The Return of the Native eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 545 pages of information about The Return of the Native.

Eustacia stood motionless awhile.  “How long has he known of this?” she asked.

“Well, it was known to him this morning early, for I knew it at ten o’clock, when Charley came back.  Now, he is what I call a lucky man.  What a fool you were, Eustacia!”

“In what way?” she said, lifting her eyes in apparent calmness.

“Why, in not sticking to him when you had him.”

“Had him, indeed!”

“I did not know there had ever been anything between you till lately; and, faith, I should have been hot and strong against it if I had known; but since it seems that there was some sniffing between ye, why the deuce didn’t you stick to him?”

Eustacia made no reply, but she looked as if she could say as much upon that subject as he if she chose.

“And how is your poor purblind husband?” continued the old man.  “Not a bad fellow either, as far as he goes.”

“He is quite well.”

“It is a good thing for his cousin what-d’ye-call-her?  By George, you ought to have been in that galley, my girl!  Now I must drive on.  Do you want any assistance?  What’s mine is yours, you know.”

“Thank you, grandfather, we are not in want at present,” she said coldly.  “Clym cuts furze, but he does it mostly as a useful pastime, because he can do nothing else.”

“He is paid for his pastime, isn’t he?  Three shillings a hundred, I heard.”

“Clym has money,” she said, colouring, “but he likes to earn a little.”

“Very well; good night.”  And the captain drove on.

When her grandfather was gone Eustacia went on her way mechanically; but her thoughts were no longer concerning her mother-in-law and Clym.  Wildeve, notwithstanding his complaints against his fate, had been seized upon by destiny and placed in the sunshine once more.  Eleven thousand pounds!  From every Egdon point of view he was a rich man.  In Eustacia’s eyes, too, it was an ample sum—­one sufficient to supply those wants of hers which had been stigmatized by Clym in his more austere moods as vain and luxurious.  Though she was no lover of money she loved what money could bring; and the new accessories she imagined around him clothed Wildeve with a great deal of interest.  She recollected now how quietly well-dressed he had been that morning:  he had probably put on his newest suit, regardless of damage by briars and thorns.  And then she thought of his manner towards herself.

“O I see it, I see it,” she said.  “How much he wishes he had me now, that he might give me all I desire!”

In recalling the details of his glances and words—­at the time scarcely regarded—­it became plain to her how greatly they had been dictated by his knowledge of this new event.  “Had he been a man to bear a jilt ill-will he would have told me of his good fortune in crowing tones; instead of doing that he mentioned not a word, in deference to my misfortunes, and merely implied that he loved me still, as one superior to him.”

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