Adam Bede HTML version
and get married, Arthur. But take care you get a charming bride, else I would
rather die without seeing her."
"You're so terribly fastidious, Godmother," said Arthur, "I'm afraid I should never
satisfy you with my choice."
"Well, I won't forgive you if she's not handsome. I can't be put off with amiability,
which is always the excuse people are making for the existence of plain people.
And she must not be silly; that will never do, because you'll want managing, and
a silly woman can't manage you. Who is that tall young man, Dauphin, with the
mild face? There, standing without his hat, and taking such care of that tall old
woman by the side of him--his mother, of course. I like to see that."
"What, don't you know him, Mother?" said Mr. Irwine. "That is Seth Bede, Adam's
brother--a Methodist, but a very good fellow. Poor Seth has looked rather down-
hearted of late; I thought it was because of his father's dying in that sad way, but
Joshua Rann tells me he wanted to marry that sweet little Methodist preacher
who was here about a month ago, and I suppose she refused him."
"Ah, I remember hearing about her. But there are no end of people here that I
don't know, for they're grown up and altered so since I used to go about."
"What excellent sight you have!" said old Mr. Donnithorne, who was holding a
double glass up to his eyes, "to see the expression of that young man's face so
far off. His face is nothing but a pale blurred spot to me. But I fancy I have the
advantage of you when we come to look close. I can read small print without
"Ah, my dear sir, you began with being very near-sighted, and those near-sighted
eyes always wear the best. I want very strong spectacles to read with, but then I
think my eyes get better and better for things at a distance. I suppose if I could
live another fifty years, I should be blind to everything that wasn't out of other
people's sight, like a man who stands in a well and sees nothing but the stars."
"See," said Arthur, "the old women are ready to set out on their race now. Which
do you bet on, Gawaine?"
"The long-legged one, unless they're going to have several heats, and then the
little wiry one may win."
"There are the Poysers, Mother, not far off on the right hand," said Miss Irwine.
"Mrs. Poyser is looking at you. Do take notice of her."
"To be sure I will," said the old lady, giving a gracious bow to Mrs. Poyser. "A
woman who sends me such excellent cream-cheese is not to be neglected. Bless