seemed to make an effort to behave all the more kindly to him, that she might
make him understand she had forgiven his silence and coldness during the
dance. He had never mentioned the locket to her again; too happy that she
smiled at him--still happier because he observed in her a more subdued air,
something that he interpreted as the growth of womanly tenderness and
seriousness. "Ah!" he thought, again and again, "she's only seventeen; she'll be
thoughtful enough after a while. And her aunt allays says how clever she is at the
work. She'll make a wife as Mother'll have no occasion to grumble at, after all."
To be sure, he had only seen her at home twice since the birthday; for one
Sunday, when he was intending to go from church to the Hall Farm, Hetty had
joined the party of upper servants from the Chase and had gone home with
them--almost as if she were inclined to encourage Mr. Craig. "She's takin' too
much likin' to them folks i' the house keeper's room," Mrs. Poyser remarked. "For
my part, I was never overfond o' gentlefolks's servants--they're mostly like the
fine ladies' fat dogs, nayther good for barking nor butcher's meat, but on'y for
show." And another evening she was gone to Treddleston to buy some things;
though, to his great surprise, as he was returning home, he saw her at a distance
getting over a stile quite out of the Treddleston road. But, when he hastened to
her, she was very kind, and asked him to go in again when he had taken her to
the yard gate. She had gone a little farther into the fields after coming from
Treddleston because she didn't want to go in, she said: it was so nice to be out of
doors, and her aunt always made such a fuss about it if she wanted to go out.
"Oh, do come in with me!" she said, as he was going to shake hands with her at
the gate, and he could not resist that. So he went in, and Mrs. Poyser was
contented with only a slight remark on Hetty's being later than was expected;
while Hetty, who had looked out of spirits when he met her, smiled and talked
and waited on them all with unusual promptitude.
That was the last time he had seen her; but he meant to make leisure for going to
the Farm to-morrow. To-day, he knew, was her day for going to the Chase to sew
with the lady's maid, so he would get as much work done as possible this
evening, that the next might be clear.
One piece of work that Adam was superintending was some slight repairs at the
Chase Farm, which had been hitherto occupied by Satchell, as bailiff, but which it
was now rumoured that the old squire was going to let to a smart man in top-
boots, who had been seen to ride over it one day. Nothing but the desire to get a
tenant could account for the squire's undertaking repairs, though the Saturday-
evening party at Mr. Casson's agreed over their pipes that no man in his senses
would take the Chase Farm unless there was a bit more ploughland laid to it.
However that might be, the repairs were ordered to be executed with all dispatch,
and Adam, acting for Mr. Burge, was carrying out the order with his usual energy.
But to-day, having been occupied elsewhere, he had not been able to arrive at
the Chase Farm till late in the afternoon, and he then discovered that some old
roofing, which he had calculated on preserving, had given way. There was clearly
no good to be done with this part of the building without pulling it all down, and