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Full text of "Adam Bede"

Class JEll__4felfc^ 
Copyrigiit N" 



COPYRIGHT DEPOSrr. 



An 



ADAM BEDE ^9 

A PUAV 



Dramatized from George Eliot's Novel 
ADAM BEDE 



BY 

MABEL CLARE CRAFT 

OAKI.AND, CAIylFORNIA. 



Copyright by Mabel Clare Craft, 1901. 



Oakland, Calif. 

Pkkss of The Oakland Teibune 

1901 



Two Curao HtceivED 

NOV. 20 1901 

COPVHIOHT ENTRV 

CLASS /S" XXa No. 

U/ i5 / i? 
COFY U. 



f\^1 



lit 



CAST OF CHARACTERS 



Place; — Staffordshire and Berkshire, England. 
Time — 1 799-1800. 



HETTY SORREL 

ADAM BEDE 

CAPTAIN ARTHUR DONNI- 

THORNE 
MRS. POYSER 
MARTIN POYSER 
DINAH MORRIS 
RECTOR IRWINE 
BARTLE MRSSEY 
SARAH STONE 
JOHN STONE 
JOHN OLDING 
TOTTY 
MOLLY 
TOMMY POYSER 



MARTIN POYSER, Jr. 
MISS LYDIA DONNI- 

THORNE 
MRS. IRWINE 
SQUIRE DONNITHORNE 
THE PROSECUTOR 
DR. BUFORD 
BAILIFF OF COURT 
CLERK OF COURT 
JAIL CHAPLAIN 
THE JUDGE 

FOREMAN OF THE JURY 
A COUNSELLOR AT LAW 
A TURNKEY 
TENANTS, JURORS, ETC. 



r ~^ 



(PLACE: The kitchen of the Hall Farm. TIME: July 16, 
1799. At the right of the stage a door leading to the yard; at 
the left a big open fireplace and a cupboard. Above the fireplace 
a high mantel, with brass candlesticks in a row. A tall oak 
clock of old-fashioned make and brilliantly polished, stands at the 
back of the stage, under the stairs an oak table, 
brightly polished and turned up against the wall. 
Above it are the shelves of bright pewter dishes and blue and 
white plates. At the back of the stage (left) is an alcove, 
one step up with a wide entrance, and here are seen churns 
and shelves on which stand mounds of butter and cheeses. The 
earthenware is cream and red with soft brown wood and bright 
tin, making a pretty color study. By the side of the dairy a 
flight of steps lead upstairs. 

In the kitchen are Mrs. Poyser and Dinah Morris. Mrs. Poyser 
stands in the open door in bright sunshine, busily knitting a 
gray stocking at which she seldom glances. Mrs. Poyser is a 
good-looking matron of thirty-eight, of fair complexion and 
dark hair, well-shaped, light-footed. She wears a plain dark 
gown and a white cap with a little frill around her face. The most 
conspicuous article of her attire is a big, checkered linen apron, 
which almost covers her skirt. Her eyes are very keen and are 
constantly glancing about from the dairy to the yard and back 
again, as though looking for dust or careless servants. She only 
melts at sight of her little daughter, Totty. Her tongue is not 
less keen than her eye. She steps quickly and lightly and her 
voice is sharp. 

Dinah Morris, her niece, is seated mending a sheet. Dinah re- 
sembles her aunt in complexion, but is paler and her expression 
is of the utmost mildness. Dinah is twenty-five, wears a 
perfectly plain black gown and a white net cap, severely plain, 
high-crowned and without a border. Dinah's dark hair is parted 
in the middle and brought down smoothly over her ears. Her eyes 



6 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



are clear and her voice extremely soft and gentle and sweet. 

Occasionally a young girl passes across the wide opening of 
the dairy. The girl is bnt seventeen and distractingly pretty. Her 
curling hair shows beneath her coquettishly fluted cap. Hetty's 
cheeks are pink as a rose petal, her dark lashes are long, she 
has dimples in cheeks and arms. She wears a low bodice of 
plum-colored cloth, with a white neckerchief spotted with pink, 
which is tucked inside her bodice. Her ankle-length skirt is of 
the plum- colored cloth, almost covered with a big linen butter- 
making apron with a bib. She wears brown stockings and neat 
little shoes with large square steel buckles. Her sleeves are 
turned up above the elbows. She tosses the butter she is making 
with pretty and graceful gestures, with great play of her pouting 
lips and much making of eyes. She makes little patting 
and rolling movements with the palm of her hand and the but- 
ter is like marble under a pale yellow light. As she works she 
sings snatches of "Walking in the Dew Makes the Milk Maids 
Fair" — old English. 

Mrs. Poyser comes and sits down opposite Dinah and looks 
at her with meditative eyes, knitting automatically, while Hetty 
works and sings.) 

MRS. POYSER. 
You look th' image o' your Aunt Judith, Dinah, when 
you sit a-sewing. I could almost fancy it was thirty 
years back, and I was a little gell at home, looking at 
Judith as she sat at her work, after she'd done th* house 
up. 

DINAH. 

She was a blessed woman. God had given her a lov- 
ing, self-forgetting nature, and he perfected it by grace. 
She used to say, "You'll have a friend on earth in your 
Aunt Rachel, if I'm taken away from you: for she has a 
kind heart;" and I'm sure I've found it so. 

MRS. POYSER. 

I don't know how, child; anybody ud' be cunning to do 
anything for you; you're like the birds o' th' air, and live 
nobody knows how. I'd ha' been glad to behave to you 
like a mother's sister, if you'd come and live i' this 
country, where there's some shelter and victual for man 
and beast, and folks don't live on the naked hills, like 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



poultry a-scratching on a gravel bank. But Where's the 
use o' talking, if you wonna be persuaded and settle down 
like any other woman in her senses, i' stead o' wearing 
yourself out, with walking and preaching. And all be- 
cause you've got notions i' your head about religion more 
nor what's i' the Catechism and the Prayer-book. 

DINAH. 

But not more than what's in the Bible, aunt. 

MRS. POYSER (sharply.) 
Yes, and the Bible, too, for that matter, else why 
shouldn't them as know best what's in the Bible— the 
parsons and people as have got nothing to do but learn 
it— do the same as you do? But, for the matter o' that, 
if everybody was to do like you, the world must come to 
a standstill, and everybody 'ud be running after every- 
body else to preach to 'em, i' stead o' bringing up their 
families, and laying by against a bad harvest. It stands 
to sense as that can't be the right religion. 
DINAH. 
Nay, dear aunt, you never heard me say that all people 
are called to forsake their work and their famiUes, We 
can all be servants of God, wherever our lot is cast, but 
he gives us different sorts of work, according as he fits 
us for it and calls us to do it. I can no more help spend- 
ing my life in trying to do what I can for the souls of 
others than you could help running if you heard little 
Totty crying at the other end of the house; the voice 
would go to your heart, and you couldn't rest running to 
help her and comfort her. 

MRS. POYSER. 
(Rising and walking towards the door, still knitting.) 

I know it 'ud be just the same if I was to talk to you 
for hours. You'd make me the same answer at the end. I 
might as well talk to the running brook and fell it to 
Stan' still. 
(In a flurried, awe-struck tone.) 

If there isn't Captain Donnithorne and Mr. Irwine a- 
coming into the yard. I'll lay my life they're coming 
to speak about your preaching on the Green, Dinah; it's 



8 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

you must answer 'em, for I'm dumb. I've said enough 
a'ready about your bringing such disgrace upo' your 
uncle's family. I wouldn't ha' minded if you'd been Mr. 
Poyser's own piece; folks must put up wi' their own kin 
as they put up wi' their own noses — it's their own flesh 
and blood. But to think of a niece o' mine being cause o' 
my husband's being turned out o' his farm, 

DINAH (interrupting gently.) 

Nay, dear Aunt Rachel, you have no cause for such 
fears. I've strong assurance that no evil will happen to 
you and my uncle from anything I've done. I didn't 
preach without direction. 

MRS. POYSER. 

(Knitting in a rapid, agitated manner.) 

Direction! I know very well what you mean by di- 
rection. When there's a bigger maggot than usual in 
your head you call it "direction," and then nothing can 
stir you. I hanna common patience with you. 
(Mrs. Poyser goes out onto the doorstep curtseying low and 
repeatedly, trembling between her anger at Dinah and her anx- 
iety to conduct herself with perfect propriety on this important 
occasion. 

Mr. Irwine enters with stately cordiality. He is a rather stout 
man of about 50, wuth a ruddy complexion, a finely cut profile, a 
genial face and powdered hair tied with a black ribbon. He 
wears clerical dress and carries a riding whip. He is a jovial, 
hearty, well-fed man of the world in contrast to Dinah's spirit- 
\iality. 

Captain Arthur Donnithorne, who enters just behind him, Is 
not yet twenty-one, with a clean-shaven face, soft brown hair, 
a tall well-set figure. He wears a striped waist coat, a long- 
tailed coat and low boots, and carries a riding whip alsa) 
MR. IRWINE. 
Well, Mrs. Poyser, how are you after this stormy morn- 
ing. Our feet are quite dry; we shall not soil your beau- 
tiful floor. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Oh, sir, don't mention it. Will you and the captain 
please to walk into the parlor? 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

(Looking eagerly around the kitchen as though he were 
looking for something he did not find.) 

No, indeed, thank you, Mrs. Poyser. I delight in your 
kitchen. I think it is the most charming room I know. 
I should like every farmer's wife to come and look at It 
for a pattern. 
(Dinah rises as the gentlemen come in, still keeping hold of 
her sheet, and curtseys respectfully. She seats herself when 
the gentlemen seat themselves. Mr. Irwine draws a chair close 
to hers and looks at her intently, occasionally addressing her. 
She replies in monosyllables, and continues to sew. Their con- 
versation is inaudible to the audience.) 
MRS. POYSER. 
(Relieved a little by this compliment and the captain's evident 
good humor, but stlil glancing anxiously at Mr. Irwine.) 
Oh' you're pleased to say so, sir: pray take a seat. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

(Seating himself where he can see into the dairy.) 
Poyser isn't at home is he? 

MRS. POYSER. 
No, sir, he isn't; he's gone to Rosseter to see about 
the wool. 

CAPTAIN DONNJTHORNE. 

(Still looking into the dairy. Hetty's song comes at intervals. 
She is invisible.) 

Well, I'll just look at the whelps, and leave a message 
about them to your shepherd. I must come another day 
and see your husband. I want to have a consultatioji 
with him about horses. Do you know when he's likely 
to be at liberty? 

MRS. POYSER. 
Why, sir, you can hardly miss him, excepts it's o' Tred- 
des'on market day — that's of a Friday, you know; for if 
he's anywhere on the farm we can send for him in a 
minute. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
By the by, I've never seen your dairy. I must see your 
dairy, Mrs. Poyser. 



10 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



MRS. POYSER. 

Indeed sir, it's not fit for you to go in. Hetty's in the 
middle o' making- the butter, for the churning was thrown 
late, and I'm quite ashamed. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
Oh, I've no doubt it's in capital order. Take me in. 
(He leads the way. Mrs. Poyser follows. Hetty meets them 
at the door, curtseying deeply. They disappear within the 
dairy.) 

MR. IRWINE. 

And have you been long in the habit of preaching? 

DINAH. 
I first took to the work four years since, when I was 
twenty-one. 

MR. IRWINE. 
Your society sanctions women's preaching then? 

DINAH. 
It doesn't forbid them, sir, when they've a clear call to 
the work, and when their ministry is owned by the con- 
version of sinners and the strengthening of God's people. 
MR. IRWINE. 
Tell me — if I may ask, and I am really interested in 
knowing it — how you first came to think of preaching? 
DINAH. 
Indeed, sir, I didn't think of it at all — I'd been used 
from the time I was sixteen to talk to the little children 
and teach them, and sometimes I had had my heart en- 
larged to speak in class, and was much drawn out in 
prayer with the sick. But I felt no call to preach. 
I was called to preach quite suddenly, and since then I 
have never been left in doubt about the work that was 
laid upon me. 

MR. IRWINE. 
But tell me the circumstances — ^just how it was, the 
very day you began to preach. 

DINAH. 

(Letting fall her work for the first time and standing with a 
rapt expression, her hands clasped.) 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



It was one Sunday I walked with Brother Marlowe, who 
was an aged man, one of the local preachers, all the way 
to Hetton-Deeps— that's a village where the people get 
their living by working in the lead mines, and where 
there's no church nor preacher, but they live like sheep 
without a shepherd. Before we got to Hetton, Brother 
Marlowe was seized with dizziness, for he overworked 
himself sadly at his years, in watching and praying, and 
walking so many miles to speak the Word, as well as 
carrying on his trade of linen-weaving. And when we got 
to the village the people were expecting him, and many 
of them were assembled on a spot where the cottages 
were thickest. But he was forced to lie down in the first 
we came to. So I went to tell the people, thinking we'd 
go into one of the houses, and I would read and pray with 
them. But as I passed along by the cottages and saw the 
aged trembling women at the doors, and the hard looks 
of the men, who seemed to have their eyes no more filled 
with the sight of the Sabbath morning than if they had 
been dumb oxen that never looked up to the sky, I felt a 
great movement in my soul, and I trembled as if I was 
shaken by a strong spirit entering into my weak body. 
And I spoke the words that were given to 
me abundantly. And they came round me out of all the 
cottages, and many wept over their sins. That was the 
beginning of my preaching, sir, and I've preached ever 
since. 

MR. IRWINE. 

(After a decided pause.) 

Some of our most intelligent workmen about here are 
Methodists and think as you do. I dare say you know 
the Cranages. They are Methodists. 

DINAH. 

Yes, I know them well — sincere and without offense. 
MR. IRWINE. 

Perhaps you don't know the trouble that has just hap- 
pened to them? Their father was drowned in the Willow 
Brook last night. I'm going now to see them. 



12 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



DINAH. 

(With pitying eyes.) 

Oh, the poor mother. She will mourn heavily. I must 
g'o and see if I can give her any help. 
(She rises and begins to fold her work.) 

MR. IRWINE. 
(Looking out the open door.) 

There goes Luke, and I promised my sister to see him 
about his poultry. Mrs. Poyser has some beautiful 
speckled hens. I hear you are going away soon; but this 
will rot be the last visit you will pay your aunt — so we 
shall meet again, I hope. 

DINAH. 

Goiodby, sir. 
(She goes up the stairs as Mr. Irwine goes out the door. Mrs. 
Poyser, Captain Donnithorne and Hetty appear from the dairy.) 
CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
I hope you Avill be ready for a great holiday on the 
thirtieth of July, Mrs. Poyser, when I come of age. I 
shall expect you to be one of the guests who come earliest 
and leave latest. Will you promise me your hand for two 
dances. Miss Hetty? If I don't get your promise now, I 
know I shall hardly have a chance, for all the smart 
young farmers will take care to secure you. 
(Hetty blushes and casts down her eyes.) 

MRS. POYSER. 
(Interrupting quickly, before Hetty has time to answer.) 
Indeed, sir, you're verj'^ kind to take that notice of her. 
And I'm sure whenever you're pleased to dance with her 
she'll be proud and thankful, if she stood still all the rest 
o' the evening. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
(Determined to make Hetty look at him.) 

Oh, no, no, that would be too cruel to all the other 
young fellows who can dance. But you will promise me 
two dances won't you? 

HETTY. 
(Dropping a very pretty little curtsey and glancing up half- 
shyly, half-coquettishly.) 
Yes; thank you, sir. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

And you must bring all your children, you know, Mrs. 
Poyser; your little Totty, as well as the boys. I want all 
the youngest children on our estate to be there — all those 
who will be fine young men and women when I'm a bald 
old fellow. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Oh dear, sir, that 'ull be a long time first. 
CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
But where IS Totty today? I want to see her. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Where is the little 'un, Hetty? She came In here not 
long ago. 

HETTY. 
She went into the brewhouse to Nancy, I think. 
(Mrs. Poyser hurries out of the door.) 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
And do you cai-ry the butter to market when you've 
made it? 

HETTY. 
Oh, no, sir; not when it's so heavy. I'm not strong 
enough to carry it. Alick takes it on horseback. 
CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
No, I'm sure your pretty arms were never meant for 
such heavy weights. But you go out for a walk some- 
times these pleasant evenings, don't you? Why don't you 
have a walk in the Chase sometimes, now it's so green 
and pleasant? I hardly ever see you anywhere except at 
home and church. 

HETTY. 
(Lifting her eyes archly.) 

Aunt doesn't like me to go a- walking only when I'm 
going somewhere. But I go through the Chase some- 
times. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
And don't you ever go to see Mrs. Best, our house- 
keeper? I think I saw you once in the housekeeper's 
room. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



HETTY. 

It isn't Mrs. Best, it's Mrs. Pomfret, the lady's maid, as 
I go to see. She's teaching me tent- stitch and lace- mend- 
ing. I'm going to tea with her tomorrow afternoon. 
CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
Do you go every week to see Mrs. Pomfret? 

HETTY. 
Yes, sir; every Thursday. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 
And she's teaching you something, is she? 

HETTY. 
Yes, sir, the lace- mending as she learned abroad, and 
the stocking-mending — it looks just like the stocking, you 
can't tell it's been mended; and she teaches me cutting- 
out, too. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

Are YOU going to be a lady's maid? 
HETTY. 
I should like to be one very much indeed. 
CAPTAIN DONNITHpRNE. 

I suppose Mrs. Pomfert always expects you at a certain 

hour ? 

HETTY. 

Yes; about four. That gives us time before Miss Don- 

nithorne's bell rings. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

Do you always come back through the Chase in the 

evening, or are you afraid over so lonely a road? 

HETTY. 

Oh, no, sir, it's never late; I always set out by eight 

o'clock, and it's so light now in the evening. My aunt 

would be angry with me if I didn't get home before nine. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

Perhaps Craig, the gardener, comes to take care of you? 

HETTY. 

(Very hastily.) 

I'm sure he doesn't. I'm sure he never did. I wouldn't 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY J 5 

let him. I don't like him. 
(A tear of vexation drops down her cheek.) 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

(Putting his arm around her, his voice very gentle.) 

Why, Hetty, what makes you cry? I didn't mean to 
vex you. I wouldn't vex you for the world, you little 
blossom. Come, don't cry; look at me, else I shall think 
you won't forgive me. 
(He lays his hand on the arm nearer him and stoops with a 
lock of entreaty.) 

See, here is something I got for you at Rosseter the 
last time I was there. I know you like pretty things. 
There's room for another lock of hair in it — and yours 
is such a pretty color. You must always think of me 
when you look at it. But don't let your aunt see it. She 
has sharp eyes. 
(He slips a gold locket into Hetty's hand as he speaks.) 

HETTY. 

Oh, how kind of you, sir. How beautiful it is. 
(She smiles delightedly and runs to see the effect of the 
locket against her throat, as reflected in the shining doors of 
the cupboard. She drops it hastily into her apron pocket and 
turns around as a noise is heard at the door.) 

MR. IRWINE. 

(Just showing his head inside the door.) 
Come along Arthur. I must be off. 

CAPTAIN DONNITHORNE. 

Just ride slowly on, Irwine. I'll overtake you in three 
minutes. I'm going to speak to the shepherd about the 
whelps. Goodby, Hetty; tell Mr. Poyser 1 shall come and 
have a long talk with him soon. 
(Hetty curtseys, the captain goes out and Hetty goes into the 
dairy. Dinah c^bmes downstairs with her bonnet on and Mrs. 
Poyser enter.-? from the back yard.) 

MRS. POYSER. 

Wheriver is that Totty? In the curran' bushes, I'll be 
bound. So, Dinah, Mr. Irwine wasn't angry, then. Didn't 
he scold you for preaching'' 



16 ADAM BEUE A PLAY 



DINAH. 

No, he was not angry at all. He was very friendly to 
me. I was quite drawn out to speak to him. 
MRS. POYSER. 
But what's your bonnet on for? 

DINAH. 
Mr. Irwine told me something that I'm sure will cause 
you sorrow. Thias Cranage was drowned last night in the 
Willow Brook, and I'm thinking that the aged mother 
will be greatly in need of comfort. 
MRS. POYSER. 
(In a gentler tone.) 

Dear heart! Dear heart! But you must have a cup of 
tea first, child. I 

DINAH. 

I musn't stop now, aunt. She may be needing me. I'll 
be back tomorrow. 
(Dinah goes out.) 

MRS. POYSER. 

Hetty, d'you hear what's happened? 
HETTY. 
(Coming from the dairy.) 

No; how should I hear anything? 
MRS. POYSER. 
Not as you'd care much, I dare say, if you did hear; 
for you're too feather-headed to mind if everybody was 
dead, so as you could stay up-stairs a-dressing yourself 
for two hours by the clock. Poor Thias Cranage- was 
drownded last night in Willow Brook. 

HETTY. 
(Trying to look serious.) 
Oh, how dreadful! 
(She smiles at her image reflected in the glass doors of the 
cupboard, takes off her cap and fluffs her hair.) 
MRS. POYSER. 
And I want you to go out right away and look for 
Totty. wonder the blessed child isn't drownded long ago, 
so little care as you take of her. And while you're there, 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 17 

go and look at the curran's. I doubt not that the child- 
ren have eaten more than they've picked. 
(Hetty goes out without making a reply. Mrs. Poyser goes into 
the dairy, but remains in view of the audience. She is crush- 
ing a cheese. A knock at the door.) 

ADAM BEDE (outside.) 
Mrs. Poyser within? 
(Adam is a stalwart fellow, 26 years old, six feet tall, with 
dark curling hair, keen dark eyes, prominent and mobile eye- 
brows. He wears a paper cap, leather breeches and blue 
worsted stockings and carries a box or basket of tools on his 
shoulder.) 

MRS. POYSER (from the dairy.) 

Come in, Mr. Bede, come in. Come into the dairy, if 
you will, for I canna justly leave the cheese. 
(Adam walks toward the dairy and stands in the entrance.) 
MRS. POYSER. 

Why, you might think you was come to a dead-house. 
They're all i' the meadow; but Martin's sure to be in be- 
fore long, for they're leaving the hay cocked tonight, 
ready for carrying first thing tomorrow. And I've been 
forced t' gether the red curran's tonight. The fruit al- 
ays ripens so contrary just when every hand's wanted. 
Hetty's seein' to it, for there's no trustin' the children 
to gether it, for they put more into their mouths nor into 
the basket; you might as well set the wasps to gether the 
fruit. 

ADAM. 

I could be looking at your spinning wheel then, and see 
what wants doing to it. Perhaps it stands in the house 
where I can find it. 

MRS. POYSER. 

No, I've put it away, but let it be till I can fetch it an' 
show it you. I'd be glad now if you'd go into the garden, 
and tell Hetty to send Totty in. I know Hetty's lettin' 
her eat too many curran's, and there's the York an' Lank- 
ester roses beautiful in the garden now— you'll like to 
see 'em. But you'd like a drink o' whey first, p'r'aps; I 
know you're fond o' whey, as most folks is when they 
hanna got tc crush it out. 



Ig ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



ADAM. 

Thank you, Mrs. Poyser, a drink o' whey is allays a 
treat to me. I'd rather have it than beer any day. 
MRS. POYSER. 
(Reaching a small white basin from the shelf and dipping it 
into the whey tub.) 

Ay, ay, the smell o' bread's sweet t' everybody but the 
baker. A farmhouse is a fine thing for them as look on, an' 
don't know the liftin' an' the stannin', an' the worritin' o' 
the inside as belongs to't. 

ADAM. 
Why, Mrs. Poyser, you wouldn't like to live any place 
else but in a farm-house, so well as you manage it. 
(Takes the basin.) 
Here's to your health, and may you allers have strength 
to look after your own dairy, and set a pattern t' all the 
farmers' wives in the country. 

MRS. POYSER. 
(As Adam sets dov.'n the basin.) 
Have a little more, Mr. Bede. 

ADAM. 
No, thank you. I'll go into the garden now and send 
in the little lass. 
(Adam goes out. Mrs. Poyser continues her work in the 
dairy. Mr. Poyser comes in, his two sons of 9 and 7 behind him 
and Bartle Massey, the schoolmaster, with him. The boys have 
very rosy cheeks and black eyes, and wear little fustian-tailed 
coats and knee breeches. Mr. Poyser wears a suit of drab, with 
a red and green waistcoat. His watch ribbon is green with a 
carnelian seal atta,ched and hangs pendent like a plumb-line from 
the promontory where his watch pocket is situated. He wears 
grey- ribbed stockings, and a silk handkerchief of a dull yellow 
about his neck. 

Bartle Massey has an aquiline nose, and a transparent yellow 
skin and in his forehead the blue veins are prominent. His 
forehead is high and is surrounded by thick, bushy, grey hair, 
about an inch long. He wears spectacles, and walks with a 
knotted stick. Though quite lame, he still walks very briskly. 
ITis face is rather irritable.) 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 19 

MR. POYSER. 

Rachel, here's Mr. Massey, as I've brought home to 
supper. I hope you've got one o' your stuffed chines. 
MRS. POYSER. 
(Coming from the dairy.) 

How d' do, how d' do, Mr. Massey. Mr. Bede's here, 
Poyser, and as soon as Molly and me can get ready, 
we'll have supper, for I know you're tired and hungry. 

MR. POYSER. 
That I am, Rachel. Rosseter is pretty far. 
(Poyser and Bartle Massey seat themselves and the boys stand 
by Mr. Massey, who talks to them. During the subsequent dia- 
logue, Mrs. Poyser and Molly, who enters from the dairy, let down 
the table leaf, pull it out and commence to set the table and put 
out the supper things.) 

MR. POYSER. 

How's the milk from the new short-horn, Rachel? 
MRS. POYSER. 

I've twice as much butter from that little yallo-.v cow 
as doesn't give half the milk. 

MR. POYSER. 

Why, thee't not like the women in general; they like 
the short-horns, as give such a lot o' milk. There's 
Chowne's wife wants him to buv no other sort. 
MRS. POYSER. 

What's it sinnify what Chowne's wife likes? A poor 
soft thing, wi' no more head-piece nor a sparrow. She'd 
take a big cullender to strain her lard wi', and then won- 
der as the scratchin's run through. Her cheese rose like , 
a loaf in a tin last year, an' then she talks o' the weather 
bein' i' fault, as there's folks 'ud stand on their heads 
and then say the fault was i' their boots. 
MR. MASSEY. 

I dare say, she's like the rest o' the women — thinks 
two and two'U come to make five if she bothers enough 
about it. 

MRS. POYSER. 

Ay, ay, one 'ud think, an' hear some folks talk, as the 



20 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



men war cute enough to count the corns in the bag o' 
wheat wi' only smelling at it. They can see through a 
barn door, THEY can. Perhaps that's the reason they 
see so little o' this side on't. 
(Martin ?oyser shakes ^vith delighted but silent laughter.) 

MR. MASSEY. 

(Smilingly.) 

Ah, the women are quick enough — they're quick enough. 
They know the rights of a story before they hear it, and 
can tell a man what his thoughts are before he knows 
'em hin'iSelf. 

MRS. POYSER. 

Like enough, for the men are mostly so slow, their 
thoughts overrun 'em an' they onl5' catch 'em by the 
tail. I can count a stocking-top while a man's getting's 
tongue ready; an' when he outs wi' his speech at last, 
there's little broth to be made on't. It's your dead chicks 
take the longest hatchin'. However, I'm not denyin' the 
women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match 
the men. 

MR. MASSEY. 

Match! Ay, as vinegar matches one's teeth. If a man 
says a word his wife'U match it with a contradiction; if 
he's a mind for hot meat, his wife'U match him with 
whimpering. She's such a match as th' horse-fly is to 
th' horse; she's got the right venom to sting him with 
— the right venom to sting him with. 
MRS. POYSER. 

Yes, I know what the men like — a poor soft as 'ud sim- 
per at 'em like the picture o' the sun, whether they did 
right or wrong, an' say thank you' for a kick, an' pretend 
she dinna know which end she stood uppermost, till her 
husband told her. That's what a man wants in a wife 
mostly: he wants to make sure 'o one fool as'll tell him 
he's wise. But there's some men can do wi'out that — they 
think so much o' themselves a'ready; an' that's how it 
is there's old bachelors. 

MR. POYSER. 
(Jocosely, and looking admiringly at his wife.) 

Come, Bartle, you mun get married pretty quick, else 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



you'll be set down for an old bachelor; an' you see what 
the women'll think on you. Now I like a woman o' sper-- 
rit — a cliverish woman — a managing woman. 

MR. MASSEY. 

You're out there, Poyser, you're out there. You judge 
o' your own garden stufE on a better plan than that: j^ou 
pick the things for what they can excel in — for what 
they can excel in. You don't value your peas for their 
roots, or your carrots for their flowers. Now that's the 
way you should choose women; their ci.evernessll never 
come to much — never come to much; but they make ex- 
cellent simpletons, ripe, and strong-flavored. 

MR. POYSER. 

(Throwing himself back and looking merrily at his wife.'i 
What dost say to that" 

MRS. POYSER. 
(A dangerous fire kindling in her eyes.) 

Say! Why, I can see a cat i' the dairy wi'out wonder- 
ing what she's come for. Some folk's tongues are like 
the clocks as run on strikin', not to tell you the time o' 
day, but because there's summat wrong i' their own in- 
side. 
(Totty com.es running in, in a pink pinafore, stained with 
currants. Her mouth and hands are also stained. Mrs. Poy- 
ser stops and her voice changes as she stoops to pick up Totty.) 
Bless her sweat face! The child's allays i' mischief if 
your back's turned a minute. What shall I do to you, 
you naughty, naughty gell? Molly, take the child and 
put her to bed. She's too full of curran's to want her 
supper. 

(Molly goes upstairs with Totly in her arms. Adam Bede 
and Hetty come in together at the door. Adam carries a big 
basket of currants, which he sets down. He shakes hands with 
Mr. Poyser and Bartle Massey and Hetty curtseys to the school- 
master.) 

MR. POYSER. 
Well, Adam, I'm glad to see ye. What, ye've been help- 
ing Hetty to gether the currants, eh? Come, sit ye down, 
sit ye down. Why, it's pretty near a three- week since 



22 ADAM BEUE A PLAY 



y* had your supper wi' us; and the missis has got one of 
her rare stuffed chines. I'm glad ye're come. 
(Mr. Poyser and Bartle Massey talk together, while Mrs. 
Peyser goes on arranging the supper table.) 

ADAM. 

(Taking a rose from his coat and handing it to Hetty.) 
How pretty the roses are now! See'. I stole the pret- 
tiest, but I didna mean to keep it myself. Stick it in your 
frock, and then you can put it in water after. It 'ud be 
a pity to let it fade. 
(Hetty smiles as she takes the rose. She is without her cap 
now, and she sticks the rose in her curly hair just above the left 
ear, and looks at Adam coquettishly.) 

ADAM. 
(Looking displeased.) 

Ah, that's like the ladies in the pictures at the Chase. 
They've mostly got flowers, or gold things i' their hair, 
but somehow I don't like to see 'em; they allays put me 1' 
mind o' the painted woman outside the shows at Tred- 
dles'on fair. What can a woman have to set her off bet- 
ter than her own hair, when it curls so, like 3'ours? If 
a woman's young and prettj', I think you can see her 
good looks all the better for her being plain dressed. 
Why, Dinah Morris looks very nice, for all she wears 
such a plain cap and gown. It seems to me as a woman's 
face doesna want flowers; it's almost like a flower itself, 
(tenderly) I'm sure yours is. 

HETTY. 
(Pouting and taking the rose out of her hair.) 

Oh, very well. I'll put one o' Dinah's caps on, and 
you'll see if I look better in it. 

ADAM. 

(Anxiously.) 

Nay, nay, I don't want you to wear a Methodist cap 
like Dinah's. I dare say it's a very ugly cap. and I used 
to think as it was nonsense for her to dress different t' 
other people; but I never rightly noticed her till last 
night, and then I thought the cap seemed to fit her face 
somehow as th' acorn-cap fits th' acorn, and I shouldn't 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



23 



like to see her so well without it. But you've got another 
sort o' face; I'd have you just as you are now, without 
anything to interfere with your own looks. 
MRS. POYSER. 
Hetty, run upstairs, and send Molly down. She's put- 
ting Totty to bed, and I v,ant her to draw th' ale, for 
Nancy's busy yet i' the dairy. You can see to the child. 
But whativer did you let her run away from you along 
wi' Tommy for, and stuff herself wi' fruit as she can't 
eat a bit o' good victual? 

MRS. POYSER. 
Come Mr. Bede, come Mr. Massey. I'm sure ye've 
been waiting long enough. 
(They seat themselves, the boys at either side of their mother, 
with a place for Hetty between her uncle and Adam Bede. AH 
the company except Mr. Poyser have their backs or sides toward 
the outer door. Molly comes downstairs and goes out the door 
as they sit down to supper.) 

MRS. POYSER. 
(Dispensing slices of stuffed chine (backbone of beef), cold veal 
and fresh lettuce. The table cloth is of whitey-brown home- 
s=pun and the service of shining pewter.) 

What a time that gell is drawing th' ale, to be sure. I 
think she sets the jug under and forgets to turn the tap. 
as there's nothing you can't believe o' them wenches; 
they'll set th' empty kettle on the fire' and then come an 
hour after to see if the water boils. 
MR. POYSER. 
Perhaps she's drawing for the men,too. Thee shouldst 
ha' told her to bring our jug first. 
MRS. POYSER. 
Told her? Yis I might spend all the wind i' my body, 
an' take the bellows, too, if I was to tell them gells every- 
thing as their own sharpness wonna tell'em. Mr. Massey, 
will you take some vinegar with your lettuce? Ay, you're 
i' the right not. It spoils the flavor o' the chine, to my 
thinking. It's poor eating where the flavor o' the meat 
lies i' the cruets. There's folks as make bad butter, and 
trusten to the salt t' hide it. 



24 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

(Molly enters carrying- a large jug-, two small mugs and four 
drinking cans, all full of ale. Her mouth is wide open as she 
walks with her eyes fixed on the double cluster of vessels in 
her hands.) 

MRS. POYSER. 
(Severely.) 

Molly, I niver knew your equils — to think o' your poor 
mother as is a widow, an' I took you wi' as good a' no 
character, an' the time an 'times I've told you. 
(Molly starts and hastens her steps toward a far table where 
she may set down her cans, catches her foot in her apron and 
falls with a crash into a pool of beer. There is a tittering ex- 
plosion from the two small boys. Mr. Poyser ejaculates, "Ello," 
and Bartle Massey settles back in his chair with an "I-told-you- 
so" expression.) 

MRS. POYSER. 

(In a cutting tone, rising and going toward the cupboard, 
while Molly with a doleful face begins to pick up the pieces of 
crockery.) 

There you go! It's what I told you 'ud come over and 
over aga,in ; and there's your month's wage gone, an' 
more, to pay for the jug as I've had 1' the house this ten 
year, and nothing ever happened to 't before; but the 
crockery you've broke sin' here in th' house you've been 
'ud make a parson swear — God forgi' me for saying so. 
Anybody'd think you'd got the St. Vitus?' dance, to see 
the things you've throwed down. 
(Molly begins to cry, and as the beer is flowing toward the 
feet of the guests converts her apron into a mop. 

MRS. POYSER opening the cupboard and turning a blighting 
eye upon her.) 

Ah, you'll do no good wi' crying an' making more wet 
to wipe up. It's all your own wilfulness, as I tell you, 
for there's nobody no call to break anything if they'll go 
the right way to work. But wooden folks would need ha' 
wooden things t' handle. And here must I take the 
brown-and-white jug, as it's never been used three times 
this year and go down i' th cellar myself. 
(Mrs. Poyser turns round from the cupboard with a brown- 
and-M'hite jug in her hand. She stares at the 
farther end of the kitchen, where Hetty has appeared like a 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 25 

wraith in Dinah's prim cap and gown with her hair parted and 
smoothed down. The jug falls to the ground, parting forever 
from its spout and handle. The others have not seen Hetty. 
The boys laugh loudly at their mother.) 

MRS. POYSER. 

(In a lowered tone, with a moment's bewildered glance around 
the room.) 

Did iver anybody see the like? The jugs are bewitched, 
I think. It's them nasty glazed handles — they slip o'er 
the finger like a snail. 

MR. POYSER. 
(Joining in the laugh.) 

Whj', thees't let thy own whip fly in thy face. 

MRS. POYSER (angrily.) 
It's all very fine to look on and grin, but there's times 
when the crockery seems alive, an' flies out o' your hand 
like a bird. What is to be broke will be broke, for I never 
dropped a thing 1' my life for want o' holding it, else I 
should never have kept the crockery all these years as I 
bought at my own wedding. And, Hetty, are you mad? 
Whativer do you mean by coming down i' that way, and 
making one think as there's a ghost a -walking i' th' 
house? 
(Thcjre is a fresh outbreak of laughter dur'ng Mrs. Povser's 
speech, as all turn and look at Hetty. The boys leave their chairs 
and dance around Hetty, jumping and clapping their hands. 
During the confusion Mrs. Poyser reaches down a great pewter 
measure from the cupboard. This she hands to Molly who is 
going out with fragments of her mugs.) 
MR. POYSER. 
(Chuckling.) 

Why, Hetty, lass, are ye turned Methodis? You must 
pull your face a deal longer before you'll do for one; 
mustna she, Adam? How come ye to put them things on, 
eh? 

HETTY. 

(Who has seated herself demurely.) 

Adam said he liked Dinah's cap and gown better nor 
my clothes. He says folk look better in ugly clothes. 



ADAM BEDE A tLA.Y 



ADAM. 

(Looking at her admiringly.) 

Nay, nay. I only said they seemed to suit Dinah. But 
if I'd said you'd look pretty in 'em I should ha' said 
nothing but what was true. 

MR. MASSEY. 

(To Mrs. Poyser, who has seated herself.) 

Why, you thought Hetty war a ghost; you look'd as 
scared as scared. 

MRS. POYSER. 

(With acidity.) 

It little sinnifies how I looked. Looks 'uU mend no 
jugs, nor laughing neither, as I see. Mr. Bede, I'm sorry 
you've to wait so long for your ale, but it's coming in a 
minute. Make yourself at home wi' the cold potatoes, Mr. 
Massey, I know you like 'em. Tommy, I'll send you to bed 
this minute, if you don't give over laughing. What is 
there to laugh at, I should like to know? I'd sooner cry 
nor laugh at the sight o' that poor thing's cap; and 
there's them as 'ud be better if they could make their- 
selves like her i' more ways nor putting on her cap. It 
little becomes anybody i' this house to make fun o' my 
sister's child, an' I know one thing as if trouble was to 
come, (tears in her voice) we might be glad to get sight 
o' Dinah's cap again, wi' her own face under it, border or 
no border. For she's one o' them things as looks the 
brightest on a rainy day, and loves you the best when 
you're most i' need on't . 

MR. POYSER. 
(To Hetty.) , 

You'd better take the things off again, my lass; it 
hurts your aunt to see 'em. 
(Hetty goes upstairs. Molly brings in the ale and pours it 
and leaves the stage.) 

MRS. POYSER. 

You heerd about poor Thias Cranage, Mr. Bede? 

Dinah's gone to the poor mother, though I doubt not 

that his death's a relief to the family, and he such a 

drunkard. (To her husband). An' Captain Donnithorne 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 27 



and Mr. Irwine were here today. The captain was most 
pleasant, and Mr. Irwine was that agreeable to Dinah. 
When I saw 'em-a-comin' I'd no doubt but they'd come to 
chide her for preaching- on the green. The captain in- 
sisted on seein' the dairy. 

MR. POYSER. 
I'll warrant he said that Mrs. Satchell's cream and 
butter woudn't bear comparison with yours. 
MRS. POYSER. 
Well, he did say summat like that, and I told him that 
I couldn't say, as I seldom saw other folks' butter — 
though there's some on it as one's no need to see — the 
smell's enough. 

MR. MASSEY. 
Mr. Irwine must a' been surprised to see Dinah so 
young and comely. He likes the young people. 
MR. POYSER. 
It's a poor look-out when th' ould folks doesna like the 
young uns. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Ay, it's ill livin' in a hen-roost for them as doesn't 
like fleas. We've all had our turn at bein' young, I 
reckon. 
(Adam rises from the table, as does Mr. Massey. Hetty is 
just coming down stairs.) 

ADAM. 
I shall go a step farther, to see Mester Burge, for he 
wasn't at church, and I've not seen him for a week past. 
I've never hardly known him to miss church before. 
MRS. POYSER. 
But you'll never think o' going there at this hour o' 
the night? 
(It is still twilight, about 8 o'clock.) 

ADAM. 

Oh, Mr. Burge sits up late. He's never in bed till it's 
gone eleven. 

MRS. POYSER. 
I wouldna have him live wi' me, then, a- dropping 



28 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

candle-grease about, as you're like to tumble down o' the 
floor the first thing i' the morning. 

MR. POYSER. 

Ay, eleven o'clock's late— it's late. I ne'er sot up so i' 
my life, not to say as it warna a marr'in, or a christenin', 
or wake, or th' harvest supper. Eleven o'clock's late. 

ADAM. 

(Laughingly.) ' 

Why, I sit up till after twelve often, but it isn't to eat 
and drink extry, it's to work extry. 

ADAM AND MASSEY. 
Goodnight, Mrs. Poyser. Goodnight, Hetty. 
(Hetty smiles and shakes hands with them.) 

MR. POYSER. 
(Holding out a large hand.) 

Come again, come again, both. 
(Adam and Massey go out.) 

MR. POYSER. 
Ay, think o' that, now. Sitting up till past twelve to 
do extry work. Ye'll not find many men o' six-an'-twenty 
as 'ull do to put i' the shafts wi 'him. If you catch Adam 
for a husband, Hetty, you'll ride 'i your own spring-cart 
some day, I'l be your warrant. 
(Hetty tosses her head and puts her hand in her pocket where 
the locket is.) 

MRS. POYSER. 
Go eat your supper, Hetty. 

HETTY. 
I don't want any supper. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Why, what nonsense that is to talk. Do you think you 
can live wi'out eatin', and nourish your inside wl' 
stickin' red ribbons on your head? Go an' get your supper 
this minute, child. 
(Hetty eats a little.) 

MR. POYSER. 
Come Rachel, thee't tired. It's time thee wast in bed. 
Thee't bring on the pain in thy side again. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 29 

MRS. POYSER. 

Get me the matches down Hetty, for I must have the 
rushlight burning i' my room. You may make the door fast 
now Poyser. I declare, Tommy's asleep already. 

MR. POYSER. 

(Rolling the heavy wooden bolts in the house door winding the 
clock and looking to the shutters, while the twilight gathers. 
Hetty still lingers with a far-away glance.) 

Come, Hetty, get to bed. You did na' mean any harm, 
but your aunt's been worritted today. Goodnight, my 
wench, goodnight. 
(Mrs. Poyser is slowly ascending the stairs, with her arm 
around the sleepy Tommy. The other boy is rubbing his 
eyes. Martin Poyser follows his wife and children and Hetty 
goes last, taking out her locket to look at it, while the twilight 
deepens in the room, and 

The Curtain Falls. 



^ iiiiiii ■■■■iiMHii m—imi— ^ — ■~— — ^n— .-^ 

r } 



(PI.ACE— The entrance hall of Donnithorne Hall in Stafford- 
shire. TIME— July 30, 1799. The lofty walls and ceiling are 
ornamented with stucco angels with trumpets and flower 
wreaths. Great medallions of heroes on the wall alternate with 
niches in which stand statues. The wholo place is decorated with 
green boughs, for this is the night of the young squire's coming 
of age. At the right of the stage goes up to the second story 
a wide stone staircase, coming well out into the hall. The 
stairs are covered with cushions for the children and serving 
maids who are to sit here to see the dancing. The room is lit 
with many colored lamps hidden among the green boughs and 
giving an air of festivity. At the back of the stage is a raised 
dais on which the gentle people sit, and on it, as the curtain 
rises, is seen Miss Lydia Donnithorne, a slender maiden lady 
of about fifty and Arthur's aunt. She is elaborately gowned in 
a stiff yellow brocade with jewels. Mrs. Irwine, the mother of 
the rector, sits with her. Mrs. Irwine is seventy, exceedingly 
handsome and stately, with splendid rings on her old brown 
hands, a sweeping gown of lavender brocade and filmy black 
lace that falls over her white hair and veils her face and neck. The 
old Squire Donnithorne, a man of seventy, in black evening 
dress of the period and leaning on a stick, stands by the do.is, 
which is bordered by hothouse plants. At the left rear of the 
stage is the entrance door, and at this door, as the curtain rises, 
stand Captain Arthur Donnithorne and Mr. Irwine receiving 
the tenants. Arthur wears the uniform of a Captain in the 
Staffordshire militia, and the rector is in black evening dress of 
the time. His hair is powdered and tied with a ribbon as before. 

The tenants enter with much laughter. Their faces are 
slightly flushed, as they have just come from the tenant's din- 
ner, also served at the Hall, of which they are talking. There 
are several well-to-do farmers with their wives and daughters, 
all well and gaily dressed — for only the principal tenants are 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 31 

bififlen to the dance. The servants and children are conducted 
to the stairway. The men and women are hatless, having loft 
their outer wraps where they dined. First to enter and shake 
hands with the captain and rector are Bartle Massey and Adam 
Bede. Bartle and Adam wear their Sunday clothes, with long 
coats and knee breeches. Bartle's is black, Adam's brown. 
Both wear bright waistcoats and stockings, the color of their 
clothes. They salute the ladies on the dais and then come al- 
most to the front of the stage, near the stairway and where the 
children are to sit, and facing the door by which the tenants 
are coming in. These do not come in so rapidly but what the 
two men have an opportunity for a few words of conversation.) 

BARTLE MASSEY. 

There's something in the wind — there's something 
in the wind. The Captain meant something by asking 
you here tonight Adam — you've never danced here be- 
fore. 

ADAM. 

Why, yes; I'll tell you, because I believe you can keep a 
still tongue in your head if you like; and I hope you'll 
not let drop a word till it's common talk, for I've par- 
ticular reasons against its being known. 

BARTLE. 

Trust to me, my boy, trust to me. I've got no wife to 
worm it out of me, and then run out and cackle it in 
everybody's hearing. If you trust a man let him be a 
bachelor — let him be a bachelor. 

ADAM. 

Well, then, it was so far settled yesterday, that I'm to 
take the management o' the woods. The captain sent 
for me, t' offer it me, and I've agreed to't. But if any- 
body asks any questions, just you take no notice, and 
turn the talk to something else, and I'll be obliged. 
(During this the Poysers have come in — Mr. and Mrs. Poyser, 
Hetty, the two boys and Molly with Totty. Mr. Poyser and the 
two boys are dressed as in the first act, but Mrs. Poyser wears 
an ample gown of the most vivid pea green poplin — a beautiful 
shade. Totty wears white and Hetty looks as though she were 
made of roses. Her frock has pink polka-dots (or roses) 



ADAM BEUE A PLAY 



sprinkled on a white cotton ground, her sleeves are short and 
her neck low and a flchu of real lace (white) is about her 
shoulders. She wears white silk stockings and little buckled 
shoes with red heels, and in her hair is a knot of black velvet 
ribbon and a pink rose. Her cheeks are very pink, her neck 
and arms very white; her hands not so white, for she does 
much work. Around her bare neck is a string of dark brown 
berries or beads which falls out of sight inside the front oi 
her bodice. 

Mr. Poyser joins Adam and Bartle. Molly and Hetty and the 
children go to the stairway. Mrs. Poyser talks with the other 
tenants' wives. During the conversation which follows. Totty 
is very cross and fractious and Is handed from Molly to Hetty 
and back again. Both giils try vainly to quiet and amuse Totty, 
who is distinctlj'^ cross.) 

MR. POYSER. 
What's this I hear, Adam, what's this I hear about you 
and the woods? It's a fine step up in the world for you, 
my lad. You'll be your own master now, and soon be 
taking a wife. 

ADAM. 

(With a glance at Hetty.) 

A working man 'ud be badly off without a wife to see 
to th' house and the victual and make things clean and 
comfortable. 

BARTLE. 
Nonsense, it's the silliest lie a sensible man like you 
ever believed, to say a woman makes a house comfort- 
able. It's a story got up because the women are there 
and something must be found for 'em to do. I tell you 
that a woman'll bake a pie every week of her life and 
never come to see that the hotter the oven the shorter 
the time. I don't say but what God might have made 
Eve to be a companion of Adam in Paradise; there was 
no cooking to be spoiled there and no women to cackle 
with, though you see what mischief she did as soon as 
she'd an opportunity, but it's an impious, unscriptural 
opinion to say a Avoman's a blessing to a man now; 
you might as well say adders and wasps are a bless- 
ing, when they're only the evils that belong to a state 



ADAM BEDE — A PLAY 33 



Of probation, which it's lawful for a man to keep as clear 
of as he can i' this life, hoping to get quit of 'em for- 
ever in another— hoping to get quit of 'em forever In 
another. 

ADAM. 

Nay, Mr. Massey, don't be so hard on the creatures 
God has made to be companions for us (glancing at 
Hetty). God bless her! I'd make her life a happy 'un if 
a strong arm to work for her and a heart to love her 

could do it. 

BARTLE. 

(With a gesture that takes in the room.) 

Oh, these women — they've got no headpieces to nour- 
ish, so their food all runs to fat or brats. Simple ad- 
dition enough! Add one fool to another fool and in six 
years' time six fools more — they're all of one denomina- 
tion, big and little's nothing to do with the sum. 
(Mrs. Poyser joins the group.) 

MR. POYSER. 
Hast heard the news about Adam? 

MRS. POYSER. 
About the woods? Ay, I've long suspected it. 

MR. POYSER. 
Thee never saidst a word to me about it. 

MRS. POYSER. 
Well, I aren't like a bird-clapper, forced to make a 
rattle when the wind blows. 

HETTY- 
Oh, dear, aunt, I wish you'd speak to Totty; she keeps 
putting her legs up so and mussing my frock. 
MRS. POYSER. 
What's the matter wi' the child? She can niver please 
you. Let her come by the side o' me. I can put up with 
her. 
(Draws Totty to her. Hetty turns smiling toward a young 
farmer who ust come up to her and chats with him. 

Mrs. Peyser chats v/ith her husband, the others having turned to 
speak to some of the arriving tenants.) 



ADAM BEDE A FLAY 



Hetty's no better nor a peacock, as 'ud strut about 

on the wall and spread its tail when the sun shone if all 

the folks i' the parish was dying; there's nothing seems 

to give her a turn i' th' inside, not even when we thought 

Totty had tumbled into the pit. It's what rag she can 

get to stick on her as she's thinking on from morning 

till night; as I often ask her if she wouldn't like to be 

the scare-crow 1' the field, for then she'd be made o* 

rags inside and out. It's my belief her heart's as hard 

as a pibble. 

MR. POYSER. 

Nay, nay, thee mustn't judge Hetty too hard. Them 
young gells are like th' unripe grain — they'll take a 
good meal by and by, but they're squashy as yit. Thee't 
see Hetty'll be all right when she's got a good husband 
an' children of her own. 
(They turn as the old squire comes up on his way around 
the hall. He bows punctiliously, and addresses them with 
elaborate civility.) 

SQUIRE DONNITHORNE. 
Good evening, Mrs. Poyser. I hope that your health is 
much improved. Tou must be sure to take the cold 
baths which I recommended to you and keep away from 
the drugs. That's what I do — keep away from the drugis. 

MRS. POYSER. 

(Curtesying deeply as the squire passes on.) 

Your sarvant, sir. (To her husband.) I'll lay my life 
he's brewing some nasty turn against us. Old Harry 
doesna wag his tail so for nothin'. 
(All the tenants having come in. Captain Donnithorne and 
the rector are making the round of the Hall, chatting with 
everybody. They pause before the group of the Poysers and 
Massey and Adam.) 

ARTHUR (to Mr. Poyser.) 
Well, Poyser, that was a very fine speech you made at 
the dinner, and I tell you I shall always remember and 
try to live up to some of the things you said. 
MR. POYSER. 
Well, sir, as I said at dinner, "You speak fair and you 
act fair, an' we're joj^ul when we look forward to your 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 35 

being our la,ndlord, for we b'lieve you mean to do right 
by everybody an' 'ull make no man's bread bitter to 
him if you can help it." 

ARTHUR DONNITHORNE (wincing a little.") 
Weren't you pleased to liear your husband make such 
a good speech today, Mrs. Poyser? 

MRS. POYSER. 
Oh, sir, the men are mostly so tongue-tied — you're 
forced partly to guess what they mean, as you do wi' 
the dumb creeturs. 

MR. IRWINE (laushin.a:.) 

"What, you think you could have made it better for 
him? 

MRS. POYSER. 

Well, sir, when I want to say anything, I can mostly 
find words to say it in, thank God. Not as I'm a-flnding 
faut wi' my husband, for, if he's a man o' few words, 
what he says he'll stand to. 
(Arthur Donnithorne passes on to speak to the girls and 
children near the steps and stands near Hetty.) 
MR. IRWINE. 
How gracefully Arthur proposed his grandfather's 
health today, when we had all of us forgotten It. 
MRS. POYSER. 

Well, that's as you think. To my notion it's as well 
not to stir a kettle of sour broth. 
(The musicians are heard tuning their instruments and the 
strains of a brisk country dance are heard. Most of the ten- 
ants fall back and stand close to the walls or sit on the seats 
around the walls.) 

ARTHUR. 
Mrs. Poyser, I'm come to request the favor of your 
hand for the first dance; and Mr. Poyser, you must let 
me take you to my aunt, for she claims you as her part- 
ner. 
(Mrs. Poyser hands Totty to Molly. Four or six or 
couples join in the dance. Among them should 
be Miss Lydia Donnithorne with Mr. Poyser, Mrs. 
Poyser and Arthur Dennithorne, Adam Bede and 



36 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



Hetty — the others are unnamed tenants. The dance 
is a country dance — a sort of modified lancers, of 
which the special feature is a ladies' chain — during which every 
man meets and swings every woman who is dancing. There 
is much merry stamping, a gracious nodding of the heads, a 
waving bestowal of the hand. Mr. Poyser has a holiday 
sprightliness and pays gallant little compliments to his wife 
when he meets her in the dance. Hetty and Adam should face 
the audience at the commencement of the dance with Arthur 
and Mrs. Poyser opposite them with their backs to the audi- 
ence. The ladies move, while the gentlemen retain their 
places to swing the ladies as they come. ?5Vhen it comes time 
for Arthur to balance with Hetty they are together at the cen- 
ter and front of the stage.) 

ARTHUR (to Hetty, in a low and hurried tone.) 

I shall be in the wood the day after tomorrow at seven; 
come as early as you can. 
(Hetty flushes and smiles up at him. When the dance is over 
Arthur conducts Mrs. Poyser, who is flushed r.nd panting to a 
seat. Mills, the butler, brings her ice. Arthur devotes himself 
to the other tenants. After the dance, Adam has conducted 
Hetty over to the stairway where Totty has gone to sleep in 
Molly's arms. Molly gives Totty to Hetty and goes upstairs after 
the wraps.) 

ADAM. 
Let me hold her. The children are so heavy when 
they're asleep. 
(Hetty starts to hand Totty over to Adam, but this rouses 
Totty, who strikes out with one fist at Adam and with the 
other seizes the chain of beads around Hetty's neck. The 
string breaks and locket and beads fly wide over the floor.) 

HETTY. 
(In a loud, frightened whisper.) 

My locket, my locket, never mind the beads. 
ADAM. 
(Picking up the locket.) 
It isn't hurt. 

HETTY. 
Oh, it doesn't matter. I don't mind about it. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



ADAM. 

Not matter? You seemed very frightened about it. 
I'll hold it till you're ready to take it. (Molly comes 
back and takes Totty away.) Hetty, Hetty, whose is the 
hair inside? Is thee foolin' me, my girl, and you as good 
as my promised wife? Oh, Hetty, have you forgotten 
the night in the curran' bushes and what you said then, 
and just now, when I'm to have the woods and every- 
thing! Oh, Hetty, Hetty. 
(Hetty buries her face in her hands, while Adam looks at 
her steadfastly. The band is playing softly, Arthur 
leads out another stout tenant's lady and the couples 
form for another dance as 

The Curtain Falls. 



ACT UK ! 



TIME— August 1, 1799. PLACE— Mappletoii, Staffordshire. 
The wood. At the back of the stage is a long vista of trees, and 
at the left a rustic building, the Hermitage. Seats are scattered 
among the trees. It is not yet twilight. The 
curtain rises as Hetty and Art.hiir Donnithorne come 
through the open door and down the steps of the Hermitage, his 
arm about her. Her hair is a bit dishevelled, and she has her 
bonnet and cape in her hands. Arthur helps hor playfully to tie 
them on. They chat and smile and his manner is most affec- 
tionate. Hers is loving and trustful and full of wistful pride 
and shyness. Arthur is in evening dress. Hetty wears a pretty 
cotton frock and a little scoop bonnet with a wreath of pinlc 
roses inside. Her cape is a pretty shade of green and her bon- 
net is tied with wide rose-colored ribbon strings.) 

ARTHUR. 

Hasn't this summer been a little bit of heaven, Hetty' 
How I shall miss you when I'm in Windsor. But it's 
just as well, perhaps, that I'm called away, for sometime 
or other your aunt would be sure to suspect us and then 
there'd be the devil and all to pay. I don't doubt but 
what she'd go to my grandfather f.ast enough. Why. even 
Mr. Irwine has been taking me to task lately for admiring 
you too much and keeping off the young swains who 
adore those lovely eyes and sweet cheeks of yours. 
HETTY. 

But I'm sure I don't want any of them, sir. It's happi- 
ness enough for me to know that you love me. Captain 
Donnithorne, even if the other girls don't know it. But 
I just wish that Mary Burdge knew what you said — that 
you'd rather kiss me than any fine lady you ever saw, 
and that she knew that we'd met here in the wood twice 
every week these last two months. 



ADAM BEDE A ['LAV 39 



ARTHUR (Hastily.) 

But that wouldn't do fit all, Hetty, and darling have you 
been very careful to remember never to show vour locket, 
earrings or any of the trifles I've given you? I know you'd 
like to wear them, vain little puss (pinching her cheek), 
but I can't blame you. If I had such pretty ears as 
yours or such a beautiful neck (kisses her throat) — though 
really you need no adorning, beautiful one. You're quite 
bewitching enough to turn any head just as you are. 
HETTY. 

Indeed, Mr. Arthur, I've never shown my things to 
anyone, nor had them on except in my room at night, 
with the door locked and everyone asleep — much as I'd 
like to. What's the use of having things that you can't 
wear? (pouting). But one person's seen my locket, 
sir, and asked me about it. 

ARTHUR (Surprised.) 

Who was that? You never told me. 
HETTY. 

It was Adam Bede, the night of the coming of age. 
That ugly Totty pulled at my bead chain after the danc- 
ing and the locket fell to the oor. Adam was standin' 
by me and picked it up and couldn't help seein' that there 
was two kinds of hair in it — the dark and light. And 
then he turned it over and asked me who gave it me. 
ARTHUR. 

Insolent! And what did you say? 
HETTY. 

I didn't say anything, for just then aunt came up 
and we went home, and I haven't seen Adam alone since. 
ARTHUR. 

Oh, well, Adam's a good fellow. If anyone had to 
know, I'd rather it would be Adam. Now if it were 
Craig, the gardener, or somebody who would be jealous 
of me, I should mind it more. Besides, Adam would 
likely think you saved your money to buy it yourself — 
he knows nothing of the values of such things — and 
perhaps he'd think the hair was yours and that of your 
father or mother or someone. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



HETTY. 

(Tossing her head.) 

Well, it don't matter much what he thinks so long 
as he doesnt' tell aunt and uncle; but, oh, Mr. Arthur, 
how lonely it will be while you're in Windsor. And 
there'll be many pretty girls there, I doubt not. (wist- 
fully.) 

ARTHUR (Tenderly.) 

But none so pretty as you, Hetty. Ah, little girl, you 
don't know how hard and fast you've twined yourself 
around my heart. Many and many a time I've resolved 
not to see you alone again and I've ridden Vixen most 
to death while I made good resolutions about not seeing 
you— and broken them within half a day. And you don't 
know the reason why I went away to Ellaston. But 
the real reason was to get away from you, and I made 
up my mind, oh ever so many times, that I wouldn't see 
you again, come what might. And the very first night 
after I came home, found me waiting here for you in 
the wood. Tou didn't come, either, and I can't ever 
remember being so disappointed since my first trousers 
failed to come from the tailor's. Strange what power to 
draw a man lies under long lashes and in scarlet, 
pouting lips. 
(They are sitting on one of the benches now, and he kisses 
her.) 

Why wasn't I born in a cottage, Hetty, or why weren't 
you born in the Hall, and then we might have married 
each other in the gray old church and been as happy 
as only you and I know how to be. 

HETTIE (Coaxingly.) 

But, sir, aren't we to be married':* When you come 
back from Windsor, you'll marry me and make a lady of 
me, and I shall wear gold things on my head 
like the ladies in the pictures at the Chase, and, oh, 
I'd love you very much, I'm sure. 

ARTHUR. 

I'm sure you would, dear — love me as much as you have 
these delicious evenings in the wood and in the Her- 
mitage, Hetty. Oh, you sweet little blossom, j'ou. You 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 41 



madden me and make me forget every rule of caste and 
every good resolution. It's only when I see your uncle 
and aunt that I've enough will power left to feel sorry. 
Then I feel like the deceitful brute I am. What would 
they say, Hetty, if they suspected? 
HETTY. 
But when I live at the Chase I shan't see them often, 
and I'm sure I don't care what they think. We might 
be married secretly like the doctor's niece and the apoth- 
ecary's assistant, and then when they found it out it 
wouldn't matter what they thought, for it would be too 
late to do anything. 

ARTHUR. 
Well, we'll see, dear, we'll see WHEN I come home 
from Windsor. You must forget me while I'm away, 
sweet, and go to the harvest suppers and the dances, 
and have a good time Avith Luke Britton and all the like- 
ly young farmers, for I don't want my Hetty pale and 
pining. And now you must go home for it's getting late 
and your aunt will miss you, and will have more to say 
about your being too fond of Mrs. Pomfret and the ser- 
vants at the Hall. I wish I could go all the way with 
you, Hetty, but you won't be afraid, dear, will you, for 
I don't think it's best for me to go beyond the trees. 
Hetty, tell me again that you love me. And then, a 
long, long kiss, for I shan't have any more kisses for a 
long while — not until I get back from Windsor. 
(He folds her in his arms and they kiss lingeringly and pas- 
sionatelj^ They have risen from the seat and do not see Adam 
Bede approaching through the trees from the right with his 
tools on his shoulder. He sees them wrapped in each other's 
arms and halts in astonishment. He makes a slight noise. 
Hetty and Arthur start apart. Without looking to see who it 
is she runs swiftly from the stage to the left and Arthur turns 
to meet the intruder. 

Adam halts and waits for Arthur to come up to him. They 
make a striking contrast, Arthur in his evening clothes — Adam 
in his working garb. Arthur advances nonchalantly.) 

ARTHUR. 

(Laughing unnaturally.) 

Well, Adam, you have been looking at the fine old 



42 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

beeches, eh? They're not to be come near by the 
hatchet, though; this is a sacred grove. I overtook pretty 
little Hetty Sorrel as I was coming to my den — the Her- 
mitage there. She ought not to come home this way so 
late. So I took care of her to the gate, and asked a kiss 
for my pains. But I must get back now, for this road Is 
confoundedly damp. Good-night, Adam; I shall see you 
tomorrow — to say goodby, you know. 

(He walks past Adam.) 

ADAM. 

(Without turning round, in a hard, peremptory tone.) 
Stop a bit, sir. I've got a word to say to you. 

ARTHUR (Haughtily.) 
Adam, what do you mean? 
ADAM. 
(In the same harsh voice, still without turning around.) 
I mean, sir, that you don't deceive me by your light 
words. This is not the first time you've met Hetty Sor- 
rel in this grove, and this is not the first time you've 
kissed her. 

ARTHUR. 
Well, sir, what then? 

ADAM. 

Why, then, instead of acting like th' upright, honor- 
able man we've all believed you to be, you've been acting 
the part of a selfish, light-minded scoundrel. You know, 
as well as I do, what it's to lead to, when a gentleman like 
you kisses and makes love to a young woman like Hetty, 
and gives her presents as she's frightened for other folks 
to see. And I say it again, you're acting the part of a 
selfish, light-minded scoundrel, though it cuts me to th' 
heart to say so, and I'd rather ha' lost my right hand. 

ARTHUR. 

(Trying to speak carelessly.) 

Let me tell you, Adam, you're not only devilishly im- 
pertinent, but you're talking nonsense. Every pretty 
girl is not such a fool as you, to suppose that when a 
gentleman admires her beauty and pays her a little at- 
tention, he must mean something particular. Every man 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 43 

likes to flirt with a pretty g:irl and every pretty girl 
likes to be flirted with. The wider the distance between 
them the less harm there is, for then she is not likely 
to deceive herself. 

ADAM. 
I don't know what you mean by flirting, but if you 
mean behaving to a woman as if j'^ou loved her, and yet 
not loving her all the while, I say that's not th' action 
of an honest man, and what isn't honest does come f 
harm. I'm not a fool, and you're not 

a fool, and you know better than v/hat 
you're saying. You know it couldn't be made public as 
you've behaved to Hetty as you've done, without her los- 
ing her character, and bringing shame and trouble on 
her and her relations. What if you meant nothing by 
your kissing and your presents? Other folks won't be- 
lieve as you've meant nothing; and don't tell me about 
her not deceiving herself. I tell you as you've flUed her 
mind so with the thought of you as it'll mayhap poison 
her life; and she'll never love another man as 'ud make 
her a good husband. 

ARTHUR. 
(In a tone of friendly concession.) 
Well, Adam, you're perhaps right. Perhaps I've gone a 
little too far in taking notice of the pretty little thing, 
and stealing a kiss now and then. You're such a grave, 
steady fellow, you don't understand the temptation to 
such trifling. I'm sure I wouldn't bring trouble or 
annoyance on her and the good Poysers on any account 
if I could help it. But I think you look a little too seriously 
at it. You know I'm going away immediately, so I 
shan't make any more mistakes of the kind. But let us 
say good-night (Arthur turns round to walk on) and 
talk no more about the matter. The whole thing will 
soon be forgotten. 

ADAM. 
(Throwing down his tools and striding around until he is 
in front of Arthur.) 

No, by God, it'll not soon be forgot, as you've come in 
between her and me, when she might ha' loved me— it'll 



44 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



not soon be forgot, as you've robbed me o' my happiness, 
while I thought you was my best friend, and a noble- 
minded man, as I was proud to work for. And you've 
been kissing her and meaning nothing, have you? And 
I never kissed her i' my life, but I'd ha' worked hard for 
years for the right to kiss her. And you make light of it. 
Tou think little o' doing what may daimage other folks, 
so as you get your bit o' trifling, as means nothing. I 
throw back your favors, for you'r not the man I took 
you for. I'll never count you my friend any more. I'd 
rather you'd act as my enemy, and fight me where I 
stand — it's all th' amends you can m.ake me. 
(Arthur's expression changes as he learns for the first time 
that Adam loves Hetty. Adam throws off his cap and jacket, 
but Arthur stands motionless with his hands in his waistcoat 
pockets.) 1 

ARTHUR. 
Go away, Adam, I don't want to fight you. 

ADAM. 
No, you don't want to fight me; you think I'm a com- 
mon man, as you can injure without answering for it. 
Tou know I won't strike you while you stand so. 

ARTHUR. 
(With warmth.) 

I never meant to injure you. I didn't know you loved 
her. t 

ADAM. 
But you made her love j'ou. You're a double-faced man 
— I'll never believe a word you say again. 

ARTHUR. 

(Angrily.) 

Go away, I tell you, or we shall both repent. 

ADAM. 

(In a convulsed voice.) 

No, I swear I won't go away without fighting you. Do 
you want provoking any more? I tell you you're a coward 
and a scoundrel ,and I despise you. 
(Arthur clinches his right hand and deals Adam a blow which 
sends him reeling backward. They exchange several blows 
Finally Adam strikes Arthur. Arthur falls, his head lyin^ 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 45 

concealed in a tuft of fern. Adam waits for him to rise. There 
is no si^n of life. Adam falls on his knees beside Arthur wltft 
a world of apprehension in his face. Adam loosens Arthur's 
cravat and collar. No sign of life.) 

ADAM. 
God. 

(He lays a hand on Arthur's heart. Arthur stirs a little.) 

ADAM. 

(Tenderly) 

Do you feel any pain, sir? 
(Arthur turns his head and stares vaguely at Adam. He 
shivers and says nothing.) 

ADAM. 
Do vou feel any hurt, sir? 
(Arthur puts his hand to his waistcoat buttons, and when 
Adam has unbuttoned it, takes a long breath.) 

ARTHUR. 

(Faintly.) 

Lay my head down and get me some water, if you can. 

ADAM. 

(Adam lays Arthur's head down on the fern again and, empty- 
ing the tools out of the basket, goes out, to return almost im- 
mediately with the basket dripping.) 

(Kneeling to raise Arthur's head.) 

Can you drink a drop out of your hand, sir? 

ARTHUR. 

No, dip my cravat in and souse it on my head. 
(He raises himself a little higher and rests on Adam's 
arm.) 

ADAM. 

Do you feel any hurt inside, sir? 
ARTHUR. 
No — no hurt, but rather done up. I suppose I fainted 
when you knocked me down. 

ADAM. 
Yes, sir, thank God. I thought it was worse. 

ARTHUR. 
What, you thought you'd done for me, eh? Come help 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



me on my legs. (Adam helps him up.) I feel terribly- 
shaky and dizzy. That blow of yours must have come 
against me like a battering ram. I don't believe I can 
walk alone. 

ADAM. 

Lean on me, sir; I'll get you along. Or will you sit 
down a bit longer on my coat here? I'll prop ye up. 
You'll perhaps be better in a minute or two. 

ARTHUR. 

(Sinking down on Adam's coat.) 

I believe I will rest a little. I don't feel good for much. 
ADAM. 
(.Sits also. After a little bit.) 

My temper got the better of me, and I said things as 
wasn't true. I'd no right to speak as if you'd known 
you was doing me an injury. You'd no grounds for know- 
ing it. I've always kept what I felt for her as secret 
as I could. And perhaps I judged j^ou too harsh — you 
may have acted out o' thoughtlessness more than I 
should ha' believed was possible for a man with a heart 
and a conscience. We're not all put together alike, and 
we inay misjudge one another. God knows, it's all the 
joy I could have now, to think the best of you. 
ARTHUR. 
Say no more about our anger, Adam. I forgive your 
momentary injustice — it was quite natural, with the ex- 
aggerated notions you had in your mind. We shall be none 
the worse friends in the future, I hope, because we've 
fought; you had the best of it, and that was as it should 
be, for I believe I've been most in the wrong of the two. 
Come, let us shake hands. 
(Arthur holds out his hand, but Adam sits still.) 
ADAM. 
I dont like to say "No," to that, sir, but I can't shake 
hands till it's clear what we mean by't. I was wrong when 
I spoke as if you'd done me an injury knowingly, but I 
wasn't wrong in what I said before about your behavior 
t'Hetty, and I can't shake hands with you as if I held 
you my friend the same as ever till you've cleared that 
up better. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



ARTHUR. 

I don't know what you mean by clearinar up, Adam, 
I've told you already that you think too seriously of a 
little flirtation. But if you are right in supposing there 
is any danger in it — I'm going away on Saturday, and 
there will be an end to it. As for the pain it has given you, 
I'm heartily sorry for it. I can say no more. 

ADAM. 

(Rising and looking down on Arthur.) 

It'll be better for me to speak plain, though it's hard 
work. You see, sir, this isn't a trifle to me, whatever 
it may be to you. I'm none o' them men as can go mak- 
ing love to first one woman, and then t' another, and don't 
think it much odds which of them I take. What I feel 
for Hetty's a different sort o' love, such as I believe no- 
body can know much about but them as feel it, and 
God as has given it to them. She's more nor everything 
else to me, all but my conscience and my good name. 
If it's only trifling and flirting, as you call it, as'll be put 
an end to by your going away — why, then, I'd wait, and 
hope her heart 'ud turn to me after all. I'm loth to 
think you'd speak false to me, and I'll believe your word 
however things may look. 

ARTHUR. 

(Violentlj' starting up from the ground.) 

You would be wronging Hetty more than me not to 
believe it. (More feebly) but you seem to forget that, in 
suspecting me, you are casting imputations upon her. 

ADAM. 

(More calmly.) 

Nay sir. Nay, sir. Things don't lie level between 
Hetty and you. You're acting with your eyes open, 
whatever you may do; but how do you know what's 
been in her mind? She's all but a child — as any man 
with a conscience in him ought to feel bound to take 
care on. And whatever you may think, I know you've 
disturbed her mind. I know she's been fixing her heart 
on you; for there's many things clear to me now as I 
didn't understand before. But you seem to make light 
o' what she may feel — you don't think o' that. 



48 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

ARTHUR. 

(Impetuously.) 

Good God, Adam, let me alone! I feel it enough 
without you worrying me. 

ADAM. 

(Eagerly.) 

Well, then, if you feel it, if you feel as you may ha' 
put false notions into her mind, and made her beileve 
as you loved her, when all the while you mean nothing, 
I've this demand to make of you — I'm not speaking for 
myself, but for her. I ask you f undeceive her before 
you go away. Y'arn't going away forever; and ,if you 
leave her behind with a notion in her head o' your feel- 
ing about her the same as she feels about you, she'll 
be hankering after you, and the mischief maj'^ get worse. 
It may be a smart to her now, but it'll save her pain i' 
the end. I ask you to write a letter — you may trust to my 
seeing as she gets it; tell her the truth, and take blame to 
yourself for behaving as you'd no right to do to a young 
woman as isn't your equal. I speak plain, sir. But I 
can't speak any other way. There's nobody can take 
care o' Hetty in this thing but me. 
ARTHUR. 

I can do what I think needful in the matter without 
giving promises to you. I shall take what measures I 
think proper. 

ADAM. 
(Abruptly.) 

No, that won't do. I must know what ground I'm tread- 
ing on. I must be safe as you've put an end to what 
ought never to ha' been begun. I don't forget what's 
owing to you as a gentleman; but in this thing we're 
man and man, and I can't give up. 
ARTHUR. 

I'll see you tomorrow. I can bear no more now, I'm ill. 
(He rises.) 

ADAM. 

(Barring his way.) 

You won't see her again? Either tell me now she can 
never be my wife — tell me you've been lying — or else 
promise me what I've said, not tomorrow, but now. 



ADAM BEDE — A PLAY 49 

ARTHUR. 

I promise — let me go. I'll write it now — in tiie Her- 
mitage. 

ADAM. 

I'll wait for it, sir. Youre not well enough to walk 
alone. Take my arm. (assisting him to the Hermitage.) 

ARTHUR. 

(Turning at the door of the Hermitage.) 

Remember this letter is all your work, Adam. I 
leave it to you to decide whether you will be doing best 
to deliver it to Hetty or to return it to me. Ask your- 
self once more whether you are not taking a measure 
which may pain her more than m.ere silence. We 
shall meet w'ith better feelings some months hence. 

ADAM. 

Perhaps you're right about that, sir. It's no use meet- 
ing to say more hard words, and it's no use meeting to 
shake hands and say we're friends again. Were not 
friends and it's better not to pretend it. I know for- 
giveness is a man's duty, but to my thinking, that can 
only mean as you're to give up all thoughts of taking re- 
venge; it can never mean as you're t' have your old feel- 
ings back again, such as we've had since we w^ere little 
fellows, for that's not possible. You're not the same man 
to me, and I can't feel the same toward you. God help me! 
I don't know whether I feel the same toward anybody; I 
seem as if I'd been measuring my work from a false line, 
and had got it all to measure over again. 
(Arthur closes the door of the Hermitage after him and 
an instant later passes the window with a lighted candle. 
Adam gives a sob^passes his hand over his eyes — and is 
gathering the scattered tools as 

The Curtain Falls. 



r ACT IV. J 



PLACE — The parlor of the Green Man — a small inn in Wind- 
Bor. Time, February, 1800. A pleasant-looking woman of 
fifty in apron and cap is in the room as the curtain rises. Im- 
mediately the door opens to admit a fat and jolly-looking land- 
lord who supports Hetty, pale and thinner and with dark circles 
undor her eyes. She comes into the room very wearily. Hetty 
throughout the act wears a full red cape, which falls to her 
knees, a brown stuff skirt and a small round bonnet of some so- 
ber color. On her arm she has a basket. She is footsore and 
weary, having left Mappleton and the Hall Farm some days be- 
fore. She has walked and ridden hundreds of miles to reach 
Arthur at Windsor.) 

THE INNKEEPER (Cordially.) 

Come in, young woman, come in and have a drop o' 
something. You're pretty near beat out. T can see 
that, (to his wife) Here, missis, get this young woman 
summat to eat. She's a little overcome. 

THE LANDLADY. 

(Setting out meat and bread and beer on one of the small 
tables, while Hetty eyes her hungrily, and glancing at Hetty's 
ringless hand.) 

Draw up your chair and have something. (Signifi- 
cantly.) "Why, you're not very fit for traveling. Have 
you come far? 

HETTY (Eating ravenously.) 

Yes, I've come a good long Avay, and it's very tiring, 
but I'm better now. Could you tell me which way to 
go to this place? 
(Taking from her pocket a letter folded over to show an .ad- 
dress at the end.) 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 51 

THE LANDLORD. 

(Coming: up and looking- at the paper.) 

Why, what do you want at that house? 

HETTY. 
I want to see a gentleman as is there. 

THE LANDLORD. 
But there's no gentleman there. It's shut up — been 
shut up for a fortnight. "What gentleman is it you 
want? Perhaps I can let you know where to find him? 

HETTY (Tremulously.) 
It's Captain Donnithorne. 

THE LANDLORD. 
Captain Donnithorne! Stop a bit. Was he in the 
Staffordshire militia? A tall young officer with a fair- 
ish skin and smooth- shaven, and had a servant by the 
name o' Pym? 

HETTY. 

Yes; yes. You know him. Where is he? 

LANDLORD. 
A fine sight o' miles from here; the Staffordshire 
militia's gone to Ireland. It's been gone this fortnight. 

LANDLADY. 

Look there! She's fainting. 
(The landlord supports Hetty and with his wife carries her 
to a sofa, where the woman removes her bonnet. 

THE LANDLORD. 

(Bringing some water.) 

Here's a bad business, I suspect. 

THE LANDLADY. 
Ah! it's plain enough what sort of business it is. 
She's not a common flaunting dratchell, I can see that. 
She looks like a respectable country girl, and she comes 
from a good way off, to judge by her tongue. She talks 
something like that hostler we had that come from the 
north; he was as honest a fellow as we ever had about 
the house; they're all honest folks in the north. 



52 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

THE LANDLORD. 

I never saw a prettier young woman in my life. She's 
like a picture in a shop-winder. It goes to one's heart 
to look at her. 

THE LANDLADY. 
It 'ud have been a good deal better for her if she'd 
been uglier and had more conduct. But she's coming to 
again. Fetch a drop more water. 
(Hetty shows signs of life and the landlord goes out.) 
LANDLADY. 
Poor child, poor child (rubbing Hetty's forehead) I'd 
a darter of me own once, 

HETTY (Starting up.) 
Oh, I thought you were my aunt Poyser and were go- 
ing to scold me. 

LANDLADY. 
There, there, child. Nobody's going to scold you. 

We'll send you home in a day or . 

HETTY (Quickly.) 
No, no, I don't want to go home. Why they'd turn 
me from the house. I can't go home now. 
LANDLADY. 
Oh, they'd never be that cruel, and you so young and 
pretty. Haven't ye a mother, child? 
HETTY. 
No, no mother. She died when I was a little 'un and 
my father, too, an' you don't know Avhat a sharp tongue 
my aunt's got. No, no, I doubt not they'd turn me out 
on the parish, and I'd be like that woman what was 
found against the church wall one Sunday last winter. 
She was near dead wi' cold and hunger and they took 
her and the baby to the PARISH. (Hetty pronounces 
this last word as though it were the very depth of hu- 
miliation and disgrace.) But she died after. Oh, no, 
I'll never go back. I'd sooner drown myself. 
LANDLADY. 
Talk not of drowning— so young as you. This trouble 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 53 

will pass, my dear. Come, hadn't you better tell me 
all about it? Perhaps I can help you or anyway coun- 
sel you a bit. I'm an old woman, child. 

HETTY. 

("Weeping.) 

I'm sure you're very kind. No one else has spoken so 
kindly to me since I left home Friday was a fortnight. 
Oh, what a big world it is and how hard to find one's way 
about in it. And now to think he's gone. 

LANDLADY. 

Poor child, poor child. I doubt not you've had strange 
adventuring of late— so pretty and young as you are. I 
used to live on a farm when I was a girl, too. There's 
nothing like it. 

HETTY. 
The coaches were too dear. I had to give thorn up 
after the first da5% but one man was kind to me and 
wrote me down the places tnat came before Windsor. I 
walked most o' the way with sometimes a carrier's 
cart, and one day I went wrong and walked for a whole 
day to the wrong place. The village where I come from 
is more nor a hundred miles from here. 

THE LANDLADY. 

And did no one give you a lift on the road? 
HETTY. 

Oh yes, sometimes, but I'm not used to long walks, and 
the mile -stones were so far apart. I walked five miles 
from Stoniton and then it began to rain. I tried to get 
on to another village, but I had had no breakfast and I 
had that gone feeling and couldn't walk fast. There 
came a rumbling of wheels behind me and then a cov- 
ered wagon, with the driver cracking his whip along- 
side. The man had such a gruff voice. I had never 
asked for charity before. I couldn't have this time, but 
on the front seat I saw a little white spaniel and then 
I knew that the man was kind. I asked him would he 
take me up and he let me lie inside on the wool packs 
out of the rain and in that way I came to Ashby. 



54 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

LANDLADY. 

Ashby, Ashby, I don't remember that name. It must 
be a long ways from here. 

HETTY, 

Oh it is — a long, long- way. From Ashby I started 
walking again for I was anxious to get out o' the towns^ — 
the men stared so. I walked until I was so overcome I 
had to sit down by the wayside. There was a return 
chaise came along, and the postilion asked me if I 
wouldn't ride, but he was drunk and twisted himself 
around in the saddle, and shouted questions at me, and 
galloped the horses all the way until I was near fright- 
ened to death. And oh how different that country is 
from ours — all flat flelds and hedge rows and dotted 
houses. Do you know how sweet it is in Staffordshire 
where the Gueldres roses bloom in at the windows? 

THE LANDLADY. 

Yes, yes. I was there when I was first married. But 
didn't you have any money? 

HETTY. 

Yes, a little, but the coaches cost so and eating at the 
public comes high and when I found out it was so much 
further to Windsor nor I thought I counted the shillings 
that were left and I found that by eating three buns 
a day and walking all the way I could just get here 
before my last six-pence was gone. 

LANDLADY. 

It's a wonder you had the courage. 
HETTY. 

Oh, I tried to drown myself. Sometimes I left the 
highroad that I might walk slowly and not care how my 
face looked. One day I came to a dark pool that the 
rains had filled up until the elder bushes were underneath 
the water. I thought that by the time the pool got 
shallow in summer they couldn't find out that IT was 
my body nor why I drowned myself — (breaks into a fit 
of sobbing.) 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 55 

LANDLADY (Trying to quiet her.) 

There, there, it's wicked to drown oneself. 
HETTY (Fiercely.) 

I don't care. It was dark and there was no hurry. I 
had all night to do it in. I got some stones and put 
them in my basket so that it mightn't float, and then I 
ate some buns that I had bought in the morning, and 
then I must have fallen asleep. When I woke up it 
was deep night and cold, so cold. I got up to walk 
about to warm myself, because I'd be better able to do it 
then, for I couldn't drown myself while I was so cold. 
.. LANDLADY. 

Sleeping in the fields o' night. Oh, what a shame. 
HETTY. 

And I'd never cared much for my home when I was 
well and happy, but I thought of it that night, the 
bright fire, and the polished pewter and them all sitting 
down to supper. And the good man who loved me; the 
fields and the dairy and the dogs and the children^ — and 
oh, I loved them all. And I stretched out my arms to 
'em, but something deep and black was between and I 
knew that I should never go back or see 'em again. 
And then I thought of HIM and I cursed him there in 
the dark. 

LANDLADY. 

But you didn't go into the pool. 
HETTY. 

No, I durst not. It was as though I was dead and 
knew it and longed to get back into life again. I was 
sorry and glad at the same time — sorry that I dast not 
face death; glad tha,t I was still in life, and as I walked 
in the field, I brushed against the dear warm body of a 
sheep and I knew that I might yet know light and 
warmth again, for I remembered when I felt the sheep 
that I had seen a hovel in the next field, such as Alick 
used at home in lambing time, and I thought that if I 
could get to it I would be warmer. I took the stones 
from my basket and climbed the stile. 



56 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

.. THE LANDLADY. 

You never slept in one o' them dirty hovels? 
HETTY. 

Yes and was glad to. I felt my way along the rails 
and something pricked my hand sharply — it was the 
prickling of the gorsy wall of the hovel. Oh the joy of 
it, the shelter, the roof, the warm, close smell! There 
was straw on the floor of the hovel and I knelt there 
and I kissed my arms, I was so glad to be alive. 
THE LANDLADY. 

Dear heart, dear heart. 

HETTY. 

And I had dreams — one after another — and the 
dreams slid into one another until I thought that I was 
in the hovel and my aunt standing over me with a 
candle in her hand. But there was no candle, only the 
light of the early morning through the open door and 
there was a face looking down at me — a man in a smock- 
frock. And he was very rough to me and said terrible 
things to me and frightened me. I told him I was 
traveling south'ard and that I'd lost my way an' he 
laughed at me and said anybody would think I was a 
wild woman to look at me. And the day was as hard 
as the night. 

LANDLADY. 

But surely there is someone you could go to? The 
young man you spoke of — not Captain Donnithorne — 
but the young man as loved you. Couldn't you go to 
him? 

HETTY. 

Adam? Oh, you don't know Adam. He loved me, 
but he's as proud as proud. He'd never ha' 
asked me to marry him if he'd known the truth. And 
if I'd ha' known it then, I'd never ha' promised, either. 
But I kept thinking that something must happen to 
save me — I couldn't stand to be disgraced in my own 
village where we've allays held our heads so high. And 
then Aunt said folks couldn't be married like cuckoos 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 57 

and we must wait till March and I couldn't wait till 
March. I couldn't ha' borne to hear what my aunt 
would a-said, and Adam too, if they'd a-known. 
THE LANDLADY. 

But Captain Donnithorne, couldn't he help you? 
HETTY. 

Oh he was away all the time — here in Windsor — and 
before he went he wrote me a letter and told me that 
he coudn't marry me. Adam knew that there'd been 
something between us, for he brought me the letter — 
the one that I showed to your man. But Adam never 
guessed the truth. And then I thought when I couldn't 
wait till March and couldn't marry Adam that I'd come 
to the Captain d.t Windsor and ask him to hide me 
somewhere, for though I knew from his letter that he 
wouldn't mind about me as he used to. he promised to 
be good to me. 

THE LANDLADY. 

That's the way wi' them fine gentlemen. Much they 
care what the poor girl suffers, and he gone off to Ireland, 
HETTY (Crying again.) 

Oh, he didn't mean to be cruel and though I cursed 
him that night by the pool, he couldn't know what's 
happened to me. Only I thought all the time that he'd 
marry me and make a lady of me until I got his letter 
— that cruel, cruel letter. He told me that I should 
never be happy except I married a man in my own sta- 
tion, and that if he married me he'd only be adding 
to the wrong he had done, as well as offending against 
his duty to his relations. He said we mustn't feel like 
lovers any more, and that I must think of him as little 
as I could and then he said as how he'd always be my 
affectionate friend. 

LANDLADY. 

Affectionate friend, indeed. 

HETTY. 

But of course he never thought and I'm sure I never 
did cf— what happened. And I just didn't dare stay at 



68 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



home any longer and face Adam and my aunt and them 
all, and have the finger of shame pointed at me. Oh, 
dear, I was like a fox in a trap. All day as I'd go about 
the house, this weight sat upon me and at night I'd 
wake up and try to push it off and every day it grew 
worse, and I came to be afraid that my aunt would 
find out. And then I said that I'd go to visit a niece of 
my aunt's — she's a Methodist preacher in Derbyshire — 
but I never stopped at the town where she lives but 
came straight here, trusting that Captain Donnithorne 
would be good to me. 

LANDLADY. 

He cared nothing about you as a man ought to care. 
He trifled with you and made a plaything of you. 

HETTY. 

Yes he DID care for me at first. But it began by little 
an' little till at last I couldn't throw it off. And I did 
believe he'd make me the right amends, 
LANDLADY. 

If he'd cared for you rightly he'd never have behaved 

so. 

HETTY. 

He meant nothing by his kissing and presents, but I 
trusted to his loving me well enough to marry me, for 
all he's a gentleman. I was so young. I had no 
mother. I hadn't seen much o' what goes on in the 
world. But it's a terrible thing to have folks speak 
light o' you and lose your character. 
LANDLADY. 

Well, well, there's probably a great hue and cry over 

you at home by this time. "When was you expected 

back? 

HETTY. 

In a week and it's already gone a fortnight, but I'll 

never go back, never, never. The pool or the parish is 

better nor that. And if anyone should come inquiring 

of me, which isn't likely, you'll say you haven't seen me, 

won't you, won't you? (She is weeping bitterly again 

now.) Say you will. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 5a 

THE LANDLADY. 

(Smoothing Hetty's hair as she lies on the lounge.) 

We won't tell on you. There, there, don't cry. We 
must find a way. You shall stay at the Green Man un- 
til you're rested a bit and then we'll try if we can't find 
you a situation, though it'll be hard, I doubt not. Cry 
it out if you want to. You'll feel the better for it, I'll 
talk It over with my man, but I doubt not he'll be per- 
suaded to let you stay for a while at least. We need 
a barmaid. I'll likely persuade him. We had a dar- 
ter of cur own once. 

(The landlord comes in now.) 

THE LANDLADY (To her husband.) 

The poor girl's that beat. I'm going to take her up- 
stairs. She must rest a bit — it's a bed she needs, and 
when she's rested we can find something for her to do 
about the Green Man. 

THE LANDLORD. 

I'd have you to know that the Green Man's a respectable 
public inn and the name o' Stone has always been an 
honor'ble one. I'll not have it disgraced now, nor have 
base-born brats in my house either. 

THE LANDLADY. 

Lor', I never thought you'd be that hard. 'Twas you 
yourself brought her in. And whose money, I want to 
know, helped you to buy the Green Man. 

THE LANDLORD (Ignoring the last remark.) 

I could see she was beat out, but you've given her to 
eat and drink and that's enough. Now let her get on. 
This thing's likely to breed trouble, harboring runaway 
farm gells, and I want no trouble in my house. 

THE LANDLADY. 

But you wor sayin' only the other day as you wished 
we had a young and pretty barmaid and I'm sure she's 
young and pretty enough and in a little while she can 
tend the bar for ye.' 



60 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



THE LANDLORD. 

But I'll have none but respectable gells in this 
house. This thing's like to bring trouble — gells as have 
(Join's with line gentlemen — and beside who's to pay 
for the doctorin' before that? That's what I want to 
know. 

HETTY. 

I've no money but I've a locket and earrings that 
might bring something — enough to pay for a day or two 
and then I'll go on if you please (falteringly.) 
(She takes the things from a red case in her pocket and lays 
them on the table before him.) 

THE LANDLORD. 

We might take 'em to the jeweler's shop, for there's 
one not far off: but Lord bless you, they wouldn't give 
you a quarter o' what the things are worth. And you 
wouldn't like to part with 'em? 

HETTY (Indifferently.) 
Oh I don't mind. I'd ruther have the money. 

THE LANDLORD. 
And they might think the things were stolen, as you 
wanted to sell 'em, for it isn't usual for a young woman 
like you to have fine jew'lery like that. 

HETTY (Drawing herself up.) 
I belong to respectable folk. I'm not a thief. 

THE LANDLADY (Indignantly.) 
No, that you aren't. I'll be bound, and you've no call 
to say that. The things were gev to her; that's plain 
enough to be seen. 

THE LANDLORD (Apologetically.) 
I didn't mean as I thought so, but I said it was what 
the jeweler might think, and so he wouldn't be offer- 
ing much money for 'em. 

THE LANDLADY. 
Well, suppose you were to advance some money on 
the things yourself, and then if she liked to redeem 
'em arter, she could. 



,AL)AM BEDE A PLAY 61 

THE LANDLORD. 

Well, have it your own way, Sarah. 
(The landlady puts her arm around Hetty and they leave the 
room. As they reach the door the landlady turns and says to 
her husband.) 

THE LANDLADY. 

And if anyone should come inquirin' you haven't seen 
any girl from the north. 

THE LANDLORD. 
Well, all right. Nobody ever said as John Stone 
couldn't keep a secret. 
(He takes out the locket and trinkets and examines them 
by the window. The door opens and Adam Bede comes in. He 
has a stick and a bundle and appears to have walked a long way. 
He looks worn and dusty and very anxious.) 

ADAM. 

Ye haven't seen any young woman here as was trav- 
elin' sou'ward? 

THE LANDLORD. 
What sort of a young woman? 

ADAM. 
Very young and pretty, eighteen years old, with grey 
eyes and curly hair and a red cloak on a.nd a basket on 
her arm. Tou couldn't forget her if you saw her. 

THE LANDLORD. 

Nay, I'n seen no young woman. 

ADAM. 

Think, are you quite sure'' Her name is Hetty — Hetty 
Sorrel. 

THE LANDLORD. 

How long ago might it be? 
ADAM. 

She left Mappieton Friday Avas a fortnight and was 
goin' to visit a young woman in Stoniton. But she 
never went there, and I can't trace her further nor Ash- 
by. 



62 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

THE LANDLORD. 

Mayhap she's run away, but I'n seen no young wo- 
man. Won't you have a pint o' ale? You seem tired- 
like, 

ADAM. 
No, I'll push on. The highway forks a few miles 
back and I maun take the other road. Happen she 
went in that direction. 

THE LANDLADY (Entering quickly.) 
The poor child is that — (stops suddenly on seeing 

Adam) ', 

ADAM. 

Goodbye, (goes out.) 

THE LANDLORD. 

(Bowing by the door.) 

I'm sorry I'm not able to serve you. 
THE LANDLADY. 

Why, who was that? Another stranger from the 

north? 

LANDLORD. 

Yes, he was inquirin' for a young girl in a red cloak 
as had run away from the north. He said her name 
was Hetty — Hetty Sorrel. 

THE LANDLADY (Running to the window.) 

Well, she couldn't go home now, that's for certain, 
and she told us not to tell. It's better so, perhaps, it's 

better so. 

THE LANDLORD. 

Well, I gi' ye my word I wouldn't tell, but I doubt not 
trouble'll come o' it. I don't like this deceivin.' 
THE LANDLADY. 
(Coaxingly, laying a hand on his arm.) 

But you couldn't be hard on the poor thing. Do you 
know how old our Mary would ha' been an' she'd lived? 
(The landlord rubs the back of his hand over his eyes, and the 
landlady goes to a chest that stands at one side of the room 
and begins to take out a baby's shirts and little dresses, laying 
them on the floor in a little white pile as 
The Curtain Falls. 



r ACT V. J 

Scene 1. 

(SCENE, a Courtroom, Time, February, 1800. At the back of 
the room a line of high pointed windows, variegated with the 
mellow tints of old stained glass. At one side is an oak gal- 
lery with dusty armor decorating its front. At the other side 
is a gallery with a curtain of old tapestry, covered with dim, 
indistinct figures. On the bench sits a grim judge in a black 
gown and white powdered wig. In front of him and below him 
is a table at which sit the clerk of the court, the prosecutor and 
a barrister who acts as Hetty's attorney, all in wigs and gowns. 
On one side is the jury of twelve men and at the other the 
prisoner's dock in which Hetty stands, very pale, dressed in 
black with white collar and cuffs, with her hands clasped before 
her. The court room is filled with people, among whom sits 
Mr. Irwine next to Martin Poyser, the jail chaplain, Bartle Mas- 
sey and Adam Bede. Adam sits as near the prisoner's dock as he 
can get, with his head part of the time bowed forward on the rail. 
The rest of the spectators are imknown to the audience, ex- 
cept that some of the tenants who appeared at the Hall in the 
second act might naturally be seen among them. There .are 
also ladies in the court room, fashionably and elaborately dress- 
ed after the fashion of the time, with big feathered bonnets and 
lorgnettes which they put up to stare at the prisoner and then 
to whisper. The ladies are seated in the galleries. When the 
curtain goes up, there is a witness in the witness chair — an el- 
derly man in rusty black. He is in the act of being sworn as 
the curtain rises, and the clerk mumbles the oath at him, much 
as is done in a modern court of law. The words cannot be un- 
derstood by the audience except the "s — elp — y — God" at the 
end. Instead of raising his hand as the oath is administered the 
witness kisses the book.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

What is your name, sir? 



64 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

THE WITNESS. 

Mark Buford, M. D. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

You know this defendant? 

THE WITNESS. 
I have seen her before. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Where? 

THE WITNESS. 

At the Green Man, an inn in Windsor, where I was 
called two weeks ago to treat her. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
State the nature of the treatment, doctor. 

THE WITNESS. 
I delivered her of a child. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Was the child born alive? 

THE WITNESS. 

It was, sir. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

When did you last see that child, doctor? 

THE WITNESS. 
The child was born on February 16, and the day after 
when I called, the landlady of the inn informed me that 
the mother and child had left the place and she did not 
know v/here they had gone. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
In your judgment, was the mother insane? 

THE WITNESS. 
Not at all, sir. She asked perfectly rational ques- 
tions concerning the child and seemed a fine, buxom 
young country woman. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
That will do, doctor. 
(As the doctor steps down from the chair Hetty stares at 
him.) 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 65 

HETTY. 

(As though speaking to herself.) 

I never had no child. I never had no child. 

THE BAILIFF (Tapping with a staff.) 
Order in court; order in court. 

THE CLERK (Sonorously.) 
Martin Poyser. 
(Martin Foyser, still rotund, but not nearly so rosy, takes 
the chair. He is sworn as the doctor was.) 
THE PROSECUTOR. 
Your name. 

MR. POYSER. 
Martin Poyser. (Hetty starts visibly as though she had 
not seen him before.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
Where do you reside? 

MR. POYSER. 
In the parish of Mappleton, county of Staffordshire. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Have you ever seen the defendant before? 

MR. POYSER. 
Yes, sir, she is my sister's child. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
When did you last see the defendant? 

MR. POYSER. 
Five weeks ago come Friday, sir. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
Where did she reside? 

POYSER. 
At my house, up to that time, sir. 
THE PROSECUTOR. 
Did she have a child when you last saw her? 

POYSER. 
She did not and I'm sure 



66 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



THE PROSECUTOR. 

That will do. Answer the question, please. Do you 
know of any reason why the witness should murder 
her child? 

POYSER. 
I do not, sir. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
That will do. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 
I should like to ask this witness a question. 

THE JUDGE. 
Proceed. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Was the defendant's reputation good in her parish? 
POYSER. 
None better. She was allays a good gell and her aunt — 
THE PROSECUTOR. 
I object to this line of questioning at this time. 

THE JUDGE. 
No further questions will be allowed. (To Poyser) 
That is all. 
(Mr. Poyser leaves the courtroom. Mr. Irwine joins him 
and puts his arm around his shoulder encouragingly.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Call Sarah Stone. 
(The bailiff goer, out and his voice is heard outside bellow- 
•ng) 

Sarah Stone, Sarah Stone. Sarah Stone, come into 
court. 
(The landlady of the Green Man enters the room. She is 
respectably clad in bonnet and shawl, and looks very unhappy. 
She is sworn like the others and takes her seat in the witness 

chair.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Tell us your name. 



ADAM BEDE A FLAi 



THE LANDLADY. 

My name is Sarah Stone. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

What is your occupation or your husband's occupa- 
tion? 

THE LANDLADY. 

My husband and I keep the Oreen Man, a licensed 
inn in Windsor, \ 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Toll us how you came to know the prisoner at the 
bar. 

THE LANDLADY. 

The prisoner is the same young woman who came 
looking ill and tired, with a basket on her arm and 
asked for lodgings at the Green Man. That was Feb- 
ruary 14. My husband asked her to come in and eat, 
she looked that tired. The prisoner began to cry and 
against mj^ husband's advice 1 asked her to stay at 
least for the night. Her prettiness, and something re- 
spectable about her clothes and looks, and the trouble 
she seemed to be in, made me as I couldn't find it in my 
heart to send her away at once. She'd hardly any 
money left in her pocket, but I saw no reason why I 
shouldn't take her in. I thought she'd been led wrong 
and got into trouble, and it would be a good work to 
keep her out of farther harm. 

THE PROSECUTOR (Holding out some baby clothes.) 
Have you seen these clothes before? 

THE LANDLADY. 
Yes sir. I made them myself, and had kept them by 
me ever since my last child was born. I took a deal 
of trouble both for the child and the mother. I 
couldn't help taking to the little thing and being anx- 
ious about it. The second night after she came the 
child was born, and the next day the mother would 
have no nay but would get up and be dressed, in spite 
of everything I could say. She said she felt quite 



6» ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

strong enough, and it was wonderful what spirit she 
sliowed. But I wasn't quite easy what I should do 
about her, and towards evening I made up my mind 
I'd go and speak to the doctor about it. I left the 
house about half-past eight o'clock. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Youi honor, I object. 

THE JUDGE. 

Objection overruled. Go on. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

We except. 

MRS. STONE. 

I left the prisoner sitting up by the fire in the 
kitchen with the baby on her lap. She hadn't cried or 
seemed low at all, as she did the night before. I 
thought she had a strange look with her eyes, and she 
got a bit flushed toward evening. I was afraid of the 
fever. I was longer than I meant to be, and it was 
an hour and a half before I got back, and when I went 
in, the candle was burning just as I left it, but the 
prisoner and the baby were both gone. She'd taken 
her cloak and bonnet, but she'd left her basket and 
things in it. I was dreadful frightened, and angry 
with her for going. I didn't go to give infor- 
mation because I'd no thought she meant to do any 
harm, and I knew she had enough money in her pocket 
to buy food and lodging. I didn't like to set the con- 
stable after her, for she'd a right to go from me if she 

liked. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

That will do. Mistress Stone. 
(Hetty's face is a study during the giving of this witness' 
testimony. The landlady leaves the stand, looking pittyingly 
toward Hetty.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 
Call John Olding. 
The bailiff (as before outside the courtroom) 

John Olding, John Olding, John Olding, come into 
court. 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 69 

(A man in a smock frock enters and takes the witness stand. 
He is sworn as the others were.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Your name? 

THE WITNESS. 

John Olding-, sir. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

What do you work at? 

THE WITNESS. 

I'm a laborer, sir. 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Where do you live? 

THE WITNESS. 

At Tedd's Hole, two miles out o' Windsor. 
THE PROSECUTOR. 

Tell us when 5'ou first saw this prisoner. 
THE WITNESS. 

A week last Monday, toward one o'clock in the af- 
ternoon, I was going toward Hetton Coppice, and about 
a quarter of a mile from the coppice I saw the prison- 
er, in a red cloak, sitting under a bit of a haystack not 
far off the stile. She got up when she saw me, and 
seemed as if she'd be walking on the other way. It 
was a regular road through the fields, and nothing very 
uncommon to see a young woman there, but I took no- 
tice of her because she looked white and scared. I 
should have thought she was a beggar woman only 
for her good clothes. I thought she looked a bit crazy, 
but it was no business of mine. I stood and looked 
back arter her, but she went right on while she was in 
sight. I had to go t' other side of the coppice to 
look after some stakes. I hadn't gone far afore I heard 
a strange cry. I thought it didn't come from any ani- 
mal I knew, but I wasn't for stopping to look about just 
then. But it went on, and seemed so strange to me In 
that place, I couldn't help stopping to look. But I'd 
hard work to tell which way it came from, and for a 



70 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



good while I kept looking up at the boughs. And 
then I thought it came from the ground; and there 
was a lot o' timber- choppings lying about, and loose 
pieces o' turf, and a trunk or two. And I looked about 
among them, but .at last the cry stopped. So I was for 
giving it up, and went on about my business. But when 
I come back the same way pretty nigh an hour arter, 
I couldn't help a-lj'ing down my stakes to h.ave another 
look. And just as I was stoopin' and a-layin' down o' the 
stakes, I saw somthing odd and round and whitish ly- 
ing on the ground under a nut-bush by the side of me. 
And I stooped down on hands and knees to pick it up. 
And I saw it war a little baby's hand. 
(At these words an audible thrill runs through the court. 
Hetty trembles visibly.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

Go on. 

THE WITNESS. 

There were a lot o' timber-choppings put together 
just where the ground went hollow-like, under the 
bush, and the hand come out from among 'em. But 
there were a hole left in one place, and I could see down 
it, and see the child's head; and I made haste and did 
away the turf and the choppings, and took out the child. 
It had got comfortable clothes on, but its body was 
cold, and I thought it must be dead. I made haste back 
with ii out o' the wood, and took it home to my wife. 
She said it war dead, and I'd better take it to the 
parish and tell the constable. And I said. Til lay my 
life it's that young woman's child, as I met going to the 
coppice.' But she seemed to be gone clean out of 
sight. And I took the child on to Hetton parish and 
told the constable, and we went on to Justice Hardy. 
And then we went lookin' arter the young woman till 
dark at night, and we went and gave information at 
Stoniton as they might stop her. And the next morn- 
ing another constable come to me, to go with him to 
the spot where I found the child. And when we got 
there, there was the prisoner a-sitting against the bush 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 71 

where I found the child; and she cried out when she 
saw us, but she never offered to move. She'd got a big 
piece o' bread on her lap. 
(As the witness finishes Adam gives a despairing groan and 

drops his head on the railing in front of him. The witness 

leaves the court room.) 

THE PROSECUTOR. 

That is the case for the Crown. 
THE CLERK. 
Call the Reverend Mr. Irwine. 

THE BAILIFF. 
Rector Irwine, Rector Irwine, Rector Irwine.. come 
into court. 
(Mr. Irwine takes his place in the witness' chair.) 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Your name, sir? 

MR. IRWINE. J 

Dauphin Irwine. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 
You are a church incumbent? 
MR. IRWINE. 
Yes — of the parishes of Donnithorne and Mappleton. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 
You know the prisoner at the bar? 

MR. IRWINE. 

Yes. She is one of my parishioners — a member of 
one of the most excellent families in the parish. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Had the prisoner to your knowledge ever committed 
any crime? 

MR. IRWINE. 

Never, so far as I know. She is a verj' young girl, 
only eighteen, of highly respectable antecedents and 
connections — a regular attendant at church, quiet and 
domestic. I 



72 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Did you know that she had left home? 
MR. IRWINE. 

Yes, over a fortnight ago. One of my parishioners 
came to me and told me that Hetty had gone to visit 
a relative in another parish, but had never reached 
there and it was feared that something had befallen 
her. Search was made. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 

Do you know any reason why she should kill her 
child, supposing that she did kill it? 

MR. IRWINE. 

None at all. I believe that her friends would have 
cared for her in her trouble. 

HETTY'S COUNSEL. 
That will do, sir. 
) (Mr. Irwine takes a place beside Adam.) 

THE JUDGE. 

Gentlemen of the jury, you have heard the evidence 
in this case. You have heard the testimony of the doc- 
tor who delivered the prisoner of her child; you have 
heard the evidence of the woman who sheltered her 
and from whom she ran away; you have heard the 
testimony of the laborer who found the dead child in 
the field after seeing the mother leave the place hurried- 
ly. The child was dressed in clothes which have been 
identified by the witness Stone. You have heard the 
testimony of the uncle of the prisoner who gave her a 
home and of the rector of her parish who believes that 
her friends would have forgiven her had she confessed 
her fault to them. You have seen the obstinate bear- 
ing of the prisoner and you have heard her deny, in 
the face of the evidence, that she ever had a child. It 
is now your duty to decide the question of fact — did the 
prisoner at the bar bury her new-born child, with the 
intention of abandoning it to its fate? The fact that 
it was alive when its cries were heard by Olding has 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 73 

nothing to do with the case — the intent to kill is the 
same. You will now retire and consider your verdict. 
If you believe the witnesses that you have heard tes- 
tify you must bring in a verdict of guilty. 
(The jury flies out of the box ami off the stage. The judge 
goes in the opposite direction and is followed by Hetty between 
her jailers. The court room breaks into a low hum of con- 
versation ) 

ADAM. 
Is he come back? 

MR. IRWINE. 
No, he is not. 
ADAM (looking hard at Mr. Irwine, in a tone of angry sus- 
picion.) 

You needn't deceive me, sir, I only want justice. 
I want him to feel what she feels. It's his work. . . . 
she was a child as it 'ud ha' gone t'anybody's heart to 
look at. . . I don't care what she's done. . . It 
was him brought her to it. And he shall know it. . 
he shall feel it. . . if there's a just God, he shall feel 
what it is t' ha' brought a child like her to sin and 
misery. . . 

MR. IRWINE. 
I'm not deceiving you, Adam, Arthur Donnithorne is 
not come back — was not come back when I left. I have 
left a letter for him; he will know all as soon as he ar- 
rives. ' I 
ADAM (Indignantly.) 
But you don't mind about it. You think it doesn't 
matter as she stands here in shame and misery, and 
he knows nothing about it — he suffers nothing. 
MR. IRWINE. 
Adam, he WILL know — he WILL suffer, long and 
bitterly. He has a heart and a conscience; I can't be 
entirely deceived in his character. He may be weak, 
but he is not callous, not coldly selfish. I am persuad- 
ed that this will be a shock of which he will feel the 
effects all his life. Why do you crave vengeance In this 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



way? No amount of torture thai you could inflict on 
HIM could benefit HER. 

ADAM (Groaning aloud.) 
No — Oh God, no, but this is the deepest curse of all. 
. . that's what makes the blackness of it. . . IT 
CAN NEVER BE UNDONE. My poor Hetty. . . she 
can never be my sweet Hetty again. . . the prettiest 
thing that God had made— smiling up at me. . . I 
thought she loved me. . . and was good. . . But 
she isn't as guilty as they say? You don't think she Is, 
sir? She can't ha' done it. 

MR. IRWINE (Gently.) 

That perhaps can never be known with certainty, 
Adam. But suppose the worst; you have no right to 
say that the guilt of her crime lies with him, and that 
he ought to bear the punishment. It is not for us men 
to apportion the shares of moral guilt and retribution. 
We find it impossible to avoid mistakes even in deter- 
mining who has committed a single criminal act, and 
the problem how far a man is to be held responsible for 
the unforeseen consequences of his own deed, is one 
that might well make us tremble to look into it.. Don't 
suppose I can't enter into the anguish that drives you 
into this state of revengeful hatred; but think of this: 
if you were to obey your passion — for it IS passion, 
and you deceive yourself in calling it justice — it might 
be with j'ou precisely as it has been with Arthur; nay, 
worse; your passion might lead you yourself into a 
horrible crime. 

ADAM (Bitterly.) 

No — not worse. I don't believe it's worse. I'd soon- 
er do a wickedness as I could suffer for myself, than 
ha' brought HER to do wickedness and then stand by 
and see 'em punish her while they let me alone; and all 
for a bit o' pleasure, as, if he'd had a man's heart in 
him, he'd ha' cut his hand off sooner than he'd ha' 
taken it. What if he didn't foresee what's happened? 
He foresaw enough; he'd no right t' expect anything 



ADAM BEDE A FLAY 75 

but hai^m and shame to her. And then he wanted to 
sniooth it over \vi' lies. No — there's plenty o' things 
folks are hanged for not half so hateful as that; let a 
man do what he will, if he knows he's to bear the pun- 
ishment himself, he isn't half so bad as a mean selfish 
coward as makes things easy t' himself, and knows all 
the while the punishment 'ull fall on somebody else. 
(The knock of the jury is heard. The clerk hastens away 
to summon the judge. The court room, which has been in dis- 
order, sinks into the deepest silence as the judge comes back 
through the door by which he left, with Hetty and her jail- 
ers following. She stands again in the prisoner's dock. The 
bailiff raps for order and shouts "Order in court," as the door 
opens and the jury files in. Everyone except Hetty leans for- 
ward, scrutinizing tlie faces. She alone seems turned to 
stone.) 

THE CLERK (calling off the names of the jurors.) 

Luke Bannister, Silas Marner, Seth Britton, John 
Casson, James Taft, Michael Holdsworth, Willum 
Craig, Joshua Rann, Willum Downes, Benjamin Ga- 
waine, John Satchell, Job Knowles, have j'ou agreed 
upon a verdict? 

FOREMAN OF THE JURY. 
We have. 

THE CLERK (To Hetty.) 
Hold up your hand. (She holds it up.) 
(To the jury). What is your verdict? 

FOREMAN OF THE JURY. 

Guilty. 

(In the midst of intense silence the judge puts on his black 
cap and the jail chaplain in canonicals appears behind him.) 

THE JUDGE. 

Hester Sorrel, what have you to say why sentence 
should not be passed upon you? 

HETTY. 

I never had any child. I never had any child. 



76 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

THE JUDGE (Frowning.) 

Hester Sorrel, you have been found guilty by a jury of 
your peers of a murder most foul and barbarous — to-wit, 
child murder — for which the laws of your country have 
affixed the punishment of death. The re.sult of your 
trial pronounces you a guilty person and it now awaits 
you to hear the sentence under which you are to re- 
ceive your country's justice. That sentence is that 
you, Hester Sorrel, be taken from the bar of the court 
where you now stand to the place whence you came, 
the jail, and thence you are to be conveyed on Monday 
next to the common place of execution and there you 
are to be hanged by the neck until you are dead and 
the Lord have mercy on your soul' 
(As the judge pronounces the words "until you are dead," 
Hetty gives a piercing shriek, Adam jumps to his feet and 
stretches his arms toward her, but cannot reach her, and she 
falls fainting inside the prisoner's dock, not a soul stretching a 
hand to save her, as the judge pronounces the final phrases. 
The Curtain Falls. 



SG&n& '2,. 



(The stage is entirely dark as the curtain rises on Hetty's 
cell. Dinah enters through a door at the back, opened for her 
by a turnkey with a key which grates in the lock. He has a 
lantern. He steps into the cell and his lantern searches out 
the gloom of the room, revealing Hetty with her head on her 
knees seated on a truckle-bed of straw. She is very pale and 
dressed in black, without a cap, her hair disordered and with 
only a white neckerchief at her throat. Dinah wears black with 
a white collar and cuffs and her plain white cap. She looks like 
a sister of mercy. She also is very pale. Dinah waits till the 
door closes behind the turnkey with a clang. He leaves his 
lantern behind him. A ray of light falls on Hetty.) 



ADAM BEJ)E A PLAY 77 

DINAH (Softly.) 
Hetty. 

(No answer or movement from Hetty.) 

DINAH. 

Hetty — it's Dinah. 
(Hetty makes a little motion.) 

DINAH. 
Hetty — Dinah is come to you. 
(Hetty lifts her head slowly from her knees. Dinah stretches 
out her arms to her.) 

DINAH. 
Don't you know me, Hetty? Don't you remember Di- 
nah? Did you think I wouldn't come to you in trouble? 
(Hetty fixes her eyes on Dinah's face.) 
DINAH. 
I'm come to be with yovi. Hetty — not to leave you — 
to stay with you — to be your sister to the last. 
(Hetty rises, takes a step forward and is clasped in Dinah's 
arms> After a pause they sit down side by side on the bed.) 
DINAH (Very pently.) 
Hetty, do you know who it is that sits by your side? 

HETTY (Slowly.) 
Yes — it's Dinah. 

DINAH. 
Oh, if I'd only known sooner of this, but I was in 
Leeds and came the moment I heard. Do you remem- 
ber the time we were at the Hall Farm together, and I 
told you to be sure and think of me as a friend in 
trouble? 

HETTY. 
Yes — but you can do nothing for me now. You 

can't make 'em do anything. They'll hang me in the 
morning. It's arter midnight now. 
(She shudders and clings to Dinah.) 
DINAH. 
No, Hetty, I can't save you from that death. But 
Isn't the suffering less hard when you have somebody 

LefC. 



78 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

with you, that feels for you — that you can speak to, 
and say what's in your heart? . . Hetty, lean on me; 
you are glad to have me with you? 
HETTY. 

You won't leave me, Dinah? You'll keep close to 
me? 

DINAH. 

No, Hetty, I won't leave you. I'll stay with you to 
the last . . . But, Hetty, there is some one else in 
this cell besides me, some one close to you. 
HETTY (In a frightened whisper.) 

Who? 

DINAH. 

Some one who has been with you through all your 
hours of sin and trouble — who has known every thought 
you have had — has seen where you went, where you laid 
down and rose up again, and all the deeds you have 
tried to hide in darkness. And in the morning, when I 
can't follow you — when my arms can't reach you — when 
death has parted us — He who is with us now, and 
knows all, will be with you then. It makes no difference 
— whether we live or die, we are in the presence of 
God. 

HETTY. 

Oh, Dinah, won't nobody do anything for me? WILL 
they hang me for certain? ... I wouldn't mind if 
they'd let me live. 

DINAH. 

My poor Hetty, death is very dreadful to you. I 
know it's dreadful. But if you had a friend to take care 
of you after death — in that other world — some one 
whose love is greater than mine — who can do every- 
thing. . . If God our Father was your friend, and 
was willing to save you from sin and suffering, so as 
you should neither know wicked feelings nor pain 
again? If you could believe He loved you and would 
help you, as you believe that I love you and will help 
you, it wouldn't be so hard to die would it? 



iDAM BEDE A PLAY 79 



H ETTY. 

But I can't know anything about it. 
DINAH. 

Because, Hetty, you are shutting up your soul 
against Him by trying to hide the truth. God's love 
and mercy can overcome all things — ignorance, and 
weakness, and all the burden of our past wickedness 
— all things but our willful sin; sin that we cling to, 
and will not give up. . . He can't bless you while 
you have one falsehood in your soul; His mercy can't 
reach you until you open your heart, and say, 'I have 
done this great wickedness; O God, save me, make me 
pure from sin.' Cast it off, now, Hetty — now; confess 
the wickedness you have done — the sin you have been 
guilty of against your heavenly Father. Let us kneel 
down together, for we are in the presence of God. 
(Holding Hetty's hand, Dinah kneels and Hetty follows her.) 
DINAH. 

Hetty, we are before God; He is waiting for you to 
tell the truth. 

HETTY (Beseechingly.) 

Dinah. . . help me. . . I can't feel anything like 
you. . . my heart is hard. 

DINAH (Her whole soul in her voice.) 

Jesus, thou present Saviour! Thou hast known the 
depths of all sorrow; Thou hast entered that black dark- 
ness where God is not, and has uttered the cry of the 
forsaken. Come, Lord, and gather of the fruits of Thy 
travail and Thy pleading; stretch forth Thy hand. Thou 
who art mighty to save to the uttermost, and rescue 
this lost one. She is clothed round with thick dark- 
ness, the fetters of her sin are upon her, and she can- 
not stir to come to Thee; she can only feel that her 
heart is hard, and she is helpless. She cries to me. Thy 
weak creature. . . Saviour! It is a blind cry to 
thee. Hear it! Pierce the darkness! T^ook upon her 
with Thy face of love and sorrow, that Thou didst turn 
on him who denied Thee; and melt her hard heart. 



80 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

See, Lord — I bring her, as they of old brought th» 
sick and helpless, and Thou didst heal them; I bear her 
on my arms and carry her before Thee. Saviour! it is 
yet time — time to snatch this poor soul from everlasting 
darkness. I believe — I believe in Thy infinite love. What 
is MY love or MY pleading? It is quenched in Thine. 
I can only clasp her in my weak arms, and urge her 
with my weak pity. Thou^ — Thou wilt breathe on the 
dead soul, and it shall arise from the unanswering sleep 
of death. Lord, I see Thee, coming through the dark- 
ness, coming, like the morning, with healing on Thy 
wings. The marks of Thy agony are upon Thee — I see 
I see Thou art able and willing to save — Thou wilt not 
let her perish forever. Come, mighty Saviour; let the 
dead hear Thy voice; let the eyes of the blind be opened; 
let her see that God encompasses her; let her tremble at 
nothing but at the sin that cuts her off from Him. 
Melt the hard heart; unseal the closed lips: ma,ke her 
cry with her whole soul, "Father, I have sinned!" 
HETTY (Sobbing and throwing her arms around Dinah's neck.) 

Dinah, I will speak. . . I will tell. ... I won't 
hide it any more. 
(They sit on the bed.) 

HETTY. 

I did do it, Dinah. . . I buried it in the wood. . . 
the little baby. . . and it cried. . I heard it cry 
. . . ever such a way off. . . all night. . . and 
I went back because it cried. . . (after a pause) But 
I thought perhaps it wouldn't die — there might some- 
body find it. I didn't kill — I didn't kill it myself. I 
put it down there and covered it up, and when I came 
back it was gone. . . It was because I was so very 
miserable, Dinah. . . I didn't know where to go. . . 
and I tried to kill myself before, and I couldn't. Oh, 
I tried so to drown myself in the pool, and I couldn't. 
I went to Windsor. I ran away — did you know? I went 
to find him, as he might take care of me; and he was 
gone; and then I didn't know what to do. I daredn't 
go back home again — I couldn't bear it. I couldn't 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 81 

have bore to look at anybody, for they'd have scorned 
me. I thought o' you sometimes, and thought I'd come 
to you, for 1 didn't think you'd be cross with me, and 
cry shame on me; I thought I could tell you. But then, 
the other folks 'ud come to know it at last, and I couldn't 
bear that. I was so frightened at going wandering 
about till I was a beggar-woman, and had nothing; and 
sometimes it seemed as if I must go back to the Farm 
sooner than that. Oh! it was so dreadful, Dinah I 

was so miserable. . . I wished I'd never been born 
Into this world. I should never like to go into the fields 
again — I hated 'em so in my misery. 

DINAH. 

My poor child. 

HETTY. 

And then I got to Windsor and the little baby was 
born, when I didn't expect it; and the thought came in- 
to my mind that I miglit get rid of it, and go home 
again. The thought came all of a sudden, as I was 
lying in the bed, and it got stronger and stronger. . . 
I longed to go back again. . . I couldn't bear being 
so lonely and coming to beg for want. And it gave 
me strength to get up and dress myself. I felt I must 
do it. . . I didn't know how. . . I thought I'd 
find a pool, if I could; like that other, in the corner of 
the field in the dark. And when the woman went out, 
I felt as if I was strong enough to do anything. . . I 
thought I should get rid of all my misery and go back 
home, and never let 'em know why I ran away. I put 
on my bonnet and cloak and went out into the dark 
street with the baby under my cloak, and I walked fast 
till I got into a street a ^ood way oft and there was a 
public inn and I got some warm stuff to drink and some 
bread. And I walked on and on, and I hardly felt the 
ground I trod on; and it got lighter, for there came the 
moon — oh, Dinah! it frightened me when it first looked 
at me out o' the clouds — it never looked so before; and 
I turned out of the road into the fields, for I was afraid 
o' meeting anybody with the moon shining on me. And 



82 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



I came to a . hay- stack, where I thought I could lie 
down and keep myself warm all night. There was a 
place cut into it, where I could make me a bed; and I 
lay comfortable, and the baby was warm against me; 
and I must have gone to sleep for a good while, for 
vrhen I woke it was morning, but not very light, and 
the baby was crying. And I saw a wood a little way off. 
. . . I thought there'd perhaps be a ditch or a pond 
there. . . and it was so early I thought I could hide 
the child there, and get a long way off before the folks 
was up. And then I thought I'd go home — I'd get rides 
in carts and go home, and tell 'em I'd been to try and 
seek for a place and couldn't get one. I longed so for it, 
Dinah — I longed so to be safe at home. I don't know 
how I felt about the baby. I seemed to hate it — it was 
like a heavy weight hanging round my neck; and yet 
its crying went through me, and I dared not look at its 
little hands and face. But I went on to the wood, and 
I walked about, but there was no water. 

(Hetty shudders. After a silence she goes on in a loud 
whisper.) 

I came to a place where there were lots of chips and 
turf, and I sat down on the trunk of a tree to think 
what I should do. And all of a sudden I saw a hole 
under the nut-tree, like a little grave. And it darted In- 
to me like lightning — I'd lay the baby there, and cover it 
with the grass and the chips. I couldn't kill it any 
other way. And I'd done it in a minute; and oh, it 
cried so, Dinah — I COULDN'T cover it quite up. I 
thought perhaps somebody 'ud come and take care of 
it, and then it wouldn't die. And I made haste out of 
the wood, but I could hear it crying all the while; and 
when I got out into the fields, it was as if I was held 
fast — I couldn't go away, for all I wanted so to go. And 
I pat against the haystack to watch if a^nybody 'ud come; 
I was. very hungry, and I'd only a bit of bread left; but 
I couldn't go away. And after ever such a while — hours 
and hours — the man came — him in the smock-frock — 
and he looked at me so, I was frightened, and I made 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 83 

haste and went on. I thought he was going to the wood 
and would, perhaps, find the baby. And I went right 
on, till I came to a village, a long way off from the 
wood; and I was very sick, and faint, and hungry. 1 
got something to eat there, and bought a loaf. But I 
was fiightened to stay. I heard the baby crying, and 
thoogbt the other folks heard it too — and I went on. 
But I was so tired, and it was getting toward dark. 
And at last by the roadside there was a barn — ever such 
a way off any house — and I thought I could go in there 
and hide myself among the hay and straw, and nobody 
'ud be likely to come. I went in, and it was half full o' 
trusses of straw, and there was some hay too. And I 
made myself a bed, ever so far behind, where nobody 
could find me; and I was so tired and weak, I went to 
sleep. . . But oh, the baby's crying kept waking me; 
and I thought that man as looked at me so was come 
and laying hold of me. But I must have slept a long 
while at last, though I didn't know; for when I got up 
and went out of the barn, I didn't know whether it was 
night or morning. But it was morning, for it kept get- 
ting lighter; and I turned back the way I'd come. I 
couldn't help it, Dinah; it was the baby's crying made 
me go; and yet I was frightened to death. I thought 
that man in the smock-frock 'ud see me, and know I 
put the baby there. But I went on, for I'd left off think- 
ing about going home — it had gone out o' my mind. I 
saw nothing but that place in the wood where I'd buried 
the baby. . . I see it now. Oh, Dinah! shall I allays 
see it? 

(Clings to Dinah, shuddering, but goes on again.) 

I met nobody, for it was very early, and I got into the 
wood. . . I knew the way to the place. . . the 
place against the nut-tree; and I could hear it crying 
at every step. . . I thought it was alive. . I don't 
know whether I was frightened or glad. . , I don't 
know what I felt. I only know I was in the wood and 
heard the cry. I don't know what I felt till I saw the 
baby was gone. And when I'd put it there, I thought 



84 ADAM BEDE A PLAY 

I should like somebody to find it, and save it from dy- 
ing; but when I saw it was gone, I was struck like a 
stone with fear. I never thought o' stirring, I felt so 
weak. I knew I couldn't run away, and everybody as 
saw me 'ud know about the baby. My heart went like 
a stone; I couldn't wish or try for anything; it seemed 
like as if I should stay there forever, and nothing 'ud 
ever change. But they came and took me away. 
(Another silence.) 

Dinah, do you think God will take away that crying 
and the place in the wood, now I've told everything? 

DINAH. 

Let us fall on our knees again, and pray to the God of 
all mercy. 
(The key is heard grating in the lock and Hetty, with a 
shriek, clings to Dinah. The door opens to admit Adam.) 

DINAH. 

Speak to him Hetty, tell him what is in your heart. 

HETTY. 
Adam. . . I'm very sorry. . . I behaved very 
wrong to you. . . will you forgive me. . . before 
I die? 

ADAM (With a half sob.) 

Yes, I iorgive thee, Hetty; I forgave thee long ago. 
HETTY (Keeping hold of Dinah's hand, goes up to Adam and 
Fays timidly.) 

Will you kiss me again, Adam, for all I've been so 
wicked ? 
(Adam takes her hand and they give the solemn kiss of 
a lifelong parting.) 

HETTY (In a stronger voice.) 
And tell him. . . tell him. . . for there's no- 
body else to tell him. . . as I went after him and 
couldn't find him. . . and I hated him and cursed 
him once. . . but Dinah says I should forgive him. . 
and I try. . , for else God won't forgive ms 
(There is a noise at the door of the cell and a key turns in 



ADAM BEDE A PLAY 



85 



the lock. There is a crowd of jailers at the door, with th© 
prison chaplain and Mr. Irv/ine. Hetty stares at them, 
clasping Dinah's hand as 

The Curtain Falls. 



Scene 3. 

TABLEAU. 

The curtain rises to show Hetty and Dinah standing in the 
death cart on the way to execution. The time is 7:30 of a 
March morning, and the dawn is yet brilliant in the east. 
Hetty wea.rs a long black cloak, her hair blows wild, and she 
is clasped in Dinah's arms. Dinah's eyes are fixed on the 
heavens and her lips move. 

The Curtain Falls. 




Jldatn Bede 

A PLAY 
pramatizcd from 6(orfl< €lief'$ novel 

Jfdam Bcde 




By 

MABEL CLARE CRAFT 

Oakland, Caitforaia. 


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