Samuel Daily in The Woman in Black

  • generous
  • thoughtful
  • kind to Arthur
Samuel Daily

Samuel Daily is a wealthy and successful landowner whom Arthur first meets on his train journey to Crythin Gifford. He is described as having a 'big, beefy face'. At the end of the journey, he hands Kipps his card, with the parting words 'should you need anyone'. He is thoughtful from the start, as he knows that his help will be needed.

Daily keeps an eye on Arthur and is concerned for his welfare. When Kipps intends to stay the night at Eel Marsh House, Daily doesn't try to stop him, but lends him his dog, Spider for company.

After Arthur's distressing experience at the house, Daily rescues him and both he and his wife look after him until he is well again. This generosity creates a bond between the pair, and Daily later becomes godfather to Arthur's son Joseph.

How is Daily like this?EvidenceAnalysis
Generous He meets Arthur Kipps on the train and offers to take him to his lodgings. Later he insists that Arthur take his dog, Spider, to stay the night at Eel Marsh House."I can drop you off at the Gifford Arms - my car will be waiting for me."Although he has just met Arthur on the train, Samuel is happy to offer him a lift. The dog is clearly important to Samuel and we see his generous nature when he insists that Arthur take him to Eel Marsh House for company.
ThoughtfulHis sleep is disturbed by thoughts of Arthur staying in the isolated house alone."I kept waking. As I said, I had you on my mind."He arrives at Eel Marsh House and rescues Arthur from his terror. We see him as a thoughtful man who considers the needs of others.
Kind to ArthurArthur Kipps is so impressed by Samuel Daily's kind nature that he makes him godfather to his son.Stella gave birth to our child, a son, whom we called Joseph Arthur Samuel, and Mr Samuel Daily was his godfather.This connection shows Arthur's gratitude to Samuel Daily.

Social and historical context

Susan Hill uses the imaginary village of Crythin Gifford to set her story. It is a place somewhere in the north-east of England, though she is not specific about where. We know Arthur takes two trains to reach the village and this adds to the themes of remoteness and isolation that are key to the story. Samuel Daily describes the place as 'a far-flung part of the world' and jokes about 'drowned churches'. The setting emphasises the contrast between the busy world of London, where the young Arthur starts his journey, and the cut off world where the supernatural events of the story take place. The fact that Eel Marsh House is cut off from the rest of the village by the tidal causeway helps to enhance the sense of loneliness and inaccessibility.

Analysing the evidence

quote
Samuel Daily caught me as I fell and I was dimly aware that, for the second time, though in very different circumstances, he was half-carrying, half-dragging me, this time up the stairs to my bedroom. There, he helped me to undress, there he left me, my head throbbing and my mind confused, and there I remained, having frequent visits from an anxious-looking doctor, for five days. - Daily rescues Kipps
Question

What do we learn about Samuel Daily from this passage?

Samuel Daily caught me as I fell and I was dimly aware that, for the second time, though in very different circumstances, he was half-carrying, half-dragging me, this time up the stairs to my bedroom. There, he helped me to undress, there he left me, my head throbbing and my mind confused, and there I remained, having frequent visits from an anxious-looking doctor, for five days.'

  • Samuel Daily caught me as I fell - he is physically stronger than Arthur, easily able to carry him. This contrast in their size and his actions in this passage give Samuel a paternal role in the story.
  • he was half-carrying, half-dragging me - Samuel goes to some lengths to look after Arthur in this story. He later becomes godfather to Arthur and Stella's only son.
  • for five days - the generosity of the Dailys is demonstrated by the way they allow Arthur to stay in their home for more than a week, tending to him through his sickness.