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The well beloved


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Title:TheWell-Beloved
Author:ThomasHardy
ReleaseDate:July,2002[Etext#3326][Yes,weareaboutoneyearaheadof
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THEWELL-BELOVED—ASKETCHOFATEMPERAMENT


BYTHOMASHARDY


PREFACE
ThepeninsulacarvedbyTimeoutofasinglestone,whereonmostofthe
followingscenesarelaid,hasbeenforcenturiesimmemorialthehomeofa
curiousandwell-nighdistinctpeople,cherishingstrangebeliefsandsingular
customs,nowforthemostpartobsolescent.Fancies,likecertainsoft-wooded
plantswhichcannotbearthesilentinlandfrosts,butthrivebytheseainthe
roughestofweather,seemtogrowupnaturallyhere,inparticularamongstthose
nativeswhohavenoactiveconcerninthelaboursofthe‘Isle.’Henceitisaspot
apttogenerateatypeofpersonagelikethecharacterimperfectlysketchedin
thesepages—anativeofnatives—whomsomemaychoosetocallafantast(if
theyhonourhimwiththeirconsiderationsofar),butwhomothersmayseeonly
asonethatgaveobjectivecontinuityandanametoadelicatedreamwhichina
vaguerformismoreorlesscommontoallmen,andisbynomeansnewto
Platonicphilosophers.
TothosewhoknowtherockycoignofEnglandheredepicted—overlookingthe
greatChannelHighwaywithallitssuggestiveness,andstandingoutsofarinto
mid-seathattouchesoftheGulfStreamsoftentheairtillFebruary—itismatter
ofsurprisethattheplacehasnotbeenmorefrequentlychosenastheretreatof
artistsandpoetsinsearchofinspiration—foratleastamonthortwointheyear,
thetempestuousratherthanthefineseasonsbypreference.Tobesure,onenook
thereinistheretreat,attheircountry’sexpense,ofothergeniusesfroma
distance;buttheirpresenceishardlydiscoverable.Yetperhapsitisaswellthat
theartisticvisitorsdonotcome,ornomorewouldbeheardoflittlefreehold
housesbeingboughtandsoldthereforacoupleofhundredpounds—builtof
solidstone,anddatingfromthesixteenthcenturyandearlier,withmullions,
copings,andcorbelscomplete.Thesetransactions,bytheway,arecarriedout
andcovenanted,orweretilllately,intheparishchurch,inthefaceofthe
congregation,suchbeingtheancientcustomoftheIsle.
Asforthestoryitself,itmaybeworthwhiletoremarkthat,differingfromallor
mostothersoftheseriesinthattheinterestaimedatisofanidealorsubjective
nature,andfranklyimaginative,verisimilitudeinthesequenceofeventshas
beensubordinatedtothesaidaim.
Thefirstpublicationofthistaleinanindependentformwasin1897;butithad


appearedintheperiodicalpressin1892,underthetitleof‘ThePursuitofthe
Well-Beloved.’Afewchaptersofthatexperimentalissuewererewrittenforthe
presentandfinalformofthenarrative.
T.H.August1912.



CONTENTS
PARTFIRST—AYOUNGMANOFTWENTY.
I.ASUPPOSITITIOUSPRESENTMENTOFHERII.THEINCARNATIONIS
ASSUMEDTOBETRUEIII.THEAPPOINTMENTIV.ALONELY
PEDESTRIANV.ACHARGEVI.ONTHEBRINKVII.HEREARLIER
INCARNATIONSVIII.‘TOOLIKETHELIGHTNING’IX.FAMILIAR
PHENOMENAINTHEDISTANCE

PARTSECOND—AYOUNGMANOFFORTY.
I.THEOLDPHANTOMBECOMESDISTINCTII.SHEDRAWSCLOSE
ANDSATISFIESIII.SHEBECOMESANINACCESSIBLEGHOSTIV.SHE
THREATENSTORESUMECORPOREALSUBSTANCEV.THE
RESUMPTIONTAKESPLACEVI.THEPASTSHINESINTHEPRESENT
VII.THENEWBECOMESESTABLISHEDVIII.HISOWNSOUL
CONFRONTSHIMIX.JUXTAPOSITIONSX.SHEFAILSTOVANISH
STILLXI.THEIMAGEPERSISTSXII.AGRILLEDESCENDSBETWEEN
XIII.SHEISENSHROUDEDFROMSIGHT

PARTTHIRD—AYOUNGMANOFSIXTY.
I.SHERETURNSFORTHENEWSEASONII.MISGIVINGSONTHEREEMBODIMENTIII.THERENEWEDIMAGEBURNSITSELFINIV.A
DASHFORTHELASTINCARNATIONV.ONTHEVERGEOF
POSSESSIONVI.THEWELL-BELOVEDIS—WHERE?VII.ANOLD
TABERNACLEINANEWASPECTVIII.‘ALASFORTHISGREY
SHADOW,ONCEAMAN!’

PARTFIRST—AYOUNGMANOFTWENTY.
—‘Now,ifTimeknowsThatHer,whoseradiantbrowsWeavethemagarland


ofmyvows;
HerthatdaresbeWhattheselineswishtosee:Iseeknofurther,itisShe.’—
R.CRASHAW.

1.I.ASUPPOSITITIOUSPRESENTMENTOFHER
Apersonwhodifferedfromthelocalwayfarerswasclimbingthesteeproad
whichleadsthroughthesea-skirtedtownletdefinableastheStreetofWells,and
formsapassintothatGibraltarofWessex,thesingularpeninsulaonceanisland,
andstillcalledsuch,thatstretchesoutliketheheadofabirdintotheEnglish
Channel.Itisconnectedwiththemainlandbyalongthinneckofpebbles‘cast
upbyragesofthese,’andunparalleledinitskindinEurope.
Thepedestrianwaswhathelookedlike—ayoungmanfromLondonandthe
citiesoftheContinent.Nobodycouldseeatpresentthathisurbanismsatupon
himonlyasagarment.Hewasjustrecollectingwithsomethingofself-reproach
thatawholethreeyearsandeightmonthshadflownsincehepaidhislastvisitto
hisfatheratthislonelyrockofhisbirthplace,theinterveningtimehavingbeen
spentamidmanycontrastingsocieties,peoples,manners,andscenes.
Whathadseemedusualintheislewhenhelivedtherealwayslookedquaintand
oddafterhislaterimpressions.Morethaneverthespotseemedwhatitwassaid
oncetohavebeen,theancientVindiliaIsland,andtheHomeoftheSlingers.The
toweringrock,thehousesabovehouses,oneman’sdoorsteprisingbehindhis
neighbour’schimney,thegardenshungupbyoneedgetothesky,thevegetables
growingonapparentlyalmostverticalplanes,theunityofthewholeislandasa
solidandsingleblockoflimestonefourmileslong,werenolongerfamiliarand
commonplaceideas.Allnowstooddazzlinglyuniqueandwhiteagainstthe
tintedsea,andthesunflashedoninfinitelystratifiedwallsofoolite,
ThemelancholyruinsOfcancelledcycles,…
withadistinctivenessthatcalledtheeyestoitasstronglyasanyspectaclehe
hadbeheldafar.
Afteralaboriousclamberhereachedthetop,andwalkedalongtheplateau
towardstheeasternvillage.Thetimebeingabouttwoo’clock,inthemiddleof


thesummerseason,theroadwasglaringanddusty,anddrawingneartohis
father’shousehesatdowninthesun.
Hestretchedouthishandupontherockbesidehim.Itfeltwarm.Thatwasthe
island’spersonaltemperaturewheninitsafternoonsleepasnow.Helistened,
andheardsounds:whirr-whirr,saw-saw-saw.Thoseweretheisland’ssnores—
thenoisesofthequarrymenandstone-sawyers.
Oppositetothespotonwhichhesatwasaroomycottageorhomestead.Likethe
islanditwasallofstone,notonlyinwallsbutinwindow-frames,roof,
chimneys,fence,stile,pigstyandstable,almostdoor.
Herememberedwhohadusedtolivethere—andprobablylivedtherenow--the
Carofamily;the‘roan-mare’Caros,astheywerecalledtodistinguishthemfrom
otherbranchesofthesamepedigree,therebeingbuthalf-a-dozenChristianand
surnamesinthewholeisland.Hecrossedtheroadandlookedinattheopen
doorway.Yes,theretheywerestill.
Mrs.Caro,whohadseenhimfromthewindow,methimintheentry,andanoldfashionedgreetingtookplacebetweenthem.Amomentafteradoorleading
fromthebackroomswasthrownopen,andayounggirlaboutseventeenor
eighteencameboundingin.
‘Why,‘TISdearJoce!’sheburstoutjoyfully.Andrunninguptotheyoungman,
shekissedhim.
Thedemonstrationwassweetenoughfromtheownerofsuchanaffectionate
pairofbrighthazeleyesandbrowntressesofhair.Butitwassosudden,so
unexpectedbyamanfreshfromtowns,thathewincedforamomentquite
involuntarily;andtherewassomeconstraintinthemannerinwhichhereturned
herkiss,andsaid,‘MyprettylittleAvice,howdoyoudoaftersolong?’
Forafewsecondsherimpulsiveinnocencehardlynoticedhisstartofsurprise;
butMrs.Caro,thegirl’smother,hadobserveditinstantly.Withapainedflush
sheturnedtoherdaughter.
‘Avice—mydearAvice!Why—whatareyoudoing?Don’tyouknowthat
you’vegrownuptobeawomansinceJocelyn—Mr.Pierston—waslastdown
here?Ofcourseyoumustn’tdonowasyouusedtodothreeorfouryearsago!’


TheawkwardnesswhichhadarisenwashardlyremovedbyPierston’sassurance
thathequiteexpectedhertokeepupthepracticeofherchildhood,followedby
severalminutesofconversationongeneralsubjects.Hewasvexedfromhissoul
thathisunawaremovementshouldsohavebetrayedhim.Athisleavinghe
repeatedthatifAviceregardedhimotherwisethanassheusedtodohewould
neverforgiveher;butthoughtheypartedgoodfriendsherregretattheincident
wasvisibleinherface.Jocelynpassedoutintotheroadandonwardtohis
father’shousehardby.Themotheranddaughterwereleftalone.
‘Iwasquiteamazedat‘ee,mychild!’exclaimedtheelder.‘Ayoungmanfrom
Londonandforeigncities,usednowtothestrictestcompanymanners,and
ladieswhoalmostthinkitvulgartosmilebroad!Howcouldyedoit,Avice?’
‘I—Ididn’tthinkabouthowIwasaltered!’saidtheconscience-strickengirl.‘I
usedtokisshim,andheusedtokissmebeforehewentaway.’
‘Butthatwasyearsago,mydear!’
‘Oyes,andforthemomentIforgot!Heseemedjustthesametomeasheused
tobe.’
‘Well,itcan’tbehelpednow.Youmustbecarefulinthefuture.He’sgotlotsof
youngwomen,I’llwarrant,andhasfewthoughtsleftforyou.He’swhatthey
callasculptor,andhemeanstobeagreatgeniusinthatlinesomeday,theydo
say.’
‘Well,I’vedoneit;anditcan’tbemended!’moanedthegirl.
MeanwhileJocelynPierston,thesculptorofbuddingfame,hadgoneonwardto
thehouseofhisfather,aninartisticmanoftradeandcommercemerely,from
whom,nevertheless,Jocelyncondescendedtoacceptayearlyallowancepending
thefamousdaystocome.Buttheelder,havingreceivednowarningofhisson’s
intendedvisit,wasnotathometoreceivehim.Jocelynlookedroundthefamiliar
premises,glancedacrosstheCommonatthegreatyardswithinwhicheternal
sawsweregoingtoandfrouponeternalblocksofstone—theverysamesaws
andtheverysameblocksthathehadseentherewhenlastintheisland,soit
seemedtohim—andthenpassedthroughthedwellingintothebackgarden.
Likeallthegardensintheisleitwassurroundedbyawallofdry-jointedspawls,
andatitsfurtherextremityitranoutintoacorner,whichadjoinedthegardenof


theCaros.Hehadnosoonerreachedthisspotthanhebecameawareofa
murmuringandsobbingontheothersideofthewall.Thevoiceherecognizedin
amomentasAvice’s,andsheseemedtobeconfidinghertroubletosomeyoung
friendofherownsex.
‘Oh,whatshallIDO!whatSHALLIdo!’shewassayingbitterly.‘Soboldasit
was—soshameless!HowcouldIthinkofsuchathing!Hewillneverforgiveme
—never,neverlikemeagain!He’llthinkmeaforwardhussy,andyet—andyetI
quiteforgothowmuchIhadgrown.Butthathe’llneverbelieve!’Theaccents
werethoseofonewhohadforthefirsttimebecomeconsciousofher
womanhood,asanunwontedpossessionwhichshamedandfrightenedher.
‘Didheseemangryatit?’inquiredthefriend.
‘Ono—notangry!Worse.Coldandhaughty.O,he’ssuchafashionableperson
now—notatallanislandman.Butthere’snouseintalkingofit.IwishIwas
dead!’
Pierstonretreatedasquicklyashecould.Hegrievedattheincidentwhichhad
broughtsuchpaintothisinnocentsoul;andyetitwasbeginningtobeasource
ofvaguepleasuretohim.Hereturnedtothehouse,andwhenhisfatherhad
comebackandwelcomedhim,andtheyhadsharedamealtogether,Jocelyn
againwentout,fullofanearnestdesiretosoothehisyoungneighbour’ssorrow
inawayshelittleexpected;though,totellthetruth,hisaffectionforherwas
ratherthatofafriendthanofalover,andhefeltbynomeanssurethatthe
migratory,elusiveidealizationhecalledhisLovewho,eversincehisboyhood,
hadflittedfromhumanshelltohumanshellanindefinitenumberoftimes,was
goingtotakeupherabodeinthebodyofAviceCaro.

1.II.THEINCARNATIONISASSUMEDTOBETRUE
Itwasdifficulttomeetheragain,eventhoughonthislumpofrockthedifficulty
layasaruleratherinavoidancethaninmeeting.ButAvicehadbeen
transformedintoaverydifferentkindofyoungwomanbytheself-consciousness
engenderedofherimpulsivegreeting,and,notwithstandingtheirnear
neighbourhood,hecouldnotencounterher,tryashewould.Nosoonerdidhe
appearaninchbeyondhisfather’sdoorthanshewastoearthlikeafox;she
boltedupstairstoherroom.


Anxioustosootheherafterhisunintentionalslighthecouldnotstandthese
evasionslong.Themannersoftheislewereprimitiveandstraightforward,even
amongthewell-to-do,andnotingherdisappearanceonedayhefollowedher
intothehouseandonwardtothefootofthestairs.
‘Avice!’hecalled.
‘Yes,Mr.Pierston.’
‘Whydoyourunupstairslikethat?’
‘Oh—onlybecauseIwantedtocomeupforsomething.’
‘Well,ifyou’vegotit,can’tyoucomedownagain?’
‘No,Ican’tverywell.’
‘Come,DEARAvice.That’swhatyouare,youknow.’
Therewasnoresponse.
‘Well,ifyouwon’t,youwon’t!’hecontinued.‘Idon’twanttobotheryou.’And
Pierstonwentaway.
Hewasstoppingtolookattheold-fashionedflowersunderthegardenwalls
whenheheardavoicebehindhim.
‘Mr.Pierston—Iwasn’tangrywithyou.WhenyouweregoneIthought—you
mightmistakeme,andIfeltIcoulddonolessthancomeandassureyouofmy
friendshipstill.’
TurninghesawtheblushingAviceimmediatelybehindhim.
‘Youareagood,deargirl!’saidhe,and,seizingherhand,setuponhercheekthe
kindofkissthatshouldhavebeentheresponsetohersonthedayofhiscoming.
‘DarlingAvice,forgivemefortheslightthatday!Sayyoudo.Come,now!And
thenI’llsaytoyouwhatIhaveneversaidtoanyotherwoman,livingordead:
“Willyouhavemeasyourhusband?”’
‘Ah!—mothersaysIamonlyoneofmany!’


‘Youarenot,dear.YouknewmewhenIwasyoung,andothersdidn’t.’
Somehoworotherherobjectionsweregotover,andthoughshedidnotgivean
immediateassent,sheagreedtomeethimlaterintheafternoon,whenshe
walkedwithhimtothesouthernpointoftheislandcalledtheBeal,or,by
strangers,theBill,pausingoverthetreacherouscavernknownasCaveHole,
intowhichthesearoaredandsplashednowasithaddonewhentheyvisitedit
togetheraschildren.Tosteadyherselfwhilelookinginheofferedherhisarm,
andshetookit,forthefirsttimeasawoman,forthehundredthtimeashis
companion.
Theyrambledontothelighthouse,wheretheywouldhavelingeredlongerif
Avicehadnotsuddenlyrememberedanengagementtorecitepoetryfroma
platformthatveryeveningattheStreetofWells,thevillagecommandingthe
entrancetotheisland—thevillagethathasnowadvancedtobeatown.
‘Recite!’saidhe.‘Who’dhavethoughtanybodyoranythingcouldrecitedown
hereexceptthereciterwehearawaythere—theneverspeechlesssea.’
‘Obutwearequiteintellectualnow.Inthewinterparticularly.But,Jocelyn—
don’tcometotherecitation,willyou?Itwouldspoilmyperformanceifyou
werethere,andIwanttobeasgoodastherest.’
‘Iwon’tifyoureallywishmenotto.ButIshallmeetyouatthedoorandbring
youhome.’
‘Yes!’shesaid,lookingupintohisface.Avicewasperfectlyhappynow;she
couldneverhavebelievedonthatmortifyingdayofhiscomingthatshewould
besohappywithhim.Whentheyreachedtheeastsideoftheisletheyparted,
thatshemightbesoonenoughtotakeherplaceontheplatform.Pierstonwent
home,andafterdark,whenitwasaboutthehourforaccompanyingherback,he
wentalongthemiddleroadnorthwardtotheStreetofWells.
Hewasfullofmisgiving.HehadknownAviceCarosowellofoldthathis
feelingforhernowwasrathercomradeshipthanlove;andwhathehadsaidto
herinamomentofimpulsethatmorningratherappalledhiminits
consequences.Notthatanyofthemoresophisticatedandaccomplishedwomen
whohadattractedhimsuccessivelywouldbelikelytoriseinconveniently
betweenthem.Forhehadquitedisabusedhismindoftheassumptionthatthe
idolofhisfancywasanintegralpartofthepersonalityinwhichithadsojourned


foralongorashortwhile.

*

TohisWell-Belovedhehadalwaysbeenfaithful;butshehadhadmany
embodiments.EachindividualityknownasLucy,Jane,Flora,Evangeline,or
what-not,hadbeenmerelyatransientconditionofher.Hedidnotrecognizethis
asanexcuseorasadefence,butasafactsimply.Essentiallyshewasperhapsof
notangiblesubstance;aspirit,adream,afrenzy,aconception,anaroma,an
epitomizedsex,alightoftheeye,apartingofthelips.Godonlyknewwhatshe
reallywas;Pierstondidnot.Shewasindescribable.
Nevermuchconsideringthatshewasasubjectivephenomenonvivifiedbythe
weirdinfluencesofhisdescentandbirthplace,thediscoveryofherghostliness,
ofherindependenceofphysicallawsandfailings,hadoccasionallygivenhima
senseoffear.Heneverknewwhereshenextwouldbe,whithershewouldlead
him,havingherselfinstantaccesstoallranksandclasses,toeveryabodeof
men.Sometimesatnighthedreamtthatshewas‘thewile-weavingDaughterof
highZeus’inperson,bentontormentinghimforhissinsagainstherbeautyin
hisart—theimplacableAphroditeherselfindeed.Heknewthathelovedthe
masqueradingcreaturewhereverhefoundher,whetherwithblueeyes,black
eyes,orbrown;whetherpresentingherselfastall,fragile,orplump.Shewas
neverintwoplacesatonce;buthithertoshehadneverbeeninoneplacelong.
Bymakingthiscleartohismindsometimebeforeto-day,hehadescapedagood
dealofuglyself-reproach.Itwassimplythatshewhoalwaysattractedhim,and
ledhimwhithershewouldasbyasilkenthread,hadnotremainedtheoccupant
ofthesamefleshlytabernacleinhercareersofar.Whethershewouldultimately
settledowntoonehecouldnotsay.
HadhefeltthatshewasbecomingmanifestinAvice,hewouldhavetriedto
believethatthiswastheterminalspotofhermigrations,andhavebeencontent
toabidebyhiswords.ButdidheseetheWell-BelovedinAviceatall?The
questionwassomewhatdisturbing.
Hehadreachedthebrowofthehill,anddescendedtowardsthevillage,wherein


thelongstraightRomanstreethesoonfoundthelightedhall.Theperformance
wasnotyetover;andbygoingroundtothesideofthebuildingandstandingon
amoundhecouldseetheinteriorasfardownastheplatformlevel.Avice’sturn,
orsecondturn,cameonalmostimmediately.Herprettyembarrassmenton
facingtheaudienceratherwonhimawayfromhisdoubts.Shewas,intruth,
whatiscalleda‘nice’girl;attractive,certainly,butaboveallthingsnice—oneof
theclasswithwhomtherisksofmatrimonyapproximatemostnearlytozero.
Herintelligenteyes,herbroadforehead,herthoughtfulcarriage,ensuredone
thing,thatofallthegirlshehadknownhehadnevermetonewithmore
charmingandsolidqualitiesthanAviceCaro’s.Thiswasnotamereconjecture
—hehadknownherlongandthoroughly;hereverymoodandtemper.
Aheavywagonpassingwithoutdrownedhersmallsoftvoiceforhim;butthe
audiencewerepleased,andsheblushedattheirapplause.Henowtookhis
stationatthedoor,andwhenthepeoplehaddonepouringouthefoundher
withinawaitinghim.
TheyclimbedhomewardslowlybytheOldRoad,Pierstondragginghimselfup
thesteepbythewaysidehandrailandpullingAviceafterhimuponhisarm.At
thetoptheyturnedandstoodstill.Totheleftofthemtheskywasstreakedlikea
fanwiththelighthouserays,andundertheirfront,atperiodsofaquarterofa
minute,therearoseadeep,hollowstrokelikethesinglebeatofadrum,the
intervalsbeingfilledwithalong-drawnrattling,asofbonesbetweenhuge
caninejaws.ItcamefromthevastconcaveofDeadman’sBay,risingandfalling
againstthepebbledyke.
Theeveningandnightwindsherewere,toPierston’smind,chargedwitha
somethingthatdidnotburdenthemelsewhere.Theybroughtitupfromthat
sinisterBaytothewest,whosemovementsheandhewerehearingnow.Itwasa
presence—animaginaryshapeoressencefromthehumanmultitudelying
below:thosewhohadgonedowninvesselsofwar,EastIndiamen,barges,brigs,
andshipsoftheArmada—selectpeople,common,anddebased,whoseinterests
andhopeshadbeenaswideasunderasthepoles,butwhohadrolledeachother
toonenessonthatrestlesssea-bed.Therecouldalmostbefeltthebrushoftheir
hugecompositeghostasitranashapelessfigureovertheisle,shriekingfor
somegoodgodwhowoulddisuniteitagain.
Thetwainwanderedalongwaythatnightamidtheseinfluences—sofarasto
theoldHopeChurchyard,whichlayinaravineformedbyalandslipagesago.


Thechurchhadslippeddownwiththerestofthecliff,andhadlongbeenaruin.
ItseemedtosaythatinthislastlocalstrongholdofthePagandivinities,where
Pagancustomslingeredyet,Christianityhadestablisheditselfprecariouslyat
best.InthatsolemnspotPierstonkissedher.
ThekisswasbynomeansonAvice’sinitiativethistime.Herformer
demonstrativenessseemedtohaveincreasedherpresentreserve.

*

Thatdaywasthebeginningofapleasantmonthpassedmainlyineachother’s
society.Hefoundthatshecouldnotonlyrecitepoetryatintellectualgatherings,
butplaythepianofairly,andsingtoherownaccompaniment.
Heobservedthateveryaimofthosewhohadbroughtheruphadbeentogether
awaymentallyasfaraspossiblefromhernaturalandindividuallifeasan
inhabitantofapeculiarisland:tomakeheranexactcopyoftensofthousandsof
otherpeople,inwhosecircumstancestherewasnothingspecial,distinctive,or
picturesque;toteachhertoforgetalltheexperiencesofherancestors;todrown
thelocalballadsbysongspurchasedattheBudmouthfashionablemusic-sellers’,
andthelocalvocabularybyagoverness-tongueofnocountryatall.Shelivedin
ahousethatwouldhavebeenthefortuneofanartist,andlearnttodrawLondon
suburbanvillasfromprintedcopies.
Avicehadseenallthisbeforehepointeditout,but,withagirl’stractability,had
acquiesced.Byconstitutionshewaslocaltothebone,butshecouldnotescape
thetendencyoftheage.
ThetimeforJocelyn’sdeparturedrewnear,andshelookedforwardtoitsadly,
butserenely,theirengagementbeingnowasettledthing.Pierstonthoughtofthe
nativecustomonsuchoccasions,whichhadprevailedinhisandherfamilyfor
centuries,bothbeingoftheoldstockoftheisle.Theinfluxof‘kimberlins,’or
‘foreigners’(asstrangersfromthemainlandofWessexwerecalled),hadledina
largemeasuretoitsdiscontinuance;butunderneaththeveneerofAvice’s
educationmanyanold-fashionedidealayslumbering,andhewonderedif,inher
naturalmelancholyathisleaving,sheregrettedthechangingmannerswhich


madeunpopulartheformalratificationofabetrothal,accordingtotheprecedent
oftheirsiresandgrandsires.

1.III.THEAPPOINTMENT
‘Well,’saidhe,‘hereweare,arrivedatthefag-endofmyholiday.Whata
pleasantsurprisemyoldhome,whichIhavenotthoughtworthcomingtosee
forthreeorfouryears,hadinstoreforme!’
‘Youmustgotomorrow?’sheaskeduneasily.
‘Yes.’
Somethingseemedtooverweighthem;somethingmorethanthenaturalsadness
ofapartingwhichwasnottobelong;andhedecidedthatinsteadofleavingin
thedaytimeashehadintended,hewoulddeferhisdeparturetillnight,andgoby
themail-trainfromBudmouth.Thiswouldgivehimtimetolookintohisfather’s
quarries,andenableher,ifshechose,towalkwithhimalongthebeachasfaras
toHenrytheEighth’sCastleabovethesands,wheretheycouldlingerandwatch
themoonriseoverthesea.Shesaidshethoughtshecouldcome.
SoafterspendingthenextdaywithhisfatherinthequarriesJocelynpreparedto
leave,andatthetimeappointedsetoutfromthestonehouseofhisbirthinthis
stoneisletowalktoBudmouth-Regisbythepathalongthebeach,Avicehaving
sometimeearliergonedowntoseesomefriendsintheStreetofWells,which
washalfwaytowardsthespotoftheirtryst.Thedescentsoonbroughthimtothe
pebblebank,andleavingbehindhimthelasthousesoftheisle,andtheruinsof
thevillagedestroyedbytheNovembergaleof1824,hestruckoutalongthe
narrowthreadofland.Whenhehadwalkedahundredyardshestopped,turned
asidetothepebbleridgewhichwalledoutthesea,andsatdowntowaitforher.
Betweenhimandthelightsoftheshipsridingatanchorintheroadsteadtwo
menpassedslowlyinthedirectionheintendedtopursue.Oneofthem
recognizedJocelyn,andbadehimgoodnight,adding,‘Wishyoujoy,sir,ofyour
choice,andhopetheweddenwillbesoon!’
‘Thankyou,Seaborn.Well—weshallseewhatChristmaswilldotowards
bringingitabout.’


‘Mywifeopeneduponitthismornen:“PleaseGod,I’llupandseethatthere
wedden,”saysshe,“knowing‘embothfromtheircrawlingdays.”’
Themenmovedon,andwhentheywereoutofPierston’shearingtheonewho
hadnotspokensaidtohisfriend,‘Whowasthatyoungkimberlin?Hedon’t
seemoneo’we.’
‘Oh,heis,though,everyincho’en.He’sMr.JocelynPierston,thestwonemerchant’sonlysonupatEastQuarriers.He’stobemarriedtoastylishyoung
body;hermother,awidowwoman,carriesonthesamebusinessaswellasshe
can;buttheirtradeisnotatwentiethpartofPierston’s.He’sworththousands
andthousands,theysay,though‘adoliveoninthesamewoldwayupinthe
samewoldhouse.ThissonisdoengreatthingsinLondonasa’image-carver;
andIcanmindwhen,asaboy,‘afirsttooktocarvingsoldiersouto’bitso’
stwonefromthesoft-bedofhisfather’squarries;andthen‘amadeaseto’
stwonenchess-men,andso‘agoton.He’squitethegentinLondon,theytell
me;andthewonderisthat‘acaredtocomebackhereandpickuplittleAvice
Caro—nicemaidassheisnotwithstanding….Hullo!there’stobeachangein
theweathersoon.’
Meanwhilethesubjectoftheirremarkswaitedattheappointedplacetillseven
o’clock,thehournamedbetweenhimselfandhisaffianced,hadstruck.Almost
atthemomenthesawafigurecomingforwardfromthelastlampatthebottom
ofthehill.Butthefigurespeedilyresolveditselfintothatofaboy,who,
advancingtoJocelyn,inquiredifhewereMr.Pierston,andhandedhimanote.

1.IV.ALONELYPEDESTRIAN
WhentheboyhadgoneJocelynretracedhisstepstothelastlamp,andread,in
Avice’shand:
‘MYDEAREST,—IshallbesorryifIgrieveyouatallinwhatIamgoingtosay
aboutourarrangementtomeettonightintheSandsfootruin.ButIhavefancied
thatmyseeingyouagainandagainlatelyisincliningyourfathertoinsist,and
youashisheirtofeel,thatweoughttocarryoutIslandCustominourcourting
—yourpeoplebeingsucholdinhabitantsinanunbrokenline.Truthtosay,
mothersupposesthatyourfather,fornaturalreasons,mayhavehintedtoyou
thatweought.Now,thethingiscontrarytomyfeelings:itisnearlyleftoff;and


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