Jude the Obscure
PART I: Chapter 11
NEXT morning, which was Sunday, she resumed operations about ten o'clock;
and the renewed work recalled the conversation which had accompanied it the
night before, and put her back into the same intractable temper.
"That's the story about me in Marygreen, is it--that I entrapped 'ee? Much of a
catch you were, Lord send!" As she warmed she saw some of Jude's dear
ancient classics on a table where they ought not to have been laid. "I won't have
them books here in the way!" she cried petulantly; and seizing them one by one
she began throwing them upon the floor.
"Leave my books alone!" he said. "You might have thrown them aside if you had
liked, but as to soiling them like that, it is disgusting!" In the operation of making
lard Arabella's hands had become smeared with the hot grease, and her fingers
consequently left very perceptible imprints on the book-covers. She continued
deliberately to toss the books severally upon the floor, till Jude, incensed beyond
bearing, caught her by the arms to make her leave off. Somehow, in going so, he
loosened the fastening of her hair, and it rolled about her ears.
"Let me go!" she said.
"Promise to leave the books alone."
She hesitated. "Let me go!" she repeated.
After a pause: "I do."
Jude relinquished his hold, and she crossed the room to the door, out of which
she went with a set face, and into the highway. Here she began to saunter up
and down, perversely pulling her hair into a worse disorder than he had caused,
and unfastening several buttons of her gown. It was a fine Sunday morning, dry,
clear and frosty, and the bells of Alfredston Church could be heard on the breeze
from the north. People were going along the road, dressed in their holiday
clothes; they were mainly lovers--such pairs as Jude and Arabella had been
when they sported along the same track some months earlier. These pedestrians
turned to stare at the extraordinary spectacle she now presented, bonnetless, her
dishevelled hair blowing in the wind, her bodice apart her sleeves rolled above
her elbows for her work, and her hands reeking with melted fat. One of the
passers said in mock terror: "Good Lord deliver us!"
"See how he's served me!" she cried. "Making me work Sunday mornings when I
ought to be going to my church, and tearing my hair off my head, and my gown
off my back!"
Jude was exasperated, and went out to drag her in by main force. Then he
suddenly lost his heat. Illuminated with the sense that all was over between
them, and that it mattered not what she did, or he, her husband stood still,
regarding her. Their lives were ruined, he thought; ruined by the fundamental
error of their matrimonial union: that of having based a permanent contract on a
temporary feeling which had no necessary connection with affinities that alone
render a lifelong comradeship tolerable.