I have tried to schedule this to coincide with the arrival of snowdrops, which the French call ‘perce neige’, or snow piercer.  There are two references to snowdrops in Adam Bede, both alluding to the clean, bright souls of strong women, perhaps due to their upright vigour in the face of the elements.  Here one of the women looks into the face of the younger one, as yet unaware that she is looking at her future daughter-in-law.

‘… 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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