Godfrey is trying to repent but no one will cooperate.
Late in George Eliot’s Silas Marner, Godfrey realizes he’s made a terrible mistake and wants to correct it.
He shouldn’t have abandoned his child. He shouldn’t have let Silas Marner, the lonely weaver, adopt the child born to his disavowed, drug-addicted first wife who died in a blizzard while on the road to claim, in desperation, that child’s legitimate rights as Godfrey’s daughter. He shouldn’t have waited two decades before revealing the truth and taking some responsibility for his actions.
He’s resolved now – finally – to fix things. To set things right, he marches straight to Silas’ little house in order to liberate the girl from the only home and loving father she’s ever known and haul her back to a much-to-be-admired life of privilege.
But no one will cooperate! Neither Silas nor Eppie, it appears, want to be “rescued” from their simple life together.
Godfrey gets irritated.
Godfrey felt an irritation inevitable to almost all of us when we encounter an unexpected obstacle. He had been full of his own penitence and resolution to retrieve his error as far as the time was left to him; he was possessed with all-important feelings, that were to lead to a predetermined course of action which he had fixed on as the right, and he was not prepared to enter with lively appreciation into other people’s feelings counteracting his virtuous resolves. (177/190)
I’ve noticed the same. So many people – so frequently – gumming up my righteous resolutions.
Well, at least I can say I tried.
Tell me your sorrows. With what all-important feeling are you possessed? To what predetermined courses of action are you committed? Who has been steadily confounding your virtuous resolutions?