In the act of going towards the door, Adam paused automatically and looked
about for his hat, quite unconscious where he was or who was present with him.
Mr. Irwine had followed him, and now took him by the arm, saying, in a quiet but
decided tone, "No, Adam, no; I'm sure you will wish to stay and see what good
can be done for her, instead of going on a useless errand of vengeance. The
punishment will surely fall without your aid. Besides, he is no longer in Ireland.
He must be on his way home--or would be, long before you arrived, for his
grandfather, I know, wrote for him to come at least ten days ago. I want you now
to go with me to Stoniton. I have ordered a horse for you to ride with us, as soon
as you can compose yourself."
While Mr. Irwine was speaking, Adam recovered his consciousness of the actual
scene. He rubbed his hair off his forehead and listened.
"Remember," Mr. Irwine went on, "there are others to think of, and act for,
besides yourself, Adam: there are Hetty's friends, the good Poysers, on whom
this stroke will fall more heavily than I can bear to think. I expect it from your
strength of mind, Adam-- from your sense of duty to God and man--that you will
try to act as long as action can be of any use."
In reality, Mr. Irwine proposed this journey to Stoniton for Adam's own sake.
Movement, with some object before him, was the best means of counteracting
the violence of suffering in these first hours.
"You will go with me to Stoniton, Adam?" he said again, after a moment's pause.
"We have to see if it is really Hetty who is there, you know."
"Yes, sir," said Adam, "I'll do what you think right. But the folks at th' Hall Farm?"
"I wish them not to know till I return to tell them myself. I shall have ascertained
things then which I am uncertain about now, and I shall return as soon as
possible. Come now, the horses are ready."