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The most important peer by far for Silas Marner in this novel is Dolly Winthrop, who distinguishes herself by standing by Silas when Eppie arrives into his life and giving him practical help, advice and encouragement. This is something that Silas sorely needs, as a man who has no experience of living with or bringing up children, and at a time when people were debating whether he was even suitable to bring up a child or not, Dolly's friendship and encouragement is a valuable support. Note what she says in Chapter 14 to Silas:
You'll happen be a bit moithered with it while it's so little; but I'll come, and welcome, and see to it for you. I've a bit o' time to spare most days, for when one gets up betimes i' the morning, the clock seems to stan' still tow'rt ten, afore it's time to go about the victual. So, as I say, I'll come and see to the child for you, and welcome.
Dolly freely offers her support and help in this quote. Dolly comes to be a firm friend to Silas in Ravenloe, and is somebody that both Silas and Eppie come to depend on. In many ways, she acts almost like a sister to Silas in the way she advises him about how to bring up Eppie and helps him practically with gifts of clothes.
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