52.Adam and Dinah
IT was about three o'clock when Adam entered the farmyard and roused Alick
and the dogs from their Sunday dozing. Alick said everybody was gone to church
"but th' young missis"--so he called Dinah--but this did not disappoint Adam,
although the "everybody" was so liberal as to include Nancy the dairymaid,
whose works of necessity were not unfrequently incompatible with church-going.
There was perfect stillness about the house. The doors were all closed, and the
very stones and tubs seemed quieter than usual. Adam heard the water gently
dripping from the pump--that was the only sound--and he knocked at the house
door rather softly, as was suitable in that stillness.
The door opened, and Dinah stood before him, colouring deeply with the great
surprise of seeing Adam at this hour, when she knew it was his regular practice
to be at church. Yesterday he would have said to her without any difficulty, "I
came to see you, Dinah: I knew the rest were not at home." But to-day something
prevented him from saying that, and he put out his hand to her in silence. Neither
of them spoke, and yet both wished they could speak, as Adam entered, and
they sat down. Dinah took the chair she had just left; it was at the corner of the
table near the window, and there was a book lying on the table, but it was not
open. She had been sitting perfectly still, looking at the small bit of clear fire in
the bright grate. Adam sat down opposite her, in Mr. Poyser's three-cornered
"Your mother is not ill again, I hope, Adam?" Dinah said, recovering herself.
"Seth said she was well this morning."
"No, she's very hearty to-day," said Adam, happy in the signs of Dinah's feeling
at the sight of him, but shy.
"There's nobody at home, you see," Dinah said; "but you'll wait. You've been
hindered from going to church to-day, doubtless."
"Yes," Adam said, and then paused, before he added, "I was thinking about you:
that was the reason."
This confession was very awkward and sudden, Adam felt, for he thought Dinah
must understand all he meant. But the frankness of the words caused her
immediately to interpret them into a renewal of his brotherly regrets that she was
going away, and she answered calmly, "Do not be careful and troubled for me,
Adam. I have all things and abound at Snowfield. And my mind is at rest, for I am
not seeking my own will in going."