From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native


by Thomas Hardy

The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 8 Summary

Those Who Are Found Where There Is Said to Be Nobody

  • After our little Eustacia-centric interlude, we rejoin the story in the present.
  • Little Johnny is running home with his money, singing a song.
  • He's not scared of the heath at night.
  • But then he spies some unusual lights and is afraid. He turns back to Captain Vye's house in order to ask for a servant to walk him home.
  • He arrives as Eustacia and Wildeve are having their lover's quarrel, and so he eavesdrops, of course.
  • Johnny is highly confused by the whole conversation and decides to take his chances walking home on his own.
  • Then he comes across the reddleman's cart, which turns out to be the source of the weird lights. So, not aliens.
  • The boy is freaked out since everyone knows the reddleman is some sort of ghost/devil/monster thing.
  • Johnny then fails at stealth and rolls down the hill, stopping at the reddleman's feet. Whoops.
  • But then the reddleman starts talking like a normal person and Johnny feels a bit better.
  • Johnny has lost his money through all that rolling, though, so the two look for it. And the reddleman nicely bandages the cut Johnny got on his hand after reenacting The Princess Bride and rolling down a hill.
  • Johnny asks lots of questions about being a reddleman, as nosey kids do.
  • Then Johnny gets chatty and tells Diggory all about Eustacia's weird meeting with some random guy, who apparently had not gotten married today.
  • Diggory is very intrigued and also mad at Wildeve for being a cad.
  • Johnny is still confused. He leaves to go home finally.
  • Diggory then sits back down by his fire and gets back to mending a sock. Diggory's social life is depressing us.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...