Adam Bede eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 635 pages of information about Adam Bede.
she felt sure she could not, for the journey to Stoniton was more expensive than she had expected—­it was plain that she must trust to carriers’ carts or slow waggons; and what a time it would be before she could get to the end of her journey!  The burly old coachman from Oakbourne, seeing such a pretty young woman among the outside passengers, had invited her to come and sit beside him; and feeling that it became him as a man and a coachman to open the dialogue with a joke, he applied himself as soon as they were off the stones to the elaboration of one suitable in all respects.  After many cuts with his whip and glances at Hetty out of the corner of his eye, he lifted his lips above the edge of his wrapper and said, “He’s pretty nigh six foot, I’ll be bound, isna he, now?”

“Who?” said Hetty, rather startled.

“Why, the sweetheart as you’ve left behind, or else him as you’re goin’ arter—­which is it?”

Hetty felt her face flushing and then turning pale.  She thought this coachman must know something about her.  He must know Adam, and might tell him where she was gone, for it is difficult to country people to believe that those who make a figure in their own parish are not known everywhere else, and it was equally difficult to Hetty to understand that chance words could happen to apply closely to her circumstances.  She was too frightened to speak.

“Hegh, hegh!” said the coachman, seeing that his joke was not so gratifying as he had expected, “you munna take it too ser’ous; if he’s behaved ill, get another.  Such a pretty lass as you can get a sweetheart any day.”

Hetty’s fear was allayed by and by, when she found that the coachman made no further allusion to her personal concerns; but it still had the effect of preventing her from asking him what were the places on the road to Windsor.  She told him she was only going a little way out of Stoniton, and when she got down at the inn where the coach stopped, she hastened away with her basket to another part of the town.  When she had formed her plan of going to Windsor, she had not foreseen any difficulties except that of getting away, and after she had overcome this by proposing the visit to Dinah, her thoughts flew to the meeting with Arthur and the question how he would behave to her—­not resting on any probable incidents of the journey.  She was too entirely ignorant of traveling to imagine any of its details, and with all her store of money—­her three guineas—­in her pocket, she thought herself amply provided.  It was not until she found how much it cost her to get to Stoniton that she began to be alarmed about the journey, and then, for the first time, she felt her ignorance as to the places that must be passed on her way.  Oppressed with this new alarm, she walked along the grim Stoniton streets, and at last turned into a shabby little inn, where she hoped to get a cheap lodging for the night.  Here she asked the landlord if he could tell her what places she must go to, to get to Windsor.

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Adam Bede from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.