Adam Bede HTML version

striding along at his usual rapid pace, and Arthur pushed on his horse to overtake
him, for he retained too much of his boyish feeling for Adam to miss an
opportunity of chatting with him. I will not say that his love for that good fellow did
not owe some of its force to the love of patronage: our friend Arthur liked to do
everything that was handsome, and to have his handsome deeds recognized.
Adam looked round as he heard the quickening clatter of the horse's heels, and
waited for the horseman, lifting his paper cap from his head with a bright smile of
recognition. Next to his own brother Seth, Adam would have done more for
Arthur Donnithorne than for any other young man in the world. There was hardly
anything he would not rather have lost than the two-feet ruler which he always
carried in his pocket; it was Arthur's present, bought with his pocket-money when
he was a fair-haired lad of eleven, and when he had profited so well by Adam's
lessons in carpentering and turning as to embarrass every female in the house
with gifts of superfluous thread-reels and round boxes. Adam had quite a pride in
the little squire in those early days, and the feeling had only become slightly
modified as the fair-haired lad had grown into the whiskered young man. Adam, I
confess, was very susceptible to the influence of rank, and quite ready to give an
extra amount of respect to every one who had more advantages than himself, not
being a philosopher or a proletaire with democratic ideas, but simply a stout-
limbed clever carpenter wlth a large fund of reverence in his nature, which
inclined him to admit all established claims unless he saw very clear grounds for
questioning them. He had no theories about setting the world to rights, but he
saw there was a great deal of damage done by building with ill-seasoned timber--
by ignorant men in fine clothes making plans for outhouses and workshops and
the like without knowing the bearings of things--by slovenly joiners' work, and by
hasty contracts that could never be fulfilled without ruining somebody; and he
resolved, for his part, to set his face against such doings. On these points he
would have maintained his opinion against the largest landed proprietor in
Loamshire or Stonyshire either; but he felt that beyond these it would be better
for him to defer to people who were more knowing than himself. He saw as
plainly as possible how ill the woods on the estate were managed, and the
shameful state of the farm-buildings; and if old Squire Donnithorne had asked
him the effect of this mismanagement, he would have spoken his opinion without
flinching, but the impulse to a respectful demeanour towards a "gentleman"
would have been strong within him all the while. The word "gentleman" had a
spell for Adam, and, as he often said, he "couldn't abide a fellow who thought he
made himself fine by being coxy to's betters." I must remind you again that Adam
had the blood of the peasant in his veins, and that since he was in his prime half
a century ago, you must expect some of his characteristics to be obsolete.
Towards the young squire this instinctive reverence of Adam's was assisted by
boyish memories and personal regard so you may imagine that he thought far
more of Arthur's good qualities, and attached far more value to very slight actions
of his, than if they had been the qualities and actions of a common workman like
himself. He felt sure it would be a fine day for everybody about Hayslope when