Mrs. Tulliver prattles on about her wish that Tom not be sent to a school too far away so that she can still do his washing. Mr. Tulliver, using analogy about not hiring a waggoner because of only a mole on his face, warns her not to set herself against a perfectly good school if they can only find one farther away. Mrs. Tulliver takes his analogy literally, and Mr. Tulliver tries to explain, but then gives up—”it’s puzzling work, talking is.” Bessy Tulliver continues talking about laundry while Mr. Tulliver resolves to himself to ask Mr. Riley’s advice about a good school. Mr. Tulliver brings up his only doubt over Tom’s education—that Tom is a bit slow, taking after Bessy’s family. Mr. Tulliver laments the fact that his daughter instead of his son takes after his own family in her cleverness.
More than happy to concede Maggie’s likeness to the Tulliver family line, Mrs. Tulliver calls her a “wild thing” and complains of her messiness, absentmindedness, and “brown skin as makes her look like a mulatter.” Mr. Tulliver dismisses his wife’s complaints, citing Maggie’s ability to read “almost as well as the parson.” Mrs. Tulliver wishes Maggie’s dark hair would curl, like that of her pretty cousin Lucy Deane.
At this moment, Maggie enters the room and throws off her bonnet and refuses her mother’s injunctions to work on her patchwork for Mrs. Glegg, whom Maggie doesn’t like. Mr. Tulliver chuckles at her honesty as she leaves the room.
I should be summarising the chapters myself as opposed to using spark notes. It’s not the correct way to digest contents, but I haven’t got into the characters as yet. Besides, this chapter is written in northern English dialect, and not too easy to grasp on first quick reading.