Adam Bede HTML version

55. Marriage Bells
IN little more than a month after that meeting on the hill--on a rimy morning in
departing November--Adam and Dinah were married.
It was an event much thought of in the village. All Mr. Burge's men had a holiday,
and all Mr. Poyser's, and most of those who had a holiday appeared in their best
clothes at the wedding. I think there was hardly an inhabitant of Hayslope
specially mentioned in this history and still resident in the parish on this
November morning who was not either in church to see Adam and Dinah
married, or near the church door to greet them as they came forth. Mrs. Irwine
and her daughters were waiting at the churchyard gates in their carriage (for they
had a carriage now) to shake hands with the bride and bridegroom and wish
them well; and in the absence of Miss Lydia Donnithorne at Bath, Mrs. Best, Mr.
Mills, and Mr. Craig had felt it incumbent on them to represent "the family" at the
Chase on the occasion. The churchyard walk was quite lined with familiar faces,
many of them faces that had first looked at Dinah when she preached on the
Green. And no wonder they showed this eager interest on her marriage morning,
for nothing like Dinah and the history which had brought her and Adam Bede
together had been known at Hayslope within the memory of man.
Bessy Cranage, in her neatest cap and frock, was crying, though she did not
exactly know why; for, as her cousin Wiry Ben, who stood near her, judiciously
suggested, Dinah was not going away, and if Bessy was in low spirits, the best
thing for her to do was to follow Dinah's example and marry an honest fellow who
was ready to have her. Next to Bessy, just within the church door, there were the
Poyser children, peeping round the corner of the pews to get a sight of the
mysterious ceremony; Totty's face wearing an unusual air of anxiety at the idea
of seeing cousin Dinah come back looking rather old, for in Totty's experience no
married people were young.
I envy them all the sight they had when the marriage was fairly ended and Adam
led Dinah out of church. She was not in black this morning, for her Aunt Poyser
would by no means allow such a risk of incurring bad luck, and had herself made
a present of the wedding dress, made all of grey, though in the usual Quaker
form, for on this point Dinah could not give way. So the lily face looked out with
sweet gravity from under a grey Quaker bonnet, neither smiling nor blushing, but
with lips trembling a little under the weight of solemn feelings. Adam, as he
pressed her arm to his side, walked with his old erectness and his head thrown
rather backward as if to face all the world better. But it was not because he was
particularly proud this morning, as is the wont of bridegrooms, for his happiness
was of a kind that had little reference to men's opinion of it. There was a tinge of
sadness in his deep joy; Dinah knew it, and did not feel aggrieved.