The Return of the Native
EPUB EBook by Thomas Hardy
EBook DescriptionThe novel takes place around Egdon Heath, & download; , with the exception of the epilog, Aftercourses, covers 366 days. The Return of the Native EPUB EBook It begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn drives slowly across the heath, carrying a hidden passenger in the back of his van. When darkness falls, the country folk light bonfires on the surrounding hills, emphasizing the pagan spirit of the heath & its denizens.
Venn is a reddleman, traveling the country marking flocks of sheep with reddle, red ochre. Altho his trade has stained him head to foot, underneath his devilish coloring he's a handsome, shrewd, well- EPUBmeaning young man. His passenger is a young woman, Thomasin Yeobright, whom he's taking home. Earlier that day, Thomasin had planned to marry Damon Wildeve, a local innkeeper known for fickleness; however, a minor technical difficulty delayed the marriage & Thomasin, in distress, ran after the reddleman's van & asked him to take her home. Venn loves Thomasin, & unsuccessfully wooed her a year or two before. Now, altho he knows Wildeve is unworthy of her, he's so devoted that he's willing to help her secure the man of her choice.
At length, Venn reaches Bloom's End, the home of Thomasin's aunt, Mrs. Yeobright. She is a good woman, if somewhat proudly inflexible, & she wants the best for Thomasin. In former months she opposed her niece's choice of husband, & publicly forbade the banns; now, since Thomasin has compromised herself by leaving town with Wildeve & returning unmarried, the best outcome Mrs. Yeobright can envision is for the postponed marriage to be duly solemnized as soon as possible. She & Venn both begin working on Wildeve to make sure he keeps his promise to Thomasin.
Wildeve, however, is still preoccupied with Eustacia Vye, an exotically beautiful young woman living with her grandfather in a lonely house on Egdon Heath. Eustacia is a black-haired, queenly woman who grew up in Budmouth, a fashionable seaside resort. She holds herself aloof from most of the heathfolk; they, in turn, consider her an oddity. One or two even think she's a witch. She is nothing like Thomasin, who is sweet-natured & fair. She loathes the heath, yet roams it constantly, carrying spy- & hourglass. The previous year, she & Wildeve were lovers; however, even during the height of her passion for him, she knew she only loved him because there was no better object available. When Wildeve broke off the relationship to court Thomasin, Eustacia's interest in him briefly returned. The two meet on Guy Fawkes night, & Wildeve asks her to run off to America with him. She demurs.
Eustacia drops Wildeve when Mrs. Yeobright's son Clym, a successful diamond merchant, returns from Paris to Egdon Heath. Altho he has no plans to return to Paris or the diamond trade & is, in fact, openly planning to become a schoolmaster for the rural poor, Eustacia sees him as a way to escape the hated heath & begin a grander, richer existence in a new location. With some difficulty, she arranges to meet Clym, & the two soon fall in love. When Mrs. Yeobright objects, Clym quarrels with her; later, she quarrels with Eustacia also.
When he sees that Eustacia is lost to him, Wildeve marries Thomasin, who gives birth to a daughter the next summer. Clym & Eustacia also marry & move to a small cottage five miles away, where they enjoy a brief period of happiness. The seeds of rancor soon begin to germinate, however: Clym studies to prepare for his new career as a schoolmaster while Eustacia clings to the hope that he'll give up the idea & take her abroad. Instead, he nearly blinds himself with too much reading, then further mortifies his wife by deciding to eke out a living, at least temporarily, as a furze-cutter. Eustacia, dreams blasted, finds herself living in a hut on the heath, wedlocked to a laborer.
At this point, Wildeve reappears; he has unexpectedly inherited a large sum of money, & is now in a better position to fulfill Eustacia's hopes. He comes calling on the Yeobrights in the middle of one hot August day &, altho Clym is at home, he is fast asleep on the hearth after a gruelling session of furze-cutting. While Eustacia & Wildeve are talking, Mrs. Yeobright knocks on the door; she has decided to pay a courtesy call in the hopes of healing the estrangement between herself & her son. Eustacia looks out at her & then, in some alarm, ushers her visitor out the back door. She hears Clym calling to his mother &, thinking his mother's knocking has awakened him, remains in the garden a few moments. When Eustacia goes back inside, she finds Clym still asleep & his mother gone. Clym, she now realises, merely cried out his mother's name in his sleep.
Mrs Yeobright, it turns out, saw Eustacia looking out the window at her; she also saw Clym's gear by the door, & so knew they were both at home. Now, thinking she has been deliberately barred from her son's home, she miserably begins the long, hot walk home. Later that evening, Clym, unaware of her attempted visit, heads for Bloom's End & on the way finds her crumpled beside the path, dying from an adder's bite. When she expires that night from the combined effects of venom & heat exhaustion, Clym's remorse make him physically ill for several weeks. Eustacia, racked with guilt, dare not tell him of her role in the tragedy; when he eventually finds out from a neighbor's child about his mother's visit he rushes home to accuse his wife of murder & adultery. Eustacia refuses to explain her actions; instead, she tells him You are no blessing, my husband & reproaches him for his cruelty. She then moves back to her grandfather's house, where she struggles with her despair while she awaits some word from Clym.
Wildeve visits her again on Guy Fawkes night, & offers to help her get to Paris. Eustacia realises that if she lets Wildeve help her, she'll be obliged to become his mistress. She tells him she will send him a signal by night if she decides to accept. Clym's anger, meanwhile, has cooled & he sends Eustacia a letter the next day offering reconciliation. The letter arrives a few minutes too late; by the time her grandfather tries to give it to her, she has already signalled to Wildeve & set off thru wind & rain to meet him. She walks along weeping, however, knowing she is about to break her marriage vows for a man who is unworthy of her.
Wildeve readies a horse & gig & waits for Eustacia in the dark. Thomasin, guessing his plans, sends Clym to intercept him; she also, by chance, encounters Diggory Venn as she dashes across the heath herself in pursuit of her husband. Eustacia does not appear; instead, she falls or throws herself into nearby Shadwater Weir. Clym & Wildeve hear the splash & hurry to investigate. Wildeve plunges recklessly after Eustacia without bothering to remove his coat, while Clym, proceeding more cautiously, nevertheless is also soon at the mercy of the raging waters. Venn arrives in time to save Clym, but is too late for the others. When Clym revives, he accuses himself of murdering his wife & mother.
In the epilog, Venn gives up being a reddleman to become a dairy farmer. Two years later, Thomasin marries him & they settle down happily together. Clym, now a sad, solitary figure, eventually takes up preaching. Like this book? Read online this: Heath Ledger, Going Native.
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