The Mill on the Floss Book 1, Chapter 13 Summary

George Eliot

Book 1, Chapter 13 Summary

After promising Mrs. Tulliver she would try to resolve the family conflict, Mrs. Pullet visits their sister, Mrs. Glegg, in St. Ogg's; she will plead with her not to call in her loan to Mr. Tulliver. When she arrives, however, she discovers her sister has already made that decision on her own. To her surprise, Mrs. Pullet also learns that her sister is offended by her visit. Mrs. Glegg reprimands Mrs. Pullet for believing it was necessary to come all the way to St. Ogg's to inform her of the appropriate manner in which to behave. Mrs. Glegg already knows it would not look good from the neighbors' point of view if their family members were quarreling. Although Mrs. Glegg has softened her mood, she does take the opportunity to be somewhat sarcastic. She tells Mrs. Pullet she will not be going to the Tullivers to get down on her knees and ask forgiveness for being so generous, but she will hold no grudge against Mr. Tulliver; she will speak and act civily toward the man as long as he does likewise. Mrs. Glegg emphasizes that there is no need for a member of her family to come to her and educate her about proper behavior.

Knowing the issue is resolved, Mrs. Pullet is more relaxed. Not having to worry about Sister Tulliver's problems with her husband, Mrs. Pullet now has more time and energy to reflect on the audacious behavior of Sister Tulliver's children. She hastens to tell Sister Glegg all the details from the previous day, concluding with the opinion that "poor Bessy" has a lot of bad luck when it comes to the characters of Tom and Maggie. Mrs. Pullet is so concerned, she even considers paying the tuition for Maggie to be sent away to school; sending her away would not change everything that is wrong with the girl, such as her dark complexion, but it might subdue some of her bad manners. Mrs. Glegg's only comment is to say she had been right all along; even before Sister Tulliver's children were born, Mrs. Glegg had predicted the children of the Tulliver union would turn out to be bad.

Before learning Mrs. Glegg's decision not to call in his loan, Mr. Tulliver mailed a letter to her announcing he will repay her within a month, as he wants in no way to be indebted to her. Mrs. Glegg is astonished and angry when she reads the letter. She does not, however, go so far as to alter her will excluding Tom and Maggie. She is too generous to do such a thing. Besides, she would not allow her neighbors, upon her death, to claim that she had not performed the more righteous action. Mr. Tulliver's letter, though, does give Mrs. Glegg the opportunity to declare that she has no more to say to him. Although she will continue to visit the Tullivers, she will sit in her carriage to avoid entering their house.