George Eliot – Mill on the Floss (1860)

Tom and Maggie Tulliver grow up together outside St. Ogg. Tom goes to school (private tutor) where he meets Philip Wakem, a crippled son of the lawyer who will later “ruin” his father. Maggie forms early pact with Wakem, and eventually becomes informally engaged, though she is in love with Stephen Guest, who is informally engaged to Lucy Deane, the daughter of Mrs. Deane (one of the three Dodson sisters of which Mrs/ Tuliver is one). Mr. Tulliver loses the Mill, partially because he won’t ruin his sister’s family (the Mosses). Tom comes back home determined to set things right, and eventually pays his father’s debts just before his father dies. Meanwhile, Maggie is clandestinely seeing Philip Wakem. Tom finds out and scolds her. She gives him up, but eventually cannot avoid his company when she moves to town. Stephen Guest falls in love with Maggie and takes her on a boat trip down the river. When she refuses to amrry him (out of obligation to Lucy and Philip) both are shamed (Steph leaves), but Maggie sticks around to absolve herself, living with the parson, etc. until one day there is a huge flood. Tom, having successfully retaken the Mill, is living there. Maggie rows all the way from childhood friend Bill’s house to the Mill, where Tom gets into a boat and begins rowing to town. They are drowned by huge fragments floating in the river.

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