14. The Return Home
WHILE that parting in the wood was happening, there was a parting in the
cottage too, and Lisbeth had stood with Adam at the door, straining her aged
eyes to get the last glimpse of Seth and Dinah, as they mounted the opposite
"Eh, I'm loath to see the last on her," she said to Adam, as they turned into the
house again. "I'd ha' been willin' t' ha' her about me till I died and went to lie by
my old man. She'd make it easier dyin'--she spakes so gentle an' moves about
so still. I could be fast sure that pictur' was drawed for her i' thy new Bible--th'
angel a-sittin' on the big stone by the grave. Eh, I wouldna mind ha'in a daughter
like that; but nobody ne'er marries them as is good for aught."
"Well, Mother, I hope thee WILT have her for a daughter; for Seth's got a liking
for her, and I hope she'll get a liking for Seth in time."
"Where's th' use o' talkin' a-that'n? She caresna for Seth. She's goin' away twenty
mile aff. How's she to get a likin' for him, I'd like to know? No more nor the cake
'ull come wi'out the leaven. Thy figurin' books might ha' tould thee better nor that,
I should think, else thee mightst as well read the commin print, as Seth allays
"Nay, Mother," said Adam, laughing, "the figures tell us a fine deal, and we
couldn't go far without 'em, but they don't tell us about folks's feelings. It's a nicer
job to calculate THEM. But Seth's as good-hearted a lad as ever handled a tool,
and plenty o' sense, and good-looking too; and he's got the same way o' thinking
as Dinah. He deserves to win her, though there's no denying she's a rare bit o'
workmanship. You don't see such women turned off the wheel every day."
"Eh, thee't allays stick up for thy brother. Thee'st been just the same, e'er sin' ye
war little uns together. Thee wart allays for halving iverything wi' him. But what's
Seth got to do with marryin', as is on'y three-an'-twenty? He'd more need to learn
an' lay by sixpence. An' as for his desarving her--she's two 'ear older nor Seth:
she's pretty near as old as thee. But that's the way; folks mun allays choose by
contrairies, as if they must be sorted like the pork--a bit o' good meat wi' a bit o'
To the feminine mind in some of its moods, all things that might be receive a
temporary charm from comparison with what is; and since Adam did not want to
marry Dinah himself, Lisbeth felt rather peevish on that score--as peevish as she
would have been if he HAD wanted to marry her, and so shut himself out from
Mary Burge and the partnership as effectually as by marrying Hetty.