A beautiful use of wine to describe the effect of a smile on a man who loves. It comes at the end of half a page in which Eliot intricately unravels the games Hetty can play with the hearts of others. Pretty and pettish and petty, this girl. Her smile is nothing but a flirtation prompted by the fact she knows someone else is watching them. Yet Adam’s own honesty makes him believe it to be sincere.
‘But the smile was like wine to Adam.’
Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 308
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