Under the Greenwood Tree HTML version
PART IV: 3. Fancy In The Rain
The next scene is a tempestuous afternoon in the following month, and Fancy Day is
discovered walking from her father's home towards Mellstock.
A single vast gray cloud covered the country, from which the small rain and mist had just
begun to blow down in wavy sheets, alternately thick and thin. The trees of the fields and
plantations writhed like miserable men as the air wound its way swiftly among them: the
lowest portions of their trunks, that had hardly ever been known to move, were visibly
rocked by the fiercer gusts, distressing the mind by its painful unwontedness, as when a
strong man is seen to shed tears. Low-hanging boughs went up and down; high and erect
boughs went to and fro; the blasts being so irregular, and divided into so many cross--
currents, that neighbouring branches of the same tree swept the skies in independent
motions, crossed each other, or became entangled. Across the open spaces flew flocks of
green and yellowish leaves, which, after travelling a long distance from their parent trees,
reached the ground, and lay there with their under--sides upward.
As the rain and wind increased, and Fancy's bonnet--ribbons leapt more and more
snappishly against her chin, she paused on entering Mellstock Lane to consider her
latitude, and the distance to a place of shelter. The nearest house was Elizabeth
Endorfield's, in Higher Mellstock, whose cottage and garden stood not far from the
junction of that hamlet with the road she followed. Fancy hastened onward, and in five
minutes entered a gate, which shed upon her toes a flood of water-drops as she opened it.
"Come in, chiel!" a voice exclaimed, before Fancy had knocked: a promptness that would
have surprised her had she not known that Mrs. Endorfield was an exceedingly and
exceptionally sharp woman in the use of her eyes and ears.
Fancy went in and sat down. Elizabeth was paring potatoes for her husband's supper.
Scrape, scrape, scrape; then a toss, and splash went a potato into a bucket of water.
Now, as Fancy listlessly noted these proceedings of the dame, she began to reconsider an
old subject that hay uppermost in her heart. Since the interview between her father and
Dick, the days had been melancholy days for her. Geoffrey's firm opposition to the notion
of Dick as a son-in-law was more than she had expected. She had frequently seen her
lover since that time, it is true, and had loved him more for the opposition than she would
have otherwise dreamt of doing--which was a happiness of a certain kind. Yet, though
love is thus an end in itself, it must be believed to be the means to another end if it is to
assume the rosy hues of an unalloyed pleasure. And such a belief Fancy and Dick were
emphatically denied just now.