Jude the Obscure HTML version
PART II: Chapter 1
PART II: At Christminster
"Save his own soul he hath no star."--SWINBURNE.
"Notitiam primosque gradus vicinia fecit; Tempore crevit amor."--OVID.
THE next noteworthy move in Jude's life was that in which he appeared gliding
steadily onward through a dusky landscape of some three years' later leafage
than had graced his courtship of Arabella, and the disruption of his coarse
conjugal life with her. He was walking towards Christminster City, at a point a
mile or two to the south-west of it.
He had at last found himself clear of Marygreen and Alfredston: he was out of his
apprenticeship, and with his tools at his back seemed to be in the way of making
a new start--the start to which, barring the interruption involved in his intimacy
and married experience with Arabella, he had been looking forward for about ten
Jude would now have been described as a young man with a forcible, meditative,
and earnest rather than handsome cast of countenance. He was of dark
complexion, with dark harmonizing eyes, and he wore a closely trimmed black
beard of more advanced growth than is usual at his age; this, with his great mass
of black curly hair, was some trouble to him in combing and washing out the
stone-dust that settled on it in the pursuit of his trade. His capabilities in the latter,
having been acquired in the country, were of an all-round sort, including
monumental stone-cutting, gothic free-stone work for the restoration of churches,
and carving of a general kind. In London he would probably have become
specialized and have made himself a "moulding mason," a "foliage sculptor"--
perhaps a "statuary."
He had that afternoon driven in a cart from Alfredston to the village nearest the
city in this direction, and was now walking the remaining four miles rather from
choice than from necessity, having always fancied himself arriving thus.
The ultimate impulse to come had had a curious origin-- one more nearly related
to the emotional side of him than to the intellectual, as is often the case with
young men. One day while in lodgings at Alfredston he had gone to Marygreen to
see his old aunt, and had observed between the brass candlesticks on her
mantlepiece the photograph of a pretty girlish face, in a broad hat with radiating
folds under the brim like the rays of a halo. He had asked who she was. His
grand-aunt had gruffly replied that she was his cousin Sue Bridehead, of the
inimical branch of the family; and on further questioning the old woman had