Adam Bede HTML version

business, and it would enable him to do what he had long wished to do, to give
up working for Burge. He says he shall have plenty of time to superintend a little
business of his own, which he and Seth will carry on, and will perhaps be able to
enlarge by degrees. So he has agreed at last, and I have arranged that he shall
dine with the large tenants to-day; and I mean to announce the appointment to
them, and ask them to drink Adam's health. It's a little drama I've got up in
honour of my friend Adam. He's a fine fellow, and I like the opportunity of letting
people know that I think so."
"A drama in which friend Arthur piques himself on having a pretty part to play,"
said Mr. Irwine, smiling. But when he saw Arthur colour, he went on relentingly,
"My part, you know, is always that of the old fogy who sees nothing to admire in
the young folks. I don't like to admit that I'm proud of my pupil when he does
graceful things. But I must play the amiable old gentleman for once, and second
your toast in honour of Adam. Has your grandfather yielded on the other point
too, and agreed to have a respectable man as steward?"
"Oh no," said Arthur, rising from his chair with an air of impatience and walking
along the room with his hands in his pockets. "He's got some project or other
about letting the Chase Farm and bargaining for a supply of milk and butter for
the house. But I ask no questions about it--it makes me too angry. I believe he
means to do all the business himself, and have nothing in the shape of a
steward. It's amazing what energy he has, though."
"Well, we'll go to the ladies now," said Mr. Irwine, rising too. "I want to tell my
mother what a splendid throne you've prepared for her under the marquee."
"Yes, and we must be going to luncheon too," said Arthur. "It must be two o'clock,
for there is the gong beginning to sound for the tenants' dinners."