Just as the farrier is scoffing again at ghosts, Silas Marner appears like an apparition in the midst of the group. Everyone is startled and Mr. Macey feels a brief triumph at this evidence to support his theory that Marner’s soul becomes loose from his body while he is in one of his fits. The landlord is the first to speak to Marner, who finally gasps that he has been robbed.
Silas Marner’s appearance in the pub like an apparition causes Mr. Macey to reflect on his theory that Marner’s soul can come lose for his body during a fit. A supernatural, rather than a physical or medical, explanation is given. The impressionable villagers are stunned by his appearance.
The landlord calls to Jem Rodney to calm Marner down, but the young man has no interest in approaching Marner, still apprehensive of his ghostly appearance. Marner whirls on Jem and accuses him of stealing his gold. The landlord encourages Marner to sit down and to share his full story and the others finally speak up in curiosity. At first slightly suspicious, the others are soon convinced by Marner’s simple and apparent distress as his story unfolds. Marner feels, but does not recognize, the stirring of old feelings of faith and community as he sits in the circle of attentive listeners.
While Marner is perceived as a suspicious character, the villagers begin to trust him because of his obvious emotional distress. They do not suppose anyone could fake such emotions and trust they are genuine. Marner’s behavior is erratic, as he wildly accuses Jem Rodney of being the robber. But he is not entirely unaware of the powerful community feeling in the Rainbow, and he responds to them.
The group at the Rainbow feels someone or something other than a human thief must have completed the crime of robbery because of its perfect timing with Marner’s brief and unique absence from home and the appearance that nothing else had been touched or changed in the cottage. Marner is urged to not point a finger at Jem Rodney, or to accuse the innocent, and upon hearing this he is moved by the memory of his own false accusation and apologizes to Jem. The farrier believes Marner has been robbed by a passing tramp and points out that Marner’s eyesight is poor and he might have overlooked footprints or other slight disturbances.
The villagers consider, as Marner did, a supernatural explanation for the robbery. The supernatural is, at this time period and in this community, considered as legitimate an explanation as a rational account of events, such as robbery by a passing tramp. Marner’s realization that he has falsely accused Jem causes him to think of his own past and reflect on injustice, perhaps softening his heart a little as he realizes that he, too, can err.
The farrier proposes going with Marner to the constable’s home, where he is ill, and asking him to appointment another man as his temporary deputy, a role the farrier hopes to fill. The landlord is also interested in going with Marner to the constable’s home, and Mr. Macey offers himself as a fitting temporary deputy. An argument breaks out, which is once again resolved by the landlord. The farrier consents to go along, but without a specific interest in being appointed deputy, and the three set off into the rainy night.
The disagreement among the villagers as to who is best suited to serve as a deputy constable on Marner’s case is ironically contrasted to Marner’s distress. The villagers squabble over self-importance when they should be focusing on what is best for Marner. Their good intentions are sidetracked by a trivial concern. The villagers seem incapable of talking without arguing.