The Mill on the Floss Book 7, Chapter 4 Summary

George Eliot

Book 7, Chapter 4 Summary

Dr. Kenn has talked to almost every one of his parishioners in an attempt to find employment for Maggie. He cannot understand how everyone can be so unforgiving. No matter how hard he urges them, everyone argues against him. No one is willing to trust Maggie. No one believes the letter from Stephan. They are convinced that Maggie is guilty. If she were not, they say, would her brother turn her out? Would Maggie not go live with her aunt Glegg if she were innocent?

Finally Dr. Kenn comes to the last person who might offer Maggie a job and is turned down again. Then he realizes that since his wife died, he has needed a tutor for his young children. When he remembers this, he decides to offer the job to Maggie. It does not take long for a new round of town gossip to develop: Maggie must have bewitched the pastor, many of the townspeople conclude. She is pretty, and Dr. Kenn must enjoy having her around the house to look at. Then rumors spread that Maggie and Dr. Kenn have been seen walking through town together. Someone else hears that Dr. Kenn sits in the classroom as Maggie teaches his children. Then people spread rumors that Maggie and Dr. Kenn are getting married. Stephan’s sisters even write to their brother to tell him of this news.

In the meantime, Maggie is not paying attention to this talk. Her mind is recently focused on Lucy. She craves news about her cousin. She hears from her mother and her Aunt Glegg that Lucy is slowly recovering from the shock of having lost Stephan. However, Maggie wants to talk to Lucy in person. She wants to see her cousin for herself. The image of her cousin’s face has haunted her ever since she decided to come back home. Although Lucy is getting stronger, she is not often seen in public yet, so Maggie has very few opportunities to run into her. Maggie hears that Lucy is about to go out of town with Stephan’s sisters. There is even a rumor that Stephan is to meet them in Scarborough.

One night as Maggie is sitting alone in her room in the dark, she hears a knock on her door. When she looks up, she sees Lucy standing there. Maggie is so happy to see her cousin that she blurts out, “God bless you for coming, Lucy.” Then both girls begin to cry.

Lucy tells Maggie not to grieve. In turn, Maggie says that she did not mean to deceive Lucy. She never wanted to hurt her. Lucy understands this. Lucy adds that she knows Maggie is actually suffering more than any of them. Even though her father is strictly guarding everything Lucy does until she is stronger, Lucy promises that in a few months she will be on her own again and will visit whenever the two of them want to get together.