Jude the Obscure
PART IV: Chapter 5
FOUR-AND-TWENTY hours before this time Sue had written the following note
It is as I told you; and I am leaving to-morrow evening. Richard and I thought it
could be done with less obtrusiveness after dark. I feel rather frightened, and
therefore ask you to be sure you are on the Melchester platform to meet me. I
arrive at a little to seven. I know you will, of course, dear Jude; but I feel so timid
that I can't help begging you to be punctual. He has been so VERY kind to me
through it all!
Now to our meeting! S.
As she was carried by the omnibus farther and farther down from the mountain
town--the single passenger that evening-- she regarded the receding road with a
sad face. But no hesitation was apparent therein.
The up-train by which she was departing stopped by signal only. To Sue it
seemed strange that such a powerful organization as a railway train should be
brought to a stand-still on purpose for her-- a fugitive from her lawful home.
The twenty minutes' journey drew towards its close, and Sue began gathering
her things together to alight. At the moment that the train came to a stand-still by
the Melchester platform a hand was laid on the door and she beheld Jude. He
entered the compartment promptly. He had a black bag in his hand, and was
dressed in the dark suit he wore on Sundays and in the evening after work.
Altogether he looked a very handsome young fellow, his ardent affection for her
burning in his eyes.
"Oh Jude!" She clasped his hand with both hers, and her tense state caused her
to simmer over in a little succession of dry sobs. "I--I am so glad! I get out here?"
"No. I get in, dear one! I've packed. Besides this bag I've only a big box which is
"But don't I get out? Aren't we going to stay here?"
"We couldn't possibly, don't you see. We are known here--I, at any rate, am well
known. I've booked for Aldbrickham; and here's your ticket for the same place, as
you have only one to here."
"I thought we should have stayed here," she repeated.
"It wouldn't have done at all."
"Ah! Perhaps not."
"There wasn't time for me to write and say the place I had decided on.
Aldbrickham is a much bigger town--sixty or seventy thousand inhabitants-- and
nobody knows anything about us there."
"And you have given up your cathedral work here?"
"Yes. It was rather sudden--your message coming unexpectedly. Strictly, I might
have been made to finish out the week. But I pleaded urgency and I was let off. I
would have deserted any day at your command, dear Sue. I have deserted more
than that for you!"
"I fear I am doing you a lot of harm. Ruining your prospects of the Church; ruining
your progress in your trade; everything!"