IT is near the end of June, in 1807. The workshops have been shut up half an
hour or more in Adam Bede's timber-yard, which used to be Jonathan Burge's,
and the mellow evening light is falling on the pleasant house with the buff walls
and the soft grey thatch, very much as it did when we saw Adam bringing in the
keys on that June evening nine years ago.
There is a figure we know well, just come out of the house, and shading her eyes
with her hands as she looks for something in the distance, for the rays that fall on
her white borderless cap and her pale auburn hair are very dazzling. But now she
turns away from the sunlight and looks towards the door.
We can see the sweet pale face quite well now: it is scarcely at all altered--only a
little fuller, to correspond to her more matronly figure, which still seems light and
active enough in the plain black dress.
"I see him, Seth," Dinah said, as she looked into the house. "Let us go and meet
him. Come, Lisbeth, come with Mother."
The last call was answered immediately by a small fair creature with pale auburn
hair and grey eyes, little more than four years old, who ran out silently and put
her hand into her mother's.
"Come, Uncle Seth," said Dinah.
"Aye, aye, we're coming," Seth answered from within, and presently appeared
stooping under the doorway, being taller than usual by the black head of a sturdy
two-year-old nephew, who had caused some delay by demanding to be carried
on uncle's shoulder.
"Better take him on thy arm, Seth," said Dinah, looking fondly at the stout black-
eyed fellow. "He's troublesome to thee so."
"Nay, nay: Addy likes a ride on my shoulder. I can carry him so for a bit." A
kindness which young Addy acknowledged by drumming his heels with promising
force against Uncle Seth's chest. But to walk by Dinah's side, and be tyrannized
over by Dinah's and Adam's children, was Uncle Seth's earthly happiness.
"Where didst see him?" asked Seth, as they walked on into the adjoining field. "I
can't catch sight of him anywhere."
"Between the hedges by the roadside," said Dinah. "I saw his hat and his
shoulder. There he is again."