The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native Book 3, Chapter 3 Summary
The First Act in a Timeworn Drama
- Mrs. Yeobright is upset that Clym is showing an interest in Eustacia.
- Clym says, whatever, and leaves anyway.
- The local men try to get some rope around the bucket and drag it back out, but they keep having trouble since the bucket is water-logged and heavy now.
- Clym offers to take Timothy Fairway's place and to be lowered down some into the well to get the bucket.
- Eustacia pipes up from the house and says to tie a rope around Clym since he might fall in the well.
- But it's getting late and the men say they'll have to come back tomorrow.
- Eustacia is bummed that she doesn't have water.
- Clym offers to send her some water, but Eustacia says it's cool since she technically has pond water, even though it's gross.
- The two walk over to the pond and Clym notices the ashes from the November bonfire.
- Clym gallantly volunteers to try again for the bucket and Eustacia helps him.
- But Eustacia just ends up with rope burn.
- Clym looks her over and also checks out her stab wound, courtesy of crazy Susan – what a day for Eustacia.
- The two talk about Clym's school plans and Eustacia shows some interest.
- Clym learns that Eustacia isn't happy in Egdon and longs for city life.
- The two part and are smitten with each other.
- The next day Clym studies hard and then goes for a walk, where he meets Eustacia.
- Upon returning home, his mom grills him.
- Things get steadily more awkward between mother and son.
- A few days later, Christian swings by with some gossip.
- He tells Mrs. Yeobright that some people dug up some ancient urns on the heath. Clym was going to bring one home but gave it to Eustacia instead.
- Mrs. Yeobright is peeved.
- Spring arrives and, with it, nature descriptions.
- Clym keeps wandering around and keeping weird hours.
- The Yeobrights finally have a throw-down argument, which has been building for weeks.
- They fight over Eustacia. Mrs. Yeobright calls her a hussy, while Clym defends his girlfriend.
- Finally Clym storms out and stays out very late.
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