Silas Marner - George Eliot - Страница 1 из 262

The Weaver of Raveloe
George Eliot
(Mary Anne Evans)
"A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts."
In the days when the spinning-wheels hummed busily in the
farmhouses--and even great ladies, clothed in silk and thread-lace, had
their toy spinning-wheels of polished oak--there might be seen in
districts far away among the lanes, or deep in the bosom of the hills,
certain pallid undersized men, who, by the side of the brawny
country-folk, looked like the remnants of a disinherited race. The
shepherd's dog barked fiercely when one of these alien-looking men
appeared on the upland, dark against the early winter sunset; for what
dog likes a figure bent under a heavy bag?--and these pale men rarely
stirred abroad without that mysterious burden. The shepherd himself,
though he had good reason to believe that the bag held nothing but
flaxen thread, or else the long rolls of strong linen spun from that
thread, was not quite sure that this trade of weaving, indispensable
though it was, could be carried on entirely without the help of the
Evil One. In that far-off time superstition clung easily round every
person or thing that was at all unwonted, or even intermittent and
occasional merely, like the visits of the pedlar or the knife-grinder.
No one knew where wandering men had their homes or their origin; and
how was a man to be explained unless you at least knew somebody who

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