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.

III

She Goes Out to Battle against Depression

A few days later, before the month of August had expired, Eustacia and Yeobright sat together at their early dinner.  Eustacia’s manner had become of late almost apathetic.  There was a forlorn look about her beautiful eyes which, whether she deserved it or not, would have excited pity in the breast of anyone who had known her during the full flush of her love for Clym.  The feelings of husband and wife varied, in some measure, inversely with their positions.  Clym, the afflicted man, was cheerful; and he even tried to comfort her, who had never felt a moment of physical suffering in her whole life.

“Come, brighten up, dearest; we shall be all right again.  Some day perhaps I shall see as well as ever.  And I solemnly promise that I’ll leave off cutting furze as soon as I have the power to do anything better.  You cannot seriously wish me to stay idling at home all day?”

“But it is so dreadful—­a furze-cutter! and you a man who have lived about the world, and speak French, and German, and who are fit for what is so much better than this.”

“I suppose when you first saw me and heard about me I was wrapped in a sort of golden halo to your eyes—­a man who knew glorious things, and had mixed in brilliant scenes—­in short, an adorable, delightful, distracting hero?”

“Yes,” she said, sobbing.

“And now I am a poor fellow in brown leather.”

“Don’t taunt me.  But enough of this.  I will not be depressed any more.  I am going from home this afternoon, unless you greatly object.  There is to be a village picnic—­a gipsying, they call it—­at East Egdon, and I shall go.”

“To dance?”

“Why not?  You can sing.”

“Well, well, as you will.  Must I come to fetch you?”

“If you return soon enough from your work.  But do not inconvenience yourself about it.  I know the way home, and the heath has no terror for me.”

“And can you cling to gaiety so eagerly as to walk all the way to a village festival in search of it?”

“Now, you don’t like my going alone!  Clym, you are not jealous?”

“No.  But I would come with you if it could give you any pleasure; though, as things stand, perhaps you have too much of me already.  Still, I somehow wish that you did not want to go.  Yes, perhaps I am jealous; and who could be jealous with more reason than I, a half-blind man, over such a woman as you?”

“Don’t think like it.  Let me go, and don’t take all my spirits away!”

“I would rather lose all my own, my sweet wife.  Go and do whatever you like.  Who can forbid your indulgence in any whim?  You have all my heart yet, I believe; and because you bear with me, who am in truth a drag upon you, I owe you thanks.  Yes, go alone and shine.  As for me, I will stick to my doom.  At that kind of meeting people would shun me.  My hook and gloves are like the St. Lazarus rattle of the leper, warning the world to get out of the way of a sight that would sadden them.”  He kissed her, put on his leggings, and went out.

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