Adam Bede HTML version

46.The Hours of Suspense
ON Sunday morning, when the church bells in Stoniton were ringing for morning
service, Bartle Massey re-entered Adam's room, after a short absence, and said,
"Adam, here's a visitor wants to see you."
Adam was seated with is back towards the door, but he started up and turned
round instantly, with a flushed face and an eager look. His face was even thinner
and more worn than we have seen it before, but he was washed and shaven this
Sunday morning.
"Is it any news?" he said.
"Keep yourself quiet, my lad," said Bartle; "keep quiet. It's not what you're
thinking of. It's the young Methodist woman come from the prison. She's at the
bottom o' the stairs, and wants to know if you think well to see her, for she has
something to say to you about that poor castaway; but she wouldn't come in
without your leave, she said. She thought you'd perhaps like to go out and speak
to her. These preaching women are not so back'ard commonly," Bartle muttered
to himself.
"Ask her to come in," said Adam.
He was standing with his face towards the door, and as Dinah entered, lifting up
her mild grey eyes towards him, she saw at once the great change that had
come since the day when she had looked up at the tall man in the cottage. There
was a trembling in her clear voice as she put her hand into his and said, "Be
comforted, Adam Bede, the Lord has not forsaken her."
"Bless you for coming to her," Adam said. "Mr. Massey brought me word
yesterday as you was come."
They could neither of them say any more just yet, but stood before each other in
silence; and Bartle Massey, too, who had put on his spectacles, seemed
transfixed, examining Dinah's face. But he recovered himself first, and said, "Sit
down, young woman, sit down," placing the chair for her and retiring to his old
seat on the bed.
"Thank you, friend; I won't sit down," said Dinah, "for I must hasten back. She
entreated me not to stay long away. What I came for, Adam Bede, was to pray
you to go and see the poor sinner and bid her farewell. She desires to ask your
forgiveness, and it is meet you should see her to-day, rather than in the early
morning, when the time will be short."