Tom Tulliver once again spurns his sister, putting her in her place in a depressing translation of worth of boy versus girl in terms of Christmas gift money.
The novel in many ways revolves around the close, loving but inharmonious relationship between the siblings, ending in an unexpected crescendo of reconciliation and revelation.
‘I don’t want your money, you silly thing. I’ve got a great deal more money than you, because I’m a boy. I always have half-sovereigns and sovereigns for my Christmas boxes, because I shall be a man, and you only have five-shilling pieces, because you’re only a girl.’
See another example of this embedded sexism.
Source: George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 33