Adam Bede eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 635 pages of information about Adam Bede.

When the young squire entered, with Mr. Irwine by his side, every one stood up, and this moment of homage was very agreeable to Arthur.  He liked to feel his own importance, and besides that, he cared a great deal for the good-will of these people:  he was fond of thinking that they had a hearty, special regard for him.  The pleasure he felt was in his face as he said, “My grandfather and I hope all our friends here have enjoyed their dinner, and find my birthday ale good.  Mr. Irwine and I are come to taste it with you, and I am sure we shall all like anything the better that the rector shares with us.”

All eyes were now turned on Mr. Poyser, who, with his hands still busy in his pockets, began with the deliberateness of a slow-striking clock.  “Captain, my neighbours have put it upo’ me to speak for ’em to-day, for where folks think pretty much alike, one spokesman’s as good as a score.  And though we’ve mayhappen got contrairy ways o’ thinking about a many things—­one man lays down his land one way an’ another another—­an’ I’ll not take it upon me to speak to no man’s farming, but my own—­this I’ll say, as we’re all o’ one mind about our young squire.  We’ve pretty nigh all on us known you when you war a little un, an’ we’ve niver known anything on you but what was good an’ honorable.  You speak fair an’ y’ act fair, an’ we’re joyful when we look forrard to your being our landlord, for we b’lieve you mean to do right by everybody, an’ ’ull make no man’s bread bitter to him if you can help it.  That’s what I mean, an’ that’s what we all mean; and when a man’s said what he means, he’d better stop, for th’ ale ‘ull be none the better for stannin’.  An’ I’ll not say how we like th’ ale yet, for we couldna well taste it till we’d drunk your health in it; but the dinner was good, an’ if there’s anybody hasna enjoyed it, it must be the fault of his own inside.  An’ as for the rector’s company, it’s well known as that’s welcome t’ all the parish wherever he may be; an’ I hope, an’ we all hope, as he’ll live to see us old folks, an’ our children grown to men an’ women an’ Your Honour a family man.  I’ve no more to say as concerns the present time, an’ so we’ll drink our young squire’s health—­three times three.”

Hereupon a glorious shouting, a rapping, a jingling, a clattering, and a shouting, with plentiful da capo, pleasanter than a strain of sublimest music in the ears that receive such a tribute for the first time.  Arthur had felt a twinge of conscience during Mr. Poyser’s speech, but it was too feeble to nullify the pleasure he felt in being praised.  Did he not deserve what was said of him on the whole?  If there was something in his conduct that Poyser wouldn’t have liked if he had known it, why, no man’s conduct will bear too close an inspection; and Poyser was not likely to know it; and, after all, what had he done?  Gone a little too far, perhaps, in flirtation, but another man in his place would have acted much worse; and no harm would come—­no

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Adam Bede from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.