Adam Bede eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 635 pages of information about Adam Bede.
the hard-learnt lessons of self-renouncing sympathy, blending your present joy with past sorrow and your present sorrow with all your past joy?  If not, then neither is it a weakness to be so wrought upon by the exquisite curves of a woman’s cheek and neck and arms, by the liquid depths of her beseeching eyes, or the sweet childish pout of her lips.  For the beauty of a lovely woman is like music:  what can one say more?  Beauty has an expression beyond and far above the one woman’s soul that it clothes, as the words of genius have a wider meaning than the thought that prompted them.  It is more than a woman’s love that moves us in a woman’s eyes—­it seems to be a far-off mighty love that has come near to us, and made speech for itself there; the rounded neck, the dimpled arm, move us by something more than their prettiness—­by their close kinship with all we have known of tenderness and peace.  The noblest nature sees the most of this impersonal expression in beauty (it is needless to say that there are gentlemen with whiskers dyed and undyed who see none of it whatever), and for this reason, the noblest nature is often the most blinded to the character of the one woman’s soul that the beauty clothes.  Whence, I fear, the tragedy of human life is likely to continue for a long time to come, in spite of mental philosophers who are ready with the best receipts for avoiding all mistakes of the kind.

Our good Adam had no fine words into which he could put his feeling for Hetty:  he could not disguise mystery in this way with the appearance of knowledge; he called his love frankly a mystery, as you have heard him.  He only knew that the sight and memory of her moved him deeply, touching the spring of all love and tenderness, all faith and courage within him.  How could he imagine narrowness, selfishness, hardness in her?  He created the mind he believed in out of his own, which was large, unselfish, tender.

The hopes he felt about Hetty softened a little his feeling towards Arthur.  Surely his attentions to Hetty must have been of a slight kind; they were altogether wrong, and such as no man in Arthur’s position ought to have allowed himself, but they must have had an air of playfulness about them, which had probably blinded him to their danger and had prevented them from laying any strong hold on Hetty’s heart.  As the new promise of happiness rose for Adam, his indignation and jealousy began to die out.  Hetty was not made unhappy; he almost believed that she liked him best; and the thought sometimes crossed his mind that the friendship which had once seemed dead for ever might revive in the days to come, and he would not have to say “good-bye” to the grand old woods, but would like them better because they were Arthur’s.  For this new promise of happiness following so quickly on the shock of pain had an intoxicating effect on the sober Adam, who had all his life been used to much hardship and moderate hope.  Was he really going to have an easy lot

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Adam Bede from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.