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

“I will go when I have spoken a word.  If anyone says I have come here to question you without good grounds for it, that person speaks untruly.  If anyone says that I attempted to stop your marriage by any but honest means, that person, too, does not speak the truth.  I have fallen on an evil time; God has been unjust to me in letting you insult me!  Probably my son’s happiness does not lie on this side of the grave, for he is a foolish man who neglects the advice of his parent.  You, Eustacia, stand on the edge of a precipice without knowing it.  Only show my son one-half the temper you have shown me today—­and you may before long—­and you will find that though he is as gentle as a child with you now, he can be as hard as steel!”

The excited mother then withdrew, and Eustacia, panting, stood looking into the pool.

II

He Is Set Upon by Adversities; but He Sings a Song

The result of that unpropitious interview was that Eustacia, instead of passing the afternoon with her grandfather, hastily returned home to Clym, where she arrived three hours earlier than she had been expected.

She came indoors with her face flushed, and her eyes still showing traces of her recent excitement.  Yeobright looked up astonished; he had never seen her in any way approaching to that state before.  She passed him by, and would have gone upstairs unnoticed, but Clym was so concerned that he immediately followed her.

“What is the matter, Eustacia?” he said.  She was standing on the hearthrug in the bedroom, looking upon the floor, her hands clasped in front of her, her bonnet yet unremoved.  For a moment she did not answer; and then she replied in a low voice—­

“I have seen your mother; and I will never see her again!”

A weight fell like a stone upon Clym.  That same morning, when Eustacia had arranged to go and see her grandfather, Clym had expressed a wish that she would drive down to Blooms-End and inquire for her mother-in-law, or adopt any other means she might think fit to bring about a reconciliation.  She had set out gaily; and he had hoped for much.

“Why is this?” he asked.

“I cannot tell—­I cannot remember.  I met your mother.  And I will never meet her again.”

“Why?”

“What do I know about Mr. Wildeve now?  I won’t have wicked opinions passed on me by anybody.  O! it was too humiliating to be asked if I had received any money from him, or encouraged him, or something of the sort—­I don’t exactly know what!”

“How could she have asked you that?”

“She did.”

“Then there must have been some meaning in it.  What did my mother say besides?”

“I don’t know what she said, except in so far as this, that we both said words which can never be forgiven!”

“Oh, there must be some misapprehension.  Whose fault was it that her meaning was not made clear?”

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