pride in the honour paid to her darling son Adam was beginning to be worsted in
the conflict with the jealousy and fretfulness which had revived when Adam came
to tell her that Captain Donnithorne desired him to join the dancers in the hall.
Adam was getting more and more out of her reach; she wished all the old
troubles back again, for then it mattered more to Adam what his mother said and
"Eh, it's fine talkin' o' dancin'," she said, "an' thy father not a five week in's grave.
An' I wish I war there too, i'stid o' bein' left to take up merrier folks's room above
"Nay, don't look at it i' that way, Mother," said Adam, who was determined to be
gentle to her to-day. "I don't mean to dance--I shall only look on. And since the
captain wishes me to be there, it 'ud look as if I thought I knew better than him to
say as I'd rather not stay. And thee know'st how he's behaved to me to-day."
"Eh, thee't do as thee lik'st, for thy old mother's got no right t' hinder thee. She's
nought but th' old husk, and thee'st slipped away from her, like the ripe nut."
"Well, Mother," said Adam, "I'll go and tell the captain as it hurts thy feelings for
me to stay, and I'd rather go home upo' that account: he won't take it ill then, I
daresay, and I'm willing." He said this with some effort, for he really longed to be
near Hetty this evening.
"Nay, nay, I wonna ha' thee do that--the young squire 'ull be angered. Go an' do
what thee't ordered to do, an' me and Seth 'ull go whome. I know it's a grit
honour for thee to be so looked on--an' who's to be prouder on it nor thy mother?
Hadna she the cumber o' rearin' thee an' doin' for thee all these 'ears?"
"Well, good-bye, then, Mother--good-bye, lad--remember Gyp when you get
home," said Adam, turning away towards the gate of the pleasure-grounds,
where he hoped he might be able to join the Poysers, for he had been so
occupied throughout the afternoon that he had had no time to speak to Hetty. His
eye soon detected a distant group, which he knew to be the right one, returning
to the house along the broad gravel road, and he hastened on to meet them.
"Why, Adam, I'm glad to get sight on y' again," said Mr. Poyser, who was carrying
Totty on his arm. "You're going t' have a bit o' fun, I hope, now your work's all
done. And here's Hetty has promised no end o' partners, an' I've just been askin'
her if she'd agreed to dance wi' you, an' she says no."
"Well, I didn't think o' dancing to-night," said Adam, already tempted to change
his mind, as he looked at Hetty.
"Nonsense!" said Mr. Poyser. "Why, everybody's goin' to dance to- night, all but
th' old squire and Mrs. Irwine. Mrs. Best's been tellin' us as Miss Lyddy and Miss