Arthur has the upper hand socially, although morally and physically he is no match for Adam.  But he won the girl Adam loved, for being almost as pretty and flighty as she.

‘And Arthur must sink under a well-planted blow of Adam’s, as a steel rod is broken by an iron bar.’

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 347

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