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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 427 pages of information about The Return of the Native.

“I’ll tell you how you mid see her, Mr. Yeobright,” said Sam.  “We are going to grapple for the bucket at six o’clock tonight at her house, and you could lend a hand.  There’s five or six coming, but the well is deep, and another might be useful, if you don’t mind appearing in that shape.  She’s sure to be walking round.”

“I’ll think of it,” said Yeobright; and they parted.

He thought of it a good deal; but nothing more was said about Eustacia inside the house at that time.  Whether this romantic martyr to superstition and the melancholy mummer he had conversed with under the full moon were one and the same person remained as yet a problem.

III

The First Act in a Timeworn Drama

The afternoon was fine, and Yeobright walked on the heath for an hour with his mother.  When they reached the lofty ridge which divided the valley of Blooms-End from the adjoining valley they stood still and looked round.  The Quiet Woman Inn was visible on the low margin of the heath in one direction, and afar on the other hand rose Mistover Knap.

“You mean to call on Thomasin?” he inquired.

“Yes.  But you need not come this time,” said his mother.

“In that case I’ll branch off here, mother.  I am going to Mistover.”

Mrs. Yeobright turned to him inquiringly.

“I am going to help them get the bucket out of the captain’s well,” he continued.  “As it is so very deep I may be useful.  And I should like to see this Miss Vye—­not so much for her good looks as for another reason.”

“Must you go?” his mother asked.

“I thought to.”

And they parted.  “There is no help for it,” murmured Clym’s mother gloomily as he withdrew.  “They are sure to see each other.  I wish Sam would carry his news to other houses than mine.”

Clym’s retreating figure got smaller and smaller as it rose and fell over the hillocks on his way.  “He is tender-hearted,” said Mrs. Yeobright to herself while she watched him; “otherwise it would matter little.  How he’s going on!”

He was, indeed, walking with a will over the furze, as straight as a line, as if his life depended upon it.  His mother drew a long breath, and, abandoning the visit to Thomasin, turned back.  The evening films began to make nebulous pictures of the valleys, but the high lands still were raked by the declining rays of the winter sun, which glanced on Clym as he walked forward, eyed by every rabbit and fieldfare around, a long shadow advancing in front of him.

On drawing near to the furze-covered bank and ditch which fortified the captain’s dwelling he could hear voices within, signifying that operations had been already begun.  At the side-entrance gate he stopped and looked over.

Half a dozen able-bodied men were standing in a line from the well-mouth, holding a rope which passed over the well-roller into the depths below.  Fairway, with a piece of smaller rope round his body, made fast to one of the standards, to guard against accidents, was leaning over the opening, his right hand clasping the vertical rope that descended into the well.

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