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Adam Bede

child was dead, he said, 'While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I
said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall
go to him, but he shall not return to me.'"
"Eh, that's a true word," said Lisbeth. "Yea, my old man wonna come back to me,
but I shall go to him--the sooner the better. Well, ye may do as ye like wi' me:
there's a clean cap i' that drawer, an' I'll go i' the back kitchen an' wash my face.
An' Seth, thee may'st reach down Adam's new Bible wi' th' picters in, an' she
shall read us a chapter. Eh, I like them words--'I shall go to him, but he wonna
come back to me.'"
Dinah and Seth were both inwardly offering thanks for the greater quietness of
spirit that had come over Lisbeth. This was what Dinah had been trying to bring
about, through all her still sympathy and absence from exhortation. From her
girlhood upwards she had had experience among the sick and the mourning,
among minds hardened and shrivelled through poverty and ignorance, and had
gained the subtlest perception of the mode in which they could best be touched
and softened into willingness to receive words of spiritual consolation or warning.
As Dinah expressed it, "she was never left to herself; but it was always given her
when to keep silence and when to speak." And do we not all agree to call rapid
thought and noble impulse by the name of inspiration? After our subtlest analysis
of the mental process, we must still say, as Dinah did, that our highest thoughts
and our best deeds are all given to us.
And so there was earnest prayer--there was faith, love, and hope pouring forth
that evening in the littie kitchen. And poor, aged, fretful Lisbeth, without grasping
any distinct idea, without going through any course of religious emotions, felt a
vague sense of goodness and love, and of something right lying underneath and
beyond all this sorrowing life. She couldn't understand the sorrow; but, for these
moments, under the subduing influence of Dinah's spirit, she felt that she must
be patient and still.
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