Mr. Poyser listened with an admiring interest to Adam’s discourse on building, but perhaps it suggested to him that the building of his corn-rick had been proceeding a little too long without the control of the master’s eye, for when Adam had done speaking, he got up and said, “Well, lad, I’ll bid you good-bye now, for I’m off to the rick-yard again.”
Adam rose too, for he saw Dinah entering, with her bonnet on and a little basket in her hand, preceded by Totty.
“You’re ready, I see, Dinah,” Adam said; “so we’ll set off, for the sooner I’m at home the better.”
“Mother,” said Totty, with her treble pipe, “Dinah was saying her prayers and crying ever so.”
“Hush, hush,” said the mother, “little gells mustn’t chatter.”
Whereupon the father, shaking with silent laughter, set Totty on the white deal table and desired her to kiss him. Mr. and Mrs. Poyser, you perceive, had no correct principles of education.
“Come back to-morrow if Mrs. Bede doesn’t want you, Dinah,” said Mrs. Poyser: “but you can stay, you know, if she’s ill.”
So, when the good-byes had been said, Dinah and Adam left the Hall Farm together.
In the Cottage
Adam did not ask Dinah to take his arm when they got out into the lane. He had never yet done so, often as they had walked together, for he had observed that she never walked arm-in-arm with Seth, and he thought, perhaps, that kind of support was not agreeable to her. So they walked apart, though side by side, and the close poke of her little black bonnet hid her face from him.
“You can’t be happy, then, to make the Hall Farm your home, Dinah?” Adam said, with the quiet interest of a brother, who has no anxiety for himself in the matter. “It’s a pity, seeing they’re so fond of you.”
“You know, Adam, my heart is as their heart, so far as love for them and care for their welfare goes, but they are in no present need. Their sorrows are healed, and I feel that I am called back to my old work, in which I found a blessing that I have missed of late in the midst of too abundant worldly good. I know it is a vain thought to flee from the work that God appoints us, for the sake of finding a greater blessing to our own souls, as if we could choose for ourselves where we shall find the fulness of the Divine Presence, instead of seeking it where alone it is to be found, in loving obedience. But now, I believe, I have a clear showing that my work lies elsewhere—at least for a time. In the years to come, if my aunt’s health should fail, or she should otherwise need me, I shall return.”
“You know best, Dinah,” said Adam. “I don’t believe you’d go against the wishes of them that love you, and are akin to you, without a good and sufficient reason in your own conscience. I’ve no right to say anything about my being sorry: you know well enough what cause I have to put you above every other friend I’ve got; and if it had been ordered so that you could ha’ been my sister, and lived with us all our lives, I should ha’ counted it the greatest blessing as could happen to us now. But Seth tells me there’s no hope o’ that: your feelings are different, and perhaps I’m taking too much upon me to speak about it.”