Silas Marner's "passion" is for his hard-earned gold coins, hidden under his floor in his lonely cottage; at night he pulls them out and runs them through his hands avidly.
After his emotionally devastating experience in the industrial town of Lantern Yard, in which his brethren drew lots against him in a case of theft of church funds held in keeping by a dying man, Silas Marner left his home and came to Raveloe to live as a weaver and as a virtual hermit. Because William Dane, the man he considered his friend, stole Marner's knife and laid it by the deceased deacon, falsely implicating Silas in the theft, Silas has divorced himself from mankind. He ventures out only to sell the cloth he has woven. Otherwise, he sits in his lonely cottage every day at his loom, weaving in a repetitious motion, till at night he secures his doors and fastens his shutters. Then he pulls out his coins, bagged in leather pouches.
He loved the guineas best, but he would not change the silver--the crowns and half-crowns that were his own earnings, begotten by his labour; he loved them all. He spread them out in heaps and bathed his hands in them; then he counted them and set them up in regular piles....
Silas counts his money every night for fifteen years, when a second change occurs in his life, one that removes him from his isolation.