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'But must you go home yet?' she asked. "Yes, the sand has nearly slipped away, I see, and the eclipse is creeping on more and Don't go yet. Stop till the hour has run itself out; then I will not press you any more. You will go home and sleep well; I keep sighing in my sleep. Do you ever dream of me?'
'I cannot recollect a clear dream of you.'
'I see your face in every scene of my dreams, and hear your voice in every sound. I wish I did not. It is too much what I feel. They say such love never lasts. Once I saw an officer of the Hussars ride down the street at Budmouth, and though he was a total stranger and never spoke to me, I loved him till I thought I should really die of love-but I didn't die, and at last I left off caring for him. How dreadful it would be if a time should come when I could not love you!'
'Please don't say such reckless things. When we see such a time at hand we will say, "I have outlived my end and purpose," and die. There, the hour has expired: now let us walk on.'
Hand in hand they went along the path towards Mistover. When they were near the house he said, 'It is too late for me to see your grandfather to-night. Do you think he will object to it?'
'I will speak to him. I am so accustomed to be my own mistress, that it did not occur to me that we should have to ask him.'
Then they lingeringly separated, and Clym descended towards Blooms End.
And as he walked further and further from the charmed atmosphere of his Olympian girl his face grew sad with a new sort of sadness. A perception of the dilemma in which his love had placed him came back in full force. In spite of Eustacia's apparent willingness to wait through the period of an unpromising engagement, till he should be established in his new pursuit, he could not but perceive at moments that she loved him rather as visitant from a gay world to which she rightly belonged than as a man with a purpose opposed to that past of his which so interested
Often at their meetings a word or a sigh would escape her. It meant that, though she made no conditions as to his return to the French capital, this was what she secretly longed for in the event of marriage; and it robbed him of many an otherwise pleasant hour. Along with this came the widening breach between himself and his mother. Whenever any little occurrence had brought into more prominence than usual the disappointment that he was causing her, it had sent him on lone and moody walks; or he was kept awake a great part of the night by the turmoil of spirit
which such a recognition created. If Mrs. Yeobright could only have been led to see what a sound and worthy purpose this purpose of his was, and how little it was being affected by his devotion to Eustacia, how differently would she have regarded him.
Thus as his sight grew accustomed to the first blinding halo kindled about him by love and beauty, Yeobright began to perceive what a strait he was in. Sometimes he wished that he had never known Eustacia, immediately to retract the wish as brutal. Three antagonistic growths had to be kept alive: his mother's trust in him, his plan for becoming a teacher, and Eustacia's happiness. His fervid nature could not afford to relinquish one of these, though two of the three were as many as he could hope to preserve. Though his love was as chaste as that of Petrarch for his Laura, it had made fetters of what previously was only a difficulty. A position which was not too simple when he stood whole-hearted had become indescribably complicated by the addition of Eustacia. Just when his mother was beginning to tolerate one scheme, he had introduced another still bitterer than the first; and the combination was more than she could bear.
(To be continued.)
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