“I hope you have no objections against me for her husband,” said Adam; “I’m a poor man as yet, but she shall want nothing as I can work for.”
“Objections?” said Mr. Poyser, while the grandfather leaned forward and brought out his long “Nay, nay.” “What objections can we ha’ to you, lad? Never mind your being poorish as yet; there’s money in your head-piece as there’s money i’ the sown field, but it must ha’ time. You’n got enough to begin on, and we can do a deal tow’rt the bit o’ furniture you’ll want. Thee’st got feathers and linen to spare—plenty, eh?”
This question was of course addressed to Mrs. Poyser, who was wrapped up in a warm shawl and was too hoarse to speak with her usual facility. At first she only nodded emphatically, but she was presently unable to resist the temptation to be more explicit.
“It ud be a poor tale if I hadna feathers and linen,” she said, hoarsely, “when I never sell a fowl but what’s plucked, and the wheel’s a-going every day o’ the week.”
“Come, my wench,” said Mr. Poyser, when Hetty came down, “come and kiss us, and let us wish you luck.”
Hetty went very quietly and kissed the big good-natured man.
“There!” he said, patting her on the back, “go and kiss your aunt and your grandfather. I’m as wishful t’ have you settled well as if you was my own daughter; and so’s your aunt, I’ll be bound, for she’s done by you this seven ’ear, Hetty, as if you’d been her own. Come, come, now,” he went on, becoming jocose, as soon as Hetty had kissed her aunt and the old man, “Adam wants a kiss too, I’ll warrant, and he’s a right to one now.”
Hetty turned away, smiling, towards her empty chair.
“Come, Adam, then, take one,” persisted Mr. Poyser, “else y’ arena half a man.”
Adam got up, blushing like a small maiden—great strong fellow as he was—and, putting his arm round Hetty stooped down and gently kissed her lips.
It was a pretty scene in the red fire-light; for there were no candles—why should there be, when the fire was so bright and was reflected from all the pewter and the polished oak? No one wanted to work on a Sunday evening. Even Hetty felt something like contentment in the midst of all this love. Adam’s attachment to her, Adam’s caress, stirred no passion in her, were no longer enough to satisfy her vanity, but they were the best her life offered her now—they promised her some change.
There was a great deal of discussion before Adam went away, about the possibility of his finding a house that would do for him to settle in. No house was empty except the one next to Will Maskery’s in the village, and that was too small for Adam now. Mr. Poyser insisted that the best plan would be for Seth and his mother to move and leave Adam in the old home, which might be enlarged after a while, for there was plenty of space in the woodyard and garden; but Adam objected to turning his mother out.