Jude the Obscure
PART I: Chapter 7
THE next day Jude Fawley was pausing in his bedroom with the sloping ceiling,
looking at the books on the table, and then at the black mark on the plaster
above them, made by the smoke of his lamp in past months.
It was Sunday afternoon, four-and-twenty hours after his meeting with Arabella
Donn. During the whole bygone week he had been resolving to set this afternoon
apart for a special purpose,-- the re-reading of his Greek Testament--his new
one, with better type than his old copy, following Griesbach's text as amended by
numerous correctors, and with variorum readings in the margin. He was proud of
the book, having obtained it by boldly writing to its London publisher, a thing he
had never done before.
He had anticipated much pleasure in this afternoon's reading, under the quiet
roof of his great-aunt's house as formerly, where he now slept only two nights a
week. But a new thing, a great hitch, had happened yesterday in the gliding and
noiseless current of his life, and he felt as a snake must feel who has sloughed
off its winter skin, and cannot understand the brightness and sensitiveness of its
He would not go out to meet her, after all. He sat down, opened the book, and
with his elbows firmly planted on the table, and his hands to his temples began at
H KAINH IAHKH
Had he promised to call for her? Surely he had! She would wait indoors, poor girl,
and waste all her afternoon on account of him. There was a something in her,
too, which was very winning, apart from promises. He ought not to break faith
with her. Even though he had only Sundays and week-day evenings for reading
he could afford one afternoon, seeing that other young men afforded so many.
After to-day he would never probably see her again. Indeed, it would be
impossible, considering what his plans were.
In short, as if materially, a compelling arm of extraordinary muscular power
seized hold of him--something which had nothing in common with the spirits and
influences that had moved him hitherto. This seemed to care little for his reason
and his will, nothing for his so-called elevated intentions, and moved him along,
as a violent schoolmaster a schoolboy he has seized by the collar, in a direction
which tended towards the embrace of a woman for whom he had no respect, and
whose life had nothing in common with his own except locality.
H KAINH IAHKH was no more heeded, and the predestinate Jude sprang up
and across the room. Foreseeing such an event he had already arrayed himself
in his best clothes. In three minutes he was out of the house and descending by
the path across the wide vacant hollow of corn-ground which lay between the
village and the isolated house of Arabella in the dip beyond the upland.
As he walked he looked at his watch. He could be back in two hours, easily, and
a good long time would still remain to him for reading after tea.
Passing the few unhealthy fir-trees and cottage where the path joined the
highway he hastened along, and struck away to the left, descending the steep