Adam Bede: Chapter 47

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Summary of Chapter 47: The Last Moment

 

There is a crowd on the street waiting to see the hanging. They are there to watch the now legendary Dinah Morris, the young Methodist woman who made Hetty confess, as much as to see the criminal. Dinah stands beside Hetty in the cart as it moves through the streets to the gallows. Dinah tells Hetty to close her eyes, and she begins to pray aloud to keep her thoughts on God and not on the crowd. Suddenly there is a shout. A horseman gallops up with a paper in his hand. It is Arthur Donnithorne with a stay of execution.

 

Commentary on Chapter 47

 

Most readers will not mind this sentimental last-minute reprieve with the romantic image of Arthur riding in on his horse to save the day. Equally romantic is the picture of Dinah and Hetty in the cart on the way to the gallows. The crowd is hushed with awe watching them. It is like an old ballad.

 

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