Then he turned to pursue his way homeward through the drizzle that had so greatly transformed the scene. The ferns, among which he had lain in comfort yesterday, were dripping moisture from every frond, wetting his legs through as he brushed past; and the fur of the rabbits leaping before him was clotted into dark locks by the same watery surrounding.
He reached home damp and weary enough after his ten-mile walk. It had hardly been a propitious beginning, but he had chosen his course, and would show no swerving. The evening and the following morning were spent in concluding arrangements for his departure. To stay at home a minute longer than necessary after having once come to his determination would be, he felt, only to give new pain to his mother by some word, look, or deed.
He had hired a conveyance and sent off his goods by two o’clock that day. The next step was to get some furniture, which, after serving for temporary use in the cottage, would be available for the house at Budmouth when increased by goods of a better description. A mart extensive enough for the purpose existed at Anglebury, some miles beyond the spot chosen for his residence, and there he resolved to pass the coming night.
It now only remained to wish his mother good-bye. She was sitting by the window as usual when he came downstairs.
“Mother, I am going to leave you,” he said, holding out his hand.
“I thought you were, by your packing,” replied Mrs. Yeobright in a voice from which every particle of emotion was painfully excluded.
“And you will part friends with me?”
“I am going to be married on the twenty-fifth.”
“I thought you were going to be married.”
“And then—and then you must come and see us. You will understand me better after that, and our situation will not be so wretched as it is now.”
“I do not think it likely I shall come to see you.”
“Then it will not be my fault or Eustacia’s, mother. Good-bye!”
He kissed her cheek, and departed in great misery, which was several hours in lessening itself to a controllable level. The position had been such that nothing more could be said without, in the first place, breaking down a barrier; and that was not to be done.
No sooner had Yeobright gone from his mother’s house than her face changed its rigid aspect for one of blank despair. After a while she wept, and her tears brought some relief. During the rest of the day she did nothing but walk up and down the garden path in a state bordering on stupefaction. Night came, and with it but little rest. The next day, with an instinct to do something which should reduce prostration to mournfulness, she went to her son’s room, and with her own hands arranged it in order, for an imaginary time when he should return again. She gave some attention to her flowers, but it was perfunctorily bestowed, for they no longer charmed her.