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The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 5 Summary
Perplexity among Honest People Thomasin isn't married after all, which is hugely scandalous. Her aunt is shocked. Turns out, Wildeve, first name Damon, did something wrong with the marriage license. Thomasin is upset but she doesn't try to avoid blame in the situation – she panicked and ran off after the marriage snafu, which probably didn't help matters at all. Mrs. Yeobright drags her niece off to see Damon, which is just awkward. So Damon answers the door and proceeds to confirm Thomasin's narration of the events. Damon asks for some private time with his (still) bride-to-be. The couple hashes out their situation. Damon is being grumpy – he's still mad at Mrs. Yeobright for publicly disapproving of the engagement (fair enough). But he insists he still wants to marry "Tamsie." Thomasin's mood improves. Suddenly, the bonfire crew all show up, in high spirits. They've come to welcome the married couple. The group decides to sing a song too, just like in Oklahoma. Wildeve and the Yeobright women decide to just pretend like everything is cool until the party people go away. Wildeve has a drink with the guys. He's kind of a jerk to them all. Fairway regales everyone with the story of his wedding day. The group gossip and stand around drinking Wildeve's alcohol. Fairway mentions that the bonfire over at Captain Vye's house is still burning. Wildeve glances out the window at it and seems very interested. Intrigue. The group gossip about the bonfire and Vye's granddaughter – rumor has it, she's a witch. Finally the group leaves. The Yeobright women have also left. Wildeve then starts talking to himself like he's in a play doing a soliloquy or something. But he helpfully informs us that he has a thing with Vye's granddaughter and that the fire is some sort of signal. So he heads off to visit her.
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