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.

He probed the glowworms with a bit of stick, and rolled them over, till the bright side of their tails was upwards.

“There’s light enough.  Throw on,” said Venn.

Wildeve brought down the box within the shining circle and looked eagerly.  He had thrown ace.  “Well done!—­I said it would turn, and it has turned.”  Venn said nothing; but his hand shook slightly.

He threw ace also.

“O!” said Wildeve.  “Curse me!”

The die smacked the stone a second time.  It was ace again.  Venn looked gloomy, threw:  the die was seen to be lying in two pieces, the cleft sides uppermost.

“I’ve thrown nothing at all,” he said.

“Serves me right—­I split the die with my teeth.  Here—­take your money.  Blank is less than one.”

“I don’t wish it.”

“Take it, I say—­you’ve won it!” And Wildeve threw the stakes against the reddleman’s chest.  Venn gathered them up, arose, and withdrew from the hollow, Wildeve sitting stupefied.

When he had come to himself he also arose, and, with the extinguished lantern in his hand, went towards the high-road.  On reaching it he stood still.  The silence of night pervaded the whole heath except in one direction; and that was towards Mistover.  There he could hear the noise of light wheels, and presently saw two carriage-lamps descending the hill.  Wildeve screened himself under a bush and waited.

The vehicle came on and passed before him.  It was a hired carriage, and behind the coachman were two persons whom he knew well.  There sat Eustacia and Yeobright, the arm of the latter being round her waist.  They turned the sharp corner at the bottom towards the temporary home which Clym had hired and furnished, about five miles to the eastward.

Wildeve forgot the loss of the money at the sight of his lost love, whose preciousness in his eyes was increasing in geometrical progression with each new incident that reminded him of their hopeless division.  Brimming with the subtilized misery that he was capable of feeling, he followed the opposite way towards the inn.

About the same moment that Wildeve stepped into the highway Venn also had reached it at a point a hundred yards further on; and he, hearing the same wheels, likewise waited till the carriage should come up.  When he saw who sat therein he seemed to be disappointed.  Reflecting a minute or two, during which interval the carriage rolled on, he crossed the road, and took a short cut through the furze and heath to a point where the turnpike-road bent round in ascending a hill.  He was now again in front of the carriage, which presently came up at a walking pace.  Venn stepped forward and showed himself.

Eustacia started when the lamp shone upon him, and Clym’s arm was involuntarily withdrawn from her waist.  He said, “What, Diggory?  You are having a lonely walk.”

“Yes—­I beg your pardon for stopping you,” said Venn.  “But I am waiting about for Mrs. Wildeve:  I have something to give her from Mrs. Yeobright.  Can you tell me if she’s gone home from the party yet?”

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