This describes pretty Hetty utterly unprepared, and incapable of becoming prepared, for mature, meaningful relationships. It’s also an early intimation of the compassion and succour Dinah will later bring her.
‘Like a child hugging its toys in the beginning of a long toilsome journey, in which it will have to bear hunger and cold and unsheltered darkness.’
Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 203
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