The most formidable part of Mrs. Poyser, mistress of the Hall Farm in George Eliot's novel " Adam Bede," was her tongue, which was as sharp as a razor and as tireless as a machine. She was a shrewd, capable woman, very energetic and fair-minded, who loathed, above all things, laziness, frivolity and injustice. Her maids worked under a constant stream of orders, advice and reproaches, and it went ill with anyone who excited her derision, for she had a pronounced gift for homely epigram. Of one character she said that he was " like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow." Most people stood in awe of her, but everyone was delighted when she turned the guns of her sarcasm upon the niggardly old squire, and, metaphorically, reduced him to pulp. It must not be thought that Mrs. Poyser had no heart. She was fond of her niece, Dinah Morris, a sweet and saintly creature, and although she was somewhat contemptuous of frivolous little Hetty Sorrel, she helped her loyally in her time of trouble. A very admirable, wise woman, in short, was Mrs. Poyser ; of the type which is the salt of the earth.