The Return of the Native: Book Fifth

The Discovery

Weeks later, Clym is utterly dejected with the loss of his mother, of which he blames himself.  Obviously, Eustacia has not told him what she knows. 

He journeys to his mother’s house to prepare it for Eustacia and him.  While he is there, Venn, who has been out of the area for a while, arrives, and Clym informs him of Mrs. Yeobright’s death; Venn tells Clym of Mrs. Y’s intentions to reconcile with her son.

Clym discovers the truth

Pieces of information are coming together, and Clym is curious about his mother’s final conversation with Johnny Nonsuch, last to see Mrs. Y. before she died; he tells Clym that Mrs. Y. was at his house that very day, and so was someone else!  And Mrs. Y. saw Eustacia look out the window after she knocked at the door.  Now Clym knows the truth. 

Clym returns home and confronts Eustacia, which she turns around on Clym as being his fault for her misery.  After this heated argument, Eustacia leaves Clym and heads to her grandfather’s.  She contemplates suicide using her grandfather’s pistols, but Charley confiscates the weapons. 

Wildeve is rich, you know?

It is now a year since the story has begun, and Charley lights the traditional bonfire.  Damon sees the fire, thinking it is Eustacia’s signal, and he goes to her.  He is still in love with her and offers to help her escape.  He’s rich now, you know? 

Clym attempts to reconcile with Eustacia

Clym visits Thomasin and tells her that he still loves Eustacia.  She encourages him to reconcile with her.  He writes the love letter of all love letters asking her to return to him.  But neglected Thomasin is suspect of something between her husband and Eustacia; and Damon is offended that she would even charge him.

The next night, Clym’s letter does not make it to Eustacia in time, and she leaves to meet Damon.   She considers how she will need to utilize Damon’s wealth to sustain her lifestyle, but Damon is not exactly her ideal desire.  Clym is in expectation that Eustacia will answer his letter, or will come to him, but instead Thomasin arrives at his door.  She is worried that Damon has run off with Eustaica because he has left and taken a lot of money with him.  Clym is going to stop them, and Thomasin heads home, but meets Diggory Venn.  He escorts Thomasin toward the Quiet Woman Inn.

But it is too late

Searching for Eustacia, Clym sees Damon preparing to leave, when they both hear a splash in the nearby wier and run to investigate, believing that it is Eustacia.  It is, and they jump into the water to rescue her, but instead Diggory arrives, and pulls out all three.  Clym recovers, but Damon and Eustacia are dead.  Once again, Clym is left to blame himself for the death of the other woman in his life.

All that remained of the desperate and unfortunate Eustacia
by Arthur Hopkins (The Victorian Web)

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