Far from the Madding Crowd
Hot Cheeks and Tearful Eyes
HALF an hour later Bathsheba entered her own house. There burnt upon her
face when she met the light of the candles the flush and excitement which were
little less than chronic with her now. The farewell words of Troy, who had
accompanied her to the very door, still lingered in her ears. He had bidden her
adieu for two days, which were so he stated, to be spent at Bath in visiting some
friends. He had also kissed her a second time.
It is only fair to Bathsheba to explain here a little fact which did not come to light
till a long time afterwards: that Troy's presentation of himself so aptly at the
roadside this evening was not by any distinctly preconcerted arrangement. He
had hinted -- she had forbidden; and it was only on the chance of his still coming
that she had dismissed Oak, fearing a meeting between them just then.
She now sank down into a chair, wild and perturbed by all these new and
fevering sequences. Then she jumped up with a manner of decision, and fetched
her desk from a side table.
In three minutes, without pause or modification, she had written a letter to
Boldwood, at his address beyond Casterbridge, saying mildly but firmly that she
had well considered the whole subject he had brought before her and kindly
given her time to decide upon; that her final decision was that she could not
marry him. She had expressed to Oak an intention to wait till Boldwood came
home before communicating to him her conclusive reply. But Bathsheba found
that she could not wait.
It was impossible to send this letter till the next day; yet to quell her uneasiness
by getting it out of her hands, and so, as it were, setting the act in motion at once,
she arose to take it to any one of the women who might be in the kitchen.
She paused in the passage. A dialogue was going on in the kitchen, and
Bathsheba and Troy were the subject of it.
"If he marry her, she'll gie up farming."
"'Twill be a gallant life, but may bring some trouble between the mirth -- so say I."
"Well, I wish I had half such a husband."
Bathsheba had too much sense to mind seriously what her servitors said about
her; but too much womanly redundance of speech to leave alone what was said
till it died the natural death of unminded things. She burst in upon them.
"Who are you speaking of?" she asked.
There was a pause before anybody replied. At last Liddy said frankly, "What was
passing was a bit of a word about yourself, miss."
"I thought so! Maryann and Liddy and Temperance -- now I forbid you to suppose
such things. You know I don't care the least for Mr. Troy -- not I. Everybody
knows how much I hate him. -- Yes," repeated the froward young person, "HATE
"We know you do, miss," said Liddy; "and so do we all."
"I hate him too," said Maryann.