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.

“Well, wait till he is better, and trust to chance.  And when you tell, you must only tell part—­for his own sake.”

“Which part should I keep back?”

Wildeve paused.  “That I was in the house at the time,” he said in a low tone.

“Yes; it must be concealed, seeing what has been whispered.  How much easier are hasty actions than speeches that will excuse them!”

“If he were only to die—­” Wildeve murmured.

“Do not think of it!  I would not buy hope of immunity by so cowardly a desire even if I hated him.  Now I am going up to him again.  Thomasin bade me tell you she would be down in a few minutes.  Good-bye.”

She returned, and Thomasin soon appeared.  When she was seated in the gig with her husband, and the horse was turning to go off, Wildeve lifted his eyes to the bedroom windows.  Looking from one of them he could discern a pale, tragic face watching him drive away.  It was Eustacia’s.

II

A Lurid Light Breaks In upon a Darkened Understanding

Clym’s grief became mitigated by wearing itself out.  His strength returned, and a month after the visit of Thomasin he might have been seen walking about the garden.  Endurance and despair, equanimity and gloom, the tints of health and the pallor of death, mingled weirdly in his face.  He was now unnaturally silent upon all of the past that related to his mother; and though Eustacia knew that he was thinking of it none the less, she was only too glad to escape the topic ever to bring it up anew.  When his mind had been weaker his heart had led him to speak out; but reason having now somewhat recovered itself he sank into taciturnity.

One evening when he was thus standing in the garden, abstractedly spudding up a weed with his stick, a bony figure turned the corner of the house and came up to him.

“Christian, isn’t it?” said Clym.  “I am glad you have found me out.  I shall soon want you to go to Blooms-End and assist me in putting the house in order.  I suppose it is all locked up as I left it?”

“Yes, Mister Clym.”

“Have you dug up the potatoes and other roots?”

“Yes, without a drop o’ rain, thank God.  But I was coming to tell ’ee of something else which is quite different from what we have lately had in the family.  I am sent by the rich gentleman at the Woman, that we used to call the landlord, to tell ’ee that Mrs. Wildeve is doing well of a girl, which was born punctually at one o’clock at noon, or a few minutes more or less; and ’tis said that expecting of this increase is what have kept ’em there since they came into their money.”

“And she is getting on well, you say?”

“Yes, sir.  Only Mr. Wildeve is twanky because ’tisn’t a boy—­that’s what they say in the kitchen, but I was not supposed to notice that.”

“Christian, now listen to me.”

“Yes, sure, Mr. Yeobright.”

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