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Adam Bede

husband as miserable as it's a law of nature for a quiet man to be when he
marries a beauty. Apropos of marrying, I hope our friend Adam will get settled,
now the poor old man's gone. He will only have his mother to keep in future, and
I've a notion that there's a kindness between him and that nice modest girl, Mary
Burge, from something that fell from old Jonathan one day when I was talking to
him. But when I mentioned the subject to Adam he looked uneasy and turned the
conversation. I suppose the love-making doesn't run smooth, or perhaps Adam
hangs back till he's in a better position. He has independence of spirit enough for
two men--rather an excess of pride, if anything."
"That would be a capital match for Adam. He would slip into old Burge's shoes
and make a fine thing of that building business, I'll answer for him. I should like to
see him well settled in this parish; he would be ready then to act as my grand-
vizier when I wanted one. We could plan no end of repairs and improvements
together. I've never seen the girl, though, I think--at least I've never looked at
her."
"Look at her next Sunday at church--she sits with her father on the left of the
reading-desk. You needn't look quite so much at Hetty Sorrel then. When I've
made up my mind that I can't afford to buy a tempting dog, I take no notice of
him, because if he took a strong fancy to me and looked lovingly at me, the
struggle between arithmetic and inclination might become unpleasantly severe. I
pique myself on my wisdom there, Arthur, and as an old fellow to whom wisdom
had become cheap, I bestow it upon you."
"Thank you. It may stand me in good stead some day though I don't know that I
have any present use for it. Bless me! How the brook has overflowed. Suppose
we have a canter, now we're at the bottom of the hill."
That is the great advantage of dialogue on horseback; it can be merged any
minute into a trot or a canter, and one might have escaped from Socrates himself
in the saddle. The two friends were free from the necessity of further
conversation till they pulled up in the lane behind Adam's cottage.
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