Jude the Obscure
PART I: Chapter 6
AT this memorable date of his life he was, one Saturday, returning from
Alfredston to Marygreen about three o'clock in the afternoon. It was fine, warm,
and soft summer weather, and he walked with his tools at his back, his little
chisels clinking faintly against the larger ones in his basket. It being the end of
the week he had left work early, and had come out of the town by a round-about
route which he did not usually frequent, having promised to call at a flour-mill
near Cresscombe to execute a commission for his aunt.
He was in an enthusiastic mood. He seemed to see his way to living comfortably
in Christminster in the course of a year or two, and knocking at the doors of one
of those strongholds of learning of which he had dreamed so much. He might, of
course, have gone there now, in some capacity or other, but he preferred to enter
the city with a little more assurance as to means than he could be said to feel at
present. A warm self-content suffused him when he considered what he had
already done. Now and then as he went along he turned to face the peeps of
country on either side of him. But he hardly saw them; the act was an automatic
repetition of what he had been accustomed to do when less occupied; and the
one matter which really engaged him was the mental estimate of his progress
"I have acquired quite an average student's power to read the common ancient
classics, Latin in particular." This was true, Jude possessing a facility in that
language which enabled him with great ease to himself to beguile his lonely
walks by imaginary conversations therein.
"I have read two books of the ILIAD, besides being pretty familiar with passages
such as the speech of Phoenix in the ninth book, the fight of Hector and Ajax in
the fourteenth, the appearance of Achilles unarmed and his heavenly armour in
the eighteenth, and the funeral games in the twenty-third. I have also done some
Hesiod, a little scrap of Thucydides, and a lot of the Greek Testament.... I wish
there was only one dialect all the same.
"I have done some mathematics, including the first six and the eleventh and
twelfth books of Euclid; and algebra as far as simple equations.
"I know something of the Fathers, and something of Roman and English history.
"These things are only a beginning. But I shall not make much farther advance
here, from the difficulty of getting books. Hence I must next concentrate all my
energies on settling in Christminster. Once there I shall so advance, with the
assistance I shall there get, that my present knowledge will appear to me but as
childish ignorance. I must save money, and I will; and one of those colleges shall
open its doors to me--shall welcome whom now it would spurn, if I wait twenty
years for the welcome.
"I'll be D.D. before I have done!"
And then he continued to dream, and thought he might become even a bishop by
leading a pure, energetic, wise, Christian life. And what an example he would set!
If his income were 5000 pounds a year, he would give away 4500 pounds in one
form and another, and live sumptuously (for him) on the remainder. Well, on