Adam Bede HTML version

"I feel terribly shaky and dizzy," Arthur said, as he stood leaning on Adam's arm;
"that blow of yours must have come against me like a battering-ram. I don't
believe I can walk alone."
"Lean on me, sir; I'll get you along," said Adam. "Or, will you sit down a bit longer,
on my coat here, and I'll prop y' up. You'll perhaps be better in a minute or two."
"No," said Arthur. "I'll go to the Hermitage--I think I've got some brandy there.
There's a short road to it a little farther on, near the gate. If you'll just help me
They walked slowly, with frequent pauses, but without speaking again. In both of
them, the concentration in the present which had attended the first moments of
Arthur's revival had now given way to a vivid recollection of the previous scene. It
was nearly dark in the narrow path among the trees, but within the circle of fir-
trees round the Hermitage there was room for the growing moonlight to enter in
at the windows. Their steps were noiseless on the thick carpet of fir-needles, and
the outward stillness seemed to heighten their inward consciousness, as Arthur
took the key out of his pocket and placed it in Adam's hand, for him to open the
door. Adam had not known before that Arthur had furnished the old Hermitage
and made it a retreat for himself, and it was a surprise to him when he opened
the door to see a snug room with all the signs of frequent habitation.
Arthur loosed Adam's arm and threw himself on the ottoman. "You'll see my
hunting-bottle somewhere," he said. "A leather case with a bottle and glass in."
Adam was not long in finding the case. "There's very little brandy in it, sir," he
said, turning it downwards over the glass, as he held it before the window;
"hardly this little glassful."
"Well, give me that," said Arthur, with the peevishness of physical depression.
When he had taken some sips, Adam said, "Hadn't I better run to th' house, sir,
and get some more brandy? I can be there and back pretty soon. It'll be a stiff
walk home for you, if you don't have something to revive you."
"Yes--go. But don't say I'm ill. Ask for my man Pym, and tell him to get it from
Mills, and not to say I'm at the Hermitage. Get some water too."
Adam was relieved to have an active task--both of them were relieved to be apart
from each other for a short time. But Adam's swift pace could not still the eager
pain of thinking--of living again with concentrated suffering through the last
wretched hour, and looking out from it over all the new sad future.
Arthur lay still for some minutes after Adam was gone, but presently he rose
feebly from the ottoman and peered about slowly in the broken moonlight,
seeking something. It was a short bit of wax candle that stood amongst a