The Return of the Native: Book Third

The Fascination

A change of heart
            Clym Yeobright is renowned in Egdon, and, since his return to his native heath, he reveals that he has had a change of heart about Paris where he worked as a diamond merchant, a business he referred to as “the idlest, vainest, most effeminate business that ever a man could be put to.”  He is not interested in financial success or ambition, but rather he would like to open a school for the young people of Edgon in which he believes he could “try to follow some rational occupation among the people [he] knew best and to whom [he] could be of most use.”

            Mrs. Yeobright is not pleased to discover her son’s plan to remain at Egdon.  She had expected him to do something “richer” with his life.  Meanwhile, gossip about a particular woman interests Clym, and he learns how he may be of assistance at her home that evening.

The tragic Eustacia raptures Clym
            That particular woman is Eustacia Vye, and her beauty raptures Clym.  He meets her in the evenings and even considers marriage, although he understands that she is unhappy on the heath and is  seeking a way out.  Naturally, Mrs. Yeobright completely disapproves of the union.  She thinks the only reason Clym has not returned to Paris is because of Eustacia.

            Clym is not able to convince his mother to meet with Eustacia that they may be friends, yet he continues to meet Eustacia secretly.  Eustacia has tragic views about love and is concerned that Mrs. Yeobright may say something to cause Clym to reject her.  However, in the heat of the moment, Clym suggests that he and Eustacia marry as soon as possible and live together in a small cottage until he is able to establish them in Budmouth.

            Mrs. Yeobright is infuriated and will not attend the wedding.  Concerned about her aunt, Thomasin visits her frequently.  One day she tells Mrs. Yeobright that she needs money, and her aunt considers giving her an inheritence she has been keeping for both Thomasin and Clym.  Meanwhile, when Thomasin’s husband, Damon, learns of the engagement between Clym and Eustacia, his longing for Eustacia has been revived and he is jealous. 

Mrs. Yeobright insults Damon
            On the day of the wedding, while Mrs. Yeobright is at home, Damon arrives to pick up the package for Thomasin; but Mrs. Yeobright is not comfortable giving the money to Damon and does she tell him what it is.  Instead, she gives all of the money to Christian to split between Thomasin and Clym, as to show her son no ill will.  Unfortunately, locals at the Quiet Woman Inn, where Damon works, foolishly distract Christian from his task, and Damon convinces him to a game of dice; long story short, Christian loses both Thomasin’s and Clym’s money.  At first Damon is insulted that Mrs. Yeobright did not trust him with Thomasin’s money, but now he considers it “his own personal benefit.”

Stakes were won by Wildeve by Hopkins (Victorian Web)
Diggory saves the day
            But Damon was not the rightful owner, and Diggory Venn, who witnessed the whole event, challenges Damon to a game; long story short again, after another nail-bitter, Diggory wins all the money back from Damon.  And he does the right thing: he gives Thomasin the money but without any knowledge that half of it belongs to Clym.


  1. My favorite part of Book Third was the gambling in the woods. I love the illustration you included. The scene was predictable; I knew that Christian would never get the money to the wedding celebration, yet I had to keep reading to see the outcome for myself. Three cheers for the reddleman who saved the day.

    1. That was rather intense for awhile. Hardy does a good job keeping the suspense going.