Return of the Native Book 6: Aftercourses, Chapters 1 - 2
The story of Eustacia and Wildeve's deaths travels across the heath and beyond. Thomasin busies herself with little Eustacia so as not to think about the death of her husband. The spring and summer months calm and soothe her bereaved spirits. Even though she has inherited all of Wildeve's fortune, she decides to save the money for her daughter and live simply, settling at Blooms-End at Clym's invitation.
Clym has become a reserved, bitter man, reproaching himself harshly for the death of his wife and mother. At times, he thinks that fate has dealt him a terrible lot, but soothes himself by taking long walks on his beloved heath or studying. The scribes of ancient tribes who have lived and died on that very land inspire him that education can transcend immortality and time and motivate him to study.
A year after the deaths of Eustacia and Wildeve, Diggory Venn calls on Thomasin and Clym. They are surprised to see an elegant, handsome Venn, no longer a reddleman but a dairy farmer. Thomasin is struck by how good-looking Venn is, and compliments him. He has come to inquire if the heath May-pole may be placed outside their house. Clym and Thomasin give their consent.
Thomasin is delighted when the May-revel day arrives. She takes pleasure in seeing the fragrant blossoms around the May-pole. She dresses in her summer best, but Clym does not join in the heath festivities. Instead, he leaves as the celebration begins and returns when the dancing is over. Thomasin notices that Venn is still outside strolling around the May-pole when the heath-folk have left, and invites him inside. Venn refuses politely, explaining that he is searching for a missing glove belonging to a maiden he loves. Later that evening, a jealous Thomasin watches from her window as Venn finds a glove on the ground, kisses it, and places it in the pocket nearest his heart.
Thomasin wonders about the woman who Venn loves. She asks her nurse, Rachel, if she knows where her missing glove is. Rachel confesses that she has worn Thomasin's gloves to the May-pole and lost one of the gloves. Rachel also informs Thomasin that once Venn had found out that Thomasin's glove was missing, he had given her money to buy another pair of gloves, but wanted to keep searching for the missing glove. Thomasin now knows that she is the woman who Venn loves.
The next day, Thomasin takes her baby on the heath to practice walking--the soft grass and turf make a cushion to protect the baby when she falls.
Venn comes by on horseback; Thomasin immediately asks her for glove back. Returning the glove to her, Venn tells her that he feels the same way about her, only that it is harder to win her love, as she is now a rich woman. Thomasin explains that all of the money will be used for the baby, not for herself. Venn is glad to hear that.