The Mill On The Floss
Publisher: The Copyright Group Ltd.
Date: May 2017
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes
The action starts and ends on the River Floss at Dorlcote Mill, home to the Tullivers for generations. But, for all the mill's beauty, Maggie Tulliver, the heroine, finds family life intolerably narrow. The Tullivers, for so long solidly prosperous, are soon beset by financial problems, the result of Mr Tulliver's misguided lawsuit and his feud with Wakem. Against this troubled background, Maggie's well-meaning attempts to reconcile her pursuit of love and happiness with her sense of duty to her family lead to tragedy. 1. A FAMILY GATHERING. Mr Tulliver, owner of Dorlcote Mill, decides that his son, Tom, must have a proper education. His wife agrees but suggests they ask the advice of her Dodson sisters, which annoys him. Both Tullivers agree that Maggie, their daughter, is brighter than Tom and difficult to control. The family party takes place in Easter week, with all relations invited. Lucy Deane, blonde and quiet, contrasts with her boisterous cousin Maggie. When Tom's education is discussed, Mrs Glegg, sharp-tongued and bossy, quarrels with her brother-in-law Tulliver. Attention is distracted when Maggie appears, having hacked her hair short. In the row that follows, Tulliver takes his daughter's side, thus strengthening the bond between them. The gathering breaks up in acrimony. Afterwards, Maggie's life reverts to forlornly following after Tom, who likes to spend time with Bob Jakin, a local lad. 2. SCHOOL-DAYS. Tom finds being a pupil of the Reverend Stelling trying, for he is no scholar. He goes home for Christmas and learns that his father is engaged in a major lawsuit with his neighbour Pivart over water rights. Tom also learns that Philip Wakem, the crippled son of the lawyer who acts for Pivart, will be joining him at Stelling's. 3. RUIN. Tom goes back to Stelling's to find Philip Wakem there. The boys are wary of each other until Tom notices Philip's wonderful drawings. Despite his admiration, the boys have little in common for Tom is extrovert and athletic while Philip is withdrawn and bookish. In contrast, Maggie finds Philip interesting when she meets him on a visit to the school. Some time later, Maggie arrives unexpectedly at the Reverend Stelling's. She reveals that their father has lost his lawsuit and is ruined. He has also fallen from his horse and lost his senses. Drawn together in sorrow, brother and sister leave for home. 4. SOLD UP. While Tulliver lies insensible upstairs, the mill and its contents must be auctioned to pay the family's debts. Bob Jakin offers Tom ten guineas which he has just earned. Tom, who doesn't recognize Bob at first, declines but is touched by Bob's kindness. Tom finds a job with a local merchant. Tulliver recovers enough to come downstairs to see his empty house. It now belongs to Wakem, who has bought it. He has offered Tulliver the post of mill manager Tulliver sees this as a grievous insult but has to accept. He makes Tom write in the family Bible that he will never forgive Wakem. 5. LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES. Maggie often takes walks up to a wild spot called the Red Deeps. One day, she meets Philip Wakem there and, timidly, he reveals his love for her. Maggie is both moved and worried, for Philip's father, the lawyer Wakem, is her family's worst enemy. She tells Philip any relationship is impossible but nonetheless agrees to see him again. Meanwhile, Tom has been given a business tip by Bob Jakin. He borrows money from an uncle and begins to trade on his own account. 6. A SECRET IS OUT. Maggie blushes when her Aunt Pullet mentions Philip Wakem's name in connection with the Red Deeps. Tom is suspicious, and more so when he hears from Bob that Phil is often seen going to the Red Deeps. Tom confronts Maggie, drags her off to meet Philip and forbids any further trysts. Maggie is deeply upset. Tom pleases his father by making enough money in trade to pay off the family debts. Revived, Tulliver mounts his horse and sets off to take revenge on Wakem. He collapses as he whips the lawyer, then takes to his bed and dies, still swearing revenge. 7. THE BEST INTENTIONS. Lucy Deane is happily engaged to Stephen Guest. She invites Maggie to stay, hoping she and Philip, a mutual friend, will make a match. But Stephen and Maggie find themselves falling in love, despite their best intentions. Lucy notices nothing but the observant Philip does and withdraws. Maggie and Stephen go boating together. Stephen declares his love and Maggie, aware of her true feelings, does not turn him down. They take a ship to Mudport, but there Maggie decides she cannot elope with Stephen. 8. REJECTION. Maggie returns to Dorlcote five days after suddenly vanishing with Stephen Guest to find herself widely regarded as a fallen woman. She is turned away from the mill by Tom. Her mother chooses to go with her, however, and Bob Jakin takes them in. Maggie is very depressed, despite an understanding letter from Philip and a visit from Lucy, which gives Maggie a chance to explain herself. A letter from Stephen, still passionate, adds to her woes. A tremendous flood sweeps the valley one night. Maggie rouses Bob and finds a boat in order to rescue Tom from the mill. Their craft is hit by floating wreckage and capsizes. Brother and sister are drowned together, united again.