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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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