Adam Bede HTML version

38.The Quest
THE first ten days after Hetty's departure passed as quietly as any other days
with the family at the Hall Farm, and with Adam at his daily work. They had
expected Hetty to stay away a week or ten days at least, perhaps a little longer if
Dinah came back with her, because there might then be somethung to detain
them at Snowfield. But when a fortnight had passed they began to feel a little
surprise that Hetty did not return; she must surely have found it pleasanter to be
with Dinah than any one could have supposed. Adam, for his part, was getting
very impatient to see her, and he resolved that, if she did not appear the next day
(Saturday), he would set out on Sunday morning to fetch her. There was no
coach on a Sunday, but by setting out before it was light, and perhaps getting a
lift in a cart by the way, he would arrive pretty early at Snowfield, and bring back
Hetty the next day--Dinah too, if she were coming. It was quite time Hetty came
home, and he would afford to lose his Monday for the sake of bringing her.
His project was quite approved at the Farm when he went there on Saturday
evening. Mrs. Poyser desired him emphatically not to come back without Hetty,
for she had been quite too long away, considering the things she had to get
ready by the middle of March, and a week was surely enough for any one to go
out for their health. As for Dinah, Mrs. Poyser had small hope of their bringing
her, unless they could make her believe the folks at Hayslope were twice as
miserable as the folks at Snowfield. "Though," said Mrs. Poyser, by way of
conclusion, "you might tell her she's got but one aunt left, and SHE'S wasted
pretty nigh to a shadder; and we shall p'rhaps all be gone twenty mile farther off
her next Michaelmas, and shall die o' broken hearts among strange folks, and
leave the children fatherless and motherless."
"Nay, nay," said Mr. Poyser, who certainly had the air of a man perfectly heart-
whole, "it isna so bad as that. Thee't looking rarely now, and getting flesh every
day. But I'd be glad for Dinah t' come, for she'd help thee wi' the little uns: they
took t' her wonderful."
So at daybreak, on Sunday, Adam set off. Seth went with him the first mile or
two, for the thought of Snowfield and the possibility that Dinah might come again
made him restless, and the walk with Adam in the cold morning air, both in their
best clothes, helped to give him a sense of Sunday calm. It was the last morning
in February, with a low grey sky, and a slight hoar- frost on the green border of
the road and on the black hedges. They heard the gurgling of the full brooklet
hurrying down the hill, and the faint twittering of the early birds. For they walked
in silence, though with a pleased sense of companionship.