Adam Bede eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 635 pages of information about Adam Bede.
he is a little too flushed and exalted with that first draught she offers him to care much about the taste of the second.  He treads the earth with a very elastic step as he walks away from her, and makes light of all difficulties.  But that sort of glow dies out:  memory gets sadly diluted with time, and is not strong enough to revive us.  Adam was no longer so confident as he had been.  He began to fear that perhaps Dinah’s old life would have too strong a grasp upon her for any new feeling to triumph.  If she had not felt this, she would surely have written to him to give him some comfort; but it appeared that she held it right to discourage him.  As Adam’s confidence waned, his patience waned with it, and he thought he must write himself.  He must ask Dinah not to leave him in painful doubt longer than was needful.  He sat up late one night to write her a letter, but the next morning he burnt it, afraid of its effect.  It would be worse to have a discouraging answer by letter than from her own lips, for her presence reconciled him to her will.

You perceive how it was:  Adam was hungering for the sight of Dinah, and when that sort of hunger reaches a certain stage, a lover is likely to still it though he may have to put his future in pawn.

But what harm could he do by going to Snowfield?  Dinah could not be displeased with him for it.  She had not forbidden him to go.  She must surely expect that he would go before long.  By the second Sunday in October this view of the case had become so clear to Adam that he was already on his way to Snowfield, on horseback this time, for his hours were precious now, and he had borrowed Jonathan Burge’s good nag for the journey.

What keen memories went along the road with him!  He had often been to Oakbourne and back since that first journey to Snowfield, but beyond Oakbourne the greystone walls, the broken country, the meagre trees, seemed to be telling him afresh the story of that painful past which he knew so well by heart.  But no story is the same to us after a lapse of time—­or rather, we who read it are no longer the same interpreters—­and Adam this morning brought with him new thoughts through that grey country, thoughts which gave an altered significance to its story of the past.

That is a base and selfish, even a blasphemous, spirit which rejoices and is thankful over the past evil that has blighted or crushed another, because it has been made a source of unforeseen good to ourselves.  Adam could never cease to mourn over that mystery of human sorrow which had been brought so close to him; he could never thank God for another’s misery.  And if I were capable of that narrow-sighted joy in Adam’s behalf, I should still know he was not the man to feel it for himself.  He would have shaken his head at such a sentiment and said, “Evil’s evil, and sorrow’s sorrow, and you can’t alter it’s natur by wrapping it up in other words.  Other folks were not created for my sake, that I should think all square when things turn out well for me.”

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Adam Bede from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.