Under the Greenwood Tree
PART IV: 7. Second Thoughts
The next morning the vicar rose early. The first thing he did was to write a long and
careful letter to his friend in Yorkshire. Then, eating a little breakfast, he crossed the
meadows in the direction of Casterbridge, bearing his letter in his pocket, that he might
post it at the town office, and obviate the loss of one day in its transmission that would
have resulted had he left it for the foot-post through the village.
It was a foggy morning, and the trees shed in noisy water-drops the moisture they had
collected from the thick air, an acorn occasionally falling from its cup to the ground, in
company with the drippings. In the meads, sheets of spiders'-web, almost opaque with
wet, hung in folds over the fences, and the falling leaves appeared in every variety of
brown, green, and yellow hue.
A low and merry whistling was heard on the highway he was approaching, then the light
footsteps of a man going in the same direction as himself. On reaching the junction of his
path with the road, the vicar beheld Dick Dewy's open and cheerful face. Dick lifted his
hat, and the vicar came out into the highway that Dick was pursuing.
"Good-morning, Dewy. How well you are looking!" said Mr. Maybold.
"Yes, sir, I am well--quite well! I am going to Casterbridge now, to get Smart's collar; we
left it there Saturday to be repaired."
"I am going to Casterbridge, so we'll walk together," the vicar said. Dick gave a hop with
one foot to put himself in step with Mr. Maybold, who proceeded: "I fancy I didn't see
you at church yesterday, Dewy. Or were you behind the pier?"
"No; I went to Charmley. Poor John Dunford chose me to be one of his bearers a long
time before he died, and yesterday was the funeral. Of course I couldn't refuse, though I
should have liked particularly to have been at home as 'twas the day of the new music."
"Yes, you should have been. The musical portion of the service was successful--very
successful indeed; and what is more to the purpose, no ill-feeling whatever was evinced
by any of the members of the old choir. They joined in the singing with the greatest good-
"'Twas natural enough that I should want to be there, I suppose," said Dick, smiling a
private smile; "considering who the organ-- player was."
At this the vicar reddened a little, and said, "Yes, yes," though not at all comprehending
Dick's true meaning, who, as he received no further reply, continued hesitatingly, and
with another smile denoting his pride as a lover -