The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native Book 2, Chapter 1 Summary
Tidings of the Comer
- The seasons are changing and winter is arriving in the heath, making for much shorter and colder days.
- Eustacia is sitting inside and hears voices.
- But she's not going crazy – she's hearing the echoes of the furze-cutters outside through the chimney.
- What's a furze-cutter, you ask? Well it's someone who cuts furze, or gorse, which is a type of plant that grew on the heath. Gorse is edible and was used to feed livestock or as fire kindling.
- Eustacia eavesdrops and listens as Sam, Humphrey, and her grandfather talk about Clym Yeobright.
- Clym is apparently a golden boy, some sort of child prodigy with progressive political ideas and a fancy-pants job in Paris.
- Clym's father was a farmer and his mother came from some money. His dad died many years ago.
- They then discuss the scandal surrounding Thomasin, who's still unmarried.
- Thomasin has been ill and has secluded herself indoors since the scandal broke.
- Eustacia stops listening after this. Her imagination is full of Clym Yeobright and she spends the rest of the afternoon daydreaming about him and Paris.
- We learn that Eustacia is nineteen.
- Finally Eustacia heads outside for a walk.
- The sun is setting and she gazes out over the heath towards Clym's house and thinks about how someone from Paris is about to come there for a visit.
- Which makes Clym a Visitor, which means he may be a V, or an alien. Now that would be one heck of a plot twist.
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