Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 10

By Thomas Hardy

Book 1, Chapter 10

A Desperate Attempt at Persuasion

  • Diggory Venn is walking along the heath on a Sunday morning.
  • Most residents of Egdon rarely go to church.
  • Diggory is going to Captain Vye's house to pay a visit.
  • People rarely visit there because the Captain has erratic, or changeable, moods, and Eustacia is just plain moody all the time.
  • The Captain greets Diggory when he arrives, but Diggory says he needs to speak to Eustacia.
  • She's still asleep and Diggory says he'll wait.
  • Finally Eustacia comes down and walks outside with Diggory. He cuts right to the chase and says he's concerned that Wildeve might refuse to marry Thomasin.
  • Eustacia instantly goes on the defensive.
  • Venn says that some "mystery woman" (who could it be?) is coming between Thomasin and Wildeve and that this woman is basically a lady of loose morals and a would-be home-wrecker.
  • Eustacia opts for sarcasm and says she has no control over what Wildeve does or doesn't do.
  • Venn accuses her directly of being Wildeve's secret paramour.
  • Eustacia freaks a bit and then coldly refuses to talk to him anymore.
  • But that persistent Venn won't be deterred and he keeps driving on. He asks Eustacia to break things off with Wildeve and to urge him to be honorable and marry Thomasin.
  • Eustacia objects to the cliché, among other things, and fires back that she's the injured party here since she was involved with Wildeve first.
  • But Venn has a decent counter-offer – he knows of a woman in Budmouth, Eustacia's old stomping grounds, that needs a paid companion.
  • Eustacia refuses to take a job since she is a "lady."
  • She then stomps off and leaves Diggory alone outside.
  • He's depressed that his plan didn't work.
  • Eustacia's emotions are all in turmoil and she now rebelliously refuses (to herself) to give up Wildeve.