Adam Bede HTML version
"I'm sure I never saw a prettier party than this," Arthur said, looking round at the
apple-cheeked children. "My aunt and the Miss Irwines will come up and see you
presently. They were afraid of the noise of the toasts, but it would be a shame for
them not to see you at table."
He walked on, speaking to the mothers and patting the children, while Mr. Irwine
satisfied himself with standing still and nodding at a distance, that no one's
attention might be disturbed from the young squire, the hero of the day. Arthur
did not venture to stop near Hetty, but merely bowed to her as he passed along
the opposite side. The foolish child felt her heart swelling with discontent; for
what woman was ever satisfied with apparent neglect, even when she knows it to
be the mask of love? Hetty thought this was going to be the most miserable day
she had had for a long while, a moment of chill daylight and reality came across
her dream: Arthur, who had seemed so near to her only a few hours before, was
separated from her, as the hero of a great procession is separated from a small
outsider in the crowd.