Summary of Chapter 49: At the Hall Farm
Eighteen months later, Mrs. Poyser is trying to talk Dinah out of leaving for Snowfield. She has been staying with the Poysers to help them through the tragedy. Mrs. Poyser tries to convince her she can minister to the poor in Hayslope; there are many people who depend on her. Dinah says she must avoid the temptation of luxury and go back to the mill where she is needed more. Dinah reminds her aunt that she has stayed to see them all back on their feet, and they are well and prosperous. It is mentioned that old Mr. Poyser died the previous year, the reason for Mrs. Poyser wearing black.
When Adam Bede comes to the farm, Dinah blushes. Adam has come to fetch her for his mother, who is ailing. He explains his mother is working too hard but will not let him hire a girl to help her. Mrs. Poyser announces to the family at tea that Dinah is leaving, and she looks disturbed and rushes from the room crying. Everyone had counted on Dinah staying, even Mr. Irwine who treats her like a lady. Adam speaks of his great success with the woods and new building. Mr. Poyser mentions that Burge will no doubt want Adam to take more part in the business, and Adam says he would like to buy the business for himself so he can do as he likes. He gets along with the new Donnithorne steward and Mr. Irwine’s management but prefers to be on his own.
Commentary on Chapter 49
The argument between Dinah and her aunt fill the reader in with what has happened since the trial. Dinah has been a peacemaker, helping the Poysers re-integrate with the community. Dinah mentions their friends and neighbors being supportive, something that the Poysers had feared would never happen. They are not the outcasts they had imagined themselves but once more installed in their old position.
Dinah seems a bit mysterious about why she has to leave. She is blushing and crying. Adam has never seen her look upset before, but he cannot read her behavior. She seems to be running away to Snowfield and covering up something. All this is highly uncharacteristic of Dinah. If readers remember how she blushed in Adam’s presence before, they may surmise she is in love with him.