Adam Bede HTML version

32.Mrs. Poyser "Has Her Say Out"
THE next Saturday evening there was much excited discussion at the
Donnithorne Arms concerning an incident which had occurred that very day--no
less than a second appearance of the smart man in top-boots said by some to be
a mere farmer in treaty for the Chase Farm, by others to be the future steward,
but by Mr. Casson himself, the personal witness to the stranger's visit,
pronounced contemptuously to be nothing better than a bailiff, such as Satchell
had been before him. No one had thought of denying Mr. Casson's testimony to
the fact that he had seen the stranger; nevertheless, he proffered various
corroborating circumstances.
"I see him myself," he said; "I see him coming along by the Crab- tree Meadow
on a bald-faced hoss. I'd just been t' hev a pint--it was half after ten i' the fore-
noon, when I hev my pint as reg'lar as the clock--and I says to Knowles, as druv
up with his waggon, 'You'll get a bit o' barley to-day, Knowles,' I says, 'if you look
about you'; and then I went round by the rick-yard, and towart the Treddles'on
road, and just as I come up by the big ash-tree, I see the man i' top-boots coming
along on a bald-faced hoss--I wish I may never stir if I didn't. And I stood still till
he come up, and I says, 'Good morning, sir,' I says, for I wanted to hear the turn
of his tongue, as I might know whether he was a this-country man; so I says,
'Good morning, sir: it 'll 'old hup for the barley this morning, I think. There'll be a
bit got hin, if we've good luck.' And he says, 'Eh, ye may be raight, there's noo
tallin',' he says, and I knowed by that"--here Mr. Casson gave a wink--"as he
didn't come from a hundred mile off. I daresay he'd think me a hodd talker, as
you Loamshire folks allays does hany one as talks the right language."
"The right language!" said Bartle Massey, contemptuously. "You're about as near
the right language as a pig's squeaking is like a tune played on a key-bugle."
"Well, I don't know," answered Mr. Casson, with an angry smile. "I should think a
man as has lived among the gentry from a by, is likely to know what's the right
language pretty nigh as well as a schoolmaster."
"Aye, aye, man," said Bartle, with a tone of sarcastic consolation, "you talk the
right language for you. When Mike Holdsworth's goat says ba-a-a, it's all right--it
'ud be unnatural for it to make any other noise."
The rest of the party being Loamsnire men, Mr. Casson had the laugh strongly
against him, and wisely fell back on the previous question, which, far from being
exhausted in a single evening, was renewed in the churchyard, before service,
the next day, with the fresh interest conferred on all news when there is a fresh
person to hear it; and that fresh hearer was Martin Poyser, who, as his wife said,