Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Holidays Offer
 

Jude the Obscure

PART IV: Chapter 4
PHILLOTSON was sitting up late, as was often his custom, trying to get together
the materials for his long-neglected hobby of Roman antiquities. For the first time
since reviving the subject he felt a return of his old interest in it. He forgot time
and place, and when he remembered himself and ascended to rest it was nearly
two o'clock.
His preoccupation was such that, though he now slept on the other side of the
house, he mechanically went to the room that he and his wife had occupied when
he first became a tenant of Old-Grove Place, which since his differences with
Sue had been hers exclusively. He entered, and unconsciously began to
undress.
There was a cry from the bed, and a quick movement. Before the schoolmaster
had realized where he was he perceived Sue starting up half-awake, staring
wildly, and springing out upon the floor on the side away from him, which was
towards the window. This was somewhat hidden by the canopy of the bedstead,
and in a moment he heard her flinging up the sash. Before he had thought that
she meant to do more than get air she had mounted upon the sill and leapt out.
She disappeared in the darkness, and he heard her fall below.
Phillotson, horrified, ran downstairs, striking himself sharply against the newel in
his haste. Opening the heavy door he ascended the two or three steps to the
level of the ground, and there on the gravel before him lay a white heap.
Phillotson seized it in his arms, and bringing Sue into the hall seated her on a
chair, where he gazed at her by the flapping light of the candle which he had set
down in the draught on the bottom stair.
She had certainly not broken her neck. She looked at him with eyes that seemed
not to take him in; and though not particularly large in general they appeared so
now.
She pressed her side and rubbed her arm, as if conscious of pain; then stood up,
averting her face, in evident distress at his gaze.
"Thank God--you are not killed! Though it's not for want of trying-- not much hurt I
hope?"
Her fall, in fact, had not been a serious one, probably owing to the lowness of the
old rooms and to the high level of the ground without. Beyond a scraped elbow
and a blow in the side she had apparently incurred little harm.
"I was asleep, I think!" she began, her pale face still turned away from him. "And
something frightened me--a terrible dream--I thought I saw you--" The actual
circumstances seemed to come back to her, and she was silent.
Her cloak was hanging at the back of the door, and the wretched Phillotson flung
it round her. "Shall I help you upstairs?" he asked drearily; for the significance of
all this sickened him of himself and of everything.
"No thank you, Richard. I am very little hurt. I can walk."
"You ought to lock your door," he mechanically said, as if lecturing in school.
"Then no one could intrude even by accident."
"I have tried--it won't lock. All the doors are out of order."
 
 
Remove