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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.

“What do you propose to do?” said Eustacia abstractedly, for she could not clear away from her the excitement caused by Wildeve’s recent manoeuvre for an interview.

“You seem to take a very mild interest in what I propose, little or much,” said Clym, with tolerable warmth.

“You mistake me,” she answered, reviving at his reproach.  “I am only thinking.”

“What of?”

“Partly of that moth whose skeleton is getting burnt up in the wick of the candle,” she said slowly.  “But you know I always take an interest in what you say.”

“Very well, dear.  Then I think I must go and call upon her."...  He went on with tender feeling:  “It is a thing I am not at all too proud to do, and only a fear that I might irritate her has kept me away so long.  But I must do something.  It is wrong in me to allow this sort of thing to go on.”

“What have you to blame yourself about?”

“She is getting old, and her life is lonely, and I am her only son.”

“She has Thomasin.”

“Thomasin is not her daughter; and if she were that would not excuse me.  But this is beside the point.  I have made up my mind to go to her, and all I wish to ask you is whether you will do your best to help me—­that is, forget the past; and if she shows her willingness to be reconciled, meet her half-way by welcoming her to our house, or by accepting a welcome to hers?”

At first Eustacia closed her lips as if she would rather do anything on the whole globe than what he suggested.  But the lines of her mouth softened with thought, though not so far as they might have softened; and she said, “I will put nothing in your way; but after what has passed it is asking too much that I go and make advances.”

“You never distinctly told me what did pass between you.”

“I could not do it then, nor can I now.  Sometimes more bitterness is sown in five minutes than can be got rid of in a whole life; and that may be the case here.”  She paused a few moments, and added, “If you had never returned to your native place, Clym, what a blessing it would have been for you!...  It has altered the destinies of—­”

“Three people.”

“Five,” Eustacia thought; but she kept that in.

V

The Journey across the Heath

Thursday, the thirty-first of August, was one of a series of days during which snug houses were stifling, and when cool draughts were treats; when cracks appeared in clayey gardens, and were called “earthquakes” by apprehensive children; when loose spokes were discovered in the wheels of carts and carriages; and when stinging insects haunted the air, the earth, and every drop of water that was to be found.

In Mrs. Yeobright’s garden large-leaved plants of a tender kind flagged by ten o’clock in the morning; rhubarb bent downward at eleven; and even stiff cabbages were limp by noon.

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