"Good-bye, lad," said Adam, laying his hand on Seth's shoulder and looking at
him affectionately as they were about to part. "I wish thee wast going all the way
wi' me, and as happy as I am."
"I'm content, Addy, I'm content," said Seth cheerfully. "I'll be an old bachelor,
belike, and make a fuss wi' thy children."
The'y turned away from each other, and Seth walked leisurely homeward,
mentally repeating one of his favourite hymns--he was very fond of hymns:
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by thee:
Joyless is the day's return
Till thy mercy's beams I see:
Till thou inward light impart,
Glad my eyes and warm my heart.
Visit, then, this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief--
Fill me, Radiancy Divine,
Scatter all my unbelief.
More and more thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
Adam walked much faster, and any one coming along the Oakbourne road at
sunrise that morning must have had a pleasant sight in this tall broad-chested
man, striding along with a carriage as upright and firm as any soldier's, glancing
with keen glad eyes at the dark-blue hills as they began to show themselves on
his way. Seldom in Adam's life had his face been so free from any cloud of
anxiety as it was this morning; and this freedom from care, as is usual with
constructive practical minds like his, made him all the more observant of the
objects round him and all the more ready to gather suggestions from them
towards his own favourite plans and ingenious contrivances. His happy love--the
knowledge that his steps were carrying him nearer and nearer to Hetty, who was
so soon to be his--was to his thoughts what the sweet morning air was to his
sensations: it gave him a consciousness of well-being that made activity
delightful. Every now and then there was a rush of more intense feeling towards
her, which chased away other images than Hetty; and along with that would
come a wondering thankfulness that all this happiness was given to him--that this
life of ours had such sweetness in it. For Adam had a devout mind, though he
was perhaps rather impatient of devout words, and his tenderness lay very close
to his reverence, so that the one could hardly be stirred without the other. But
after feeling had welled up and poured itself out in this way, busy thought would
come back with the greater vigour; and this morning it was intent on schemes by
which the roads might be improved that were so imperfect all through the
country, and on picturing all the benefits that might come from the exertions of a