Summary and Analysis
Book I: Chapter 3
Seth sees Dinah home after the meeting; she is staying with her uncle and aunt, the Poysers, at the Hall Farm. He asks her to marry him, feeling her to be a beautiful soul, full of goodness. Dinah gently refuses, explaining that she wants to live without a family. Her whole life is dedicated to serving others, and she has no heart for considering her own selfish desires. Seth accepts her decision with regret and resignation; there are no hard feelings.
Seth Bede, though a minor character in the novel, has a considerable impact on his brother, and his general attitude should be noted. He is an absentminded, impractical, "wool-gathering" fellow, but he has a gentle, loving heart like Dinah's. When she refuses his marriage proposal, he says only, "I must seek for strength to bear it." Adam gravitates towards Seth's type of sympathetic humanity in the course of the novel.