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century Englishman, or Thackeray for the higher social stratum of his time. Its last traces are vanishing so rapidly amidst the changes of modern revolution, that its picture could hardly be drawn again, even if there were an artist of equal skill and penetration. And thus, when the name of George Eliot is mentioned, it calls up, to me at least, and, I suspect, to most readers, not so much her later and more ambitious works, as the exquisite series of scenes so lovingly and vividly presented in the earlier stage.

She has been approached, if she has not been surpassed, by other writers in her idyllic effects. But there is somethiag less easily paralleled in the peculiar veiu of humor which is the essential complement of the more tender passages. Mrs. Poyser is necessary to balance the solemnity of Dinah Morris; Silas Marner would lose half his impressiveness if he were not in contrast with the inimitable party in the 'Rainbow' parlor.

It is enough to take note of the fact that George Eliot possessed a vein of humor of which it is little to say that it is incomparably superior in depth, if not in delicacy, to that of any feminine writer. It is the humor of a calm, contemplative mind, familiar with wide fields of knowledge, and capable of observing the little dramas of rustic life from a higher standing-point. It is not—in these earlier books at any ratethat she obtrudes her acquirements upon us; for, if here and there we find some of those scientific illusions which afterward became a kind of mannerism, they are introduced without any appearance of forcing. It is simply that she is awake to those quaint aspects of the little world before her, which only show their quaintness to the cultivated intellect

There is the breadth of touch, the large-minded equable spirit of lov. ing, contemplative thought, which is fully conscious of the narrow limitations of the actor's thoughts and habits, but does not cease on that account to sympathize with his joys and sorrows. We are on a petty stage, but not in a stifling atmosphere, and we are not called upon to accept the prejudices of the actors, or to be angry with them, but simply to understand and be tolerant.”—Leslie Stephen.

From George Eliot's Adam Bede. Hetty was coming down stairs, and Mrs. Poyser, in her plain bonnet and shawl, was standing below. If ever a girl looked as if she had been made of roses, that girl was Hetty in her Sunday hat and frock. For her hat was trimmed with pink, and her frock had pink spots sprinkled on a white ground. There was nothing but pink and white about her, except in her dark hair and eyes and her little buckled shoes. Mrs. Poyser was provoked at herself, for she could hardly keep from smiling, as any mortal is inclined to do at the sight of pretty, round things. So she turned without speaking and joined the group outside the house door, followed by Hetty, whose heart was fluttering so at the thought of some one she expected to see at church that she hardly felt the ground she trod on.

And now the little procession set off. Mr. Poyser was in his Sunday suit of drab, with a red and green waistcoat, and a green watch-ribbon, having a large cornelian seal attached, pendent like a plumb-line from that promontory where his watch-pocket was situated; a silk handkerchief of a yellow tone round his neck, and excellent gray ribbed stockings, knitted by Mrs. Poyser's own hands, setting off the proportions of his leg. Mr. Poyser had no reason to be ashamed of his leg, and suspected that the growing abuse of top-boots and other fashions tending to disguise the nether limbs, had their origin in a pitiable degeneracy of the human calf. Still less had he reason to be ashamed of his round, jolly face, which was good-humor itself, as he said, “ Come, Hetty,come, little uns!” and, giving his arm to his wife, led the way through the causeway gate into the yard.

The “ little uns” addressed were Marty and Tommy, boys of nine and seven, in little fustian tailed coats and knee-breeches, relieved by rosy cheeks and black eyes; looking as much like their father as a very small elephant is like a very large one. Hetty walked between them, and behind came patient Molly, whose task it was to carry Totty through the yard and over all the wet places on the road; for Totty, having speedily recovered from her threatened fever, had insisted on going to church to-day, and especially on wearing her red-and-black necklace outside her tippet. And there were many wet places for her to be carried over this afternoon, for there had been heavy showers in the morning, though now the clouds had rolled off and lay in towering silvery masses on the horizon.

You might have known it was Sunday if you had only waked up in the farm-yard. The cocks and the hens seemed to know it, and made only crooning subdued noises; the very bull-dog looked less savage, as if he would have been satisfied with a smaller bite than usual. The sunshine seemed to call all things to rest and not to labor; it was asleep itself on the moss-grown cow-shed; on the group of white ducks nestling together with their bills tucked urder their wings; on the old black sow stretched languidly on the straw, while her largest young one found an excellent spring-bed on his mother's fat ribs; on Alick, the shepherd, in his new smock-frock, taking an uneasy siesta, half-sitting, half-standing on the granary steps. Alick was of opinion that church, like other luxuries, was not to be indulged in often by a foreman who had the weather and the ewes on his mind. “Church! nay—I'n gotten summat else to think on,” was an answer which he often uttered in a tone of bitter significance that silenced farther question. I feel sure Alick meant no irreverence; indeed, I know that his mind was not of a speculative, negative cast, and he would on no account have missed going to church on Christmas-day, Easter Sunday, and “ Whissuntide. But he had a general impression that public worship and religious ceremonies, like other non-productive employments, were intended for people who had leisure.

“There's father a-standing at the yard gate,” said Martin Poyser. I reckon he wants to watch us down the field. It's wonderful what sight he has, and him turned seventy-five."

“Ah! I often think it's wi' thi’ old folks as it is wi' the babbies,” said Mrs. Poyser; “they're satisfied wi’looking, no matter what they're looking at. It's God Almighty's way o'quietening 'em, I reckon, afore they go to sleep."

Old Martin opened the gate as he saw the family procession approaching, and held it wide open, leaning on his stick-pleased to do this bit of work; for, like all old men whose life has been spent in labor, he liked to feel that he was still useful—that there was a better crop of onions in the garden because he was by at the sowing, and that the cows would be milked the better if he staid at home on a Sunday afternoon to look on. He always went to church on Sacrament Sundays, but not very regularly at other times; on wet Sundays, or whenever he had a touch of rheumatism, he used to read the three first chapters of Genesis instead.

“They'll ha putten Thias Bede i’ the ground afore ye get to the churchyard,” he said, as his son came up. “It 'ud ha' been better luck if they'd ha' buried him i’ the forenoon when the rain was fallin’; there's no likelihoods of a drop now, an' the moon lies like a boat there, dost see? That's a sure sign of fair weather; there's a many as is false, but that's sure.”

Ay, ay,” said the son, “I'm in hopes it'll hold up now."

“Mind what the parson says-mind what the parson says, my lads,” said grandfather to the black-eyed youngsters in knee-breeches, conscious of a marble or two in their pockets, which they looked forward to handling a little, secretly, during the sermon.

And when they were all gone, the old man leaned on the gate again, watching them across the lane, along the Home Close, and through the far gate, till they disappeared behind a bend in the hedge. For the


hedgerows in those days shut out one's view, even on the better-man. aged farms; and this afternoon the dog-roses were tossing out their pink wreaths, the night-shade was in its yellow and purple glory, the pale honeysuckle grew out of reach, peeping high up out of a holly bush, and, over all, an ash or a sycamore every now and then threw its shadow across the path.

There were acquaintances at other gates who had to move aside and let them pass; at the gate of the Home Close there was half the dairy of cows standing one behind the other, extremely slow to understand that their large bodies might be in the way; at the far gate there was the mare holding her head over the bars, and beside her the liver-colored foal with its head toward its mother's flank, apparently still much embarrassed by its own straddling existence. The way lay entirely through Mr. Poyser's own fields till they reached the main road leading to the village, and he turned a keen eye on the stock and the crops as they went along, while Mrs. Poyser was ready to supply a running commentary on them all. The woman who manages a dairy has a large share in making the rent, so she may well be allowed to have her opinion on stock and their “keep”-an exercise which strengthens her understanding so much that she finds herself able to give her husband advice on most other subjects.

There's that short-horned Sally,” she said, as they entered the Home Close, and she caught sight of the meek beast that lay chewing the cud, and looking at her with a sleepy eye. “I begin to hate the sight o'the cow; and I say now what I said three weeks ago, the sooner we get rid of her th' better, for there's that little yallow cow as doesn't give half the milk and yet I've twice as much butter from her.”

· Why, thee't not like the women in general,” said Mr. Poyser; “they like the short-horns, as give such a lot of milk. There's Chowne's wife wants him to buy no other sort.”

'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 wander as the scratchin's run through. I've seen enough of her to know as I'll niver take a servant from her house again—all huggermugger—and you'd niver know, when you went in,

ther it was Monday or Friday, the wash draggin' on to th' end o' the week; and as for her cheese, I know well enough it 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.”

"Well, Chowne's been wanting to buy Sally, so we can get rid of her, if thee lik’st,” said Mr. Poyser, secretly proud of his wife's superior power of putting two and two together; indeed, on recent market days, he had more than once boasted of her discernment in this very matter of short-horns.

“Ay, them as choose a soft for a wife may’s well buy up the shorthorns, for, if you get your head stuck in a bog, your legs may's well go after it. Eh! talk o' leys, there's legs for you,” Mrs. Poyser continued, as Totty, who had been set down now the road was dry, toddled on in front of her father and mother. “There's shapes! An’ she's got such a long foot, she'll be her father's own child.”

“Ay, she'll be welly such a one as Hetty i' ten years time, ony she's got thy colored eyes. I niver. remember a blue eye i' my family; my mother had eyes as black as sloes, just like Hetty's.”

“The child 'ull be none the worse for having summat as isn't like Hetty. An' I'm none for having her so over pretty. Though, for the matter o’ that, there's people wi' light hair an' blue eyes as pretty as them wi' black. If Dinah had got a bit o' color in her cheeks, an' didn't stick that Methodist cap on her head, enough to frighten the crows, folks ’ud think her as pretty as Hetty.”

“ Nay, nay,” said Mr. Poyser, with rather a contemptuous emphasis, “thee dostna know the pints of a woman. The men 'ud niver run after Dinah as they would after Hetty.”

“What care I what the men 'ud run after? It's well seen what choice the most of 'em know how to make, by the poor draggle-tails o'wives you see, like bits o' gauze ribbin, good for nothing when the color's gone.”

“Well, well, thee canstna say but what I know'd how to make a choice when I married thee,” said Mr. Poyser, who usually settled little conjugal disputes by a compliment of this sort, “and thee was twice as buxom as Dinah ten years ago.”

“I niver said as a woman had need to be ugly to make a good missis of a house. There's Chowne's wife ugly enough to turn the milk an' save the rennet, but she'll niver save nothing any other way. But as for Dinah, poor child, she's niver likely to be buxom as long as she'll make her dinner o' cake and water, for the sake o' giving to them as want. She provoked me past bearing sometimes; and, as I told her, she went clean again' the Scriptur, for that says, 'Love your neig

por as yourself;' but I said, “if you loved your neighbor no better nor you do yourself, Dinah, it's little enough you'd do for him. You'd be thinking he might do well enough on a half-empty stomach.' Eh, I wonder where she is this blessed Sunday! sitting by that sick woman, I daresay, as she'd set her heart on going to all of a sudden."

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