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wish to do is to save you from sorrow! For shame, Clym! But it is all through that woman-a hussy!
Clym reddened like fire, and rose. He placed his hand upon his mother's shoulder and said in a tone which hung strangely between entreaty and command: 'I won't hear it. I may be led to answer you in a way which we shall both regret.'
His mother parted her lips to begin some other vehement truth, but on looking at him she saw that in his face which led her to leave the words unsaid. Yeobright walked once or twice across the room, and then suddenly went out of the house. It was eleven o'clock when he came in, though he had not been further than the precincts of the garden. His mother was gone to bed. A light was left burning on the table, and supper was spread. Without partaking of any food he secured the doors and went upstairs.
AN HOUR OF BLISS AND MANY HOURS OF SADNESS.
The next day was gloomy enough at Blooms End. Yeobright remained in his study, sitting over the open books; but the work of those hours was miserably scant. Determined that there should be nothing in his conduct towards his mother resembling sullenness, he had occasionally spoken to her on passing matters, and would take no notice of the brevity of her replies. With the same resolve to keep up a show of conversation, he said about seven o'clock in the evening, There's an eclipse of the moon to-night. I am going out to see it.' And putting on his overcoat he left her.
The low moon was not as yet visible from the front of the house, and Yeobright climbed out of the valley until he stood in the full flood of her light. But even now he walked on, and his steps were in the direction of Black barrow.
In half an hour he stood at the top. The sky was clear from verge to verge, and the moon flung her rays over the whole heath, but without appreciably lighting it, except where paths and watercourses had laid bare the white flints and glistening quartz sand, which made streaks upon the general shade. After standing awhile he stooped and felt the heather. It was dry, and he flung himself down upon the barrow, his face towards the moon, which depicted a small image of herself in each of his eyes.
. He had often come up here without stating his purpose to his mother; but this was the first time that he had been ostensibly frank as to his purpose, while really concealing it. It was a moral situation which, three months earlier, he could hardly have credited of himself. In returning to labour in this sequestered spot he had anticipated an escape from the chafing of social necessities; yet behold they were here also. More than ever be longed to be in some world where personal ambition was not the only recognised form of progress—such perhaps as might have been the case at some time or other in the silvery globe then shining upon him. His eye travelled over the length and breadth of that distant country-over the Bay of Rainbows, the sombre Sea of Crises, the Ocean of Storms, the Lake of Dreams, the vast Walled Plains, and the wondrous Ring Mountains-till he almost felt himself to be voyaging bodily through its wild scenes, standing on its hollow hills, traversing its deserts, descending its vales and old sea bottoms, mounting to the edges of its craters.
While he watched the far-removed landscape, a tawny stain grew into being on the lower verge: the eclipse had begun. This marked a preconcerted moment: the remote celestial phenomenon had been pressed into sublunary service as a lover's signal. Yeobright's mind flew back to earth at the sight; he arose, shook himself, and listened. Minute after minute passed by, perhaps ten minutes passed, and the shadow on the moon perceptibly widened. He heard a rustling on his left hand, a cloaked figure with an upturned face appeared at the base of the barrow, and Clym descended. In a moment the figure was in his arms, and his lips upon hers.
My Eustacia !
They remained long without a single utterance, for no language could reach the level of their condition : words were as the rusty implements of a bygone barbarous epoch, and only to be occasionally tolerated.
'I began to wonder why you did not come,' said Yeobright, when she had withdrawn a little from his embrace.
"You said ten minutes after the first mark of shade on the edge of the moon; and that's what it is now.'
. Well, let us only think that here we are.'
Then holding each other's hand they were again silent, and the shadow on the moon's disc grew a little larger.
• Has it seemed long since you last saw me?' she asked.
• And not long? That's because you occupy yourself, and so blind yourself to my absence. To me who can do nothing it has been like living under stagnant water.'
I would rather bear tediousness, sweet, than have time made short by the means that mine has been shortened.'
'In what way is that? You have been thinking you wished you did not love me.'
“How can a man wish that, and yet love on? No, Eustacia.' Men
can, women cannot.' "Well, whatever I may have thought, one thing is certain—I do love you-past all compass and description. I love you to oppressiveness—I who have never before felt more than a pleasant passing fancy for any woman I have ever seen. Let me look right into your moon-lit face, and dwell on every line and curve in it. Only a few hairbreadths make the difference between this face and faces I have seen many times before I knew you; yet what a difference--the difference between everything and nothing at all. A touch on that mouth again; there, and there, and there. Your eyes seem heavy, Eustacia.'
“No, it is my general way of looking. I think it arises from my feeling sometimes an agonising pity for myself that I ever was born.' "You don't feel it now
?' Yet I know that we shall not love like this always. Nothing can insure the continuance of love. It will evaporate like a spirit, and so I feel full of fears.'
- You need not.'
“Ah, you don't know. You have seen more than I, and have been into cities and among people that I have only heard of, and have lived more years than I; but yet I am older at this than you. I loved another man once, and now I love you.'
• In God's mercy don't talk So, Eustacia !'
But I do not think I shall be the one who wearies first. It will, I fear, end in this way: your mother will find out that you meet me, and she will influence you against me.'
“That can never be. She knows of these meetings already.' “And she speaks against me?' "I will not say.'
“There-go away! Obey her. I shall ruin you. It is foolish of you to meet me like this. Kiss me, and go away for ever. For ever, do you hear, for ever!'
It is your only chance. Many a man's love has been a curse to him.'
• You are desperate, full of fancies, and wilful; and you misunderstand. I have an additional reason for seeing you to-night besides love of you. For though, unlike you, I feel our affection may be eternal, I feel with you in this, that our present mode of existence cannot last.'
“Oh! 'tis your mother. Yes, that's it. I knew it.' “Never mind what it is. Believe this, I cannot let myself lose
I you. I must have you always with me. This very evening I do not like to let you go. There is only one cure for this anxiety, dearest-you must be my wife.'
Cynics say that cures the anxiety by curing the love.'
• But you must answer me. Shall I claim you some day—I don't mean at once?'
I must think. At present, speak of Paris to me. Is there any place like it on the earth ?' • It is very beautiful. But you will be mine?'
. “I will be nobody else's in the world-does that satisfy you?' “Yes, for the present.' Now tell me of the Louvre.'
Well, if I must I will. I remember one sunny room in it which would make a fitting place for you to live in the Galerie d'Apollon. Its windows are mainly east ; and in the early morning, when the sun is bright, the whole apartment is in a perfect blaze of splendour. The rays bristle and dart from the incrustations of gilding to the magnificent inlaid coffers, from the coffers to the gold and silver plate, from the plate to the jewels and precious stones, from these to the enamels, till there is a perfect network of light which quite dazzles the eye.'
And Versailles—the King's Gallery is some such gorgeous room, is it not?'
Yes. But what's the use of talking of such places? By the way, the Little Trianon would suit us beautifully to live in, and you might walk in the gardens in the moonlight and think you were in some English shrubbery; it is laid out in English fashion.'
I should hate to think that.'
* Then you could keep to the lawn in front of the Grand Palace. All about there you feel in a world of historical romance.'
He went on, since it was her wish, and described Fontainebleau, St. Cloud, the Bois, and many other familiar haunts of the Parisians; till she said
•When used you to go to these places ?'
Ah, yes. I dislike English Sundays. How I should chime in with their manners over there! Dear Clym, you'll go back again ?'
Clym shook his head, and looked at the eclipse.
• If you'll go back again I'll—be something,' she said tenderly, putting her head near his breast. If you'll agree, I'll give my promise, without making you wait a minute longer.'
"How extraordinary that you and my mother should be of one
mind about this,' said Yeobright. “I have vowed not to go back, Eustacia. It is not the place I dislike; it is the occupation.' • But
you can go in some other capacity.' * No. Besides, it would interfere with my scheme. Don't press that, Eustacia. Will you marry me?'
'I cannot tell.'
Now-never mind Paris; it is no better than other spots. Promise, sweet.'
• You will never adhere to your education plan, I am quite sure; and then it will be all right for me; and so I promise to be yours for ever and ever.'
Clym brought her face towards his by a gentle pressure of the hand, and kissed her.
*Ah! but you don't know what you have got in me,' she said. “Sometimes I think there is not that in Eustacia Vye which will make a good homespun wife. Well, let it go—see how our time is slipping, slipping, slipping. She pointed towards the hour-glass which stood on a stone between their feet and the moon, the
upper half showing itself to be two-thirds empty.
• You are too mournful.'
* No. Only I dread to think of anything beyond the present. What is, we know. We are together now,
We are together now, and it is unknown how long we shall be so: the unknown always fills my mind with terrible possibilities, even when I may reasonably expect it to be cheerful. . . . Clym, the eclipsed moonlight shines upon your face with a strange foreign colour, and shows its shape as if it were cut out in gold. That means that you should be doing better things than this.'
You are ambitious, Eustacia-no, not exactly ambitious, luxurious. I ought to be of the same vein to make you happy, I suppose. And yet, far from that, I could live and die in a hermitage here, with proper work to do.'
There was that in his tone which implied distrust of his position as a solicitous lover, a doubt if he were acting fairly towards one whose tastes touched his own only at rare and infrequent points. She saw his meaning, and whispered in a low full accent of eager assurance: Don't mistake me, Clym. Though I should like Paris, I love you for yourself alone. To be your wife and to live in Paris would be heaven to me; but I would rather live with you in a hermitage here than not be yours at all. It is gain to me either way, and very great gain. There's my too candid confession.'
‘Spoken like a woman. And now I must soon leave you. I'll walk with you towards your house.'