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CHAPTER 4: Summary
Dunstan Cass rode Wildfire to the hunt the next morning, and, on his way, he passed by Silas Marner’s cottage. Dunstan realises that the weaver must have saved a large sum of money and wondered why he never thought of manipulating Godfrey into taking a loan from the old man. Such a suggestion would surely be agreeable to Godfrey, who would want the chance to preserve his secret and keep his horse. But Dunstan, eager to sell the horse and drive a bargain, continued onward. Dunstan’s first noting Marner’s cottage and reflecting on the weaver’s supposed wealth served as foreshadowing for his theft of Marner’s money. Dunstan was self-centred and spendthrift, and thought of the wealth of the weaver scheming to manipulate Manner Dunstan met two men—Bryce and Keating—at the hunt and told them that he had swapped his own horse with his brother’s and now owned Wildfire. The two men nevertheless discern Dunstan’s true purpose of selling the horse, and eventually, the bargaining concludes with Bryce agreeing to buy Wildfire upon his safe delivery to Bryce’s stables. Dunstan was not forthright about his intentions to sell the horse. Despite a fleeting thought that he should deliver the horse and return home, Dunstan decided to ride Wildfire on the hunting course. He pushes the horse too hard and the horse fell. Dunstan was uninjured, but Wildfire died. Dunstan, glad that others did not witness his mistake, decided to leave the horse and walk home so as not to encounter anyone else. Dunstan’s immediate concern upon Wildfire’s death was that others would see what happened and think poorly of him. He was focused on his own reputation, not on the waste of a high-quality horse and its needless death. Dunstan was unconcerned by Wildfire’s death. He planned to execute his earlier idea of taking a loan from Silas Manner. Dunstan walked toward Raveloe through the misty evening. He sees light gleaming through the mist as he nears the Stone Pits and realised it was the light from Marner’s cottage. As he walked on, he decided to go speak with the weaver directly. The light from Marner’s cottage was what guided Dunstan to the door. Dunstan knocked loudly at Manner’s door only to be met with silence. He intended to shake the door, but it swung open before him to reveal a blazing fire in Matter’s inviting hearth. Marner’s dinner was cooking on the fire, and Dunstan wondered if he left for some brief errand, but may have slipped into the Stone Pits, never to return. Dunstan’s assumption that the weaver may be dead was not logical However, this idea put the seed of the idea of robbery. Dunstan noticed the spot on the floor well covered with sand and the marks of fingers. He lifted up the loose bricks and discovered the two bags of money. Feeling a sudden dread, Dunstan hurried out of the house into the darkness. The rain and darkness thickened as he moved quickly beyond the light from the cottage. Dunstan stole the gold and hurried out.
Q1. What happened with Dunstan and Wildfire in ‘Silas Marner’?
Ans. Dunstan was selfish and irresponsible. He took the horse Wildfire to sell because he needed money. He arranged to sell the horse to Bryce and Keating, who happened to be hunting. Dunstan did not sell the horse to them right away though. He rode the horse and decided to take it jumping fences. Unfortunately, the horse was killed. Dunstan set off for home without having to tell anyone at the hunt of the horse’s death. The weather had turned cold and misty, he had carried Godfrey’s whip for protection. When he passed by Silas Marner’s house, he saw gleams of light shining from it. With the thought of Silas’s money in his mind, Dunstan decided to ask the old man for a loan. The cottage was empty, for Silas had gone out. Dunstan entered the cottage because Silas had left the door unlocked. The meat was cooking on the fire. Dunstan realised that Silas would be returning home soon. Dunstan, however, easily found Silas’s precious money in a hole in the floor and hurried out of Silas’s house into the dark evening.