While he watched the far-removed landscape a tawny stain grew into being on the lower verge: the eclipse had begun. This marked a preconcerted moment: for the remote celestial phenomenon had been pressed into sublunary service as a lover’s signal. Yeobright’s mind flew back to earth at the sight; he arose, shook himself and listened. Minute after minute passed by, perhaps ten minutes passed, and the shadow on the moon perceptibly widened. He heard a rustling on his left hand, a cloaked figure with an upturned face appeared at the base of the Barrow, and Clym descended. In a moment the figure was in his arms, and his lips upon hers.
Such a situation had less than three months brought forth.
They remained long without a single utterance, for no language could reach the level of their condition: words were as the rusty implements of a by-gone barbarous epoch, and only to be occasionally tolerated.
“I began to wonder why you did not come,” said Yeobright, when she had withdrawn a little from his embrace.
“You said ten minutes after the first mark of shade on the edge of the moon, and that’s what it is now.”
“Well, let us only think that here we are.”
Then, holding each other’s hand, they were again silent, and the shadow on the moon’s disc grew a little larger.
“Has it seemed long since you last saw me?” she asked.
“It has seemed sad.”
“And not long? That’s because you occupy yourself, and so blind yourself to my absence. To me, who can do nothing, it has been like living under stagnant water.”
“I would rather bear tediousness, dear, than have time made short by such means as have shortened mine.”
“In what way is that? You have been thinking you wished you did not love me.”
“How can a man wish that, and yet love on? No, Eustacia.”
“Men can, women cannot.”
“Well, whatever I may have thought, one thing is certain—I do love you—past all compass and description. I love you to oppressiveness—I, who have never before felt more than a pleasant passing fancy for any woman I have ever seen. Let me look right into your moonlit face and dwell on every line and curve in it! Only a few hair-breadths make the difference between this face and faces I have seen many times before I knew you; yet what a difference—the difference between everything and nothing at all. One touch on that mouth again! there, and there, and there. Your eyes seem heavy, Eustacia.”