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.

It was a strange jargon—­the Lord’s Prayer repeated backwards—­the incantation usual in proceedings for obtaining unhallowed assistance against an enemy.  Susan uttered the lugubrious discourse three times slowly, and when it was completed the image had considerably diminished.  As the wax dropped into the fire a long flame arose from the spot, and curling its tongue round the figure ate still further into its substance.  A pin occasionally dropped with the wax, and the embers heated it red as it lay.

VIII

Rain, Darkness, and Anxious Wanderers

While the effigy of Eustacia was melting to nothing, and the fair woman herself was standing on Rainbarrow, her soul in an abyss of desolation seldom plumbed by one so young, Yeobright sat lonely at Blooms-End.  He had fulfilled his word to Thomasin by sending off Fairway with the letter to his wife, and now waited with increased impatience for some sound or signal of her return.  Were Eustacia still at Mistover the very least he expected was that she would send him back a reply tonight by the same hand; though, to leave all to her inclination, he had cautioned Fairway not to ask for an answer.  If one were handed to him he was to bring it immediately; if not, he was to go straight home without troubling to come round to Blooms-End again that night.

But secretly Clym had a more pleasing hope.  Eustacia might possibly decline to use her pen—­it was rather her way to work silently—­and surprise him by appearing at his door.  How fully her mind was made up to do otherwise he did not know.

To Clym’s regret it began to rain and blow hard as the evening advanced.  The wind rasped and scraped at the corners of the house, and filliped the eavesdroppings like peas against the panes.  He walked restlessly about the untenanted rooms, stopping strange noises in windows and doors by jamming splinters of wood into the casements and crevices, and pressing together the lead-work of the quarries where it had become loosened from the glass.  It was one of those nights when cracks in the walls of old churches widen, when ancient stains on the ceilings of decayed manor houses are renewed and enlarged from the size of a man’s hand to an area of many feet.  The little gate in the palings before his dwelling continually opened and clicked together again, but when he looked out eagerly nobody was there; it was as if invisible shapes of the dead were passing in on their way to visit him.

Between ten and eleven o’clock, finding that neither Fairway nor anybody else came to him, he retired to rest, and despite his anxieties soon fell asleep.  His sleep, however, was not very sound, by reason of the expectancy he had given way to, and he was easily awakened by a knocking which began at the door about an hour after.  Clym arose and looked out of the window.  Rain was still falling heavily, the whole expanse of heath before him emitting a subdued hiss under the downpour.  It was too dark to see anything at all.

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