30.The Delivery of the Letter
THE next Sunday Adam joined the Poysers on their way out of church, hoping for
an invitation to go home with them. He had the letter in his pocket, and was
anxious to have an opportunity of talking to Hetty alone. He could not see her
face at church, for she had changed her seat, and when he came up to her to
shake hands, her manner was doubtful and constrained. He expected this, for it
was the first time she had met him since she had been aware that he had seen
her with Arthur in the Grove.
"Come, you'll go on with us, Adam," Mr. Poyser said when they reached the
turning; and as soon as they were in the fields Adam ventured to offer his arm to
Hetty. The children soon gave them an opportunity of lingering behind a little, and
then Adam said:
"Will you contrive for me to walk out in the garden a bit with you this evening, if it
keeps fine, Hetty? I've something partic'lar to talk to you about."
Hetty said, "Very well." She was really as anxious as Adam was that she should
have some private talk with him. She wondered what he thought of her and
Arthur. He must have seen them kissing, she knew, but she had no conception of
the scene that had taken place between Arthur and Adam. Her first feeling had
been that Adam would be very angry with her, and perhaps would tell her aunt
and uncle, but it never entered her mind that he would dare to say anything to
Captain Donnithorne. It was a relief to her that he behaved so kindly to her to-
day, and wanted to speak to her alone, for she had trembled when she found he
was going home with them lest he should mean "to tell." But, now he wanted to
talk to her by herself, she should learn what he thought and what he meant to do.
She felt a certain confidence that she could persuade him not to do anything she
did not want him to do; she could perhaps even make him believe that she didn't
care for Arthur; and as long as Adam thought there was any hope of her having
him, he would do just what she liked, she knew. Besides, she MUST go on
seeming to encourage Adam, lest her uncle and aunt should be angry and
suspect her of having some secret lover.
Hetty's little brain was busy with this combination as she hung on Adam's arm
and said "yes" or "no" to some slight observations of his about the many
hawthorn-berries there would be for the birds this next winter, and the low-
hanging clouds that would hardly hold up till morning. And when they rejoined her
aunt and uncle, she could pursue her thoughts without interruption, for Mr.
Poyser held that though a young man might like to have the woman he was
courting on his arm, he would nevertheless be glad of a little reasonable talk
about business the while; and, for his own part, he was curious to heal the most
recent news about the Chase Farm. So, through the rest of the walk, he claimed