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The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot

Book Second, Chapters IV, V, VI, and VII

Book Second, Chapters I, II, and III

Book Second, Chapters IV, V, VI, and VII, page 2

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Chapter IV

Philip and Tom's relationship continues in the oscillating manner of their first meeting. At times they enjoy each other's company—Philip helps Tom with Latin and tells him extra-detailed war stories—at other times, Philip behaves "peevish[ly]" and bitterly about his deformity. Tom's education continues in the manner that Mr. Stelling sees fit, though much of it will be of no practical use to Tom in his profession.

Tom is happier in his second term with Mr. Stelling. Stelling does not push Tom so hard, now that Philip Wakem is around and academically accomplished enough to make Mr. Stelling's reputation respectable. Stelling has also hired a drillmaster for Tom—the local schoolmaster, Mr. Poulter. Tom enjoys Poulter's battle stories and begs him to bring his sword so Tom can see his sword exercises. Poulter, a man of questionable judgment who often drinks before his sessions with Tom, brings his sword one day and performs his sword exercises for Tom. Tom runs inside to get Philip, but Philip is in the middle of singing and yells at Tom for bursting in. They exchange harsh words, and Tom calls Philip's father a "rogue." Tom leaves the room and Philip cries "bitterly."

Back outside, Poulter agrees to let Tom keep his sword for the weekend in exchange for five shillings.

Chapter V

Maggie comes for a second visit to Mr. Stelling's. She notices Philip's cleverness and wants him to think her clever too. Maggie also has special feelings for deformed creatures because she finds them more grateful for her attention. Philip thinks Maggie seems nice and wishes that he had a sister.

Tom brings Maggie upstairs to show her his secret. When she is allowed to open her eyes, she sees Tom dressed as a pirate holding Poulter's sword. Maggie is gleeful at his costume. Tom unsheathes the sword and points it at her, intent upon inspiring respect and fear in her. Tom accidentally drops the sword while executing a cut and thrust, and it falls on his own foot. Maggie screams and tugs at Tom, who has gone unconscious. Mr. Stelling rushes into the room.

Chapter VI

Tom has been seen by a doctor and lays in bed unable to walk. Tom fears he will be handicapped for life. Philip senses Tom's fear. He feels genuine dread on Tom's behalf and asks Mr. Stelling if Tom will be lame, reporting back to Tom the good news that he will soon walk well again. Tom invites Philip to come sit with him between lessons, and Philip accepts, spending much time with Tom and Maggie at Tom's bedside.

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