Adam Bede Book Summary
Adam Bede is a young workman of twenty-six in the town of Hayslope in Loamshire. He is the foreman of a carpentry shop where his brother, Seth, also works. The novel opens in the workshop with an argument among the men about religion. We learn that Dinah Morris, a Methodist preacher with whom Seth is in love, will speak in the village that evening. Seth goes to the prayer meeting and afterwards proposes to Dinah, who refuses him. Meanwhile, Adam has gone home and found out from his mother, Lisbeth, that his father, Thias, has gone off drinking instead of finishing a coffin he had contracted for. Working all night, Adam finishes the coffin, and he and Seth deliver it in the morning. On their way home, they find the drowned body of their father in a brook. Joshua Rann, the parish clerk, informs Mr. Irwine, the local Anglican clergyman, that the Methodists are stirring up dissension in Hayslope. Mr. Irwine and Arthur Donnithorne, grandson and heir of the local landowner, ride over to see Dinah at the Hall Farm, a place tenanted by the Poysers, Dinah's uncle and aunt. Mr. Irwine speaks to Dinah and is impressed by her religious sincerity. Meanwhile, Arthur flirts with another of the Poysers' nieces, Hetty Sorrel, and she is greatly flattered by his attentions. Mr. Irwine informs Dinah of Thias Bede's death, and she goes to the Bedes' cottage and comforts Lisbeth. Arthur learns on the same occasion that Hetty will be at the Chase, his manor, in two days' time, and he places himself so as to meet her in a grove on the grounds. After talking with her, he is ashamed of himself for being attracted to a mere farm girl, but he cannot break the spell and later that day intercepts her again in the same grove and kisses her. Ashamed of his behavior once more, he decides to tell his troubles to Mr. Irwine, hoping that confession will cure his passion. But when he speaks to the clergyman at Broxton parsonage the following morning, he loses his nerve...
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