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Adam Bede by George Eliot

In a tone of beseeching Dinah


Hetty

obeyed Dinah's movement, and sank on her knees. They still held each other's hands, and there was long silence. Then Dinah said, "Hetty, we are before God. He is waiting for you to tell the truth."

Still there was silence. At last Hetty spoke, in a tone of beseeching--

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

Dinah held the clinging hand, and all her soul went forth in her voice:

"Jesus, thou present Saviour! Thou hast known the depths of all sorrow: thou hast entered that black darkness where God is not, and hast 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 darkness. The fetters of her sin are upon her, and she cannot stir to come to thee. She can only feel 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! Look upon her with thy face of love and sorrow that thou didst turn on him who denied thee, and melt her hard heart.

"See, Lord, I bring her, as they of old brought the sick and helpless, and thou didst heal them. I bear her on my arms and carry her before thee. Fear and trembling have taken hold on

her, but she trembles only at the pain and death of the body. Breathe upon her thy life-giving Spirit, and put a new fear within her--the fear of her sin. Make her dread to keep the accursed thing within her soul. Make her feel the presence of the living God, who beholds all the past, to whom the darkness is as noonday; who is waiting now, at the eleventh hour, for her to turn to him, and confess her sin, and cry for mercy--now, before the night of death comes, and the moment of pardon is for ever fled, like yesterday that returneth not.

"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.

"Yea, Lord, I see thee, coming through the darkness 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 for ever. 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: make her cry with her whole soul, 'Father, I have sinned.'..."

"Dinah," Hetty sobbed out, throwing her arms round Dinah's neck, "I will speak...I will tell...I won't hide it any more."

But the tears and sobs were too violent. Dinah raised her gently from her knees and seated her on the pallet again, sitting down by her side. It was a long time before the convulsed throat was quiet, and even then they sat some time in stillness and darkness, holding each other's hands. At last Hetty whispered, "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."


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