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Who was William Dane ? Why did he play a cruel trick upon Silas ?

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William Dane was a friend of Silas Marner. When Silas lived in Lantern yard he developed friendship with William Dane. Both of them were members of same religious group.

Silas was engaged to a girl named Sarah. He beloved her and hoped to marry her. Silas was also a favourite of Sarah's. But William Dane also wanted to love and marry Sarah. Thus Silas and William became rivals in love for Sarah. William poisoned Sarah's mind against Silas. He made her believe that Silas trance was the work of the Devil. William also played a nasty trick against Silas so that his position in the village society was undermined. One of the senior members of their religious group fell ill. Silas and William Dane were asked to look after the sick man. One night Silas fell into a trance beside the sick man. It so happened that William had borrowed Silas's knife a few days ago. In that fateful night the old man died. William came in and when he saw Silas lying in a trance, he stole the old man's money and hide Silas knife and the empty money bag behind a cupboard. Next morning the villagers came in, detected the theft and charged Silas of the theft. Silas denied but they did not believe him. He was made the thief.