Adam Bede HTML version

54.The Meeting on the Hill
ADAM understood Dinah's haste to go away, and drew hope rather than
discouragement from it. She was fearful lest the strength of her feeling towards
him should hinder her from waiting and listening faithfully for the ultimate guiding
voice from within.
"I wish I'd asked her to write to me, though," he thought. "And yet even that might
disturb her a bit, perhaps. She wants to be quite quiet in her old way for a while.
And I've no right to be impatient and interrupting her with my wishes. She's told
me what her mind is, and she's not a woman to say one thing and mean another.
I'll wait patiently."
That was Adam's wise resolution, and it throve excellently for the first two or
three weeks on the nourishment it got from the remembrance of Dinah's
confession that Sunday afternoon. There is a wonderful amount of sustenance in
the first few words of love. But towards the middle of October the resolution
began to dwindle perceptibly, and showed dangerous symptoms of exhaustion.
The weeks were unusually long: Dinah must surely have had more than enough
time to make up her mind. Let a woman say what she will after she has once told
a man that she loves him, he is a little too flushed and exalted with that first
draught she offers him to care much about the taste of the second. He treads the
earth with a very elastic step as he walks away from her, and makes light of all
difficulties. But that sort of glow dies out: memory gets sadly diluted with time,
and is not strong enough to revive us. Adam was no longer so confident as he
had been. He began to fear that perhaps Dinah's old life would have too strong a
grasp upon her for any new feeling to triumph. If she had not felt this, she would
surely have written to him to give him some comfort; but it appeared that she
held it right to discourage him. As Adam's confidence waned, his patience waned
with it, and he thought he must write himself. He must ask Dinah not to leave him
in painful doubt longer than was needful. He sat up late one night to write her a
letter, but the next morning he burnt it, afraid of its effect. It would be worse to
have a discouraging answer by letter than from her own lips, for her presence
reconciled him to her will.
You perceive how it was: Adam was hungering for the sight of Dinah, and when
that sort of hunger reaches a certain stage, a lover is likely to still it though he
may have to put his future in pawn.
But what harm could he do by going to Snowfield? Dinah could not be displeased
with him for it. She had not forbidden him to go. She must surely expect that he
would go before long. By the second Sunday in October this view of the case had
become so clear to Adam that he was already on his way to Snowfield, on