Adam Bede eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 820 pages of information about Adam Bede.
Adam will get settled, now the poor old man’s gone.  He will only have his mother to keep in future, and I’ve a notion that there’s a kindness between him and that nice modest girl, Mary Burge, from something that fell from old Jonathan one day when I was talking to him.  But when I mentioned the subject to Adam he looked uneasy and turned the conversation.  I suppose the love-making doesn’t run smooth, or perhaps Adam hangs back till he’s in a better position.  He has independence of spirit enough for two men—­rather an excess of pride, if anything.”

“That would be a capital match for Adam.  He would slip into old Burge’s shoes and make a fine thing of that building business, I’ll answer for him.  I should like to see him well settled in this parish; he would be ready then to act as my grand-vizier when I wanted one.  We could plan no end of repairs and improvements together.  I’ve never seen the girl, though, I think—­at least I’ve never looked at her.”

“Look at her next Sunday at church—­she sits with her father on the left of the reading-desk.  You needn’t look quite so much at Hetty Sorrel then.  When I’ve made up my mind that I can’t afford to buy a tempting dog, I take no notice of him, because if he took a strong fancy to me and looked lovingly at me, the struggle between arithmetic and inclination might become unpleasantly severe.  I pique myself on my wisdom there, Arthur, and as an old fellow to whom wisdom had become cheap, I bestow it upon you.”

“Thank you.  It may stand me in good stead some day though I don’t know that I have any present use for it.  Bless me!  How the brook has overflowed.  Suppose we have a canter, now we’re at the bottom of the hill.”

That is the great advantage of dialogue on horseback; it can be merged any minute into a trot or a canter, and one might have escaped from Socrates himself in the saddle.  The two friends were free from the necessity of further conversation till they pulled up in the lane behind Adam’s cottage.

Chapter X

Dinah Visits Lisbeth

At five o’clock Lisbeth came downstairs with a large key in her hand:  it was the key of the chamber where her husband lay dead.  Throughout the day, except in her occasional outbursts of wailing grief, she had been in incessant movement, performing the initial duties to her dead with the awe and exactitude that belong to religious rites.  She had brought out her little store of bleached linen, which she had for long years kept in reserve for this supreme use.  It seemed but yesterday—­that time so many midsummers ago, when she had told Thias where this linen lay, that he might be sure and reach it out for her when she died, for she was the elder of the two.  Then there had been the work of cleansing to the strictest purity every object in the sacred chamber, and of removing from it every trace of common daily occupation.  The small window, which had

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Adam Bede from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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