The Return of the Native eBook

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

“Mother, that’s not true,” he firmly answered.

“Can you maintain that I sit and tell untruths, when all I wish to do is to save you from sorrow?  For shame, Clym!  But it is all through that woman—­a hussy!”

Clym reddened like fire and rose.  He placed his hand upon his mother’s shoulder and said, in a tone which hung strangely between entreaty and command, “I won’t hear it.  I may be led to answer you in a way which we shall both regret.”

His mother parted her lips to begin some other vehement truth, but on looking at him she saw that in his face which led her to leave the words unsaid.  Yeobright walked once or twice across the room, and then suddenly went out of the house.  It was eleven o’clock when he came in, though he had not been further than the precincts of the garden.  His mother was gone to bed.  A light was left burning on the table, and supper was spread.  Without stopping for any food he secured the doors and went upstairs.

IV

An Hour of Bliss and Many Hours of Sadness

The next day was gloomy enough at Blooms-End.  Yeobright remained in his study, sitting over the open books; but the work of those hours was miserably scant.  Determined that there should be nothing in his conduct towards his mother resembling sullenness, he had occasionally spoken to her on passing matters, and would take no notice of the brevity of her replies.  With the same resolve to keep up a show of conversation he said, about seven o’clock in the evening, “There’s an eclipse of the moon tonight.  I am going out to see it.”  And, putting on his overcoat, he left her.

The low moon was not as yet visible from the front of the house, and Yeobright climbed out of the valley until he stood in the full flood of her light.  But even now he walked on, and his steps were in the direction of Rainbarrow.

In half an hour he stood at the top.  The sky was clear from verge to verge, and the moon flung her rays over the whole heath, but without sensibly lighting it, except where paths and water-courses had laid bare the white flints and glistening quartz sand, which made streaks upon the general shade.  After standing awhile he stooped and felt the heather.  It was dry, and he flung himself down upon the barrow, his face towards the moon, which depicted a small image of herself in each of his eyes.

He had often come up here without stating his purpose to his mother; but this was the first time that he had been ostensibly frank as to his purpose while really concealing it.  It was a moral situation which, three months earlier, he could hardly have credited of himself.  In returning to labour in this sequestered spot he had anticipated an escape from the chafing of social necessities; yet behold they were here also.  More than ever he longed to be in some world where personal ambition was not the only recognized form of progress—­such, perhaps, as might have

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The Return of the Native from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.