for at this busy time sensible people would not run the risk of being sleepy at five
o'clock in the morning.
"I shall take a step farther," said Adam, "and go on to see Mester Massey, for he
wasn't at church yesterday, and I've not seen him for a week past. I've never
hardly known him to miss church before."
"Aye," said Mr. Poyser, "we've heared nothing about him, for it's the boys'
hollodays now, so we can give you no account."
"But you'll niver think o' going there at this hour o' the night?" said Mrs. Poyser,
folding up her knitting.
"Oh, Mester Massey sits up late," said Adam. "An' the night- school's not over
yet. Some o' the men don't come till late-- they've got so far to walk. And Bartle
himself's never in bed till it's gone eleven."
"I wouldna have him to live wi' me, then," said Mrs. Poyser, "a- dropping candle-
grease about, as you're like to tumble down o' the floor the first thing i' the
"Aye, eleven o'clock's late--it's late," said old Martin. "I ne'er sot up so i' MY life,
not to say as it warna a marr'in', or a christenin', or a wake, or th' harvest supper.
Eleven o'clock's late."
"Why, I sit up till after twelve often," said Adam, laughing, "but it isn't t' eat and
drink extry, it's to work extry. Good-night, Mrs. Poyser; good-night, Hetty."
Hetty could only smile and not shake hands, for hers were dyed and damp with
currant-juice; but all the rest gave a hearty shake to the large palm that was held
out to them, and said, "Come again, come again!"
"Aye, think o' that now," said Mr. Poyser, when Adam was out of on the
causeway. "Sitting up till past twelve to do extry work! Ye'll not find many men o'
six-an' twenty as 'ull do to put i' the shafts wi' him. If you can catch Adam for a
husband, Hetty, you'll ride i' your own spring-cart some day, I'll be your warrant."
Hetty was moving across the kitchen with the currants, so her uncle did not see
the little toss of the head with which she answered him. To ride in a spring-cart
seemed a very miserable lot indeed to her now.