This is Lisbeth, mother of Adam Bede, looking closely at the beloved face of Dinah, who would become her daughter-in-law.  She looks for an affirmation of gentleness and purity, which she finds.  Elsewhere, George Eliot describes Lisbeth herself as being ‘clean as a snowdrop’.

‘… and looked at her face, as one looks into a newly-gathered snowdrop.’

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 530

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