her true father, whom she loved rather than Godfrey who was her father only by birth. For her, the behaviour and attitude of a father, rather than blood, was what determined parentage. Eppie chose to stay with those she loved, having faith in them.