Study Guide

The Return of the Native Book 4, Chapter 6

By Thomas Hardy

Book 4, Chapter 6

A Conjuncture, and Its Result upon the Pedestrian

  • The same day, Wildeve decides to just go visit Eustacia. He figures they're related by marriage and he can visit his extended family if he wants.
  • Sure, Wildeve, sure.
  • So Eustacia lets him inside and they chat.
  • Clym is conked out taking an afternoon nap.
  • The ex-lovers discuss Clym and how terrible Eustacia's life is.
  • Wildeve hints that she brought this all on herself since she didn't wait around for him.
  • Eustacia tells him to shut up, and Wildeve agrees that he made a mistake with Thomasin.
  • Wildeve hints that he'll never be happy until he has Eustacia back again, but she opts to ignore the implications of that.
  • Suddenly they hear a knock at the door.
  • It's Mrs. Yeobright.
  • Eustacia peeks out the window at her and then panics. She refuses to answer the door since Damon is there.
  • So the two decide to go out back after they notice that Clym is starting to wake up.
  • Eustacia figures he'll just wake up and answer the door.
  • Wildeve sneaks off and Eustacia hangs out for a bit before going back inside.
  • She's horrified to see that Clym is still asleep and that Mrs. Yeobright is no longer outside.
  • Meanwhile, Mrs. Yeobright is stumbling away, devastated.
  • She saw Eustacia at the window and thinks that Eustacia and Clym deliberately refused to answer the door.
  • Mrs. Yeobright is really depressed and continues walking along aimlessly.
  • She comes across little Johnny and thinks aloud about her son.
  • Johnny is confused and is worried since she seems ill.
  • Johnny finally leaves and Mrs. Yeobright doesn't seem to care.
  • She tells him to tell his mom that "you have seen a broken-hearted woman cast off by her son" (4.6.104).
  • Mrs. Yeobright continues to wander around and stops again to watch an ant colony.
  • She lies down on the grass and watches a bird fly in the air.
  • Her thoughts travel back to Clym's house.