The Return of the Native HTML version
BOOK V: The Discovery
1 - "Wherefore Is Light Given to Him That Is in Misery"
One evening, about three weeks after the funeral of Mrs. Yeobright, when the
silver face of the moon sent a bundle of beams directly upon the floor of Clym's
house at Alderworth, a woman came forth from within. She reclined over the
garden gate as if to refresh herself awhile. The pale lunar touches which make
beauties of hags lent divinity to this face, already beautiful.
She had not long been there when a man came up the road and with some
hesitation said to her, "How is he tonight, ma'am, if you please?"
"He is better, though still very unwell, Humphrey," replied Eustacia.
"Is he light-headed, ma'am?"
"No. He is quite sensible now."
"Do he rave about his mother just the same, poor fellow?" continued Humphrey.
"Just as much, though not quite so wildly," she said in a low voice.
"It was very unfortunate, ma'am, that the boy Johnny should ever ha' told him his
mother's dying words, about her being broken-hearted and cast off by her son.
'Twas enough to upset any man alive."
Eustacia made no reply beyond that of a slight catch in her breath, as of one who
fain would speak but could not; and Humphrey, declining her invitation to come
in, went away.
Eustacia turned, entered the house, and ascended to the front bedroom, where a
shaded light was burning. In the bed lay Clym, pale, haggard, wide awake,
tossing to one side and to the other, his eyes lit by a hot light, as if the fire in their
pupils were burning up their substance.
"Is it you, Eustacia?" he said as she sat down.
"Yes, Clym. I have been down to the gate. The moon is shining beautifully, and
there is not a leaf stirring."
"Shining, is it? What's the moon to a man like me? Let it shine--let anything be,
so that I never see another day!...Eustacia, I don't know where to look--my