Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 1, Chapter 5

By Thomas Hardy

Book 1, Chapter 5

Perplexity among Honest People

  • Thomasin isn't married after all, which is hugely scandalous.
  • Her aunt is shocked.
  • Turns out, Wildeve, first name Damon, did something wrong with the marriage license.
  • Thomasin is upset but she doesn't try to avoid blame in the situation – she panicked and ran off after the marriage snafu, which probably didn't help matters at all.
  • Mrs. Yeobright drags her niece off to see Damon, which is just awkward.
  • So Damon answers the door and proceeds to confirm Thomasin's narration of the events.
  • Damon asks for some private time with his (still) bride-to-be. The couple hashes out their situation.
  • Damon is being grumpy – he's still mad at Mrs. Yeobright for publicly disapproving of the engagement (fair enough).
  • But he insists he still wants to marry "Tamsie." Thomasin's mood improves.
  • Suddenly, the bonfire crew all show up, in high spirits. They've come to welcome the married couple.
  • The group decides to sing a song too, just like in Oklahoma.
  • Wildeve and the Yeobright women decide to just pretend like everything is cool until the party people go away.
  • Wildeve has a drink with the guys. He's kind of a jerk to them all.
  • Fairway regales everyone with the story of his wedding day.
  • The group gossip and stand around drinking Wildeve's alcohol.
  • Fairway mentions that the bonfire over at Captain Vye's house is still burning.
  • Wildeve glances out the window at it and seems very interested. Intrigue.
  • The group gossip about the bonfire and Vye's granddaughter – rumor has it, she's a witch.
  • Finally the group leaves.
  • The Yeobright women have also left.
  • Wildeve then starts talking to himself like he's in a play doing a soliloquy or something.
  • But he helpfully informs us that he has a thing with Vye's granddaughter and that the fire is some sort of signal.
  • So he heads off to visit her.