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

“It is all over,” said the doctor.

Further back in the hut the cotters whispered, “Mrs. Yeobright is dead.”

Almost at the same moment the two watchers observed the form of a small old-fashioned child entering at the open side of the shed.  Susan Nunsuch, whose boy it was, went forward to the opening and silently beckoned to him to go back.

“I’ve got something to tell ’ee, mother,” he cried in a shrill tone.  “That woman asleep there walked along with me today; and she said I was to say that I had seed her, and she was a broken-hearted woman and cast off by her son, and then I came on home.”

A confused sob as from a man was heard within, upon which Eustacia gasped faintly, “That’s Clym—­I must go to him—­yet dare I do it?  No:  come away!”

When they had withdrawn from the neighbourhood of the shed she said huskily, “I am to blame for this.  There is evil in store for me.”

“Was she not admitted to your house after all?” Wildeve inquired.

“No; and that’s where it all lies!  Oh, what shall I do!  I shall not intrude upon them:  I shall go straight home.  Damon, good-bye!  I cannot speak to you any more now.”

They parted company; and when Eustacia had reached the next hill she looked back.  A melancholy procession was wending its way by the light of the lantern from the hut towards Blooms-End.  Wildeve was nowhere to be seen.

BOOK FIFTH THE DISCOVERY

I

“Wherefore Is Light Given to Him That Is in Misery”

One evening, about three weeks after the funeral of Mrs. Yeobright, when the silver face of the moon sent a bundle of beams directly upon the floor of Clym’s house at Alderworth, a woman came forth from within.  She reclined over the garden gate as if to refresh herself awhile.  The pale lunar touches which make beauties of hags lent divinity to this face, already beautiful.

She had not long been there when a man came up the road and with some hesitation said to her, “How is he tonight, ma’am, if you please?”

“He is better, though still very unwell, Humphrey,” replied Eustacia.

“Is he light-headed, ma’am?”

“No.  He is quite sensible now.”

“Do he rave about his mother just the same, poor fellow?” continued Humphrey.

“Just as much, though not quite so wildly,” she said in a low voice.

“It was very unfortunate, ma’am, that the boy Johnny should ever ha’ told him his mother’s dying words, about her being broken-hearted and cast off by her son.  ’Twas enough to upset any man alive.”

Eustacia made no reply beyond that of a slight catch in her breath, as of one who fain would speak but could not; and Humphrey, declining her invitation to come in, went away.

Eustacia turned, entered the house, and ascended to the front bedroom, where a shaded light was burning.  In the bed lay Clym, pale, haggard, wide awake, tossing to one side and to the other, his eyes lit by a hot light, as if the fire in their pupils were burning up their substance.

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