The Return of the Native HTML version

BOOK IV: The Closed Door
1 - The Rencounter by the Pool
The July sun shone over Egdon and fired its crimson heather to scarlet. It was
the one season of the year, and the one weather of the season, in which the
heath was gorgeous. This flowering period represented the second or noontide
division in the cycle of those superficial changes which alone were possible here;
it followed the green or young-fern period, representing the morn, and preceded
the brown period, when the heathbells and ferns would wear the russet tinges of
evening; to be in turn displaced by the dark hue of the winter period, representing
Clym and Eustacia, in their little house at Alderworth, beyond East Egdon, were
living on with a monotony which was delightful to them. The heath and changes
of weather were quite blotted out from their eyes for the present. They were
enclosed in a sort of luminous mist, which hid from them surroundings of any
inharmonious colour, and gave to all things the character of light. When it rained
they were charmed, because they could remain indoors together all day with
such a show of reason; when it was fine they were charmed, because they could
sit together on the hills. They were like those double stars which revolve round
and round each other, and from a distance appear to be one. The absolute
solitude in which they lived intensified their reciprocal thoughts; yet some might
have said that it had the disadvantage of consuming their mutual affections at a
fearfully prodigal rate. Yeobright did not fear for his own part; but recollection of
Eustacia's old speech about the evanescence of love, now apparently forgotten
by her, sometimes caused him to ask himself a question; and he recoiled at the
thought that the quality of finiteness was not foreign to Eden.
When three or four weeks had been passed thus, Yeobright resumed his reading
in earnest. To make up for lost time he studied indefatigably, for he wished to
enter his new profession with the least possible delay.
Now, Eustacia's dream had always been that, once married to Clym, she would
have the power of inducing him to return to Paris. He had carefully withheld all
promise to do so; but would he be proof against her coaxing and argument? She
had calculated to such a degree on the probability of success that she had
represented Paris, and not Budmouth, to her grandfather as in all likelihood their
future home. Her hopes were bound up in this dream. In the quiet days since
their marriage, when Yeobright had been poring over her lips, her eyes, and the
lines of her face, she had mused and mused on the subject, even while in the act
of returning his gaze; and now the sight of the books, indicating a future which
was antagonistic to her dream, struck her with a positively painful jar. She was
hoping for the time when, as the mistress of some pretty establishment, however