This article argues that George Eliot’s use of the pastoral mode in The Mill on the Floss upholds a conservative ideal of rural England’s ethnonational heritage. The novel’s pastoral mode expresses nostalgia for the childhood “home-scene,” a sentimental figuration of nature adopted from Romantic nationalists such as Johann Gottfried Herder and William Wordsworth. Eliot’s home-scene, I argue, is politically regressive because it relies on these Romantic nationalists’ ethnocentric ideals of native soil. The novel’s nostalgia for native soil forms an ethnoscape, expressed in its literary pastoralism, sentimentally recalling the heritage of the English yeomanry, symbolic of both nation and nature, as the object of loss. While mainstream studies have focused on the shock of the novel’s dramatic ending, this revised account calls attention to the novel’s retrospective pauses, and with it, the ongoing ethno-nationalist longing for a timeless English countryside. By calling attention to the primacy of the pastoral mode in The Mill on the Floss, this article aims to show how Eliot’s scenes of nature demonstrate an ideologically conservative vision of rural England in a period of modernization.