Under the Greenwood Tree
PART I: 9. Dick Calls At The School
The early days of the year drew on, and Fancy, having spent the holiday weeks at borne,
returned again to Mellstock.
Every spare minute of the week following her return was used by Dick in accidentally
passing the schoolhouse in his journeys about the neighbourhood; but not once did she
make herself visible. A handkerchief belonging to her had been providentially found by
his mother in clearing the rooms the day after that of the dance; and by much contrivance
Dick got it handed over to him, to leave with her at any time he should be near the school
after her return. But he delayed taking the extreme measure of calling with it lest, had she
really no sentiment of interest in him, it might be regarded as a slightly absurd errand, the
reason guessed; and the sense of the ludicrous, which was rather keen in her, do his
dignity considerable injury in her eyes; and what she thought of him, even apart from the
question of her loving, was all the world to him now.
But the hour came when the patience of love at twenty-one could endure no longer. One
Saturday he approached the school with a mild air of indifference, and had the
satisfaction of seeing the object of his quest at the further end of her garden, trying, by
the aid of a spade and gloves, to root a bramble that had intruded itself there.
He disguised his feelings from some suspicious-looking cottage- windows opposite by
endeavouring to appear like a man in a great hurry of business, who wished to leave the
handkerchief and have done with such trifling errands.
This endeavour signally failed; for on approaching the gate he found it locked to keep the
children, who were playing 'cross-dadder' in the front, from running into her private
She did not see him; and he could only think of one thing to be done, which was to shout
The words were uttered with a jerk and a look meant to imply to the cottages opposite
that he was now simply one who liked shouting as a pheasant way of passing his time,
without any reference to persons in gardens. The name died away, and the unconscious
Miss Day continued digging and pulling as before.
He screwed himself up to enduring the cottage-windows yet more stoically, and shouted
again. Fancy took no notice whatever.